Freak accident, broken femur

Last week, I had a freak accident involving one of my horses. I went out in the dark, like I do every night, to give him his evening feed. Despite calling him from nearby, he spooked, bolted, and slammed into me, knocking me to the ground. My femur broke in three places. I’m home from the hospital and doing okay after surgery. I have a plate and screws holding everything together.

Can anyone share their experience with a similar injury? I do heal quickly, but the surgeon said it would be a two weeks before I could do major weight-bearing and two months for real activity. It will take a year to heal completely. This is a similar timeline for an ankle break I suffered a few years ago, but with that injury I was walking and riding much sooner than expected. My surgeon was shocked. I just said, “you don’t know horse people.” :rofl:

Also, any advice you can share?

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No advice, just well wishes. Ouch. + I will be a bit more careful calling my dark color horses at night.

Thanks, but ouch. I have been very careful in my 50+ years with horses. How do you know my horse is a dark color?

Same injury- femur in 3 pcs. at head near Knee, same horse scenario except in daylight, early morning turnout, high nosiy wind, cold cold morning and young horse gallops up behind me and swoosh- my glasses flew 35 feet away, and I had beautiful big bruises on my thigh in hoof shapes. Plus broken collarbone.
The timeline for healing sounds right except for the weightbearing- for me was totally different.
I declined surgery so no pins or screws. So graduated weightbearing took much longer for me.
Healing is a process that you take a day at a time. It will get better.
So sorry for your injury.

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Thanks, Marla_100! What a story you have. Things can change in an instant. I talked to someone from the surgeon’s office today and she gave me good advice that contradicted one of of the PTs at the hospital. I feel better knowing that I don’t have to push myself to the point of being in pain. She told me I need to be extra, extra careful.

Now there is no casting or splints with most broken bones. Why did you not get pins or screws?

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I’m sorry! I have not had that actual injury, but I have been kicked in the thigh by a large draft horse at the worst range, last December…it is now mid-March, it is still sore and has a prominent black mark in the thigh. I got lucky (I also don’t have health insurance, so I didn’t actually get it checked, my husband is deeply suspicious that there were at least micro fractures, I was hopping for some time)
But my lay in all of that is…Time, more Time. My injury was far less than yours and it is still evident. But also, from experience with other injuries, pay attention to making sure you remain flexible in the ankle. You may not be able to have weight bearing on the leg, but what you should do is keep the foot and ankle flexible, wiggle that ankle! Also watch out for compensatory issues on the other leg. Just like horses!

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Thanks, B_and_B. It’s painful to read you have not gone to a doctor because of no insurance. It shouldn’t happen in this country. (Assuming you are in the U.S.) If you are still sore, something is going on in there.
Is there a free clinic or someplace else you could get an x-ray?

Thanks for the advice. Fortunately, my ankle is really flexible and I’m doing legs bends and lifts.

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I am in the US. I won’t get into health insurance debates here…aside from noting wistfully that I wish the ‘catastrophic’ coverage still existed. I’m self employed. I technically have health insurance, but it costs me close to my rent each month with a deductible over 10,000…so I don’t count it as existing…so I mislead in my previous post. I’m sorry. Don’t feel bad for me! If I had to go the ER I would have, but I operate on the ‘I can drag myself out of bed, I’m fine’ theory. Always have.
But, my real thing is that it always takes time and meanwhile making sure the rest of your body is not being twisted out of shape is the most important thing. That old ditty about the ‘ankle bone is connected to the knee bone is connected to the hip bone’ has a lot of truth in it.


Hi, I was actually thinking of my two (black mini and very dark bay 16 hand friend) who have no white and a tendency to come in at a dead run when called for dinner after dark, I didn’t know that your horse was also dark colored. I bought them reflective collars last fall which will go back on once they move out of the dry lot for the summer after they scared me half to death with their blind enthusiasm. Get well soon.


I don’t have any similar experience, but I’ve sure managed to destroy myself with soft tissue injuries (some that never heal). You have my sympathy, and jingles for fast and thorough healing.



Thanks. The perp (pony who hit me) is chestnut. He is so careful, it must have been the really dark night.

