Back in the saddle: Jockey paralyzed in accident dreams of riding again

A Winnipeg jockey nearly killed in a horrific horse racing accident last summer now dreams of getting back in the saddle.

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Alyssa Selman, 30, suffered a devastating spinal cord injury in June 2015 after her horse clipped another horse’s heels at Assiniboia Downs, launching her off her mount and into a barrage of thundering hooves.

Watching the accident unfold, Selman’s two young children initially believed that their mother was killed.

“The fact that they thought I was dead,” Selman told CTV Winnipeg, pausing to choke back tears. “That’s the biggest thing that gets me through – that I almost wasn’t.”

The accident left her paralyzed from the waist down with a tingling feeling in her lower body. Doctors say she has about a five per cent chance of walking again.

But while the accident may have reduced Selman’s mobility, it also revealed a tight network of supporters. More than $120,000 was raised to help the young mother move into a wheelchair-friendly home, complete with a wheel-in shower, low countertops and extra-wide doors.

Selman says she was blown away by the outpouring of kindness.

“I could not believe that that many people gave, that it got that big. You wouldn’t imagine that that many people would care that much and donate so much,” she said.

Her new home also comes with space for her beloved horses. The ultimate goal, Selman says, is to get back in the saddle and hit the trails with her kids.

“The big goal would be to ride again and maybe ride with my daughter… her and I could do some trail rides,” she said.

For now, Selman continues to adjust to her new life and learn how to live in a wheelchair. She says she’s conquered some initial fears, such as leaning over to pick things up.

”I’ve realized now that these things are not that hard,” she said.

With files from CTV Winnipeg


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