AR385
Topic Author
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Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 3:45 pm

I had a friend, a nice girl of 21. She was very interested in horse backriding and started at it at twelve years of age. Since I have reached pro level at the sport (although I don't ride anymore) her father retained me as a consultant on her riding skills and sometimes to get the horse ready for her. A few times a month, I would have to be the one giving the lesson, as her instructor was busy stuck in Europe on a horse backriding competition.

Yesterday there was a competition, and her father asked me if I thought she was ready to compete. I told him no. She is not ready. She has the skills, but she does not yet have the attitude, the concentration. Her instructor told her she was ready.

She was the first to go on the competition and on the 5th obstacle she falls from the horse on a freak accident, breaks her neck against a wooden bar and dies. Right then and there. I heard her neck crack, 60 yards away.

I have not slept in 48 hours. I have not even gone to the wake nor will I attend the funeral. Was there anything else I could have done? Should I have been more emphatic that she was not ready? I'm going crazy, and that cracking sound when she hit the bar makes me ill everytime I remember it.


[Edited 2006-07-15 09:13:11]
Big version: Width: 218 Height: 328 File size: 13kb
There she is


[Edited 2006-07-15 09:14:09]
 
L-188
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 3:57 pm

Holy crap!

That is though situation....I think you are making a mistake by not going to the wakes or funeral.

I do want to point out a key comment:

Quoting AR385 (Thread starter):
and her father asked me if I thought she was ready to compete. I told him no

You gave an opinion that unfortunately proved correct. But I don't think short of shooting the horse you could have stopped this. I get the suspicion that your opinon was lost to the trainer, the father and most importantly the student. It wasn't the answer they wanted.

You aren't at fault, go have a beer and get a rest. It is a rough period but there wasn't anything you could have done to stop it. The decision wasn't in your hands, you could only offer opinion....it was up to the father and daughter to heed it....and they didn't.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
KevinL1011
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 4:31 pm

What could you change? If her Father and the Instructor OK'd it, it was out of your hands.

OK, lets play the "what if" game. What if you were somehow able to stop her from competing. What would it have taken? You probably would have to lower and damage the confidence that her Father, the Instructor and She had in herself. You would be perceived as un-supportive and lose her respect. Now you have to live as the person who held her back and now SHE would be asking the question, "what if".

The only responsibility you have is choosing to be her friend. That's it. You did everything that a good friend should do. You made her happy here on this earth and now in eternity. You should be proud.

Grief is a reaction to the loss of something precious in YOUR life. Don't have pity for the living and have no pity for her. She is at peace.

You were there for her until her last second of life. What more can anyone expect from a friend?

You did the right thing. She was fortunate to have you as a friend.
Sincerely,
KevinL1011

[Edited 2006-07-15 09:41:52]
474218, Carl, You will be missed.
 
bill142
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 4:36 pm

There should be no question. You are not at fault. You gave your professional opinion, one which you were paid to give. It's unfortunate that it was simply ignored and now a life has been lost. I'm sure her father is regretting not listening to you. One would assume that there was too much pride for him to not see her compete and he would have known that she probably would have been devistated if she couldn't compete.

You should goto the funeral, espcially if she was a friend. In my opinion you said the right thing, and you are not at fault.
 
ABfemme
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 5:02 pm

Quoting AR385 (Thread starter):
her father asked me if I thought she was ready to compete. I told him no. She is not ready.



Quoting KevinL1011 (Reply 2):
it was out of your hands.

Hey AR385 her death is definitely NOT your fault as others have pointed out. Please try and understand that you insisted that she was not ready to compete and told both her father and instructor your concerns. As stated above, the matter WAS taken out of your hands, you could do no more other than drag her and the horse out of the ring. You have no reason or need to feel you caused her death - You did not, you had given your opinion on her capabilities and it was overruled. Please try and understand that you played no part in this terrible incident it WAS an accident which you could not prevent.

Sometimes heads rule hearts - your heart was in the right in expressing your feelings. Her father will shoulder the grief and you could be a support to him.

Go to the funeral - you owe it to her and her Father, she would want you to be there......

Kind regards

Claire
Women do not have hot flushes, they have power surges
 
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BNE
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 5:06 pm

This definitely is not your fault; you would certainly be in shock and I can guess why you feel so bad about the situation.

I would suggest you should go to the funeral.
Why fly non stop when you can connect
 
oli80
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 5:39 pm

It is definately NOT your fault. Accidents like that can happen in training as well (I presume) so I wouldn't even say it was the trainers fault. It was just that, an accident.

