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Highs & Blows With Natalya

Unfortunately, this blog is going to be a little different from my last as not much race riding has happened. The past eight weeks have been quite a whirlwind. I had moved back home and started out freelance but a freak accident has put an end to the rest of my season.

On my first weekend back in the North, I rode at Askham Bryan on Kimberley Boy for trainer Ian Mason. He was yet to get his head in front on the track but has always been knocking on the door. I rode him handily and he gave me a lovely spin round. I still hadn’t moved on him approaching two out and we were travelling strongly. After a good jump we came up the rising ground to the last and he started to empty so we got home for a not far beaten fourth.

The following weekend I headed to Tranwell, with Blazing Tom (Tommy) for the Ladies Open. It was only a four-runner race and had no pace so we had to divert to our previous Ampton tactics and tried to set a good pace from the front. For two miles Tommy didn’t go a yard and it wasn’t until I got joined by Oscar Wilde, that he picked up the bridle. He cantered home winning by five lengths.

On Sunday I went to Sheriff Hutton without a ride however picked up a spare in the maiden. I pulled him up however, he benefitted from the run as he went on to finish second the following weekend.

The Sunday evening was quite the experience. Back home after racing, as I was getting horses in from the field I took a blow to the face. Jess found me unconscious in the field. All I know is one minute I was catching a horse the next I was lying in a hospital bed. I couldn’t remember anything in between which is probably for the best.

I fractured my jaw and lost/broke a couple of teeth so it was a night on morphine and an operation first thing on Monday morning to fit three plates to stabilise my jaw. Safe to say I caught up on plenty of sleep before being discharged the following day. The hardest part of the whole experience was being told I wouldn’t be able to ride for the next three months let alone being on a liquid diet for 6 weeks.

The following couple of weeks felt extremely slow and it was hard to come to terms with what had happened but I am very grateful for all the support I’ve had from everyone including the help of the Injured Jockeys Fund. I am now four weeks down the line and my jaw is healing well, I can now start heading into Jack Berry House for some rehab and fitness with the hope to get back for some amateur races towards the end of summer.

Whilst this was all going on I still had Tommy to think about. With him being trained by a good friend of mine's (Jess Bedi who trains National Hunt Horses) grandmother I knew he was getting five-star treatment. The decision was made to rough him off until next season but after two weeks he was just as bored as me so we brought him back into work.

Before my accident we had plans to run him in a Hunter Chase and the timing has worked out well for him. This Saturday he will now head to Hexham for ‘the heart of all England’. Joe Wright will be stepping up to take over the reins, I’ve known Joe since I got involved in racing and it’ll be nice to give him the opportunity.

That pretty much sums up my last eight weeks. Hopefully, by my next blog I’ll have a full set of teeth and be well on my way to recovery.

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