SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO) — There was a big homecoming at Canterbury Park on Sunday, but it wasn’t about a horse. Much of the attention today went to a jockey who had been away for a year and a half.
Anne von Rosen raced for 15 years at Canterbury. She was a jockey on the rise until one race in March of last year in Phoenix, when a horse she was riding collapsed after a race. Von Rosen suffered a complete TH5 fracture, paralyzing her from the chest down.
Her agent at the time said there was a 99 percent chance she would never walk again.
The crowd seemed lively, Sunday. The horses seemed strong. But few could argue a petite blonde seemed to have the most strength of any being in sight.
“She’s a great human being, it’s nice to see have her back at Canterbury,” former co-worker Patricia McGuire said.
A journey few could have imagined.
“When I was in the hospital I couldn’t even sit up on my own,” von Rosen said.
It was a horse in Arizona that knocked her down. The horse she was riding collapsed – a possible heatstroke.
“I remember galloping out right after the race and I was really happy because she ran a really good race, very excited and next thing I remember was laying on the ground and not being able to feel my legs,” von Rosen said.
Von Rosen said she would walk again, a seemingly impossible feat.
“It’s a lot of work not just physically, mentally, it’s tough,” she said.
After feeling her treatments in the U.S. weren’t enough, she got special electrical therapies in Puerto Rico. And slowly the woman known for galloping is relearning to walk with the help of two leg braces and a walker.
As proud as she was to get on her own feet, she may have been proudest to be on someone else’s, a horse. She has taken several rides since the accident.
“I can’t get up by myself yet, they have to lift me up but it’s good, it’s great, it’s good therapy,” von Rosen said.
So on this June day, she took her strength back to Minnesota to try and raise money with an auction for other injured jockeys.
“It’s very important to know that we’re still part of the family,” von Rosen said.
And it’s clear von Rosen is. A jockey with a new finish in sight.
“Walking without any walking aids, I will, I’ll get there,” von Rosen said.
The charity Anne was helping with Sunday is called the Leg Up Fund. Few jockeys have insurance and areat great risk for injury.
Here is more information about the group that’s helping von Rosen and so many others heal. To donate, just text to 41444.