Jockey Isabel Tompsett rides again after horse racing fall

Isabel Tompsett
Image caption Isabel Tompsett fell at Fakenham Racecourse in Norfolk in May 2011

A champion amateur jockey has started riding again after suffering serious head injuries in a racing fall more than 18 months ago.

Isabel Tompsett, from Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire, was thrown off her horse at a meeting in May 2011.

She is recovering at a rehabilitation centre for jockeys in Berkshire.

Tompsett, 30, started riding again in August, and could be fit enough to leave the centre in June, but she says she will never race again.

The vet said she was unlikely to be given insurance cover.

But she continues to make a steady recovery and following some recent physiotherapy has started running.

She now plans to compete in the London Marathon in 2014 in aid of the Injured Jockey's Fund which runs Oaksey House in Lambourn, Berkshire where she is recovering.

Her entire left side was paralysed after her fall at Fakenham Racecourse in May 2011 and she only had sight in one eye but, remarkably, within six months she could walk again.

Her injuries included a broken nose and collarbone, two cracked vertebrae, and elbow and knee damage.

A letter from the Queen was among the hundreds of messages of support she received.

Tompsett targeted a return to the saddle last year and in August she achieved her ambition.

"I started riding again in late August early September," she said.

"I rode one horse at home which we'd bred.

"I wasn't at all apprehensive and once I was on the horse it was fine. It was just awkward getting on compared to how it was. I don't ride all the time, but try to once a week."


Tompsett moved to Oaksey House in January, and started running about a month ago.

"During a recent physio session I was asked why I didn't run more," she said.

"I said because the left hand side of my body had been affected and I'd lost my spring, my ability to run.

"After 10 minutes of work on my left hand side I could run.

"It was remarkable, it was massive for me. From not being able to do anything to putting the spring back into my step - it was amazing. They'd given me back my bounce."

She added: "I have been making a steady recovery, but there have been times when you can't see yourself getting better, but something like this gives you hope and gives you another thing to do.

"I went from not running at all to running everyday and I picked up a bit of a knee injury in the end, but I'll be back running again soon."

UK champion

Tompsett is full of admiration for the staff at Oaksey House who have helped with her recovery and now plans to run the London Marathon to raise money for the centre.

"The marathon is just an idea at the moment, but I intend to enter the 2014 race," she said.

"I expect to be here until May or June when I'll probably have an examination and if all goes well then I'll be able to move out," Tompsett added.

She was UK amateur champion over jumps in the 2009-10 season and has ridden 23 winners.

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