Amy Jacobs: Back in the Saddle
By Mia Evans-Saracual
The 700 Club
Each year in May, thousands converge on Louisville, Kentucky, for the event dubbed The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports: The Kentucky Derby. After the excitement fades and the fans leave, the Bluegrass State remains home to one of the largest horse populations in the country. Like many horse owners, Amy Jacobs says she and Sheik hold a special connection.
“We have owned Sheik since he was 6-years-old, and so that's been about 22 years now,” Amy shares. “He is a member of the family. He's always been my baby doll. One of the things that I love more than anything is coming out to the barn and riding my horse by ourselves.”
In May 2011, Amy and Sheik saddled up for a ride at Salmon Farm, a sprawling 900-acre horse boarding farm. An hour and a half into their journey, something went terribly wrong.
“We came to an area along Floyd's Fork Creek,” Amy recalls. “As we were walking, all of a sudden I was noticing something under his feet was moving and I thought, ‘This is not normal.’ We were walking on a panel gate that had fallen across the path.”
The piece of metal normally used to contain livestock lay hidden in the weeds.
“The openings in the panel gate are only like 8 by 6,” she describes. “They are only large enough for a hoof to go through, so he got his hoof caught and he struggled as we were trying to walk. He just fell over and, of course, I went down with him. My left foot was under him. I tried to get it out from under him and I couldn't move it. That was the most helpless feeling.”
As the 1200-pound horse struggled to get back on his feet, Amy was in danger of being completely crushed to death. Sheik’s hoof was trapped in the wire, and one wrong move could break his leg. His massive body weight smothered Amy’s entire left leg, which—after several hours—could lead to severe nerve damage.
“I can remember saying a very short prayer,” she says. “I didn't say it out loud, but I thought to myself, ‘God, it's all up to You now.’ I was in the woods by myself where no one knew where I was, where I couldn't yell to someone to help me, so it was just Sheik and me. I knew God had to help us.”
Although Amy was stranded in the woods, she saw that her cell phone still had a signal, and immediately called for help.
“I called my family, no answer,” she remembers. “About the fourth phone call was to Tim. His wife's family owns the farm. He answered the phone. Even though he was out of state, he could get in contact with people that could help me.”
Jamie Sparks, Tim’s daughter and resident horse trainer, was called in to help.
“I was getting ready to leave to go on a trip, and dad called and said that she was on the back of the farm and needed help,” Jamie says. “My dog actually ran ahead of me and found her before I did.”
Amy remembers, “She [Jamie] came around behind me and put her arms under my arm, [and] raked me out from under the horse right as he tried to stand up again. The feeling came back into my leg. It had been numb for about 30 minutes.”
“When I pulled her out I told her to lay on Sheik's head and keep him calm, because horses can stress out and eventually die if they're too stressed,” Jamie says.
Soon, more help arrived.
“It looked pretty serious to me,” recalls Kent Salmon, the owner of Salmon Farm. “The horse was pretty calm, but if the horse had started kicking he could've really done some damage on the leg. So I kneeled down on my knees and then used the bolt cutters to to just cut around the horse's leg and make an opening so it could pull its leg free.”
As soon as Sheik was cut loose from the panel gate, he jumped to his feet again, virtually unharmed.
“God definitely saved me and Sheik that day,” Amy shares. “Neither one of us limped, neither one of us went to the doctor, neither one of us had any lasting problems.”
“Everybody was in the right place at the right time, and it was a miracle that she was okay and he was okay,” Jamie says.
“We just had miracle after miracle, just a cascade of miracles,” Amy says. “God gave me peace, and God made sure that Sheik didn't panic. God can make a donkey talk. God can make a saddle bred lay still for a few minutes! It shows how much God loves me. He answers prayer, and I'm glad He answered that one that day.”
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