I would also suggest going to see a psychiatrist. Situations like this will be with you forever, you need to seek professional help and talk to someone about it. It is nothing to be ashamed about. They are there for a reason.

I hope you have had some sleep now!
 
QFA380
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:14 pm

Man, I really feel for you, as others have said already, you are not at fault. No one really is, her father did the right thing for her mentally and he would have had not imagined in hismost horrific nightmares that this would happen.

She looks like a truly beautiful girl and definately a loss to the world. I suggest you go to the funeral as other have said. You also need to be there for her father and support him through this rather than blame him.

And I am hoping beyond hope that somehow as gruesome as it may seem, that the memory of that sound disappears from you and you only remember the great person she was. I would be in too much shock to even write this, which shows how well you are handling this.

This may also be taken out of context, but how badly did the horse come out? I am just curious.

And to your friend, RIP and you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
 
JGPH1A
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:16 pm

Not your fault, you did your best to dissuade her. Go to the funeral though, if you can, it will help.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:39 pm

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that it was not your fault, AR385. You gave your advice that she was not ready. It seems to me that if your consultation had been followed, this tragic event would not have occurred.

I feel sympathy for you and especially for the young victim and her family. This was a most serious tragedy for all involved.

I offer my deepest condolences to those affected by this great loss.
What's fair is fair.
 
andessmf
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:59 pm

Of course it was not your fault.

But unfortunately, because of your foresight and the end result, it would be normal for a decent human being to feel guilty for (perhaps) not going the extra step to stop her from competing at the time. Hopefully, in due time, the guilt will lessen.

Express our condolences as appropriate to you and the affected family from my family and our 'extended' a.net family as already expressed above.
 
mrmeangenes
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:31 am

Definitely not your fault !

The young woman had spirit,which is a good thing,but lacked wisdom-which is,far too often-fatal.
gene
 
planespotting
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:36 am

This is about as tragic as any situation can get. how sad for the girl and her family, and especially you.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but the others on this thread seem correct in their assessment. Many of us would probably feel the same way, but you did all that you could plausibly do to get her to not ride. If her father, her and the riding instructor didn't think your opinion great enough to follow it, that is their fault, and they will have to live with knowing that someone disadvised them from allowing her to ride as she did, and they pressed on anyway.

It is not in anyway a "consolation" but hopefully it will help you realize you are not in anyway at fault.
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
Duff44
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:53 am

I concur with everything said above. People make decisions for themselves and assume any risks or responsibility from those decisions when they make them. For you to blame yourself is not going to be productive in helping you grieve.

But ABSOLUTELY go to the funeral.... you will regret it later if you don't. I'd never miss a funeral of someone I was close to regardless of the circumstances.
I'll rassle ya for a bowl of bacon!
 
aa61hvy
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:23 am

It wasn't your fault. It was her time to go, brother. Just be there for her family, and always keep her in your heart.
Go big or go home
 
SA7700
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:30 am

AR385, I have the utmost sympathy for you. To loose a friend or beloved one, especially in such a manner, always brings up so many questions with very few answers. In your case the only question you have to ask yourself is: Did I do everything that I could have done?

My answer to you would be yes. You were her friend and supported her when she needed you. When asked by her father whether she was ready - you gave your honest opinion - professionally, but also as a friend. Barraging yourself with questions is not going to help you one iota. You know that it was a freak accident – there is absolutely nothing on this earth that can change that.

However, she still needs you one last time – at her funeral. It is time to say farewell and start the healing process.

Keep well my friend, you are in my prayers.


Rgds

SA7700
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legoguy
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:35 am

Obviously I will agree with everyone who has posted. Definately not your fault. You said that you did not think she was ready to compete. You were the only person to suggest this so you can't be held to blame! No one can be held to blame however as it is just one of these unfortunate things...
Can you say 'Beer Can' without sounding like a Jamaican saying 'Bacon'?
 
ScarletHarlot
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:45 am

My God, that is so awful. I am so sorry. I think you know inside yourself that there was nothing else you could have done short of physically removing her from the horse. But I am sure you will ask yourself the question for a very long time. Seriously, please do seek professional help. This is going to be very hard for you to deal with.

Many hugs to you - and to her family.
But that was when I ruled the world
 
luv2fly
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:52 am

Quoting Bill142 (Reply 3):
You should goto the funeral, espcially if she was a friend. In my opinion you said the right thing, and you are not at fault.



Quoting ABfemme (Reply 4):
Go to the funeral - you owe it to her and her Father, she would want you to be there......



