My name is Grant Pennington. I train and show hunter, jumper horses. We train horses to compete competitively, show jumping, whether it’s jumpers or hunters. I teach clients, I teach the horses how to do it. When I was a child growing up, my mom used to take us on family vacations to Georgia. We would trail ride and she would hold me when I was like a baby. And then from there, I started taking lessons and writing ponies and it kind of developed into a passion and taking lessons all the time from there developed into really chasing points and trying to be the best I could be. That rolled into being an assistant trainer that rolled into turning professional, that rolled into turning it into a business. So it went from hobby lifestyle business now and everything.
So the day of the injury, normal day training. The horse, it was young, had jumped a few jumps. And the horse is a little fresh. Came to jump it landed, started bucking, spun around, took off the other direction. I flew forward and landed on my left leg. It shattered the head of my tibia and 13 places. So at the time, it was felt career-ending. I was taken to Pasco Regional Medical Center. I believe they wanted to ship in the equipment to do the surgery and at that point, my mom made the wise decision to have me immediately sent to Tampa General for, Florida Orthopaedic Institute to work on me with Dr. Infante.
Everyone was very, very nervous. All the doctors were crowded around the door looking at the x-rays and nurses were coming in one after the other saying I probably would never walk again. They’ve never seen something so severe like one of a kind kind of injury. They kept saying Infante was always very calm, like very reassuring, never said anything negative. It was never, you are not going to achieve something. It was never said like that. I’m very active so sitting around is not an option for me. So my recovery time of being confined to a couch was difficult. Being told I might not walk again was definitely not something that I was going to sell for. So every day, sitting on the couch, moving my ankle, moving my foot, bending my knee to this certain degree that Dr. Infante would register it to every few months. Every few months to the degree of mobility would increase. So I wasn’t gonna settle for laying there. That was not an option.
Learning to walk again was hard. Like putting on your leg for the first time in four months was a weird feeling. It took some time to like really regain that. And I did start riding about four months after the surgery, just walking, getting on there, standing up a little bit. So it wasn’t so much pressure on the leg, but I was definitely ready to be back. I wasn’t gonna let the surgery and the rehab get in the way. I was going to horse shows on crutches. I was riding a dirt bike with my leg propped up at the worst show I was teaching people out of a golf cart with on crutches for months. Like I did not stop my day to day life because of it. I have a very strong mentality. I always have. I’m not a weak person by any means. And I think I really truly learned who I was through this process of how mentally strong I can be and how determined I can be. Because I feel if someone believes what they’re being told, I think the outcome would’ve been different. I mean, for somebody to be told no and then believe it, they might not get up and walk. They might not work so hard laying on a couch, you know, they might just lay back, pop a couple of pills and believe it.\
I think DR. Infante played a huge role in staying calm and just prescribing the right mentality. Basically. He, he was very respectful of feelings. Like he never looked upset. He never said anything along the lines of, you cannot. It was never like that. So having him in the Florida Orthopaedic Institute behind it together, for me, it was great. I would definitely recommend Florida Orthopaedic Institute and having the surgery and whatever they tell you you need to do, you need to do it. And going through all of the recovery. It might be painful, but you have to work through the pain. You have to put it behind you and go be determined to get it. You have to go, not because you need to. You have to.