'I never thought I would drive a tractor again' - freak accident changes farmers life in an instant
Richard O'Connell was out on a Sunday hunt with the Duhallows in Co Cork the week before Christmas in 2008 - but after a freak off- farm accident the following Wednesday he was hospitalised in the Mater, Dublin.
The prognosis strongly suggested he might never walk again.
His life had changed utterly in an instant and his best laid plans for the farm in Mallow, where he breeds hunters and jumpers for the equestrian sector were put on hold indefinitely.
He was 37 at the time, married to Niamh with four young children - Sarah (16), Emma (8) and Chloe (7) and Daniel, then aged 13 months.
Richard was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury which, according to the doctors in Dublin, would probably leave him paralysed for the rest of his life.
That was never Richard's plan, however.
He had an off-farm job with a road construction company to supplement his income from the horse enterprise but everything changed that Wednesday when he was working "up country in Mayo".
"I fell off the lorry and rolls of wire mesh fell down on top of me, I had no feeling from the neck down. I was brought to the Mater where I was told I had the spinal cord injury," Richard recalls.