It really amazes me how even though I haven't talked to this gal in forever, she is just like I remember plus a little more! She is a sweet, down to earth, heart-filled woman of God. When I first wrote her about doing a Brave Story, it was as if we'd talked a couple weeks ago. Although I have known Haley only for a short bit when I did an internship at a reigning horse trainer's down in Elbert, I do remember a lot of characteristics about Haley. This girl definitely has a bubbly personality! If you know Haley, you know she carries the light within her and always has a smile on her face. When I worked alongside her at the barn I always remember her sense of humor, her contagious laugh, and determined attitude and influence that she had on me. There was one time in particular that I remember taking hold of the words that Haley had spoke to me about a relationship that I was in. Also, I remember when Haley and Stacie ( the owner of the barn ) stood outside underneath some funnel clouds praying for them to go away. The power in their prayers that day really ministered to me, as I was a newbie at seeing miracles. The funnel clouds literally went around the barn and headed out away from us! Speaking of miracles, you will want to continue to read on about the miracles that God has done in Haley's life. Her Brave story is a story of how God can take a bad situation and turn it around for His glory!
Most people that know me, know that horses have always been my passion. Everything in my life has revolved around them, and very seldom did I ever spend a full day away from them. I left Colorado in 2009 and moved to Scottsdale, Arizona to continue to follow my dreams and work with one of the best trainers in the industry. My business did great and I had some amazing horses to ride, but emotionally it was tough. I went through a lot in the reigning world trying to make it as a young female trainer. It was at this point in my life that I realized just how cruel people could be. I prayed and prayed, but did not listen. I was determined to make it in this industry no matter what it took. I kept pushing through knowing in my head that this was the path for me and the direction I was supposed to be moving. After a few years, things got better. I had my own training business, got married, and my husband and parents moved to Arizona. I still worked many hours a day and did not make any time for my family. Horses were the number one priority in my life, and I loved it, or so I thought!
June 29, 2013 the day started as a normal day for a horse trainer in Scottsdale, Az. Up before the sun, coffee, then out the door to beat the heat. Mornings were my absolute favorite time of day. They had always been, even when I lived in Colorado when it was freezing cold (lol)! The sunrise, the smell of the barn, and sound of the horses finishing up breakfast was my happy place. This was my quiet time to spend with just my self and the horses. I had ridden two horses already and my husband had shown up to shoe a couple for me. I had hopped on my own 2 year old gelding, who I had raised and had since the day he was born (he was more of a dog than a horse). We had been loping circles and working on maneuvers for about 45 minutes, when he was stung by a bee. To make a long story short, he did not like it. I didn't know what was going on with my usually quiet colt, so I continued training making sure he knew bucking was not acceptable. Well I tried pretty hard, but had never had one buck like that, ever! I guess I was not as sticky as I had thought. I was told I lasted about a minute, then landed flat on my back, every trainers worst fear. It was kind of a cartoon moment, when the cartoon character hangs in the air for a few moments before hitting the ground. At least that's how it felt. I knew it was going to hurt. I heard the crack, felt the pain, and knew it was not good. Then I heard the music still playing on my phone in my back pocket and it happened to be Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel." Hmmm, I think God sometimes has a sense of humor! The first words my husband said to me were, "Why didn't you grab the dang horn." My response, "I was training." After two ambulance rides, two hospitals, and finally ending up in the ICU at Osborne Trauma Center, I was told I had broken my back.
Now as a horse trainer that absolutely LOVES my job, the first thing I did was started making phone calls to make sure my horses were going to be taken care of, and worrying about the up coming horses shows, and young horses in training. After a 3 1/2 hr MRI it was concluded that I did not only break my back, but had crushed my L2 and doctors could not figure out how I had been so lucky to have not severed my spinal cord and broken "A LOT" more than just one crushed vertebrae. Every 30 minutes they would come check to make sure I could still feel my legs. Let me tell you how wonderful that makes you feel, talk about second guessing yourself. After ordering a custom brace they were able to do X-rays. Then after two days finally let me try and walk. They told me if I could walk 100 ft with the walker they would be thrilled. I walked all the way around the ICU, and blew them away. A day later after Neurosurgeons had examined all my tests, and trauma surgeons did not want to let me go (not understanding how and why I was okay), the Neurosurgeon said I was free to go home. However, I would spend three months in a brace (fancy turtle shell), lots of doctors visits, and was told not to move much for the first 6 weeks because they were nervous about the crushed vertebrae moving. I knew the only thing I could do at this point was pray! So I prayed A LOT, and asked all of my friends and family to pray. I was determined to prove the doctors wrong and get back to my normal life.
The next few months were not easy. My husband and I were forced to move back in with my parents so that my Mom could be my full time nurse, bed pan and all. Talk about a humbling experience. It was extremely hard knowing that my dream job, my passion, something I had worked so hard for was no longer possible, and that I would have to figure out a new career. There were times that I was angry. I knew it was no one's fault, but it was hard to not get completely depressed. Horses were my life, and I could not comprehend not being able to train and ride everyday. With lot's of prayer and LOT'S of patience I healed AMAZINGLY and proved all of the doctors wrong!!! After only 6 months I was back in the gym, back in the saddle, and almost completely pain free. I was beginning a new career as a real estate agent specializing in horse properties when Isaac and I found out we were EXPECTING! I started to realize that God had a plan and knew exactly what He was doing. Time had brought me closer to my husband, and my Mom and Dad became my best friends once again. I was able to see that horses were not the number one priority in my life. It was God, and my family.
Before the accident all I did was work. I was so passionate for horse training that I did not want to do anything else. I hated to be away from the barn and the horses. Now, three years after I took that life changing fall, I am happier than I ever dreamed possible!! I have an outgoing, hilarious toddler who is my entire world, TWO beautiful palomino colts that I am SO excited about, a new career that allows me to stay at home with my baby, and my eyes are opened to what really is important in life! I make the time time to stop and talk to God and thank Him for even the little things, and am grateful for EVERYTHING! Yes, sometimes life throws us a curve ball, but you just have to step up, keep your eye on the ball, and hit that ball out of the park!!! You never now what wonderful things can come out of a "bad day!" Breaking my back made me slow down and learn to appreciate the small things in life, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy the ride. I had lots of time stuck in the bed that I could have chosen to get mad and depressed, and there were times that I did feel sorry for myself. But, I had to "let go and let God." We cannot always control things in life. Things can change in the blink of an eye. I learned to trust God's plan. We may not understand, but we simply have to trust Him. He has a plan! Sometimes we question Him and ask, "Why?", but in order to end up on the path He has made for us we have to trust. Trusting Him has now led me to being the happiest I have ever been!!
If there was one thing that I could encourage someone with in this situation reguarding my relationship with God, it would be to really talk to Him. Stop and just talk to Him and pray to Him throughout the day when you are feeling down. Don't let yourself go to that dark place. Immediately turn to him for strength and guidance. He is always listening!!! And, on the other side of that, don't forget to reach out to Him and talk to Him when things are good! Thank Him for bringing you to the good things and helping you to find the light!