Yikes! I do feel for as I have broken my femur with my first idiot horse. Horse reared and fell on my right leg breaking it high by my hip joint. Life flight and instant surgery. I wouldn’t pass a PPE with my titanium running the length of femur.
Dr said I would walk in 6 months, ride in a year. I couldn’t accept that as I was not able to get back on the idiot. I did serious PT and was walking in 3 months and riding in 6. My former trainer helped me walk to steady my gait so now I don’t even limp. Even when I’m sore.
My advice? Do what your body tells you to do. If you feel good, start moving around and adding weight. Stationary bike helped with flexibility. So all the PT to rebuild muscle and sheer tenacity will get you through.
After I started riding again, I did so much no stirrup work to build back what I lost. I came out the other end much better.
Best of luck! I do hope you get yourself on the way to recovery.


Thanks, KDW. Great advice! I came back from an ankle break really fast and was riding pretty quickly so I thought this would be the same. I think I’m wrong.

I got kicked in the femur last November, too. The pain felt like it was broken at first, but I could bear weight, so I was pretty sure it was not. Got in bed with ice, ibuprofin, Arnica gel and CBD gel. First day I slathered on the Arnica liberally as a huge hematoma was forming. As the heat/swelling went down, I added in the CBD cream. Even I was amazed at how quickly I recovered. I was walking well in two days, and the bruising was gone in a week, save for one small spot where the kick opened up a wound about 1" X 1/8" deep. I cleaned that, filled it with triple antibiotic and bandaged it, and it healed nicely without stiches, although there’s a dark mark there now.

I don’t want to imply that I am adverse to medical treatment, quite the opposite. But I assessed the situation, and with COVID in full swing I felt it best to avoid the hospital if I didn’t need it. Any sign of infection or other issues and I would have been at the ER. But I thought I’d share how helpful the Arnica and CBD cream were for me in my situation.

Best wishes for speeding healing, @sparkygrace!

While I haven’t broken my femur, I have dealt with foot breaks/surgeries, and a massive shoulder/humerus fracture and two injuries to my left knee. Are you weight bearing now? The timeline given for return to normal activities by orthopedic surgeons is very conservative, and is often based on our age/gender and assumed activity levels. My foot ortho was very different once I explained riding to him.

My suggestion is: listen to your PT (I am assuming you’ll have physical therapy at some point, if not, then listen to your body as you increase your weight bearing activity). PTs are all about getting us moving again in as normal a fashion as possible. Do not push into the pain zone thinking you can recover faster. Most fractures are healed at 8 weeks, which is generally when weight bearing is fully acceptable. Then the work of rebuilding the muscle and endurance in that limb begins. You’ll be weaker on that side, so be cautious when you walk around, especially on uneven ground. Wear sturdy shoes. Take your time. Falls don’t help!
As to return to riding, with a femoral break, you are looking at a different set of issues than say a knee, foot or ankle-- those carry so much force/bending. Again, your body will let you know pretty fast if you are ready. I’d guess you are 3 months from surgery to saddle, optimistically. Good luck, heal well, and stay safe!

Thank you, Calvincrowe! All good advice. I do have a PT and will start in about a week. The surgeon wants me weight-bearing in six weeks after surgery, but I’ll see how I feel regarding pain. I am slightly weight-bearing right now, three weeks after surgery. I am being super cautious because I want to heal correctly. I can do lots of stretches while on my back or in my chair. Luckily, I am fairly fit, so doing stomach crunches and leg lifts will help.

I did ask the surgeon about riding and he said it was up to me depending on how I felt. He thought I could try 12 weeks after surgery. The challenge will be flexing my knee well enough to mount.

Patience is NOT my virtue, so time will tell how things go. Fortunately, my horse is with my trainer and he is doing great. He will have his first show with her in three weeks. That’s exciting even though I’m not riding.

Thanks again for your support!

Don’t feel bad - I work on that philosophy even when I have good insurance. Makes my SO crazy who goes to to doctor for anything and everything.

Have you checked on a catastrophic policy recently? I can get one for about $75 a month with a $10k deductible. So long as you don’t have a pre-existing condition - it could at least provide a bit of a safety net. I’m self-employed as well, which makes insurance insanely expensive.

ETA - OP - I’m another of the ones who managed to get kicked full on in the femur and not break the bone - but apparently you can take a sledge hammer to my bones and not preak anything. I still have a bit of a ridge 20 years later from the calcification of the bruise.