Friday, October 3, 2008

High Risk Behavior???

So... my previous post got me thinking about where you draw the line between what is considered safe, and what is considered "not" safe. Everyone obviously has their own opinions about whether or not their hobbies (in most of our cases, horses!) range from mildly dangerous (say riding a bicycle down the street), to downright nerve wracking (think about something like skiing or snowboarding down an off limit part of a mountain, causing a landslide).
I don't know about you, but I tend to not think of horseback riding as an extreme sport. Maybe some disciplines are more likely to cause serious injuries, like extreme cross country jumping, but even that is debatable, because hopefully the riders who are competing at that level are competent.
That being said, I remember how shocked I was when Amber's trauma surgeon (she was thrown from a quad and stopped by a tree...not good combination...about two years ago), commented that she was lucky that she had never been severely injured before because she engages in what is considered by trauma surgeons and emergency rooms everywhere, as high risk, thrill seeking, life endangering behavior. What??!!! I was totally floored! I remember being like "horses??? Are you kidding me???" The answer was "no" he was not. And according to him, the fact that she rides ATV's was just the icing on the cake. He even jokingly asked if she skied or snowboarded as well.
I think that my little eye opening conversation helped me to realize that just about anything that we do, and that we allow our kids to do, can potentially cause harm, and it is our responsibility to ourselves, and to our kids (if we have them!) to make sure that we, or our kids, are educated in whatever it is that we/they are doing. Obviously we cannot keep bad things from happening, but we can actively make a decision to prevent something from happening (like potentially placing Katie and Sienna in a precarious situation), and as long as we take the necessary steps towards safety, we are at least eliminating senseless, needless, and preventable injuries or deaths from occurring. Should you make you or your kids wear a helmet, require that everyone who rides an ATV wear full body armor and a helmet, or penalize those who participate in "off-road" snowboarding or skiing? That answer is not up to me, it is up to the individuals who participate in any of those activities, and that is part of what makes us all unique! For the record, we do wear helmets when riding horses or quads (no armor though), and I have no problem if somebody wants to go off limits while skiing or snowboarding. See??? I am not a total fuddy!!!

PS-My above post does NOT refer to allowing your kids to "be kids"and then blaming yourself when someone gets hurt...I am thinking of a recent incident that involved tree climbing and a trip to the ER. You did nothing wrong in allowing your kidlets to climb trees, and please do not feel that you did! :) Hope that you and your little one are feeling better!


20 meter circle of life said...

Oh yes it is High risk. Last year after my big fall, I was amazed at what the folks in the ER were saying. The problem they felt was the Horse people did not have much sense, we get thrown, we wander around for a few days saying we should be in pain and then finally go to the Doc once we starting coughing up blood or something (yes I really did do that). At that point the injury is worse or you have managed to injure yourself more. I ride at my own risk. I try not to take big risks, but it happens. I think making sure you have the right equipment and trying to be safe will go a long way. But in the end they are still horses and accidents will still happen, for me its a Risk I am willing to take. There is a special peace that comes being with horses and that will out weigh the risk anyday for me.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Thanks Melanie. This post came during the perfect time, as you know.
Thanks for chatting about the issues involved and for making me feel better about what happened to me son.

BTW, Jem's doing better, though he is very sore. I cleaned the stitches (all SEVENTEEN of them!) tonight and it looks pretty good. It's amazing how close he came to losing his entire nipple, though.
Thank God he's boy and not a woman, or there could have been issues with breastfeeding and feeling in that nipple.

It sure is painful to look at. And I still feel partly responsible and wish he didn't have to go through any of the pain.
He's so brave, though. Braver than I would be.

Thanks so much for all of your kind, sweet, caring and supportive comments and words. They mean alot to me :)


Cara said...

A lot of people like to be in denial. When someone gets hurt, seriously hurt, at least one person will point out that they were doing something unsafe, or not taking precations, or above their level of a sport. This is a way of believing that it will not happen to them in spite of being faced with a reminder that it really could.

Eons ago, I was in the lowely position of bench tech. I had opted for the health care package with the highest coverage, way more expensive than the other ones. The other enrollees were high level execs. Others were amazed at my flagrant spending in leu of more retirement savings or material objects. I said "I ride horses, that can be dangerous."

Then: Bonk! The helicopter rescue, the coma, 2 months in the hospital, 6 months of 100% disability, another year of partial disability and a year and a half of rehab.

I had good health insurance.

My helmet was a mess! I had to buy a new one. "If you think your hair is more important than your brain, you're probably right."

Melanie said...

Jewel and Cara-
Thanks for sharing with us. Hope that both of you have healed completely from your accidents! I agree about horses being a risk that we are willing to take, and I imagine that people who engage in other "high risk" sports feel the same way. :)

Seventeen??!!! Wowzer! I am glad that both you and your son are feeling better, and I agree...good thing "he" is not a "she!!" Now...when is he heading back up into those!!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...


I just trotted back over here to tell you thanks for your wonderfully supportive and kind comments you left for me on my blog, concerning my son's injury.
It is much appreciated, my friend :)

Take Care,

Anonymous said...

Hi Folks
From a wife and Mom of Dare Devils nothing suprises me anymore except that my guys are paranoid of "my sport'. They don't want the cook hurt! LOL So I have the STI break away stirrups, helmet, grab strap, cel phone(with the Burnnet store number in it since there is always someone there) sometimes the pistol and most of the time my machete. I call them my saftey nets so I can ride alone. As a family we are firm beleivers in getting out a playing hard and fast but we do spent the money for the best saftey gear. Which did help save my youngest son's life when he had a high speed head on collision with another dirt bike.
When my hubby was pestering me to buy the STI's he kept saying 'what is a broken leg worth' because at the time I purchased them they were $340.
Just had to comment

GNH said...

I think you're mistaken thinking horseback riding is not an "extreme" sport. In fact horseback riding is extremely dangerous. There are far more injuries per hour riding horses than there are motorcycle riding. The actual numbers are one serious injury per 7000 hours motorcycle riding compared to one serious injury per 350 hours riding on a horse. I don't know if that counts in "extreme sports" but it does demonstrate that horseback riding is dangerous. That being said, I go riding several times a week. You can try to shoot for extreme safety, but what kind of life is that? Consider that the author of "100 things to do before you die" ended up dropping dead in his own house after slipping in the bathtub and hitting his head. My thought is be aware of the danger but get out and live your life.

Melanie said...

Well put, and that was kind of the point of my post...that you can be killed by horse, a motorcycle/quad,or just by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That you cannot live your life in fear. Go out and do what you want to do, just be aware of the risks.

I do know that horses are dangerous (hence the reason for my previous post), I just don't think of them as "man killers" like the staff at the ER does.

Melanie said...

To all-
I just wanted to clear up something that I did not convey very well in my post. I do think that horseback riding is dangerous, but I disagree with the trauma surgeon, and his staff, that it is for "thrill seekers and risk takers."

Most people who I know, ride horses for the relaxation and the enjoyment of being around their equine pals; not because they are out looking for an adrenaline rush.

Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

Riding was supposed to be fun and relaxing?? I never knew! LOL...I've been very lucky in all my falls, only one trip to the ER and that was really a waist of time. I thought I was finally going to get the nose job I had always wanted, but it wasn't broken.
I think anything can be as dangerous as you want it to be!