Thrilled Hatch back on his feet following Cheltenham fall
Jockey Ryan Hatch, left bed-bound after a crunching fall at Cheltenham on December 9, took his first moves to recovery when walking independently for the first time on Thursday, a step the rider described as massive.
Hatch, a key part of the Nigel Twiston-Davies team, had been confined to his bed after his fall left him with a haematoma on his spinal cord and fractures to his neck, vertebrae and sternum.
The conditional had spent a month in hospital in Bristol before being moved to a specialist spinal facility in Salisbury.
"It was a big landmark today," he said. "You can't imagine it. It was absolutely massive after being on your back for seven weeks. To be able to get up and do your own thing is very rewarding. It was a massive boost mentally.
"I'm very much at the first stage. I've got a wheelchair for long distances, but I've started to get up, walk and start strengthening up a bit. I only got out of bed yesterday for the first time and today was the first day I've stood up independently and walked anywhere.
"I guess another couple of weeks of that and I can go home hopefully, but I won't leave here until they're fully confident I can get about okay and we'll take it day by day. Hopefully we'll keep cracking on the way we are – I'm getting loads of physio and one-on-one sessions."
Hatch, whose biggest win came on the Twiston-Davies-trained Blaklion in last year's RSA Chase, was thrilled to see the yard doing so well, but is not sure when he will be able to return to race-riding.
The 23-year-old added: "Nigel's have been running well all year and I think he surpassed last year's total weeks ago, so he's having a great season. I'm glad he is and I wish them all well, but I'm having my own race at the minute trying to get home.
"I've got to be realistic about my return and it'll be a while. There's no chance of getting back for Cheltenham or Aintree, so I'll give it as long as it takes. I guess I'll find out more about that at my follow-up appointments."