Much is said about the risk of injury to jockeys in horse racing and it is something I was left to contemplate recently when sustaining various upper body injuries in a fall over hurdles at Taunton. The mare I was riding was actually brought down, left with nowhere to go when the horse alongside us capsized into our path. The fall hurt — probably more so because I did not see it coming — however, it was the hooves of the 16 other runners that caused much of the damage.
Initial reaction after a fall is to move your limbs to identify the source of any pain. Luckily everything worked. Next step is to uncurl yourself from the foetal position that you hope protected you and minimised damage as the other runners thundered past. It was at this stage I realised my ribs hurt, I was short of breath and I was bleeding from a nasty gash on my neck. Thankfully I was able to stand up, shuffle away and report to the doctor knowing the whole situation could have been worse.
Ten days after the fall I’m back riding. Why? My view is that there is risk attached to all things in life, from crossing the road to driving along the motorway. I have witnessed horrific falls hunting, eventing and team chasing. Yes, horse racing carries risk accentuated principally by speed, but life is too short not to do what you enjoy when you are in a position to do it.
Ref Horse & Hound; 9 March 2017