Quoting BNE (Reply 5):
I would suggest you should go to the funeral.



Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 8):
Go to the funeral though, if you can, it will help.



Quoting Duff44 (Reply 13):
But ABSOLUTELY go to the funeral.... you will regret it later if you don't. I'd never miss a funeral of someone I was close to regardless of the circumstances.



Quoting AA61Hvy (Reply 14):
Just be there for her family, and always keep her in your heart.



Quoting SA7700 (Reply 15):
However, she still needs you one last time – at her funeral. It is time to say farewell and start the healing process.

I have to agree with the above. To this day one of the hardest things I have ever done is go to a funeral of a very good friend of mine that was killed while jogging!
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
silverfox
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:55 am

Dont fret about it at all . it happens, she could have died another way on another day.
I had a friend who i was going to see one night. Didnt go, and found out he gassed himself that evening.
Because i didnt go? i dont know, but if i had gone he might have put it off a few days, but it was going to happen.
Sure you feel bad ,as i did, but at least she died what she wanted to do.
time is a great healer
 
aircraft
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:59 am

Quoting AR385 (Thread starter):
Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Of course it's not your fault. Those who choose not to take your experienced advice are making their own decision to take a risk, regardless of how emphatic you may, or may not be.

Any way you go about it, life has its risks. To blame yourself for a freak accident will only make this experience more difficult for you. Make the choice to see a grief counselor -- even if it's for only an hour. I'm positive things will become much more clear for you as a result.

Hang in there.
 
legoguy
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 2:00 am

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 18):

I would have to agree...It may be hard to go but if you don't, you will regret it terribly at a later date...
Can you say 'Beer Can' without sounding like a Jamaican saying 'Bacon'?
 
flyingbabydoc
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 2:48 am

Oh Martin, that is a bad situation... I am so sorry for all this that has happened.

You know, this is a feeling I know all too well. Sometimes patients die. You do all you can, you operate on them, you give them the best possible treatment but they just die. And you feel hopeless, defeated, cheated and sad. Utterly sad.

However, you know deep down you have done what was right. You have given the best advice and a fair one too. Perhaps it was her time to go, and nothing you would or could have done would have stopped it.

So this is my suggestion to you. Do not blame yourself, rather think it through and see if there is anything you could improve for the next patient (friend or student). And then tell yourself loud and clear, that you have done your best. And then let it rest. Really rest. Otherwise, it will come back to haunt you endlessly.

I am so sorry you are having such a though year. It is cheesy to say, but I really believe that after every storm the sun will shine again. So hang in there, you will feel better again. I promise you that.

Take good care,

Alex
Marriage is the art of turning a lover into a relative
 
rolfen
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:13 am

Go to the wake or the funeral you'll have people to support you.
rolf
 
ua777222
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:18 am

Quoting AR385 (Thread starter):
I have not even gone to the wake nor will I attend the funeral.

I think this a major mistake. If she means as much as you say she does to you, then you're better off going to her funeral even talk at it. My neighbor died last month and I didn't want to go to his funeral. He was a good friend, worked with the NTSB, DHLS, and was a pilot who introduced me to flying when I was only 10. I was dragged to it and eventually stood up in-front of everyone and told them all how much he meant to me. What importance in showing me aviation had done to me, etc. I think if I hadn't talked, it would have killed me in the long run.

Go, you'll regret it if you don't.

Matt
"It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark."
 
BMIFlyer
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:23 am

Quoting BNE (Reply 5):
This definitely is not your fault; you would certainly be in shock and I can guess why you feel so bad about the situation.

I would suggest you should go to the funeral.

Couldn't have worded it any better myself  Smile

Oh, and I agree, go to the funeral man!



Lee
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
flymatt2bermud
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:06 am

Horseback competition, many sporting events for that matter are inherently dangerous. You, your friend who passed, her father, family and friends knew this. Certainly her tragic accident was not expected.

I think the best thing for you to do is to keep talking about it. Here, with friends, with a group or maybe a professional counselor. Just don't hold it inside and try to remove the guilt. You had nothing to do with the accident.

I recommend attending the funeral, it is a major part of the greiving process. But that is your call.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward" Leonardo Da Vinci
 
piercey
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:15 am

Damn, this strikes a cord for me. Back in February, my sister was in a jumping competion and the horse tripped up. Thankfully, the only thing bruised was her ego.

