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Girl beats spine fracture gloom to qualify for top horse show
5:00pm Saturday 5th October 2013 in News
A TEENAGER who fractured her back and was told that she might never ride again is heading to the Horse of the Year Show.
Jemima Perham, from Wallingford, was diagnosed with three stress fractures in her back in 2011.
The 15-year-old had to stop riding for 18 months and wore a plastic back brace for six months before being allowed to get back on a horse.
But after qualifying for the horse showing category at the national competition, the Cranford House schoolgirl said she was excited to follow in the footsteps of her mum in two weeks’ time.
Horse showing sees riders walk, trot and gallop to present the horse in the ring before judges inspect each horse’s health and appearance.
Her mum Shelley Perham won the showing competition at the Horse of the Year Show in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Jemima said: “I’m really excited about it. As mum has won five times I’m really looking forward to living up to her dream.
“I was there watching her with my Grandma to give her a big hug afterwards when she won.
“What I really like about it is the partnership with your horse.
“It is about having that connection with a horse which can be so dangerous in so many ways and lovely and caring in so many ways when you understand it and get the best out of them.”
The teenager found she fractured her back after competing in long-jump athletics events at school.
At the Nuffield Orthopedic Centre in Headington she was warned that if the breaks didn’t heal she might not have been able to ride a horse again.
Instead of taking part in shows, Jemima had to watch her friends compete. However, she set up cake stalls at shows and raised £500 for World Horse Welfare, which helps neglected horses.
She said: “Being told I might not ride again was very tough to hear, but I thought if I wasn’t going to be able to ride I could help another way.
“It was amazing to start riding again. It felt so lovely to get back on to a pony.”
Mrs Perham added: “She has ridden since birth. She grew up in a big stable yard and sat on a horse for the first time as soon as she got back from the John Radcliffe Hospital.”
Her dad Richard Perham is also the chief jockey coach for the British Racing School.
The Horse of the Year Show runs from October 9 to 13 at the Birmingham NEC.
Jemima’s showing competition with five-year-old pony Ninefield Smarty Pants is on Saturday, October 8.
The pair qualified against 10s of thousands of others across the country at the Kent County Show in June.
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