Life can change in an instant…

Maybe you don't know this about me, but I'm mad into horses. I started riding just two years ago at the ripe old age of 44, and I can't see anything but manes, tails and saddles anymore. Every free moment I have is pretty much spent at the barn with my half-blood arab/draft horse, Organdy.

Now, my husband, on the other hand, is not mad into horses. He puts up with them for my and my daughter's sake. He comes to her competitions, watches some of my lessons, video tapes things when asked, and so on. He never complains about the time we spend with our furry friends, and he even volunteers to shine boots when they get too dusty.

But one day earlier this year he announced his plans to join us in our horse-mad world and decided he was going to start taking lessons. I joined him, even though I've moved up in levels and he's just starting out. We rode Thursday evenings together in the little riding ring reserved for beginners.

In his very first lesson, our instructor asked him to canter the horse. That's not normal for beginners, but my husband was doing so well and is a fearless kind of guy, so what the hell. He did it. And he did well enough at it that our instructor had him do it in our second and third lessons too.

It's that third lesson that will go down in history as the very worst day in my married life.

It was the last minute of the lesson. Craig, my husband of 12 years and love for 16 years, was coming around the bend in the riding ring when he started to lose his balance in the saddle. The saddle slipped. He started yelling in fear. It spooked my gentle, sweet horse into running faster. The centrifugal force was too much for all the variables in that equation and my husband went down.

Now, had he gone down at any other spot in that riding ring, he would have been fine. He would have landed in soft sand and maybe along a flexible tape that marks the edges of the ring. But he didn't fall in any of those other places; he fell against the two wood bars that mark the entrance to the riding area, that are affixed by metal brackets to solid posts buried in the ground. His body slammed into them with absolutely nothing breaking that fall.

My husband suffered injuries very much like those suffered by people thrown from motorcycles. He broke his pelvis and an artery in his abdomen started to bleed. He couldn't stand or walk after.

We somehow managed to put him into my car, rather than an ambulance, because all of us present, including Craig, thought he probably just pulled a groin muscle and strained his back. That's what it felt like to him, and people have fallen off horses a hundred times there without so much as a limp after.

We went home and my husband tried to tough it out, but within a couple of hours,we knew this was no muscle pull or back strain. I brought him to the hospital and stood in the MRI booth while the scan went over his body and revealed how badly he was injured.

Craig is in the hospital now, and they cannot figure out where he's bleeding from. He can't move from his back, he can't sit up, he can't stand, he can't walk. Their first priority is to find that bleeding and make it stop. After that, we'll talk about him going into rehab to walk again.

My husband has only left my side in 16 years to visit family. Never have I ever been in a position where I couldn't call my husband in an emergency and say, “Please come home. I need you.” I'm there now, and let me tell you, it sucks. It's the worst feeling I've ever had. I don't like it one bit, and I hate the fact that I have no control over it. No matter how hard I work, no matter how much I beg, no matter what deal I'm willing to make, it won't change. He's hurt and he needs time to get better, and until that happens, we will be apart.

I tell you this for two reasons: (1) I want you to go to the people you love right now and tell them how much you appreciate having them in your life, because you never know when they won't be; and (2) I know a lot of my faithful readers are expecting a few books from me over the next couple months, and now that I'm going to be spending a lot of time at the hospital and at home picking up all the loose ends my husband regularly manages, those book releases will be delayed.

My publishing schedule will be updated very soon to reflect my new reality, and I want to thank you right here first for being so understanding, as I know you will be. You always are, and I'm so very lucky to have each of you in my life. Bear with me, and I promise, I will get those books to you as soon as possible!

Much love, and please be safe out there when you try your new hobbies. Remember: You must walk before you can run!


51 comments on “Life can change in an instant…

  1. Elle, I’m so sad you are having to go through this! You are right, in the blink of an eye, life can change. I am sending positive thoughts to you and your family, particularly your dear hubby! Family comes first! Thank you for sharing your stories and your life with us! I support you!

  2. Books can wait! Your husband can’t! Love you and praying for you and your husband! If I lived closer I would be helping as much as possible! Keep your spirits up! This too shall pass!

  3. Elle,
    Our love and prayers are with you. Nothing is more important than your family. Your readers love you and wish you all the best.
    Love always,

  4. Elle I am so sorry to hear this. Yes life can change in the blink of an eye. I have experienced this and k ow what you are going through. Just know that we all wish the best for a speedy recovery and we are all sending you and your family lots of prayers. In love and light, Chris

  5. Elle, sending healing and peace energy your way. I am so sorry you have to deal with something like this. Hope your husband has a good and speedy recovery and yes, family first always.

  6. I’m so sorry, Elle. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband during his journey of healing. I am a huge fan of yours so it is with complete understanding that things will be different for a while because family comes first. Take the time you need because your fans will be here for you now and always. ((hugs))

  7. Now instead of looking forward to your new book releases we will all be looking forward to updates on how well your husband is doing. Our thoughts and wishes are with you and your family and for a speedy 100% recovery for your husband.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear this, Elle. Sending up prayers for your husband’s speedy recovery and strength for you to get through this. Many hugs and good wishes!

  9. I believe in the power of prayer and I will pray for your husband’s recovery. I will also pray for God to give you strength to handle this difficult time.

