I am sharing Leigh Woodgates story with you in place of my usual newsletter.
Leigh: “Every single thing that happens to you in life is a learning experience. I’m lucky that I’ve been brought up that you’ve got to work very, very hard for what you want”.
There are times when I’m doing my workout that I stop for a rest. Then I look over and see Leigh Woodgate working, pushing, pulling, lifting, squatting, never stopping, always moving, moving forward. Leigh has shown and continues to show such immense courage, inner strength and determination, that by this very nature, she is an inspiration and a motivator to me to work harder, to see what is possible, to see what is achievable.
19 years ago Leigh was a highly accomplished horse rider, having won the Man From Snowy River Race. She was a jumps jockey, had won two races. In 1994 in her 9th race there was a horrible accident and Leigh ended up in a coma for 17 days with two broken shoulders, two punctured lungs, a broken jaw, 5 broken ribs, left broken hip and a damaged optic nerve. Her doctors didn’t give her much hope to survive and if she did, they said it was highly likely she would be a vegetable.
She proved them wrong. She awoke from the coma. She spent six months in hospital. She had to learn to breathe again, to talk again, to eat again, to walk again. Her goal was to not only walk, but to ride a horse once more. She was discharged into the care of her mother, who lived with her for the first 12 months.
Leigh: “I’d set my alarm for two o’clock in the morning. I’d stretch for half an hour, I’d go back to bed and I’d get up at 4 o’clock in the morning. I’d then stretch for 15 mins, then I would go back to bed, and I’d get up at 5.30, and I’d be ready to go down to the gym at quarter past six to start work”.
Leigh went to gym and still does 2 to 3 times a day, she has had and continues to have physio, massage, operations, and never never stops.
It is now 19 years since her accident.
A few years ago, Leigh had her first horse ride.
Leigh: “They’ve said, “Leigh, you’re stupid, you’re mad, you’re crazy, why would you want to do that?” To reach goals, you’ve got to be able to look in the mirror and face your biggest fears. It’s taken 18 years to get to this point of going over a jump, and it feels absolutely fantastic. I’ve reached the goal that I’ve set out to do. The whole world is opening up for me now……. Now I just enjoy living life. Living life and knowing, at the end of each day, when I put my head on the pillow, that I’ve given it my very best shot and I haven’t left a stone unturned”
In addition to her daily gym workouts, physio, massages, she gets out of bed each day at 3.45am to drive to the track to ride horses. She does her track work four times a week.
She is as focused and determined as ever to continue with her rehabilitation. She also shares her life story with others through public speaking.
Why am I writing this – because she is truly inspiring. I am an admirer of her courage and of what she has achieved.
Her story, her words, her determination to live a rewarding life and getting back in the saddle deserve to be heard.
She was on Australian Story in 2012, if you are interested in reading a transcript of the show use the below link:
She doesn’t have a website, however if you, your work, or group are looking for a speaker to inspire and motivate you, you can contact me and I’ll give you her contact details.