Dude, go to the funeral. If you don't, you'll regret it, big time. If it has past or you can't, then at least visit the gravesite and just sit and reminace. Also, if you still have problems sleeping, go see someone or get some sleeping pills just for the week. It'll help.
Well I believe it all is coming to an end. Oh well, I guess we are gonna pretend.
 
KevinL1011
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:54 am

Quoting Piercey (Reply 27):
Back in February, my sister was in a jumping competition and the horse tripped up. Thankfully, the only thing bruised was her ego.

Your sister and AR385's friend could have easily become paralyzed. I'd bet the majority of equestrian accidents result with injury rather than death or being unscathed as in your sister's case. Possibly in both of these cases, it turned out for the best.
474218, Carl, You will be missed.
 
Halcyon
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:33 am

Hmmm. I know how you feel. Recently, my pager went off for a possible heart attack. It was suspected to just be a seizure. I decided against going, as I was busy and not on call. We had four ambulance crewman on call, and I decided to let them handle it, even though I knew the person well and was 10 minutes closer. The person had had seizures before an they were never problematic.

I found out 2 hours later that the person (my friend) died. It was a heart attack. I possibly could have saved him, but PEA could not be restored by the time our ambulance showed up.

It's a terrible feeling to know that you could have saved someone, but you cannot live your life that way. You have to realize that you did the best you could with the info you had.

I chose according to what I suspected and was wrong. You chose and were right; your good decision was overruled. You could not have foreseen the accident, so do not feel bad.

Lucas
 
AR385
Topic Author
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:32 pm

I am going to write this and it may be long, but at least it will help in part to get it out of my chest.

First, I have to thank all of you for the kindness and warmth you have shown to me. It has meant a lot and it is helping me with the pain. Your advice has also been great. At "your" insistence I went to the funeral, I missed the wake, more about that later.

I started jumping when I was eight years old, and reached pro-level at 16. Once, I was one place away to be selected for the Panamerican Games. It was an accident on a horse that made me quit the sport at the level I had reached. A horse I was training fell on top of me and basically my right shoulder was destroyed. I say destroyed, because the damage was so great that after two surgeries there are still things I cannot do. Fortunately, I am a leftie. But, to remain close to the sport, which I love, I started to take up students, just a few and train them. I don't have an Instructor's Certificate, issued by the International Equestrian Federation, but heck, I started at eight and stopped at 26, so I don't need a paper to tell me wether I can teach or not. I know more and have more experience than a lot of people with that piece of paper.

I'd like to explain why I said no, she's not ready when asked, although I was not her regular instructor, I got paid to ride her horse when she would not be available, and to give her lessons when her main instructor was not in town, which was often. It was a hobby, it's not my day-job.

Some of you here may think I'm demeaning other sports, please don't think that. Fence jumping is a very unforgiving sport. I like to compare it with flying. You need a lot of thechnique, but you also need a particular mindset. You need to learn how to focus, concentrate, develop an instinct. For example, if Pete Sampras had to play with an unknown who it's his first Grand Slam, who is the one with the pressure? Of course Pete Sampras. Why? because if he looses the match with that guy, he will loose many things. The papers will not be too kind, his ranking may go down, some sponsors will be asking questions. The other guy, has no pressure, because the worst that can happen is that he looses to Pete Sampras. Everybody will be very understanding, after all, he lost against Pete Sampras. But Pete Sampras cannot give himself the luxury of letting the pressure get the best of him during his match, because then for sure he is going to loose.

That is why I said no when asked. She was good, but she still needed to develop, learn, or achieve, (whatever you want to call it) that mindset I'm talking about. When you are competing on top of the horse nothing matters, the only thing is you, the horse and the fences, you NEED to be 5 minutes ahead of everything. I can tell when someone is riding 200 yards away from a fence that that person will not make the jump. You see it on the face. It's a matter of concentration, more than the correct technique. For some it takes years to develop that mindset, others more fast. She was good, and the competition was at the correct technical level for her, but she just did not have the mindset yet. I knew because she was my student kind of regularly. Jumping in a competition is not the same as jumping when you are at training. For starters, there's public. While she was good when training, at competition she was nowhere close for competing level.

As I said, jumping is a very unforgiving sport. It's rare for people to die, but you see a lot of fractures, dislocations, head trauma, stitches and a lot more. Hers was a freak accident, but, still, she was not ready to be in the ring at competition. That is why I said "no" when I was asked. But, the father the guy with the certificate and her disagreed. I feel guilty because I should have pressed my point. after all, I trained her occasionally. Now, when my contract is up for renewal I am going to add a clause where it says I HAVE the last word on getting someone on the competition. If they can't give me that clause, I'll quit. I am not going to be overruled by people who just think that jumping is getting on top of the horse and letting it do everything. It will not happen again, at least, with the people who train with me.

