Irish legend and one time ‘wild-man’ of racing, Paul Carberry enjoyed the cut and thrust of a sport renowned for needing grit and determination in the shape of National Hunt racing.
But for this likeable jockey, life was to turn upside down when a serious injury shattered his femur and just a few months later a second fall when schooling put paid to a return to his beloved sport.
With his life and future in the saddle looking uncertain and having done very little else other than ride and train horses, Paul knew getting back riding was his ultimate goal but with his surgeon calling an end to his racing career the former Grand National winner chose to give it a go in the world of show jumping.
And after working hard to perfect the differences between racing at speed over brush fences and hurdles to the more technical and precise requirements for show jumping success, Paul’s career now sees him set to compete at one of the most high profile events in the sporting calendar, the Liverpool International Horse Show at the end of the year.
Now 43, Paul announced his retirement from racing in August last year and ever since has used the time to earn his living from producing young horses, and buying and selling, but it is the competitive side of life as a show jumper that has really spurred him on to take part and compete with the best at shows of the highest calibre.
Just weeks away from its third running, the Liverpool International Horse Show – December 29 to 31, is the brainchild of Nina Barbour, a friend of the Carberry family, and also responsible for the June event, Bolesworth International Horse Show held at her family home, Bolesworth Castle in Cheshire.
Says Paul a winner of the Grand National in 1999 when riding Bobbyjo: “To be competing at Liverpool International is just fantastic and will no doubt bring back memories of many happy times at Aintree.
“I have made the transition to show jumping relatively quickly but over the years it has always been a part of my life just not the main competitive focus.
“When I was first told I could no longer race it was devastating, without doubt winning the Grand National changed my life and to follow in my father’s footsteps was a massive deal at the time.
“A life in racing brings many highs and lows so for that adrenaline to disappear overnight is mentally tough to take and I am very glad I found show jumping as an outlet not only for my passion for the horse world but also my competitive nature.”
Paul will be taking the seven-year-old Brandon View First Edition to Liverpool International, a horse he has produced from a youngster and one he thinks much of.
“Now that I am show jumping, producing and finding young horses that have real potential I very much see my change in direction to show jumping as a positive one I can enjoy with my wife and children.
“In my racing days I was known for living the high life and enjoying a drink or too, I think terms such as genius and madness were also used but things have quietened down these days and competing at Liverpool International is a major step forward in the life I lead today and my future hopes.”
This year’s Liverpool International Horse Show will see a host of leading names in action from December 29 to 31, at The Echo Arena on Liverpool’s iconic waterfront.
For further information visit www.liverpoolhorseshow.com