Richard's Story

Richard the jockey

Many years ago I broke my neck in a fall at Belmont Park. I was 24 years old and with some strenuous rehab and a lot of work I made my comeback and rode for another 22 years. Then, in 2010 I had a terrible fall at Aqueduct. The horse somersaulted, pitching me forward. I landed flat on the top of my head with such force that broke the original fusion in my neck from the surgery they did 22 years earlier.

That fall ended my career as a jockey. I broke six vertebrae in my neck and two in my back. It took two plates and eight screws to put me back together. Dr. Hecht from Mount Sinai did the surgery and he told me that the scar tissue and arthritis would build up over time. I guess that’s the price you pay for the kind of career I had.

For eight years I managed the pain. I kept myself physically fit and did meditation and yoga. Two years ago, the pain became worse. The only way I can describe it is that it’s the wide open, raw pain of a toothache, except it’s in my neck and back. My quality of life started to deteriorate. I tried painkillers but I found myself reaching for them any time I felt a twinge and didn’t want to go down that road. Last summer, the pain became so bad I couldn’t sleep. I could only manage sleeping for an hour at a time.

 

Richard winning the G1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar aboard Student Council.
Richard winning the G1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar aboard Student Council.
 

 

How it Helps

My doctor suggested I try CBD cream and tincture. It’s made a notable difference. I’m now able to sleep five to six hours straight a night. That’s glorious for me, as I’ve never needed much sleep. Every night I use the cream and once a week or so, when the pain is really bad, I use the tincture as well. It doesn’t completely eliminate the pain, but it tones it down and mutes it.  

I’ve had an incredible journey, I really can’t say how fortunate I still feel. What a cool thing to travel around the world just because I could ride a horse. I grew up in Brooklyn and I really always wanted to live on a farm. Because I could ride a horse, I live on a farm now. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world and I am glad I can still enjoy it despite my injuries.