Jonjo Bright on his career as a pin-hooker and staying positive


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Jonjo Bright and Ian Ferguson. Goffs Land Rover sale. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post 11.06.2019


Jonjo Bright is intent on proving himself an adept pin-hooker and is refusing to be negative despite being paralysed from the waist down since 2013. 

The Ulsterman, now 25, enjoyed some good fortune during the Goffs Land Rover Sale recently, when his first offering at public auction, a Fame And Glory gelding pinhooked for €14,000, was bought by Kevin Ross for €38,000. 

Bright was just 19 when he suffered a severe spinal injury riding in a point-to-point in 2013. However, he has maintained a positive outlook, is engaged to marry his long-term girlfriend and has already proven himself an astute dealer in young horses. 

Bright was speaking on Off The Ball's Friday Night Racing, in association with goracing.ie, on Friday. His days in the saddle are over, but from the off Jonjo has illustrated incredible strength and willpower which would stand to him as the years went by. 

"I remember the whole thing," he said of his fall at at Tyrella point-to-point. "I wasn't knocked out or anything like that. You hear people saying they have nightmares; it wasn't traumatic. It was a simple enough fall. The main thing would've been the ground... it was firm ground and I just got a bad fall. 

"You might be down about it for the meantime, but you begin to think then what is the best way around this, what is the best way to structure things to move forward. 

"I watch things about other people who have had unfortunate circumstances and I think, 'How do they deal with that?' But it is funny when you're in a situation like that, what is your other option?" 

Despite having initially been advised that he would not have feeling below his neck again, Bright has worked tirelessly and has managed to recover movement as far as his toes. 

"It did [improve]. For example I can wiggle all of my toes, and as far as signals go, that’s the furthest away, and that just doesn’t make sense. 

"We’re slowly making small gains even now that we’re well past the time where you’re not supposed to see any gains. 

"When I was in hospital the nurses and the staff were absolutely phenomenal. Sometimes I think they can try to mould you into thinking that you're made of glass. 

"As soon as I got out of hospital that was one thing that I wanted to change. I got back to doing as many of the things that I used to do as possible. 

"A big thing that I have done and everybody around me too, is we try to keep things as normal as possible. 

"There’s things that you have to get on with. You have to live your life and try to fit all of these other things around that. I think at the minute I have a nice balance that way." 

Bright can now walk with the aid of an exoskeleton and counts over 2,000 steps some weeks. 

"It's basically like a wearable robot, which allows me to stand and walk. It does the work of probably five or six physiotherapists," he said. 

"The exo and the physio that I do is all based around the idea that your body is not designed to sit down all day long. I heard a good saying, 'If I rest I rust.'" 

He did not let his injury stop him from being involved in horse racing and he now works in the buying and selling of horses. 

"Early on I saw this as a way to still be involved with racing, with minimal physical input. Obviously I get a hand in terms of any looking after. I do enjoy it and I do see a future in it. That could be beginners luck... hopefully it's something that I can keep at."

Early on I saw this as a way to still be involved with racing, with minimal physical input. Obviously I get a hand in terms of any looking after. I do enjoy it and I do see a future in it. That could be beginners luck... hopefully it's something that I can keep at

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