Daryl Jacob: Eventers are lunatics [H&H VIP]

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  • My recovery programme is now well under way and I’m back walking, cyling and swimming after my fall at Cheltenham [in which I broke my knee, leg and elbow].

    I was in Cornwall for seven days, doing the first part of my physio last week. I’m now out of the leg brace so am walking mostly on my own and sometimes with a crutch.

    I’ve also done some cycling in the gym — on the flat, low pressure, to build up strength. It may seem quick to be back, but you have to keep moving forwards, you can’t just stop.

    Realistically, I don’t think I’ll be racing until August. But I’m feeling good.

    My elbow is causing the most problems, as there are some complications there, but hopefully I’ll be back riding soon.

    While I’ve been off, as well as exercising I’ve been catching up on sleep, watching the golf and eating. I need to be careful not to put on too much weight!

    Last year, I missed the start of the season because of my shoulder injury, so at least this year I’ll hopefully be back for the beginning of the season proper. This year has been a bit up and down, so I’m looking forward to starting again.

    I was invited to go along to see Henstridge Riding for the Disabled Association [RDA] group the other day.

    Tessa Woodhouse, who is involved with the group, asked me to pop down. I ride some of her horses and was delighted to go along and give the kids some Easter eggs and have a chat.

    I hobbled over, but it’s a real inspiration seeing how these children get on and cope with what they do.

    It makes you really grateful to be in good shape and for what you have. It’s amazing how horses can bring a smile to people’s faces and help too.

    I also went to Wincanton races on Sunday, again with the RDA. It was weird being back at the races and not riding though, but it was nice to catch up with the lads.

    It was really difficult watching Aintree — especially as there were so many horses running I would have had rides on.

    Lac Fontana won, and obviously I was really pleased for the team, but it’s hard watching a horse win that you’d normally be riding.

    It was good to see Paul Nicholls on his way to regaining the trainers’ championship though. I’m really proud to have been part of that team.

    Dr Newland was a popular winner of the Grand National. He’s a real gentleman and I’ve ridden plenty for him in the past.

    And for Leighton Aspell to come back and win too, after retiring in 2007 for 18 months, is some achievement. He’s a superb horseman.

    People might say he didn’t look that pleased coming back into the winner’s enclosure, but to be honest I think he was just in shock.

    It wasn’t that great a surprise that Pineau De Re won either. He had a brilliant run at Cheltenham, finishing third behind two very good horses in the Pertemps, and he was still flying at the end.

    The race was a terrific spectacle and it made a change watching it on TV.

    The fact that everyone came back safe made it all the better and Aintree deserves credit for making the course safer.

    As I’m off, I’ll be able to go to Badminton Horse Trials this year for the first time in a while. I love going there, it’s great craic.

    These eventers are lunatics, though. There’s no chance you’d get me doing that. They say jockeys are tough but the eventers are something else.

    I have massive respect for them. You have to get the stride perfect every time —  both horses and riders have to be spot on.

    Finally, well done to Jamie Moore for winning the Scottish National on Saturday. He’s a really good man and has had a great season so far. It’s fantastic to see him winning and getting so many opportunities.