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By Graham Potter | Friday, November 25, 2022

For reasons that will become patently obvious, this particular episode of ‘Catching Up With Cornish’ ... a series of articles on HRO which has chronicled the rise of the riding career of the young, star apprentice Jasmine Cornish over the last six months ... is an extremely sad undertaking given Cornish’s current circumstances. It is done in the interests of the faithful continuation of her story ... albeit with a chapter that we all wish wasn’t there. We never said we were only going to cover the ‘highs’ ... and that’s all it is. A personal story. It is not, in anyway, a call for sympathy and it is done with the full acknowledgement that Cornish is not the only one to suffer this anguish and that there are many individuals, and their families, who have had to deal with the kind of trauma suffered by Cornish ... and worse ... in the past, the present and, sadly, possibly into the future.

A broken back and a fractured eye-socket are just some of the challenges that Cornish is dealing with following the major upheaval which rocked her life when she crashed the ground in a serious fall in a trial at Beaudesert on Tuesday November 8. Here, in her own words in this latest edition of ‘Catching Up With Cornish,’ Cornish tells the story of the last couple of weeks and indicates just where her recovery stands at this time (November 25).

“That Tuesday was a normal day ... until it wasn’t,” said Cornish. “I remember riding in an earlier trial on a horse for Doug Duryea. It was a pick-up ride. I wasn’t really doing anything ... just waiting around for my next ride ... so I rode that horse.

“I led that trial and you actually had to take a left hand turn to get around the cones. Then I rode our horse Royal Spectre (from the Cornish stable) in the trial before the fall. I remember riding him, but I don’t really remember getting off him ... or getting onto the next horse.

“I’ve been told that there was a hiccup with the ambulance getting to me after the fall and that Chris Taylor, who was the first one to arrive at the scene, had to hold my legs down because I was trying get (broken back and all) and that I looked like I had been strangled with bruises around my neck. I apparently was also making noises like I couldn’t breath. Because I had landed on my head my helmet had shifted a bit and tightened the strap and was strangling me. They apparently struggled to get my helmet off. They struggled to unclip it.

“Thankfully, the horse is ok. She was understandably a bit sore afterwards, but with no obvious injuries ... just probably a bit of muscle soreness. She’s just having a little spell now. She is happy and she will come back into work.

“I don’t remember any of that, but then, days afterwards, I do have a vision which has come back to my head, like a dream of my horse travelling very well. Being a 2000m horse, I remember just starting to wind around the horses in front of me ... like she was going really well ... and then I don’t remember anything after that.

“I don’t even fully remember any of the time in hospital. I have glimpses of some days ... like parts of days. I kinda remember them coming in late at night to take me for surgery (after it had been delayed) ... I remember them taking me through and then I remember them putting the mask over my face and saying ‘you are going to go to sleep now.’ I do remember that.

“I barely remember the car ride home though. I think I must have slept for most of it anyway.

“I do know that when I’ve been in the car since ... I had to go back to the hospital for a check-up on my eye (the fractured eye-socket) ... I was hanging onto the side of the car because I felt every single bump in my back ... it was so sore. Since the operation my back has never not been sore.

“Sometimes it feels like my brain is telling me, ‘I can’t handle this’ ... but then I get through it.”

“I’m still a bit up and down. Last night (November 24 – sixteen days after the fall) was probably the first time that I haven’t woken up a million times wanting to scream in pain.

“I am also having problems with my vision. I’m in my third day not on the strong pain killers and I was hoping my vision would be completely back to normal by now ... but its not one hundred percent yet. Sometimes, when I am sitting still it is fine ... but when I move around or start thinking about things it goes a bit fuzzy.

“The surroundings are just like blur. I can’t focus on too many things.

“They tell me it is just my brain recovering. I had a face-time with the doctor. He said that he has dealt with lot of football patients and that their concussions have never been as bad as what I suffered.

“He said it was pretty bad what my brain has had to go through and that’s it all about the messages my brain is receiving from my body ... and it trying to cope with it all.
“I asked him about physio, and he said there’s not much at this stage, although I could start going for a swim. He said walking is good. I said I’ve gone for a walk down to the horses and I couldn’t see even see.

“Apart from that and the car ride I’ve hardly left the house.

“I guess either the pain is either getting better now, or I am getting used to it. I’m honestly not sure.

“So, yeah, it is tough ... not only just for me on a physical and mental level, but also for the family.

“For example, one of the toughest things for me is watching dad’s horses go around. It’s pretty much like I’ve gone back in time to before I was a jockey.

“Over the last twelve months I’ve worked so closely with all of our stable horses. I was the jockey and I know their personalities. I know how they want to be ridden ... and we have been doing well.

“And now, suddenly, some of dad’s recent runners have not done so well. We know from trackwork they are better than that, so to see dad’s emotions when his runners aren’t doing well while he is also still trying to deal with what happened to me is tough. It is difficult to lift his spirits.

“And that’s hard for me.

“I’m obviously not looking too far ahead, just trying to take things as they come. There is stuff ti get through in the short-term first.

“Becoming relatively pain-free would be a massive boost for me whenever I reach that stage. I just have to accept that something very unfortunate has happened to me and I know I’ll have to work pretty hard to get back to where I want to be.”

*HRO states: ‘There is a steward’s inquiry, still pending, into the incident that resulted in the fall which led to Cornish suffering these serious injuries. While the scope of the inquiry has not been confirmed, it is expected that the investigation, taking into account health and safety issues, will look into the precise placement of the cones (witch’s hats) in terms of how far out they were from the inside running rail ... and, by implication, how close that pushed runners towards the outside fence.

In should be noted that, at the time of writing there is, and has been, no suggestion of any wrong-doing on anybody’s part regarding the incident.



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Getting to here (above) .. from there (see below) already represents great progress for Jasmine Cornish even though it might not always seem that way as she currently still has to cope with pain and vision problems on a daily basis
Getting to here (above) .. from there (see below) already represents great progress for Jasmine Cornish even though it might not always seem that way as she currently still has to cope with pain and vision problems on a daily basis
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