Her father was very proud, if she wanted to compete, he would be delighted, and sure as heck no one was going to contradict her. More so if it's the guy without the certificate (me).

I knew it was going to be messy, but it never passed my mind that she would even get slightly hurt. Let alone die!!! I thought that she was going to make the normal mistakes and be eliminated from the competion or not making it to the next round. I should have thought more about the consequences.

She started ok. But, when she reached the 5th fence the horse stopped and intertia threw her down and to the side, it's a common ocurrence, it's happened to me countless times. But her neck hit the bar and that was it. I have the image on my mind, over and over, in slow motion. When I saw her on the ground I knew. She was lying unnaturally, strangely, and the sound. I had never heard that sound before. It was like a thick dried tree branch snapping suddenly. It made me sick, I had to turn away because I thought I was going to pass out. Then watching the EMT's, working on her, her eyes open, but they were just staring at nothing. She was not breathing, her heart had stopped, CPR did not work, I have those images, sounds, cries, the father running into the ring, her eyes, they are all inside me. I can't sleep, because if I sleep I relive the nightmare. One instant she was on a horse closing on a fence, the next, she's lying, unnaturally, her eyes open, vacant, on the ground. Like that, an instant. It just doesn't go away, it's on my head over and over, I'm not eating even, I'm just not hungry, If I hear a similar sound or see a horse I get sick.

Why did it have to happen? She was young, nice, feisty, intelligent, attractive, it's simply not fair. You don't die when you fall!!! I had never seen anything like that. I can't understand why she fell that way, why she had to die? It feels like a nightmare from which I'm hoping I'll wake up. But I don't. She's simply gone. At least it was painless, but still, why?

I followed your advice. I went to the funeral. It felt good seeing her differently, lying in a natural position, eyes closed. She seemed asleep. The atmosphere was very heavy, a lot of cries, tears, but I saw her at least as I remember her. I talked to her too, that also felt good, I prayed in the corpus presente mass, it helped having everyone around feeling the same pain. It was good advice.

I have my fiancee, she was just a friend, but, she was MY STUDENT, even though it was on an irregular basis. My fiancee is being very understanding, she's letting me be. I'm glad we are together.

Still, I don't know if I'll go back and teach, what if I make a wrong decision with a student and get the same result? I can't deal with that right now. I don't even know if can ever see a horse again.

The mindset, she did not have it yet, WTF was it so difficult for the father and the instructor to understand? I should have explained.

Quoting QFA380 (Reply 7):
This may also be taken out of context, but how badly did the horse come out? I am just curious.

It was fine, it's rare for a horse to get injured significantly in this sport, as opposed to horse racing.

Quoting ABfemme (Reply 4):
Go to the funeral - you owe it to her and her Father

I went to the funeral and the mass, but I'm furious beyond mad rage at him. HE OVERRULED ME and know there's the result. He must be in a lot of pain, of course, maybe later I'll go to him and talk, just not now, I want to KILL him. I understand that if I'm like this, I can't even imagine the pain her family must be in, though.

Quoting Oli80 (Reply 6):
you need to seek professional help



Quoting Legoguy (Reply 16):
please do seek professional help



Quoting Aircraft (Reply 20):
Make the choice to see a grief counselor

Thankyou for that good advice, I am already seeing a psychiatrist, I'm not ashamed of it, It is helping much.

Again, thanks a lot for your understanding. It's great that I can come here and "talk" about it, it releases some feelings, even if temporarily.

Regards
 
ZRH
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 9:03 pm

I really don't see that it is your fault. I only can recommend out of own experiences: GO to the funeral! It is very hard but it helps you to handle it.
 
rolfen
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 9:38 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 30):

Your recount is very touching. You almost got me crying.
You seem to be taking the right steps.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 30):
the horse stopped and intertia threw her down and to the side,

Sounds to me as if it was caused by the horse, not by her lack of skill.
rolf
 
kazzie
Posts: 1655
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 9:45 pm

Such a sad story  Sad

Its not your fault, its only one's fault if there aim was to kill the victim, In this case it was fate.. a cruel one at that... Just this of it this way, She died doing what she loved best..

Dont beat yourself up..., go out and talk to people... dont let her death be the death of you, would her or her family want that? I think not!

