Friday 19 January 2018

Lalor family fortunes continue despite my long road to recovery

They say that when I was in hospital in Cork after getting a fall from one of my partner Tom Keating's horses at Athlacca point-to-point a month ago, I was telling him that I'd be back in time to ride the few he had pencilled in for Ballingarry.

Well, one leg of the Ballingarry fixture was postponed by a week until tomorrow, and I still won't be on duty. Right now, I am learning to walk before I can run -- literally.

I got a bad concussion that apparently left blood blisters on my brain, and just getting my balance back has taken time.

All down my right side has been very weak, my memory is still a bit foggy, my writing has gone wobbly and running is beyond me. I have tried it, but the messages just take too long to get from my brain down to my legs. Hopefully, my co-ordination will return soon enough.

This week, I started in the gym on the cross-trainer and bike. I'm not meant to be lifting weights, but I did a sneaky few just to try and build up my strength.

Still, while I'm determined to ride again, I have put my family through enough in recent months to know that I am going to have to take things steady.

In November, I fractured my C1 vertebra, so this is a second proper injury in a short space of time.

The way I see it, however, I've been riding for 13 years, and these were by far the worst injuries I have got -- it's just unfortunate that I got them in the same season.

My whole family is steeped in 'pointing', and are hugely supportive of me getting back riding. As my mum Ann says, you could get hit by a bus crossing the road but, if you live your life thinking that, you'd never leave the house. This is just what we do.

Mum and my father Dick have been breeding the 'Carrigeen' family of horses that I ride for the past 30 years. Mum mucks out every day and rides out in the winter if we need help and my brother Richard and sister Pamela are fixtures in the yard as well.

DELIGHTED

Ballydoyle is only over the road from where we are in Lisronagh and I was delighted to see Camelot win the Derby, but the Flat doesn't really appeal to me. It's grand to watch the big races when you're idle like I am, but otherwise I'd take it or leave it.

Because I can't drive and am meant to be resting up, my days out have been frustratingly limited. Everyone refused point blank to take me to Kinsale point-to-point for a look last weekend, but they finally relented for Ballingarry on Monday.

It was the first time that I had been back on the track since my fall and it was great to meet all the lads and just be able to have a normal conversation with them.

Tomorrow, then, we are all going to the point-to-point dance at the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork, when you can rest assured much of the conversation will be a shade less coherent.

After a long season, everyone lets their hair down, although a glass of wine will be the extent of my indulgence.

I had a couple of drinks recently and got a right earful from Tom afterwards -- suffice to say, I didn't handle the alcohol too well in my current state!

For the past three years, I've been lucky enough to be presented with the lady rider's award.

This time, I have to settle second behind Katie Walsh, though there's no shame in that after the season I've had and my parents are getting the breeders' prize, so at least we won't be coming home empty-handed.

Oh, and I will be in flats rather than heels. Apparently I am not steady enough on my feet to wear a decent pair of shoes -- this concussion thing has a lot to answer for!

For more information on racing in Ireland this weekend check out www.goracing.ie

Irish Independent

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