By Julieanne Horsman
Canberra jockey Kayla Nisbet has returned to the saddle this morning after eight months on the sideline due to epilepsy.
The 22-year-old had a sudden seizure in June last year and was stood down immediately, but yesterday received clearance to begin riding again.
“It was the best news I could have received,” Nisbet said.
“I was so excited to get back to the track.”
Nisbet worked five horses this moning for her father John Nisbet and his training partner Ron Weston.
“I haven’t even ridden a pony for the last eight months so I think I am going to be sore tomorrow,” she joked.
Prior to Nisbet’s epilepsy diagnosis her career was taking off.
She had won the Apprentice Jockey’s Premiership at both Canberra and Goulburn and just three days prior to her seizure had notched a double at Sapphire Coast.
“It was devastating,” she said.
“I’d gone from such a high to a crushing low.
“I’m lucky to have great support from my family, friends, boyfriend and the industry.
“They drove me around and kept me entertained. I don’t think I would have been able to do it for much longer though.”
While unable to ride Kayla passed the time working on the ground for John Nisbet and Ron Weston.
She helped out around the stables and strapped horses at the races while juggling specialist appointments.
She had to obtain clearance from a neurologist in Canberra, another in Sydney and Racing NSW’s doctor Dr David Duckworth before being granted permission to return to the saddle.
“Now that I am allowed to ride again I am hoping to return to racing in early to mid March,” Nisbet said.
“I am going to the gym, working out and riding track work but my return will depend on fitness and I don’t want to rush it.”
Jockey Manager Dean Walsh shared Nisbet’s excitement.
“I am thrilled for her,” he said.
“She was flying before this happened.
“I’m hoping she has a successful season with plenty of winners and no injuries.”