  10. Oh Elle, I am SO very sorry. Just about a month ago you responded to me after I told you how I had lost both my husband and son to cancer in the last nine years. But the good thing for you is, your husband will get better. It will be hard for all of you, and there will be times when it seems overwhelming. And he will get frustrated and angry, and so will you, trust me, I’ve lived through it. But like all the women you write about (Jayne, Candi, Cass, Sarah, etc.) you have the guts, determination and love to help him make it through.No one who creates those kind of characters could ever fall short. I sincerely believe that. After everything I’ve lost, I am still an eternal optimist. I believe in you. Your friend and admirer, Angie.

    • Angie, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so sad that you didn’t get your men back. My heart breaks for you. I’m only getting a scare here, whereas you got the worst of it all. I think you can never truly appreciate someone until you don’t have them anymore. You can love them and cherish them, but to really feel what it’s like to lose them, you have to lose them, and that’s a shame. We’ll make it through, and we’ll do it as best we can with the amazing support we’re getting from family, friends, and fans. I can’t believe how lucky I am to know people like you through my work. xoxo Kisses xoxo Elle

  11. Elle, I’m so sorry for what has happened to your husband. I know how upsetting it is to have a loved one injured. I also am horse mad and I’ve taken falls similar to your husbands. As you said where you fall makes all the difference. I’ll keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. Sending healing hugs to you & your family.
    I hope your husbands recovery is quick & he suffers no permanent injuries.
    Take care xxx

  13. Thank you for sharing this very personal story from your life in order to benefit the lives of others. Sending positive and healing thoughts to you and your family from Utah.

  14. Elle,

    I am so terribly sorry that you and your husband are going through this. I don’t think any of your fans are going to be angry if you don’t release any books for a while. We not only love your books, we love YOU! I will be thinking of you both often, and if there’s anything I DO know about you, you’re tough and stubborn and your determination alone will do wonders for his recovery!

  15. You have already read my post on this in another site so I’m just reinforcing what I said there to here.
    Another bucketful of love and care to you…x x

  16. I am so sorry to hear about your husband, and so glad you realized he needed to go to the hospital in time. The post was great, we all need a reminder now and then to show our appreciation and love to our family and friends. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
    I am a horse lover as well, and know how quickly an accident can happen with the horses. I had plenty of bruises and scrapes from my 1/2 Arabian 1/2 Quarterhorse. I miss the horses and hope someday I can afford to have them again.
    Don’t worry about the books, just take care of your husband. Your loyal fans will wait and appreciate you even more when you are able to find time to write. I hope your husband heals quickly and things progress smoothly for you both. Signed another loyal fan, Cari

    • Thank you Cari. Some people question why people our age would start riding horses, but then when that happens, I know they don’t ride. There’s just something about them that draws us, even though they can be dangerous or put you in dangerous situations. In this case, it was not the horse’s doing at all … just a bad set of circumstances all coming together at precisely the wrong moment. Thanks for your support! xoxo Elle

  17. Elle,

    I’m so sorry about your husband – a truly horrifying situation for you and your family. I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

    I’m so furious right now at your riding instructor. I know horses are unpredictable, I know accidents can happen with even the most seasoned riders. but it seems like maybe the best care was not taken in this situation. I’ve been riding for the past forty years and teaching for thirty years and no matter how wonderful the student, would never let them canter during the first lesson. In fact, the first several lessons would all take place at a walk on a lead-line and then gradually upgrading to a lunge line before going free.

    Also, did the instructor not inspect the tack at the beginning of the ride? There is absolutely no reason for the saddle to slip unless it was not fitted properly or the girth was not adjusted correctly.

    I know that pointing these things out after the fact does absolutely nothing to help your husband right now, but my concern is for you and your daughter who will presumedly continue to ride there. I’m sorry if this is causing your further upset, that is certainly not my intention, but I’m just so incredibly sad for you. As someone new to the horse world, I just want to make sure you are getting the best care and instruction possible and I want you to be safe.

    I will send you all the best healing thoughts I can and look forward to reading updates on your husband’s recovery.


    Marion Myles

    • Marion,
      Thanks for your kind note and your thoughts about the riding lessons. Of course now that it’s all done, I say that it was too soon for my husband to be doing what he did, but at the time it seemed okay. It was a controlled situation in a small area and he was really enjoying it. The cinch was checked just prior to his start at this part of the lesson, so it wasn’t an equipment issue. It’s just that my husband is a really big guy and when he grabbed hold of that saddle and fell to the side, the saddle had no choice but to go a little with him. I had the back doc out for my horse to do some work on her because I was sure she had to have felt that saddle moved across her withers. It was just plain bad luck that he fell where he did; had he fallen anywhere else but that 1 meter spot where he did, he would have landed in a soft spot. I’m happy to say that they have now replaced the two wood bars that marked the entrance to the riding ring with foam ones, so if anyone were to fall there again, they would land on foam and not wood! Many hugs to you for your support and for sharing your experience with me. xoxo Elle

  18. Pingback: Onward and Upward! | Elle Casey, Novelist

  19. Wow, what a powerful post! I’m so sorry your husband was injured so badly, I hope he has a full recovery! Thank you for sharing.

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