'I feel like I should be there': Horse jockey comes to grips with sitting season out after injury
EDMONTON -- The horse racing season is already underway at Century Mile Race Track, but there’s one name missing from this year’s roster.
“I get really frustrated because, I think, the beginning of the race season starts and whenever I’m hurt before I’m able to ride and be back by the beginning of the season,” said Horse Jockey Shannon Beauregard.
Horse racing runs through Beauregard’s blood.
“Horse racing is my true passion. It’s the love of my life,” she said. “I get to live my dream job and, I don’t know, to me it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle.”
A career she’s had for 17 years with more than 6,000 races under her belt. But it’s also one that comes with risk.
She’s suffered many injuries while racing including broken bones, a serious concussion that put her out for 18 months and most recently, an accident at Century Mile Race Track last September.
“I passed all the other horses and was like ‘Oh, yeah we got this,’” said Beauregard. “I was drawing off and I wasn’t even asking my horse and then all of a sudden he faltered underneath me and when a horse falters underneath you like that you know it’s not good.”
Her horse went down and so did Beauregard.
“I know I went down over his left and as I went down I remember thinking, ‘Oh, oh, that’s not good,’ and then I thought, ‘That’s not so bad, I’m okay,’ and then within me thinking that it was wham,” she recalled.
“I didn’t know what happened, how the other horse landed on me, but apparently the other horse belly flopped on me and I knew right away my hip was broken. I started screaming, ‘My hip, my hip.’”
(Source: Shannon Beauregard)
She was rushed to hospital where she would be treated for multiple fractures to her hip and pelvis, nerve damage, a collapsed lung, a shattered heel and injuries to both wrists.
“They all tell me like ‘you’re lucky to be alive. You’re lucky that you can walk. Don’t be so upset that you can’t ride yet,’” she said.
“To me, I want to ride. That’s why I have such a hard time with it but I do know I’m lucky I’m doing as well as I am,” she added.
She’s still dealing with foot and hip pain, but is taking it day by day. Beauregard said her doctors told her it’ll take up to a year and a half for her bones to heal.
“I thought I’d be back right now but it turns out it was wishful thinking,” she said laughing.
“Any other time they said a year or a year and a half I was back in seven or eight months,” she added.
Still, Beauregard is said to be ahead of schedule with her recovery, not surprising to her sister.
(Source: Shannon Beauregard)
“She really digs deep to the bottom of her soul in everything she does,” said Valerie Beauregard. “I mean your will is your own and her will’s strong enough to not be bed ridden.”
Beauregard said her recovery wouldn’t be going as well as it is without the love and support of many.
“They’ve made a big difference in my getting better because this has been very… it hasn’t been just physically hard, it’s been mentally hard because I’m used to being able to go back,” she said through tears.
She’s still not physically ready to jump back in the saddle, but has returned to the track since the accident.
“It’s definitely hard mentally because I feel like I should be there. I should be riding and the horses that I rode, I fall in love with the horses I ride so I want to be on the horses,” she said. “It takes a while to mentally deal with it but then I have to, for now, be their cheerleader.”
She hopes to be well enough to sit on a horse before the end of the summer and is determined to earn her 911th career win in the future.