The feeling 8-year-old Savannah Bryant gets when riding one of her horses is unlike anything else she can experience on the ground.
“It makes me feel like I’m flying,” she said.
Because she had gotten so used to that feeling, Savannah found it very difficult when an injury left her grounded.
From Hobby to Passion
Savannah’s interest in riding horses started at the North Georgia Fair, where she would always ride the ponies. Before she was 4 years old, she was begging her parents to let her ride a full-grown horse.
Her mother, Tiffany, was hesitant. But she figured either the horse trainer would say Savannah was too small or her daughter would be too scared.
Neither scenario played out as her daughter was shown how to properly brush a horse.
“Savannah looked up at that horse, picked up each brush and began to do what the trainer told her to do,” Tiffany said. “From that point forward, we’ve been doing it.”
Over the Top
Because Tiffany wears the badge of “protective mother” proudly, she is at the barn watching her only daughter ride as often as possible. Thus it was no fluke that she was there in February 2014 when Savannah had her scariest moment riding.
As she and another rider turned a tight corner, something spooked Savannah’s horse, causing her to buck. Savannah managed to stay on after the first buck, but the second sent her over the horse’s head and onto the sandy ground.
“We were concerned about a concussion at this point,” Tiffany said. “We didn’t think about anything else.”
After taking a minute and dusting herself off, Savannah got back on her horse and finished out the last 20 minutes of her session.
A Little Lopsided
“I can’t lift my arm,” Savannah said, struggling to take off her jacket at home.
Once Tiffany helped her daughter take off her riding clothes, she noticed that her left shoulder was hanging a little lower than her right. Savannah refused ice or Advil, thinking the injury wasn’t that serious.
“My wife said Savannah was looking a little lopsided,” Savannah’s father, Todd, said.
It was then that Tiffany suspected her daughter had broken a bone. She called ahead to Children’s at Town Center and rushed her daughter over to the Urgent Care Center.
“I know they are going to see her right away, they have small equipment and they will be able to handle her,” Tiffany said of Children’s. “I have to be somewhere where they can take care of her and it will be OK.”
An X-ray quickly revealed that Savannah had broken her left clavicle, or collarbone. Lesley Wilkerson, M.D., was able manage Savannah’s pain, diagnose the fracture and treat it on site. She also showed the family how to wrap Savannah’s injured arm.
Savannah, with her arm in a sling, and her parents were on their way home in about an hour.
Savannah’s pediatrician said the 8-year-old had to stay off of a horse for about six weeks.
“Her face dropped,” Tiffany said. “To her, the injury wasn’t that bad. Those six weeks were hard.”
Savannah constantly peppered her parents with questions about when she could ride again. Although being patient was difficult, she did what she needed to get healthy and ride.
“She has always been really strong,” Todd said. “She is the type of person who, when presented with the opportunity, always overcomes.”
When she returned to the barn, her trainer said it was time for Savannah to start attempting jumps, much to her mother’s dismay.