Well it’s always one of the dangers of the job but you put it to the back of your mind. Then when it happens, you remember that it is part of the job and you have to deal with it.
I had a fall at Nottingham on Thursday 1st August. It wasn’t even during a race. I was heading to the start on a bit of a quirky horse. I knew I wouldn’t be able to put my feet in the irons and was prepared to canter down to the start without stirrups, however he bolted and then halted as quickly as he set off and I was thrown over his head, landing on mine. I was knocked out briefly which means I’m automatically stood down for seven days and also suffered a chipped bone in my spine.
I have been feeling very tender and along with the headache and nausea associated with the concussion I have been quite uncomfortable in my back.
I initially had a very quiet few days but, I’m fortunate to live in Malton with the amazing Jack Berry House on my doorstep and I have been visiting every day.
Initially I started using the hydro-pool, having three or four sessions per day and this has built up to include physio and exercise in the gym. They gym sessions started by focusing on strengthening my lumber and core and we have worked up to full sessions which offer both treatment and help me to keep my fitness up.
The Jack Berry House team have been wonderful. They are so dedicated to getting us over our injuries and they have contributed to speeding up every element of my recovery over the past few weeks.
I should be able to start back at work next week. I will also have to take a concussion test to check that I am over the head injury but the headaches have gone now so I’m confident that will be ok. I need to have a follow up x-ray in early September and with a positive outcome, I should be able to get clearance from Dr Hill to return to race riding. I’d love to be back for the next round of the apprentice series at York on September 8th and while I’m aiming for that I will need a bit of luck on my side to make sure everything falls into place.
I’m feeling much more positive than when I first had the injury but falls are part of racing. I must spare a thought for racehorse trainer Harriet Bethell, who has a long association with Mr Ellison’s yard and is currently in hospital in an induced coma following a fall on the gallops. We are all thinking of Harriet and her family and hope to hear some positive news very soon.