Take it easy
Bazinga punk.
 
piercey
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:36 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 30):
Still, I don't know if I'll go back and teach, what if I make a wrong decision with a student and get the same result?

If you let what ifs run your life, then your life will become a wreck. If you don't want to train again, fine, but don't stop doing it because of a what if.
Well I believe it all is coming to an end. Oh well, I guess we are gonna pretend.
 
NAV20
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:36 am

AR385, looks like you're already thinking things through.

I'd like to say a word about the father. Nothing like that ever happened to me, but I can sympathise, because my daughter was horse-mad from the age of three. Countless times I watched her jumping a horse or tearing off round cross-country courses at three-day events all over Australia. And occasionally saw her fall, and thanked God when I saw her stand up unharmed.

Thing is, it was everything to her. For a long time riding was her life. I couldn't have stopped her even if I'd wanted to; all I could do was make sure that she had the best instruction and the best equipment. My two sons were the same, they also loved sport, and all worthwhile sports can be dangerous.

We were lucky, everyone survived without any serious injuries. And I reckon that the kids grew up to be better people as a result of the challenges they faced.

My guess is that it wasn't the father's decision. It was HER decision. And she made it because she loved riding. And as you say yourself, it was a freak accident, a chance in a million - horses fall all the time jumping, and as you'll know, serious injuries are rare.

She looks to have been a great girl and obviously it's terribly painful for everyone concerned. But it was a pure accident, and you have nothing to reproach yourself for. Her father, poor man, will probably never forgive himself, but he only did what all parents have to do. Let the kids pursue their sporting interests, and just cross their fingers and hope that nothing bad happens.

I hope you'll find that, as in all things, time is a healer. And please don't be too hard on the father; the same thing could have happened to me, or any other father, any time while the kids were growing up.

[Edited 2006-07-16 17:37:01]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
halls120
Posts: 8724
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:51 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 1):
You gave an opinion that unfortunately proved correct. But I don't think short of shooting the horse you could have stopped this. I get the suspicion that your opinon was lost to the trainer, the father and most importantly the student. It wasn't the answer they wanted.

You aren't at fault, go have a beer and get a rest. It is a rough period but there wasn't anything you could have done to stop it. The decision wasn't in your hands, you could only offer opinion....it was up to the father and daughter to heed it....and they didn't.

Agree completely. Her tragic death wasn't your fault.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
flymatt2bermud
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:39 pm

I hope this isn't misunderstood, but what is so bad about giving your life for something you enjoy so much. I think I would much rather give it my all in death than just fade away in our after life.

My heart goes out to ya AR385. I can't see how the decision was ever yours.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward" Leonardo Da Vinci
 
bristolflyer
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:52 pm

Well done for going to the funeral. I'm sure the person who is carrying a massive feeling of guilt is her father - he would need a lot of support at this time.

Unfortunately accidents happen all the time and there's many people who blame themselves when things go wrong even if they didn't have anything to do with it.

You did the right thing and probably the only thing you could do. Have some happiness from knowing that she died what she enjoyed doing. Time will heal this wound.
Fortune favours the brave
 
NeilYYZ
Posts: 2443
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:02 pm

It's great that you went to the funeral, you had a connection with someone who unfortunately passed away in what is no doubt a terrible accident. I honestly believe that in time you would have regretted not going to the funeral. I know that you are more than qualified to be a horse instructor, however, a father will always try to push his children to greatness, unfortunately he didn't understand what you understand about horse jumping. It's probably natural for a father to want his child to succeed at what they're doing, and that might mean pushing them where they might not be quite ready to go. I understand your anger with the father, and yet, I sympathize with him, I'm sure he just wanted the best for his late daughter. And while you can take some degree of solace in knowing that you advised against it, he must live with the fact that his own daughter died in something that an expert recommended against. I've never been in your situation so I can't pretend to know how to fix it or even make it better, but know that it was through no action of yours, either direct or indirect that this happened, and that you did all that you could to warn the father of the risks.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 30):

Thankyou for that good advice, I am already seeing a psychiatrist, I'm not ashamed of it, It is helping much.

I was a lifeguard for about 3 years, I stopped when 2 people died on my watch in 6 months, both were from heart related conditions. The first person was a doctor, and I couldn't believe it. The city gave me and two other lifeguards that were working that day a psychiatrist to talk to, it helped a lot. The second person that died was young, and even though through the autopsy it was revealed that it was a heart condition that caused his death, I never fully trusted myself again when it came to life guarding, the psychiatrist helped a lot in that situation however I decided that I had had enough and left for a different job.
It may be too early to drink scotch... But it is NEVER too early to think about it...
 
carmenlu15
Posts: 4517
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2004 1:24 am

RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:16 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 30):

Dear God, you just left me... speechless.

