Grateful Jo Foster rides again thanks to a little help from her friends
Jo Foster paid tribute to the Injured Jockeys Fund and Jack Berry House after making an emotional return to the saddle following her horrendous riding accident.
She had not been on horseback since breaking her sternum and four bones in her back in a fall at her yard in Menston, Yorkshire last November, when a metal hook gouged a lump of tendons, ligaments and tissue just millimetres from her spine.
And Foster, a successful amateur rider before taking up training, admitted that there were times during her long recovery process that she wondered whether or not she should give up racing.
"I did question whether I should walk away from the business when I was sat in a hospital bed and everything seemed impossible and so far away," she said.
"But I've had so much help from everybody, from the Injured Jockeys Fund and Jack Berry House and all the staff and almoners.
"How can I walk away from a business like that? There isn't another business that can look after you like they have; the racing industry is unique and I would be crazy to walk away from it."
Foster, who wrote movingly of the "lonely darkness" of depression she suffered during her rehabilitation in the Racing Post earlier this year, has been riding since the age of three and admitted the main incentive of getting back in the saddle was to be able to go hunting again.
She has just been given the all-clear to ride again and took advantage by climbing on board grey chaser Two Hoots in front of the Racing Post cameras on Wednesday.
"It was great, just like I'd never missed a day," she said. "Apart from I'm not very fit. It's been a long time in coming. I'm loads better, nearly mended apparently, 85 per cent healed. There are just a few little issues with smaller bones that need to heal.
"The doctor said 'if you want to, if you're mad enough, you can crack on and do it' because the actual area where they screwed it together is probably safer than the rest of the back.
"But one of my owners, Liz Verity, is coming later to ride one of her horses. She hunts four days a week and she's in her late-60s – so I can't give up riding at 45!"
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