Leigh Woodgate

Professional Jockey, Inspirational Speaker

I was a successful professional jockey when on the 1st July 1994, my life changed forever.

During a race, my horse stumbled and fell. The others on the field couldn’t avoid my body on the track. My injuries were almost fatal. Almost every bone in my body was broken. I lay in a coma for 17 days and in hospital for six months. The whole time I believed passionately that I would ride again. I had to learn how to eat, talk and walk again. Step by step, I strengthened my body and my resolve.

I survived but it took me 15 years to repair my shattered body and mind. I was finally cleared by the doctors, and now I can ride again professionally.

I’m proud of my will and determination to get back on the horse have got me through daunting adversity. That’s why my advice to young girls in their lives and in their careers is to never ever give up. If you love what you do, find a way.

What work do you do?

Rehabilitation trackwork, riding and inspirational speaking.

When you were at school did you know what work you wanted to do?

Yes, I always knew I wanted to work outdoors and with animals (especially horses).

How did you get started?

Dad put me on a horse when I was six months old and it grew from there. He needed someone to help him with the stock work.

What do you love most about your work?

Doing a good job and getting results.

What was your biggest fail along the way?

The accident that left me in a coma and broke nearly every bone in my body. I am still recovering 25 years later.

What’s your biggest accomplishment so far?

Winning the great mountain race, winning my first three jumps races, buying my first farm and most of all – how far I’ve come in my recovery and getting back to track work for the trainer I was riding for on the day of my fall.

Who helped you get to where you are today?

Medical professionals, my family, friends, and myself. I took every opportunity from anyone I could.

How has technology changed your industry in the last 5-10 years?

In my speaking engagements, I have been able to make my presentation a lot more professional, and it will hopefully take me worldwide.

Do you have any advice for young girls thinking about a career in your industry?

Never ever give up. Find a way.

In your wildest dreams, what would you love to do every day and get paid for it?

Professional speaking worldwide, and to be able to make a huge impact on changing people’s lives. And world peace.