Don't blame yourself for this, Martin; it wasn't your fault, you did all that was in your hands. I understand feelings must be strong... but don't let them overcome you.

I feel truly sorry for this tragedy, and I hope you (and her family) can find the peace of mind you need.

- Carmen
Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
 
AR385
Topic Author
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:01 pm

Quoting Rolfen (Reply 32):
Sounds to me as if it was caused by the horse, not by her lack of skill.

When a horse stops in front of a fence, we call it "a refusal", I mean, that would be the Spanish literal translation, I don't know it in English, maybe someone can tell me. Rolfen, when this happens, in 90% of the cases is the rider's fault. The horse is an animal. It feels stuff. It's not a motorcycle. A horse is trained to jump ALONG with a rider. But it needs the reassurance that the rider is doing everything correctly. Basically, you have to provide the confidence to the horse by not making anything it is not used to in front of a fence. Essentially, we can translate that as not making a mistake.

The most common reason for a refusal, is that the rider let's his "legs loose" again, Spanish literal translation, right in front of the fence. This happens because of lack of experience, lack of skill, lack of focus, lack of concentration or fear. It's ok to have fear when jumping, you would be stupid not to. What matters is what you do with it. If you let it get the best of you, then you are not ready. Again, the mindset. Your legs are the most important thing in this sport. You control the horse with your legs, the reins are there mainly to point the direction it has to go, but the legs make it go in that direction. You need great legs in this sport from your toe to your butt and I don't mean supermodel legs, I mean strong legs (great sport for developing nice, muscular calves and a great butt)

When you let your legs loose in front of a fence (and if you have experience you can actually see it from any distance) the horse assumes you are basically getting off. So, if you are getting off, it sure as heck won't jump because it "looses trust" Again, Spanish literal...in you. The moment you let your legs loose, the moment the horse will stop. And then, inertia takes over. You might fall or not, it depends on your speed, your leg strenght etc... well you know physics. If you fall, the horse will see you and in trying to avoid you, it will make a sudden move opposite to the side you are falling. This happens in milliseconds, of course. But, you will be thrown in literally a vector. The vector she got was towards the bars of the fence. You know the rest. What I'm saying is that she made a mistake, not the horse. She let her legs loose. She was simply not ready.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 35):
I'd like to say a word about the father. Nothing like that ever happened to me, but I can sympathise, because my daughter was horse-mad from the age of three. Countless times I watched her jumping a horse or tearing off round cross-country courses at three-day events all over Australia. And occasionally saw her fall, and thanked God when I saw her stand up unharmed.

Thing is, it was everything to her. For a long time riding was her life. I couldn't have stopped her even if I'd wanted to; all I could do was make sure that she had the best instruction and the best equipment. My two sons were the same, they also loved sport, and all worthwhile sports can be dangerous.

We were lucky, everyone survived without any serious injuries. And I reckon that the kids grew up to be better people as a result of the challenges they faced.

My guess is that it wasn't the father's decision. It was HER decision.

Please understand that I am not arguing with you. You are a father, of three children, I am not. Not even married. So you know more about it than I will ever know at this point. But I know that you are there to set limits. If she wants to go (and you know she will feel dissapointed and frustrated) if you don't let her go, but someone with experience is telling you she is not ready, it basically becomes a matter of luck and randomness how she will do in the competition. She got a bad, bad bargain. To be good, you need to be competitive, she will always want to go, but at some point you have to say no. Not yet. You will not let your child, for example, on his first year in his college football team, go and play in the NFL.

Your daughter must be very good, though, those three day events are the most important competition in this sport. Australia and New Zealand are well known for having great, competitive riders and great million-dollar horses.

Well, what's happened, happen. I am doing better, I am sleeping now. I'm not so mad at the father. I am still mad, but not so much. I think it will go away, then I'll go talk to him. As I said, I can't even imagine what he must be going through now. Anything I'm feeling, does not even compare to his pain, I know that.

Thank you all again, for your warmth, kind words and support. It really has helped me a lot

Can someone explain to me why she died? I mean, not in a spiritual way, I want to know what happened the moment she broke her neck. Isn't it just a fracture? if she had survived, would she just need to wear a neck-brace for a few weeks? Thanks again, I feel I'm abusing your support, but I want to know.
 
