Life comes at you fast, but it can it all be taken away just as swiftly. It’s a lesson one young equestrian will never forget.

What began as just another routine ride for 19-year-old Abby Bedwell last year ended in disaster. The aspiring Ohio eventer was on a school horse, halted in the middle of the arena when the horse suddenly began to buck, eventually throwing her to the ground, where she hit her head on a split rail before catching a hoof to the face.  Abby detailed her harrowing account in a recent post on Facebook:

It was a complete freak accident. I’m not too positive on details because I was unconscious. The long story short is, from what I’ve been told, I was on a school horse, relaxing in the middle of the arena, bareback. She then took off bucking, and I stayed on until around the edge of the arena, and fell. But her back hoof caught me under the chin while she was bucking. I was thrown into a split rail, which I hit the back of my head on.

Critically injured, Abby was rushed to the hospital where doctors feared the worst.

I sustained head trauma so severe I am deemed a medical miracle. I was expected to die on my way to the operating table for immediate neurosurgery when I was rushed to a level 1 trauma center that day. I was expected to be brain dead if I somehow lived. I responded to no reflex tests, so I was presumed paralyzed. My body had shut down.

Incredibly, since her accident last year Abby has made a full recovery and is now on a mission to spread the gospel of the one thing she believes saved her life that day: her helmet.

About five minutes:
The time it took me to properly adjust my helmet strap so it could not go past my chin if tugged.

About five seconds:
The time it took me to put my helmet on my head.

My whole life:
The time I will get to spend knowing I made the right choice that day.


Back in the saddle. (Photo via facebook/Abby Bedwell)

Abby decided it was time to share her story and hospital photo after seeing a “No Helmet Pride” group on Facebook.

“These posts about helmets being choices are getting to me,” she wrote. “It IS a choice to wear a helmet, but if you were to hit your head, you’re choosing a higher chance of death.”

Choose wisely.

Read Abby’s full post on Facebook.