By Tony Cagala
It was something Susan Freemire and her horse Oreo did often together, going for a ride on the equestrian track.
Both were calm and the day was pleasant, and then something spooked the horse. Freemire was thrown. She was, for the most part, OK. She was wearing her helmet.
“I know I did a face plant,” Freemire said. “If I hadn’t had a helmet on it would have just been a straight head-on hit to the head.”
Freemire, a registered nurse, has ridden horses for seven years and always wears a helmet when she rides.
The accident happened Sunday, March 27 during a leisurely walk around the pond on the equestrian track at the International Equestrian Center when something gave Oreo a fright.
“She just wanted out of there,” Freemire said.
Freemire tried to regain control of Oreo a number of times and, just as she thought things were under control, Oreo began to buck, propelling Freemire forward and off to the right of the horse landing on the sandy track below. Oreo took off running in the opposite direction and was stopped by other riders in the area. Freemire broke her wrist and had multiple abrasions to her face.
“Horses have an inbred, life-preserving instinct and when they’re threatened all they can think about it getting away from the threat. It’s very normal for a horse...I don’t know, but I’m thinking maybe something bit her because the spook was so severe and she didn’t come down from it right away,” Freemire said.
Her husband Will thinks that it might have been a snake that bit Oreo, who is being looked after by some of Freemire’s friends. Susan hasn’t visited with Oreo since the accident.
Oreo, a quarter horse, is registered as a paint. She got her name because of her black and white coloring.
“I think that a person should wear a helmet for two reasons: One to protect themselves from catastrophic injury and, two, to prevent a catastrophic injury affecting a family,” she said.
Carrying a cell phone is paramount, she said. “Before anybody knew what happened...I was pulling my cell phone out of my left pocket and I called my husband right away.”
“The minute she called I got in my car and drove down there,” Will said. “There were people already giving me directions on where she was and I drove right up on the track.”
She remained lying on the ground until paramedics arrived and was taken to Palomar Medical Center for treatment.
“You find out how much people care about you when something like this happens. It’s refreshing,” she said. Freemire wanted to thank everybody for helping her during a bad time. “I just appreciate all of them.”