• In The Stables with Ana O'Brien

    Everyone was so good with their messages and support following my fall in Killarney. It meant so much to me. And it wasn’t just confined to social media. Even when I was in hospital in Cork, there were so many cards and letters. It really helped me along and they kept coming when I got back home. It was really lovely. I can’t thank everybody enough for all their support. 

    I was only in hospital for a week which was a big relief. I don’t remember too much about it to be honest. I don’t remember being in any pain which probably isn’t a bad thing. My sister Sarah says that I was in some discomfort and I’m happy to take her word for it. All the early tests they did on me went well and they had me out of the bed and walking within a couple of days. At the very beginning, they thought that they might have to operate but they didn’t have to in the end thank God. 

    They sent me home with two braces. One for my back and one for my neck to try and ensure that nothing moved out of place. At the beginning, I was in both for 24 hours a day but after a week or two, I could take the back brace off at night time. That was great and it meant that things were going right. 

    I still have the neck brace but hopefully not for too much longer. Early on it was very rigid, but the one I have now is softer and a bit comfortable. But you get used to them. Looking left and right is not the easiest thing to do and as a result, I’m not driving. It’s probably safer for everyone else that I don’t!

    But I’m definitely getting stronger by the day. I can feel it in everything I do. I’m starting to do all the normal things again, things I couldn’t do for weeks. But you don’t want to be testing yourself too much at the same time. I’m still under doctors’ orders and I’m not taking any chances. But I feel far more comfortable these days. 

    My face got pretty banged up in the fall too. I broke a couple of teeth and they have still to be fixed. I fractured my eye socket too and my jaw but like everything else, it’s all healing well. When I first got home, I literally did nothing at all. I couldn’t watch much tv or anything at the start because of my eye but as things improved, I was able to watch all the racing again, especially when Dad or Joseph had runners. More recently I watched the sales online and it will be exciting in the next six weeks or so when the yearlings start to arrive. It’s a great time of year in any Flat yard. 

    I have watched the fall back a few times. I don’t remember a thing about it but it all looked to happened fast. I have no recollection of the helicopter ride to Cork at all and everything early on was a bit of a blur. I had travelled to Killarney from Ballydoyle with the lads earlier in the afternoon and neither my Dad or Joseph, who I was riding for, were at the meeting. There wouldn’t be anything unusual in that but they were all at the hospital later that night. They went through a rough few hours and I was oblivious to it all. 

    Thankfully, the early scans were positive which would have made things a little easier for them I’m sure. Things have gone well for Joseph, Donnacha and Dad thank God. I haven’t gone racing since that day in Killarney, hopefully I’ll be up to going soon. I was very lucky to be having a good season up until that point and I really appreciate all the support everyone had given me. It looks like it could go down to the wire for the apprentice title between all the lads. It will make for good competition between them and of course I'm disappointed that I won’t be able to give it a go this year but I was very fortunate to have been in front for part of the season.

    I’ve quizzed the doctors about getting back on a horse. They are not as keen as I am for the moment! Hopefully, the neck brace will be coming off next week. I’m doing my best to do as the doctors tell me so that everything mends properly but as soon as I get the all-clear, I can’t wait to get back riding out. However, it might be the new year before I get back in the saddle. 

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