QFA380
Posts: 2013
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 4:38 pm

RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:34 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 41):
Can someone explain to me why she died? I mean, not in a spiritual way, I want to know what happened the moment she broke her neck. Isn't it just a fracture? if she had survived, would she just need to wear a neck-brace for a few weeks? Thanks again, I feel I'm abusing your support, but I want to know.

I'm no expert but I will try to answer some of your questions as best as I can. I think that she must have just snapped a vital bone in her neck maybe nerves or something, again I'm no medical expert but from what I can think of maybe her brain had been put through too much stress in that fraction of a second
when the neck broke.

Just a little story. 2 years ago my school principle was in a ultra-light crash. He was in a very sharp turn after an engine failure and the wing clipped a fence, and the plane just followed the wing. He his left shoulder ripped out and broke 2 bones just below his neck. He was in a coma for a week, in hospital for 4 months. He told a small group of kids my age this story about 4 weeks ago. He said for nearly a year he lived off morphine, he said the pain was so great he had trouble thinking relatively complex thoughts. He had to wear a neck brace for not just a few weeks but 7 months. About once a week his wife had to take off the brace and wash his neck. The doctor said if he moved his neck about 1/2 a cm, he would be dead instantly.

Somehow, I think if that had of happened he would have died much the same way your friend died.

In my extremely honest opinion, I would have preferred to die than have to endure that, just think for a second, your friend would be in excruciating pain for a long time if she hadn't of died.

Also, I see this in no way as an abuse of support, I think I speak for everyone who has posted in this thread, we are trying to support you in whatever small way we can, and if this helps well then, we will help.

AR385, I hardly know you but through what you have posted here, you seem to be an amazing person and that girl was lucky to have known you during her unfortunately short life, so I am adding you to my RU list.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 41):
Well, what's happened, happen. I am doing better, I am sleeping now. I'm not so mad at the father. I am still mad, but not so much. I think it will go away, then I'll go talk to him

This is excellent news and sure brings a smile to my face, hearing that you are getting better after witnessing such a tragic thing.

Best of luck to your full recovery as well.
 
oli80
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:18 am

RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:59 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 30):
Thankyou for that good advice, I am already seeing a psychiatrist, I'm not ashamed of it, It is helping much

I am glad you are able to talk about it, it really does help. Emotions as strong as these should not be locked up, they will only do more damage to you.
 
AR385
Topic Author
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:01 am

Quoting QFA380 (Reply 42):
AR385, I hardly know you but through what you have posted here, you seem to be an amazing person and that girl was lucky to have known you during her unfortunately short life, so I am adding you to my RU list.

Thanks a lot. It is nice to hear this things right now. I plan to return to my duties with horses in two weeks, after I finished getting over this. I know it will take more than that, but if I don't go back soon, I may never go back. Thank you very much
 
AR385
Topic Author
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:47 pm

Today I went for a mass in memoriam of my student and my friend. I thought I would not be able to go, but in the end I decided it would help me, similarly as going to the funeral. It did help, hearing comforting words from the priest and again being surrounded by people who are as much in pain as I am.

At the end I went to give my condolences to the family. They are completely, totally devastated. I did not talk to the father, though. I still have issues but they will go away. Once they do, I suspect that talking to the father might help me getting more closure on this matter. Maybe it will help him too. Tonight, at the mass, I suspected he wanted to talk to me, because he sort of indicated so. However, I still cannot do that. I'm afraid I might say something inappropiate out of my personal anger and I will exacerbate his pain. In time, I will go and talk to him.

I have realized that not doing so is kind of selfish. He has to talk to me. It's not about me wanting to talk to him anymore. Now I know that if anyone will get anything positive out of such conversation, it will be him more than me. I just can't do it still. But I'm getting there.

Again, thanks for your advice and support. I feel like I am using this thread as my own diary. I'm sorry for that, but it helps writing these things out. I also think that there are some lessons here, and maybe someone will benefit from reading the whole thread. If that is the case and it makes other people understand guilt, grief, or to actually listen to others that may not agree with you, I do think I am making a good contribution. I suspect she would have wanted it that way.

Thanks again.
 
ScarletHarlot
Posts: 4251
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RE: Senseless Death, Is It My Fault?

Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:41 am

Hang in there. If you are not ready to talk to her father, respect this - you do not want to make things worse for him or for you. When you are ready, you will talk to him.

Quoting Ar385 (Reply 45):
I'm sorry for that, but it helps writing these things out.

Don't apologize. Write whatever you need to. The people in this thread are all sending you our best wishes.
But that was when I ruled the world

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