Gympie's rider overcomes injury to sweep awards
EQUESTRIAN: Gympie endurance horse rider Gayle Holmes has reason to celebrate a remarkable year, after winning a host of awards.
The 56-year-old Widgee-based Holmes recently did the seemingly unthinkable by winning multiple state and national riding titles straight off the back of a serious injury.
Holmes, who has represented Australia at the World Equestrian Games, had her foot shattered just above the ankle when a horse kicked her in July last year.
The injury required the surgical insertion of a metal plate and seven screws.
She climbed back on after just a few months and picked up the Queensland State Distance Rider and Points Rider awards, the State Distance Horse and Points Horse, and won the Collier Cup.
She also won equal first place as National Distance Rider, second in National Points, second in Horse Points and third in Horse Distance.
Arguably one of Gympie's toughest women, she rode in one event with a broken hand.
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Holmes was humble about her achievement.
"To do that after my accident was a huge comeback,” she said.
"I won three in a row, my friends actually rang me and said 'You realise you are winning the Qld points?'
"I am quite pleased with myself.”
Holmes's injury was the result of a series of events too familiar to those who work with horses.
"I was leading my mare and she got away, she got a fright from a kangaroo,” she said.
As Holmes tried to retrieve the horse, the skittish mare unleashed.
She got the full brunt of the horse's kick.
"I wanted to see if there was any blood, but my mind said 'no, get up, get up',” she said.
"I felt very faint. My subconscious said 'no, if you faint the horses could run over me'. I got to my quad, got to the house, rang some friends and nobody answered.
She reached her friend Steve, just before an ambulance arrived to transport Holmes to hospital.
"The doctor said, 'I think we should send you down to Sunshine Coast Hospital',” Holmes said.
"Had the operation the next day, I was in hospital for a week.
"I went back to the surgeon and they said I had done all the ligaments too.”
Holmes said her injury put her in a dark place as she was not used to being off her feet for six weeks.
"I got so depressed, it could be worse; some people spend their whole lives in hospital,” she said.
"I said, I don't care if I limp for the rest of my life, I am just glad to walk.”
Holmes is now on the hunt for sponsors as she gears up for next year's national championships in endurance held in Tasmania in the new year.
Help Holmes reach Tasmania by emailing cap.endurance@