As a foxhunter, it’s the thrill of the chase that is so beguiling. Sometimes, though, the thrill of the chase turns into a sudden fall to the ground. And, as the Irishman said, “the grace of God is found betwixt the saddle and the ground.” No matter how well we ride and how much we love riding, we have all found that grace because horseback riding is an inherently dangerous activity.
Fortunately, the top hat, derby, and hunt cap have largely been replaced by helmets making protective headgear commonplace in a sport that sometimes promotes tradition over safety. As foxhunters, we can give ourselves a pat on the back as the addition of helmets has undoubtedly prevented a plethora of head injuries in a sport that results in several thousand injuries a year.
As we continue to evolve into safer and more educated horsepeople, we must continue to pursue new avenues of safety. Consider this: This past season, a new hunt member had an untimely fall and was knocked unconscious. A car follower was promptly on the scene to call for an ambulance but no one knew how to reach her family. What was her husband’s name? Where did he work? Did anyone know his cell phone number? How were we going to let him know that his wife was on the way to the hospital? After some time and some creative thinking, a senior hunt member used her iPhone to connect with Facebook to send an online message to the woman’s son with the hope that he would see the message. This resourceful chain of communication did eventually work, but it took a miracle of an idea and the message was received long after the poor woman arrived at the hospital.
That unfortunate incident illustrates the need for some form of identification to be carried by riders in the field, a need acknowledged at the MFHA Staff Seminar in Virginia this past April by seminar presenters who were experts in emergency medical response. The need to carry proper identification was urged as well as proper placement. Slips of paper placed inside helmets, inside jacket pockets and other places create difficulties because often injuries require that individuals remain still. The sport of eventing recognizes the need for identification but requires participates to carry such information in plastic packets on the sleeve, definitely not something that conforms to the traditions of mounted foxhunting.
Enter a brand new product made specifically for horsemen and wild adventurers like ourselves. Called a Guerrilla Tag, these ID bracelets contain all the information needed in the event of an emergency. Each bracelet contains your name, emergency contact phone numbers, medical allergies and even preexisting medical conditions. By wearing this key information on a fashionable leather cuff, anyone can tell in an instant who you are, who they should call and how to treat you in the event of an accident. Guerrilla Tags ID Systems are worn by world class athletes in all types of sports including horseback riding, mountaineering, running, triathlon, skiing and even by Search and Rescue teams in the Colorado Rockies.
In the instance of our new hunt member, we could have called her husband from the scene, told him about the accident, about his wife’s injuries and exactly which hospital the ambulance was taking her. He could have met her at the emergency room had he known sooner.
Riding horses may be one of our favorite pastimes but let us not be ignorant to the dangers that exist and remember that injuries do happen from time to time. We’ve adopted helmets as a part of our everyday equipment, and now have the opportunity to round out our safety systems with a functional form of ID that could save your life and the lives of those around us.
Next time you find yourself helping a fallen comrade in the event of an accident or fall, you’ll be glad the person you are rescuing was wearing a Guerrilla Tag. For more information and to order a stylish ID System for you, follow your internet browser to www.g-tags.com and feel free to use coupon code Fox12 for 20% off.
Mary Ewing is an attorney and MFH, The Arapahoe Hunt.