Kirk Wall was enjoying a quiet Sunday on his ranch, a remote slice of heaven tucked out of sight on the Canadian prairies, when the weekend peace was shattered by a big bang from Bazinga.

The feisty horse had been a recent acquisition for Kirk, and the two were trying to become better acquainted inside a round pen, but it wasn’t going well.

“He wasn’t responding the way I like to see a horse respond,” said the rancher. “I got the saddle on him and got him moving a little bit and he started bucking like crazy, so I let him calm down.”

That’s when Kirk decided he’d sell Bazinga. Maybe someone else would have better luck.

“Ten minutes after I’d made that decision he stopped up against the round pen. I reached in to grab the halter shank, because I needed to get him away from the fence to take the saddle off.

“As I turned him off the fence I didn’t move my feet because I wanted him to move. It’s the power struggle — horses are determined. I stood my ground… As he came off he jerked his head away from me and pulled the rope right through my hand.

“I didn’t think a horse could turn and kick in that short of a distance but he could.

One hind leg hit Kirk in the side, and he was sent sailing several feet across the pen, where he landed face-down in the dirt. He managed to push himself up and escape through a gap in the fence, but then he collapsed unconscious near his daughter Bianca, who had witnessed the whole thing.

“What really scared me was the look on his face,” she said. “When he passed out, I was like, ‘Is he dead?'”

Her brother Lucas, along with their grandma and mom, rushed from the house nearby. As Kirk regained consciousness, he was having trouble breathing.

Lucas, who had recently finished an advanced St. John’s Ambulance course, noticed his dad’s heart rate was dropping and realized he needed medical care quickly. The family drove to the nearest hospital, where a CT scan resulted in an immediate request for STARS.

“I said to (the doctor), ‘That bad, eh?’” recalled Kirk. “And he goes, ‘Yeah, that bad.’”

His spleen had been badly injured, and he needed tertiary care in the city.

Lynette Wall, Kirk’s wife, also spoke with the doctor.

“He says, ‘Your husband is very, very, very sick, and he could… you know, it could be minutes,” she said. “’We hope they (STARS) get here in time.’

“I remember the moment (they) came in with a stretcher and I instantly felt peace. At that moment all my sense of angst and panic disappeared. I knew things were under control.”

Kirk recovered well and went on to become an active ally for STARS in his community.

“I just really appreciate STARS,” he said. “I want to continue to support them, and I encourage other people to keep supporting STARS, because sooner or later it’ll be somebody you know that needs the help.”

For Lynette, it’s peace of mind for a country life.

“When you’re out here in this environment it’s beautiful,” she said. “We love living rural and not being in the hustle bustle of the city. The downside to that is if an accident does happen, what do you do?

“You do feel vulnerable out here; and knowing that STARS is available… that is encouraging.”