Ruby finds positives after life-changing 2015 ride
AS THE weeks wind towards the end of 2015 many people will look back on their year that was.
Good memories and achievements will be punctuated with the inevitable failures, forgettable moments, and for some, darker periods.
For Toowoomba apprentice jockey Ruby Ride it would be hard knowing whether to feel shattered or grateful about the note her 12 months has ended on.
Ride experienced some high moments when she returned to race riding in April after spending seven months on the sideline with a shoulder injury - the latest in her short, but topsy-turvy introduction to race riding.
Four months later the 23-year-old's life was on the line and her riding career in tatters after she suffered horrific injuries in a life-changing incident at Ipswich on August 7.
Ride was catapulted from five-year-old Zippity Zou after she reared over in the parade yard prior to going on to the track for the Class 1 Handicap.
Ride's 50kg body took the full impact of Zippity Zou crashing to the ground before she was trampled as the mare looked to regain her feet.
The urgency of Ride's plight was clear as she was rushed to Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital for emergency treatment.
After having her condition stabilised in transit and on arrival at the PA, Ride was transferred the next day to Brisbane's Wesley Hospital to be prepared for surgery.
Ride's surgeon - a German professor - described her "open book" pelvis fracture as the worst he had seen in a person her age.
He likened the injury to one you might expect to find in someone hit by a truck.
They were frantic days for Ride, her partner Steve Glover, family, friends, colleagues and supporters - led by her boss Jim Hanna and his wife Deb.
The severity of her body damage carried with it a 45% fatality rate.
After 3½ hours of surgery where her bones were pieced back together with the help of 12 pins and three plates Ride's fortunes began a slow, positive turn.
Ride's career future was the furthest thing from her mind.
Recovery and regaining the best possible quality of life was suddenly all that mattered.
Four months later the breaks appear to be gradually falling the way of Ride.
"My early prognosis was pretty grim," Ride said this week.
"At that stage we weren't sure if I'd even be able to walk properly again and there were fears I might be left with a permanent limp.
"I didn't even ask would I be able to get on a horse again.
"But some things are slowly improving every week so I can't complain after what I went through.
"I'm still on high pain medication, but I'm starting to do some physio treatment in a hydro pool so it's small steps at a time.
"They say things happen for a reason, but you don't realise how lucky you are until something like this happens to you.
"My partner has been a great carer and I wouldn't have been able to come home from hospital as early (3½ weeks) as I did without him being here for me.
"My boss Jim and his wife Deb have also been great.
"I'm so lucky to have him for a boss, Jim and Deb even used to bring meals for me.
"My friend's mum and lots of other people including my manager (Jim Barnes) have helped out along the way."
Ride's comeback was gaining strong momentum at the time of her crash, but time spent recovering has helped her assess her priorities.
"At that stage I'd been back for four months from my shoulder injury," Ride said.
"I was just starting to get a roll on. I was getting regular Brisbane rides from some really good stables.
"That's all changed now, but I just have to accept what has happened.
"It will probably take about a year to find out what the long-term effects of my injuries are.
"The surgeon hasn't given me a good indication if I would be able to ride again.
"But I'm not complaining.
"My first goal was to get out of bed and then a wheelchair and start walking again.
"Whatever happens to me beyond that will be a bonus."