Fundraiser for jockey relearning to walk

A fundraising event in her honour will be the first social event rider Kate Nipperess has attended since suffering serious spinal injuries 16 months ago.

Nipperess was injured in an accident at Warwick Farm in July last year when a riderless horse crashed into her mount during trackwork.

“I’ve only been to doctors appointments and rehab,” Nipperess told AAP.

“I’m looking forward to it but I’m a bit nervous as well.”

The fundraiser at Rosehill on November 30 will raise money to help Nipperess buy a car to modify so she can drive herself to rehabilitation while she learns how to walk again.

Cars can be modified so they can be controlled by hand rather than foot, at a cost of about $10,000 to $15,000.

The track rider and picnic jockey says she’s on a long road to recovery, and attends rehabilitation five days a week in Lidcombe, relying on lifts from her family and friends to get to the clinic.

“Because it’s going to be a long process I don’t want to keep relying on everyone else to have an afternoon off work,” she said.

She spent eight months in hospital and surprised doctors by walking out with a frame when she was discharged, after being told she had a 10 per cent chance of ever walking again.

“No-one can guarantee how much you’re going to recover, so you’re blindly working really hard every day, not knowing which day it will stop and that will be as good as you’ll get,” she said.

“I just have to keep trying.”

Nipperess says she’s determined to get back in the saddle and is humbled by support from the industry.

Her partner, trainer Craig Ritchie, says she is determined to not use a wheelchair, opting instead to push herself through rehabilitation.

“Life would be a lot easier for her if she did, but she pushes herself really hard. She doesn’t want to use one,” he said.

Limited edition racing and sporting memorabilia will be auctioned at the event, which also includes a tribute show to Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly and Katy Perry.

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