Madeline McSherry rides to recovery

Betsy Faris, Staff Writer

The speed limit was 25, but the black Mercedes came darting out at 50. It should have stopped, but it didn’t. As a result, sophomore Madeline McSherry was hit while riding her horse on November 11, 2013.
“Everything was slow motion, and as I sat up, I saw my horse with glass in his legs,” McSherry said. “I broke down as I realized what had just happened.”
McSherry flew over the top of the car as her horse crashed through the Mercedes’ windshield. She was slammed onto the ground, and her horse received minor gashes all over his legs with a cracked hoof.
“I sustained a permanent sway back, which makes sitting, standing and riding extremely difficult,” McSherry said. “I also have a phobia of cars, and learning to drive has been an extreme struggle for me.”
Prior to the incident, McSherry had been a regional dressage champion with her horse, Traveler. But after the accident, she struggled to regain her level of success. As a result of the pain and suffering she has endured, she plans to sue the woman who hit her when she turns 18.
“I was so angry; she essentially ruined my life because riding is my life and [the accident] set me so far back from where I was,” McSherry said. “I let go of that anger because I decided to see this as an opportunity to prove my dedication to the sport.”
McSherry has gone to therapy once a week and physical therapy twice a week since the accident. She also meets with a life coach once a week to discuss how to constructively deal with the anger she feels.
“It’s been a slow recovery, and there have been some setbacks and downfalls, but I am pleased with the strides I am making to get better,” McSherry said.
What’s more, McSherry has recently decided to pursue a career as a veterinarian in horse care, largely due to her experience with the accident. She has also begun to learn how to drive, and plans to get her license soon.
“I refuse to let this experience make me afraid of horses or affect my passion in anyway,” McSherry said. “Becoming a veterinarian is important to me because I love horses so much and want to be around them as much as possible.”