For the Love of Trail Riding
(First appeared in The
Equiery May 2011)
Seventeen years ago, Kathy Bowie of Westminster found her life turned
upside down when she fractured her ankle in seven places. After months
of treatment, recovery and therapy, Kathy still found herself walking
with the aid of a cane or brace. In 2006, Kathy said the
pain was just too much to bear. “I had always been a people person,
but this pain was life-changing. I was now confined to my recliner,”
After consulting one of the top ankle and foot surgeons in the world,
who happened to practice out of Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, Kathy made
the somewhat radical choice to have her leg amputated below the knee.
“There have been so many advancements in prosthetics that I put
one plus one to equal two, and there really was no question. I know
that sounds so radical but with the science of prosthesis, I would be
able to do everything I did before my accident,” she said. And
“everything” included getting back on a horse, which Kathy
did, just ten weeks after surgery.
“I had to relearn some balance and make stirrups so that my foot
couldn’t slide through,” she commented. Now, on the eve
of her 60th birthday, Kathy has no regrets and is living life as if
nothing ever happened. Except for one key change. Besides trail riding
all over the country, participating in endurance and judged pleasure
rides, and even barrel racing, Kathy finds the time and the drive to
help others in similar situations.
“Any traumatic experience makes people think their entire lives
have stopped. I try and convince them to just push forward and get on
with their lives. Don’t waste your life sitting on your sofa!”
she said. Kathy has stepped out to help various people one-on-one to
get back on horses after what some would consider life-stopping injuries.
Most recently, Kathy is organizing a trail ride (April 23) at Codorus
State Park in Pennsylvania to benefit St. Jude’s Medical Center.
Kathy chose St. Jude’s because of its work with children. She
is very impressed with how much of its funds go directly to the family
members to help them with various expenses during treatments. Although
she did contact several parks here in Maryland, Codorus became her top
pick because of how simple the trails are and since there is plenty
of room for trailer parking. “I wanted a location that was super
easy. I want anyone to be able to come out and
ride no matter what the skill level. My goal is to have everyone come
back on their horses!” she laughed.
©The Equiery 2011