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Omakau racegoers and the wider harness racing community got a frightening reminder last week that racing horses is just a sport that pales into insignificance when compared with health and wellbeing of family and loved ones.
Before I write more, I firstly want to say how utterly brilliant it is to hear that Ricky May has made such excellent progress since the incident I am sure you are aware I am referring to.
That is all that really matters and again, all discussion that stems from last Thursday’s events should pale into insignificance behind Ricky’s recovery and progression back to full health.
That progression started with the incredible, quick and skilled actions the people who rushed to Ricky’s side.
Though it is not necessarily my job to commend these people publicly, I am in a fortunate position where I can.
And that is exactly what I am going to do.
The first of those was Omakau clerk of the course Graeme Mee.
Graeme showed brilliant skill as well as a calm and professional approach when quickly gathering in A G’s White Socks after the incident.
The Otago racing fraternity should consider itself both lucky and privileged to have a horseman of Graeme’s skill on hand at its race meetings.
Graeme’s quick actions undoubtedly had a huge impact on Ricky being able to quickly receive treatment.
Driver John Dunn showed the same kind of quick and calm reactions by pulling up his horse, Heisenberg, who had been following A G’s White Socks, in a matter of seconds.
All drivers in Thursday’s race showed great poise to quickly abandon the race while faced with the scene of their popular colleague in distress and they all should be commended, too.
Ricky’s peers were among the first to his side.
The incredible actions of driver Ellie Barron, who was assisted by fellow driver Lawrence McCormick, have already been documented in the ODT.
The medical professionals who rushed from the Omakau crowd clearly played a vital role in Thursday’s events.
Their skilled hands and calm presence played a massive part in Ricky being on the road to recovery.
They also formed part of a team that worked together towards what has been an excellent result of good progress.
The Southland-based raceday paramedics, the raceday crash crew team, the Omakau volunteer firefighters and other emergency services personnel were each part of that incredible team.
Commentator Dave McDonald also needs recognition for the manner in which he handled the situation.
Dave showed poise and professionalism during the shocking scenes that were broadcast on live television, as did the camera operators.
There could be countless other people I have not recognised in this column.
They should take great pride in being a part of Ricky’s progress.
That progress has allowed the champion reinsman to return to Christchurch to continue his recovery.
Now that the shock of Thursday’s events has been replaced with positivity following Ricky’s improved condition, his name will step out of the headlines while he recovers.
I wish him all the best with that as I am sure his many colleagues and fans from across the world do, too.
Happy trails, Rick.