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Toni’s Story – occupational health and mental health

I had an accident coming up to 2 years ago now, I fell off a horse and fractured my neck. Following the accident I was off work, I started physio but I wasn’t really progressing and I went into depression – I had friends helping me but I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I was putting weight on and I got very depressed about it all, I did want to end my life a couple of times as I felt there was nowhere to go. My boss at the time got in touch with Racing Welfare.

Welfare Officer, Katy, came to see me and took over, she was very supportive and Racing Welfare helped with everything, they got me in touch with Oaksey house and they helped me out with physio, they also got me a nutritionist because my weight was sky high.

Racing Welfare paid for my gym membership for 12 months and I was able to use the gym in between doing physio at Oaksey House. The gym helped me get motivated and improved my mood. I had four or five sessions of physio and also saw a nutritionist.

I went back to work slowly doing duties, alongside physio and the gym and then went back full time. I was off seven months in total. I did ride out again but I’ve now moved to Lambourn to a different yard as I didn’t have the love for riding out anymore and there wasn’t enough work for me to be a yardman in a small yard.

After twenty years in a yard moving was horrible but I am now a yardman at Warren Greatrex’s, I’ve been here seven months and I love it. My mental health is now brilliant and it’s just nice to know that Racing Welfare are there if I need them.

I’ve recently had a stroke so I’m off work again, I’m out of hospital now and Racing Welfare are coming to visit me to see what Oaksey House can do to get me back into work. My boss has told me my job will be there when I get back. I’ve got no pressure off work at all which helps a lot.

I’m much more positive this time. Katy is just brilliant, she rang me yesterday when I was in the hospital, I’ve spoken to her this morning and Racing Welfare are coming to see me tomorrow – I have so much more support this time around. Katy and Racing Welfare have pulled me out of the brink of it. You don’t realise how much Racing Welfare can do for you. I couldn’t be happier now.

If you have had an accident and need support you can learn more about our Occupational Health service here.