Water heater explosion causes severe burns

Eventer Eric Dierks Flown To Augusta Burn Unit

Monday started out as any other day for Eric and Trayce Dierks of Renovatio Farm in Tryon N.C.. Wake up with the mountain sunrise grab some coffee and start feeding the horses. When you love what you do, waking up before the birds is easy. Get the horses fed and turned out and start the agenda for the day.

Eric and Trayce stopped by the Farm House just after lunch to pick up a few things before heading back to the farm. We had no idea their whole world would turn inside out before the end of the day. If you don't know Eric, he's a great all around guy. Easy to talk to, top notch rider and trainer with incredible communication skills. He's not afraid to get his hands dirty and when he sees something that needs to be done, he grabs the bull by the horns and gets the job done. 

Which is why it comes as no surprise that when a hot water heater was giving them trouble at the farm, he didn't think twice about getting in there to get it fixed. Seriously - it's plumbing not electrical work or nuclear science. At some point while investigating the problem the hot water heater exploded in Eric's face. 

He was immediately flown by chopper from Tryon N.C.  to the JMS  Burn center  in Augusta, Georgia. AKA the Augusta burn center.  Where he was diagnosed with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over much of his hands, arms, neck and head. He spend the evening resting as comfortably as one could possibly imagine, with Trayce at his side. 

The next morning, Valentines day, Eric was anesthetized and endured skin graft surgery to help repair some of the damage and speed healing. The doctors are very encouraged that  he will make a full recovery. At this time he is recovering at Doctors Hospital in the JMS Burn Center. The JMS burn center is nationally renowned as the largest and most technologically advanced burn center in the United States. We rest assured he is getting the best of care. 

Trayce is quoted as saying, seeing Eric in the recovery room was the best Valentines day gift she has ever received. However next year she would prefer they spend a romantic Valentines day on a tropical island instead of the hospital! ~ We heartily agree!! Trayce herself is also recovering from back surgery a few weeks back and has another 3 weeks before she will be released to ride again. 

With them both out of commission, they are in desperate need of assistance to help keep the farm going until they are back on their feet. With both of them out of commission for a bit, they are in need of serious assistance to keep the farm going until they both recover. 

What many people don't realize about the Dierks' is that they are THE FIRST people to get involved when anyone needs help. They are always ready willing and able to help when help is needed. When our local hunt had a barn fire a few years ago, they were THE FIRST folks to step up and help with the rebuilding effort donating financially and with tack to help the hunt get back on it's feet. They are huge advocates for United States Pony Clubs teaching horsemanship and riding skills to kids of all ages from all financial backgrounds.

The process of applying for financial assistance with the Injured Riders Foundation has been started 

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If you would like to donate financially, a gofundme has been set up and is located here:

We will update this story as information and donation opportunities become available. 

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