(Winnie in her prime with her owner/rider)
Some days the hunt just went wild and this was one of those days when you couldn't help but wish every day was this good. The hounds were running, the horses were galloping through the fields, it wasn't bitter cold yet. It was nirvana.
I'm not sure what happened next but I looked up and saw a horse go one way and the rider go the other way. The sound of her hitting ground like a "spat" will never escape me. Mary Ellen came off very hard and lay motionless. She was a large woman, an experienced rider and it all happened so fast. No one else saw the motionless woman laying on the ground in a heap.
Luckily, my SO was not too far away, and like the day Jimmy was taken out, he was called on to lead the medical corps. He rode back to where Mary Ellen was on the ground and Winnie and I took off to the nearest house, not far away, and the owner was a good friend. The Medvac was called and I timed it, eight minutes to arrive. Who says air travel is inefficient? That day it was spot on.
Things weren't looking good that day for Mary Ellen. She was bleeding from her ear and was having difficulty breathing but she did not seem to be paralyzed. Thank goodness! The good news is that Mary Ellen recovered from her badly broken back and she was able to ride again eventually. Her mother appeared at our door a few weeks later with a large bouquet of flowers, a huge smile on her face, thanking us for helping her daughter. We were very worried about her that day, extremely worried is more accurate, but someone was looking over her that October day in Maryland. It was the last time I hunted Winnie, the last time I went out with our beloved hunt and the last time I saw Mary Ellen ride. Mary Ellen rode again, Winnie found a "forever" home in California and the hunting gods took care of all of us that day.