SARATOGA SPRINGS — The thumbs-ups from Cindy Hutter are encouraging signs.
But her family and doctors continue to wait for her to open her eyes, after Hutter, a long-time assistant trainer and exercise rider for her husband, George Weaver, suffered a variety of injuries when the horse she was riding fell on her at the Oklahoma Training Track last Sunday.
Hutter was jogging Vindatude when the 3-year-old filly collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack, “falling and pinning the exercise rider Cindy Hutter,” according to the New York State Gaming Commission’s Equine Breakdown, Death, Injury and Incident Database.
Besides broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a lung injury, Hutter is suffering from bleeding on the brain and has remained unconscious since the incident.
After a phone call with her doctor following training hours at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday morning, Weaver said his wife was still in stable condition and would be transferred from Albany Medical Center to a rehabilitation center soon.
“She had a significant brain injury,” he said. “She’s stabilized now. We’re hoping to get her into a rehab place next week. Obviously, she can’t stay in ICU forever. But she has stabilized. She’s able to take a voice command, she can give a thumbs-up and stuff like that.
“It hasn’t even been a whole week since she was injured, and we’ve just got to hope, over time, that she’s able to heal her injuries, specifically her brain.”
Weaver, who bred and owned Vindatude, and Hutter, 57, have been married for 20 years and formerly worked under Todd Pletcher.
Hutter’s career began in earnest when she started galloping horses for D. Wayne Lukas in 1987.
Weaver said the rehab will include further voice command exercises.
“There is responsiveness, and she can hear us,” he said. “Her brain has been injured and is damaged and is trying to heal itself. I think that when she goes over there and starts rehab that they’re going to continue to work with her with voice response stuff. Obviously, we’re hoping she opens her eyes soon and try to get back to some normalcy.
“But they told us to expect it to be a long road. It might take a year or so before you really know what kind of recovery we’re looking at.
“It’s scary for all of us, it’s a tragedy for, you know … me and my family and everybody,” Weaver continued, his voice cracking. “But we’re just going to try to be strong and help her get through it.”
Weaver’s voice broke again when asked about the support and response his family has received from the racing community.
“I’ve gotten a huge amount of outpouring from everybody, and it’s humbling, how many people have reached out. And … care about us. Phew. So it’s been nice. And I know everybody’s … pulling for us.”
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Categories: At The Track, Sports