Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Injured rider returns home to family, friends, horses and dogs

Auburnjournal.com - Full Article

Costa hopes to eventually ride again

By Amber Marra, Journal Staff Writer

After a long stay in a San Francisco rehabilitation center, Crystal Costa, a downed horse rider, has made it home.

Last Saturday, Costa, 50, came in through the decorated gates of her ranch in Cool. Handmade banners by Costa's son and neighbor reading "Welcome Home, Crystal" still hang a week later.

Costa is now a paraplegic after she suffered a broken back after an equestrian accident in June.

"Even though I know how sad it is I can't let it do that to me. I have to make the most of it and make it work," Costa said.

The accident happened while Costa, who has ridden horses for 40 years, was training to ride in the Tevis Cup near Francisco's checkpoint. The Tahoe-Sierra 100-Mile Mountain Bike Race was happening at the time, but Costa didn't know that.

"Always find out if there is a bike race on the narrow trails and on trails where you'd never think there would be bike," Costa said. "Riding horses, riding bikes, hiking out on the multiuse trails, it's a gamble."

Jon Hyatt, of Granite Bay, was around mile 85 into the Tahoe-Sierra 100 when he noticed three horseback riders ahead, one of them being Costa. Hyatt, who was in fifth place at the time, acknowledged the three riders and proceeded to go around a green gate and past them.

As Hyatt maneuvered around the gate, his bike tire slid in loose gravel and one of his shoes came unclipped from his bike peddle. The racket from the loose gravel and the unclipped shoe startled Costa's horse, along with one of its protective boots coming undone.

For the first time in her 40 years of riding, Costa knew she had to bail, and unfortunately when she did she landed on rocks, which broke her back, specifically the T10, T11 and T12 vertebrae...

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