A former event rider who underwent a double hip replacement has her heart set on glory at Newbury.
Allison Barfoot is one of 12 amateur jockeys due to take part in the British Horse Society’s (BHS) charity flat race next month (7 November) and hopes to inspire others who have had surgery or setbacks.
The trainer thought her days in the saddle were over when she had her operation as her hips were “bone on bone”.
Prior to the surgery riding had become too painful, but after six months of rehabilitation she made an emotional return to the saddle.
Three years later, she is raring to tackle her first attempt at race riding.
Trained by Foxhunter Chase-winning amateur and point-to-point jockey Amaryllis Goschen (pictured with Allison), Allison has committed to a strict plan to prepare her for the mile-long race.
Each of the jockeys has to aim to raise £2,500 for one of the BHS’s charity campaigns.
The riders have also had to pass a gruelling fitness test, which included bleep tests, timed planks and leg raises to a metronome.
“I have spent the last three years being mindful of what I can and can’t do with bionic hips, and the mental journey I have been on has been more uphill than going under the knife,” Allison told H&H.
“I am riding in this race as I want to challenge myself and also give other people encouragement that after operations you can get fit and get on again.
“My surgeon has warned me not to ride really short because my legs might fall out – I’ve got to remember that.”
Despite this slightly alarming warning, Allison is staying focused and admitted she was “very competitive”.
The rider lost her finger when her ring was caught in the rug strap of a horse who panicked and
A broken bit wasn't going to deter this rider, who went on to produce a winning performance with the remains
“I’ve been getting myself more disciplined as the race gets closer, thinking about marginal gains like my sleep routine and diet,” she said.
“I’m loving it – why not do something if you’re still able to?”
Allison is raising funds for the BHS’s Changing Lives Through Horses scheme.
The project aims to help improve the lives of disengaged young people, and give them the opportunity to develop skills through horses that enable them to return to education or employment.
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