Side-saddle success for injured jockey

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  • An amateur jockey who broke her back in a fall is enjoying success in the side-saddle show ring.

    Jo Mason crushed her T9 and fractured her T8 vertebrae in a fall at Huworth point-to-point on 21 March.

    The 25-year-old, who was knocked out in the fall, was taken to hospital and was operated on the following week.

    She now has eight pins and two rods in her back.

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    She sat on her first horse post-injury just two months after the accident.

    While Jo, who is from Malton in North Yorkshire, was recovering she had the idea of trying side-saddle.

    “You can’t be in your comfort zone forever,” she told H&H.

    JO MASON 1She trained with eventer Rachael Lupton, who put her in contact with some showing specialists, and then introduced her 13-year-old ex-racehorse Liverpool to the new sport.

    “He just took it all in his stride like a fish to water,” she said.

    “I was like a fish out of water.”

    Before retiring from pointing in 2010, Jo rode him in a number of races – winning two.

    Prior to that he raced six times under Rules, trained by her grandfather Mick Easterby.

    Since then, the combination has taken part in Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) classes and competed at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) last year.

    They entered their first side-saddle class – a HOYS qualifier – at the Great Yorkshire Show (12 July), where they came fourth.

    The combination also picked up a third place in a RoR class.

    Credit: Laura Clark

    Credit: Laura Clark

    “He was amazing,” said Jo.

    “He is so laid back, he just shows off in the show ring.

    “He didn’t do too bad for his first go.”

    She is now planning where to enter next.

    Jo’s jockey’s licence was also returned to her the week before the Great Yorkshire Show and she is now back racing.

    She finished third in her first race back at Doncaster on 9 July and celebrated her first win post-injury on Space War in an amateur ladies’ race at Chester on 10 July. The horse was also trained by her grandfather, Mick.

    Jo credited the work of newly-opened Injured Jockeys Fund rehabilitation centre Jack Berry House in helping with her recovery.

    She also thanked Rachael for the help she has given her with side-saddle riding.

    “It is all thanks to her that I made it to the Great Yorkshire Show,” she said.

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