Wearing a helmet when you ride your horse? I am writing again to remind you to please put one on every ride!
There was a photo in the paper on Feb. 28 about a fallen rider. I receive my Sentinel on Thursdays and I honestly did not pay much attention to that particular photo. It was brief and small and didn’t catch my attention.
That Thursday night as I sat at the computer writing and helping my daughter with her homework, the phone rang. It was a very dear friend asking if I knew anything about a rider being airlifted last Saturday (Feb. 23). I had no idea as I was out of town, but I did recall the week before my neighbor calling to check on me due to a fallen rider and emergency crews being called just up my street. Accidents happen, but I had no idea what my friend was about to divulge.
As my friend spoke, the horror was clear in his voice. “I swear, I never want to see anything like that again, Karen. I got their horses to my house and was stunned speechless. I have no idea who these people were but she was so badly injured and as the Life Flight copter landed in my field all I could do was hope and pray for her. I handed my truck keys to some guy that was with her so he could get to the hospital. She was really hurt and I don’t know how she is. I am very concerned, Karen. Can you find out for me, please?” (Yes, the truck came back safely.)
As I listened to the words of my shaken friend, I began searching for information. I scanned through the news websites. I posted a message on Facebook and got immediate replies. My heart broke as I read those replies.
“My very dear friend Kristin had a bad accident and is in the hospital. She has multiple head fractures.”
I asked, “Kristin who?”
“Kristin Heinecke had a bad horse accident Saturday. Around 2:15 Sunday she had surgery for multiple fractures to her head.”
“Kristin Heineke. She is one of the sweetest people ever. Joe is with her. We don’t know much yet.”
“Kristin had an accident on Saturday. She wasn’t wearing a helmet. We are so worried.”
I could hardly breathe as I read the replies. I don’t know Kristin, but people I know do and they obviously love her, so I thought of how I could help. I offered to do whatever was needed. Feed horses, get hay, do housework, anything to lighten the load for these people. This was my immediate response.
Of course, writing to all of you, letting you know of this tragic event and reminding each of you to wear a helmet, every ride, was something I have done in the past and have chosen to do once again in light of Kristin’s accident. Kristin was not wearing a helmet. Something happened and she has ended up in the ICU.
I am also calling out for help for Kristin and her family. I learned about Kristin and her loved ones in a very short time. Kristin is well-liked and much loved by those who know her. She is critical but stable condition at this time. Without getting into details regarding her condition, Kristin and her family need the help of our community.
Elston Hay & Grain has offered to help. Thank you, Wayne and Teresa! Living in Ramona, Kristin and Joe have the animals that go with the lifestyle in Ramona, so hay and feed are needed and will be needed for time to come. Kristin’s family is working on setting up an account to accept donations on her behalf. Friends and family are planning fundraisers.
A friend of both Kristin and me wrote, “One day you go for a horseback ride with the love of your life, you fall off, you struggle for life.” Heartbreaking. More details will come as the account for donations is set up. If you have any way to support this much loved equestrienne, please, please do.
Although I don’t know you, Kristin, I am here. Ramona is here. Heal and come home.