It only takes an instant for a career threatening or life threatening injury to occur, but the road to rehabilitation can be long with many ups and downs along the way. And when our 1200 lb equine partners get hurt, we don’t think twice about giving them everything they need to recover: time off, treatment, and lots of assurance they are still loved. However, we don’t always take the time to do this for ourselves: we continue our daily routine, put off treatment hoping for everything to work itself out, and often w/out leaning on others so as not to worry them. And just like with horses, when we take this path, we may never get back in the saddle to continue our passion!
But enough chit chat!! If you are reading this, the odds are your experience in the (dressage) saddle has been impacted by Tracey Lert. Over the course of 30+ years, Tracey has become a lauded dressage rider, judge, trainer, clinician, and beloved friend, making us and our horses better partners in every way possible. These 30+ years also included the usual wear and tear, along with multiple head injuries. However, she had been told that the effect of head injuries were cumulative and to be very careful. In February 2017, Tracey received one horse related severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and nine days later received another moderate to severe TBI falling while walking her dog. These two head injuries back to back proved to be the injuries the doctors had been warning her could happen with multiple head hits. Since February, she has been under a neurologists care and has been undergoing treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber several times a week, which is slowly helping. She took about 10 days off in March but then felt she had to get back to work. This proved to be a poor decision. Her doctor was still encouraging more time off. As time has progressed other issues have shown up on diagnostic tests and the doctor now insists that Tracey takes at least six weeks off, and possibly more from teaching and driving long distances. The focus and cognitive effort of teaching and driving aggravate the post concussion symptoms the most. Some of these symptoms are very painful headaches, vision issues, balance issues, and nausea. Post concussion symptoms can include more than that, but those are common symptoms.
As we know, time off from work does not mean time off from bills, and horse trainers only make a living when they are fully functioning. Tracey has been drawing from her retirement/savings to help pay bills. This fund has been set up to ensure she can take the time she needs to rehabilitate properly. The money will primarily be used to help Tracey with the ever present bills that owning two horses bring with them: board, shoes, vet bills, etc.
P.S. Please check back often!! We will be updating this page regularly with Tracey’s journey to recovery. Watch the beauty of Tracey with her beloved Udo at Del Mar just over one year ago here !
- Candace Turtle
- Carolyn Johnson
- Alli Greening
Organizer and beneficiary
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