Having only one hand is not holding Harry Enright back in his goal of becoming a jockey, with the 17-year-old a recent graduate of the British Racing School (BRS) in Newmarket and now working in the racing industry.
The team at BRS helped develop a custom prosthetic arm for the London lad during his time at the school, which started with a nine-week course, and then a further 18-week course. He is now on the next step in his journey to raceday, and is working at an Oxfordshire racing yard.
Enright was born with one hand – a congenital left below-elbow limb absence. He has always had a love of horses and riding, having first sat on a donkey at eight months old on holiday in Ireland. When he decided he wanted to pursue a career in racing, his parents turned to the British Racing School to take the next step.
“When I was younger I was quite into football and it got to the point where I thought I could either continue playing that, work in an office or try and make something of myself,” Enright said.
“I’ve always loved horses and decided I wanted to take that further and get into racing so I came to the British Racing School.”
BRS Finance Director Andrew Braithwaite was instrumental in developing the bespoke, quick-release prosthetic, working with Dorset Orthopaedic and its London clinic manager and prosthetist Steve Cox.
Braithwaite said the prosthetic needed to be safe for both Enright and the horse he was riding, as well as those around him.
“The key was to find a solution that didn’t require the horses to adapt to the way Harry was riding. Thanks to Harry’s determination and natural ability this has been achieved. It has been great to see him successfully complete the course and go on to full-time employment,” Braithwaite said.
As far as those involved are aware, there are no other jockeys riding with a prosthetic arm, although steeplechase jockey Guy Disney, who lost a leg following a military injury in Afghanistan, is the first amputee jockey to win a horse race at a professional racecourse in Britain. He won the Royal Artillery Gold Cup, on Rathlin Rose at Sandown Park Racecourse, in Surrey, in 2017.
The silicon prosthetic slides onto Enright’s arm and there is a magnet at the end which attaches to the reins. A power circuit keeps it in place and if Enright is dislodged from the saddle, the circuit is broken, releasing the magnet so that he does not get caught up in the reins.
Dorset Orthopaedic said that many riding devices had been attempted in the past. “However, none have been created specifically for racing and this involves a completely different way of doing things.“
Enright is now working at Lawney Hill’s racehorse yard in Oxfordshire. “Everyone has their bigger goal of where they want to be. The biggest goal for me is probably trying to be a jockey. For now, I’m just taking it step by step,“ Enright said.
“My next goal was to get into the workplace and I’ve achieved that and now it’s just continuing to move forwards towards my dreams.”
Hill said Enright was “hard-working, cheeky and dedicated and he’s determined not to let anything get in his way”.
“We are so impressed with his riding ability and his manner with the horses and he has been a brilliant addition to our team since he has joined us.”
Enright’s parents, Michelle and James, are very proud of their son.
“Behind all of this for him to inspire others like him to never give up on your dreams to really put yourself out there and keep trying. We’re in the 21st century and he wants to show that anything is possible. We are so proud of him for his determination to fight for the dream that he wants,” Michelle said.
• The prosthetic is being continually improved and developed. Contact Andrew Braithwaite at the British Racing School for further information.
Article courtesy British Racing School