Jockey Danielle Johnson is back on the horse, so to speak.
Johnson has been on the sidelines since mid-November when she sustained three fractures to her collar bone in a race fall at Ruakaka.
“I’ve been back riding trackwork for the last couple of weeks and I had four trial rides last Monday, but I won’t be back race riding until next season,” Johnson said.
“I still have a plate and six screws in my collar bone and they’re coming out on July 23rd.
“I couldn’t move my collar bone at all for a long time and it’s still a bit weak so it’s going to take a while to get my full strength back.”
Despite her five-month layoff, Johnson has maintained her base fitness and kept her weight under control by going to the gym and keeping active.
The 28-year-old said her time out of the saddle has been bittersweet.
“I’ve been a jockey since I was 16-years-old and this is the longest time I’ve had off,” she said.
“I usually take a break over the winter, so it’s been nice having time off in the summer. But riding over the Christmas and New Year carnival is what we strive for as jockeys and watching the horses that I would usually ride win was tough.”
However, the break did give Johnson an opportunity to view racing from the other side of the racecourse.
“I have a new appreciation for all the work that goes on behind the scenes in a racing stable,” she said.
“There’s so much that the trainers and the staff do that jockeys probably don’t always appreciate.”
Johnson also experienced the other side of the winners’ circle when Balios, a horse she co-owns with Sir Peter Vela was successful at Ellerslie in December.
“That was an amazing experience and it was excitement that I haven’t felt before, it’s very different to winning a race when you’re riding the horse,” she said.
However, nothing beats riding winners for Johnson who is looking forward to returning to the saddle.
“My goal is just to ride more winners and big race winners,” she said.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back in the saddle. I loved riding at the trials the other day.” – NZ Racing Desk