A KICK on the head from a nearby horse in the paddock at Wolverhampton races in April 2005 left former local jockey and trainer Chris Kinane with appalling injuries.
Recently he took his first unaided steps in public at Fontwell Park racecourse to raise money for a new hydrotherapy Pool at Jack Berry House, the Injured Jockey Fund’s second rehabilitation centre for injured jockeys.
The walk marked considerable personal achievement in the long haul to recovery.
“I have happy memories of Fontwell and it was appropriate to start the fundraising there because my weekly sessions in the pool at Fontwell have had a very positive impact on my rehabilitation,” he said.
He added: “The one thing I will always remember is the way the jockeys there that day walked behind me round the ring, encouraging me.”
Chris (55)- known to many as Red- was flanked by his wife Tessa and his physio Jayne Bradley and encouraged by his daughters Michelle and Claire, as well as jockeys in this landmark walk.
He aims to raise £5,000 for the fund and last week more than £2,000 had been achieved with money still coming in. People can still donate to help achieve his target.
Following the horrific accident, he was in hospital in Birmingham facing an operation which could have left him in a vegetative state with hardly any quality of life. There were fears that his home would be repossessed.
But the Injured Jockeys Fund rallied round with not only financial support but also valuable back-up in his fight for recovery.
Now back at Pulborough, living with his family in a bungalow, Red said: “ Tessa has been a tower of strength to me. But for her I would have still been in hospital.”
He doesn’t remember any of the first nine months and little of the first two years after the terrible accident, but has a burning desire to sit on a horse again, which is spurring him on.
As a jockey he was based with Josh Gifford at Downs Stables, Findon. His first winner was on Hard Outlook at Lingfield Park on March 18 1975. Red rode winners in the 1970’s from Downs stables such as Ross du Vin and Physicist.
Money can still be donated to support the Injured Jockey Fund at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RedKinane
For full feature and more pictures see Equestrian Page, West Sussex Gazette, November 7 2012