War veteran returns to the saddle

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  • An Afgan war veteran — who lost his leg from the knee down in Helmand — is set to return to the racetrack after being granted a licence to ride in amateur races and point-to-points by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

    Guy Disney originally reapplied for his licence in 2010 but was turned down of safety grounds by the BHA.

    The organisation had three main concerns: that his artificial leg could become stuck in his stirrup iron, resulting in him being dragged; that he wouldn’t be able to reposition his foot if it slipped out and that he wouldn’t be able to feel where his right foot is.

    However, Guy, with the help of Dr David Carey, has been able to prove to the BHA that none of these concerns are valid.

    He now uses a “toe-stopper” which means that his foot can only move backwards out of the stirrup and has also supplied video footage of himself losing and regaining his stirrup.

    “The BHA has been liaising closely with Guy over the past 12 months in respect of a possible application for an amateur rider’s permit,” said a spokesman.

    “We can confirm receipt of an application from Mr Disney and that he met with BHA this summer regarding his fitness to ride and has recently undertaken, and passed, the relevant riding and fitness assessment.”

    Trainer Kim Bailey, for whom Guy has been riding out for, has been supporting the amateur jockey.

    “Guy said that he was determined to get back and ride in races,” Kim wrote in his blog last week.

    “It was hard to believe, especially when he was lying in his hospital bed in Selly Oak, but it proves that were there is a will there is a way.

    “We helped by giving Guy a horse to ride in a charity race at Fakenham [he finished second] and then he rode out here and was filmed jumping fences, to prove to the BHA he was capable.

    Perseverance and determination has won the day and we will now do our best to give him a horse to ride in this season’s Royal Artillery Gold Cup.”

    Guy, who had around 80 rides and five winners in point-to-points prior to losing his leg, was surprised by the attention generated by the news.

    “I just want to crack on and do it quietly,” he told H&H.

    Ref: Horse & Hound (4 December 2014).

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