PLAINS TWP. - The day seemed like any other, the routine was one he’d performed time and again.
But in an instant, something went terribly wrong for Terry Scott.
He found himself under the full weight of the horse he’d been riding moments earlier.
“I had a horse flip on top of me,” Scott said. “He didn’t land on top of me, but when he got up, his hoof got me.”
Scott not only lost the most glamorous part of the racing season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs last year, he nearly lost his leg.
“He cut my arteries,” Scott said of the horse, “all my nerves in my leg.
“Just about cut my leg off.”
Less than eight months removed from that unfortunate and terrifying accident, Scott is back at Pocono Downs, ready to take the reigns as the track’s outrider again.
That’s the guy who sits atop a horse without a cart, clearing the way while leading the field of harness competitors to the starting gate of each race - similar to a pace car in a NASCAR run.
But Scott never expected to get run over.
He’s been around the horse racing business since he was a kid in Oklahoma, where his dad owned horses and his brother began racing them at the age of 12. It was only natural Scott would want to spend his life around horses.
He arrived at Pocono Downs in 2008 and has been the track’s outrider ever since.
Then disaster struck last year.
Scott had just worked the Super Stakes races at Pocono Downs the weekend before and was trying to keep horses in line in the barn area during the morning of Aug. 22 - part of the outrider’s job when he’s not leading the pack to the starting gates. One of the horses got loose, and Scott immediately tried to track it down.
Something spooked the horse he was riding.
Scott says he’s chased down loose horses on plenty of occasions, and even had a horse he was riding flip a few times.
“But I’ve never had them to step on me before that,” Scott said in his deep Southern drawl.
He doesn’t remember much about the moments that followed, when he was taken to Geisinger Medical Center.
“It happened on the back track,” Scott said. “I was trying to stop the horse before the (loose) horse ran over somebody. After that, I don’t remember anything ‘til nine days later, when I woke up in the hospital.”
What Scott does know is he missed the 2013 Breeders Crown, known as the Super Bowl of harness racing, an international event that made its second-ever stop at Pocono Downs last year and stirred the excitement of thousands of fans from across the world.
“I was looking forward to it,” Scott said. “I was training for it, doing different things with my horse to show the crowd. But I got hurt and it never happened.”
What happened for him instead was a trying and tedious process. He went through grueling months of physical therapy just to make it back on his feet.
“When I couldn’t walk,” Scott said, “it was terrifying. Oh God, from not walking to walking, it was a hard process. But I pushed it so hard. I wanted to walk again.”
He will walk to his horse and hop back in the saddle again Saturday for the season’s opening card at Pocono Downs, wearing his trademark cowboy hat and leading the horses up to the gates once again.
And Scott vows he will have the same swagger and confidence he’s always shown.
“I’m probably 65 percent,” Scott said of his recovery. “I’m still able to ride. It’ll all come back. I’m not scared about it. I’ve never been scared because you can always predict there’ll be accidents. It’s going to happen.”
It’s going to be a thrill for Scott to saddle up as an outrider again. In a way, the start of a new season is as exciting to him as any Breeders Crown. This year just might crown him as the sport’s comeback kid.
“Yeah, it’s about what it is,” Scott said. “I’m anxious. Anxious to get out there and do this.
“Like nothing ever happened.”