Three compression fractures in her neck and a painful 12-month rehabilitation process won't be enough to convince Cejay Graham to hang up her racing silks.
The Port Macquarie jockey has entered the final phase of recovery as she eyes a return to the saddle in January.
Graham held on for as long as possible before she was eventually bucked from a racehorse at Lismore on January 17 this year as she headed towards the barriers.
While things turned nasty quickly, the talented apprentice jockey said it was just one of those things.
"This is what you sign up for when you ride horses ... whether it's racehorses or not, it was just an accident and these things can happen," she said.
"I can't wait to be back to be honest. Racing is more than just a job for me - it's a lifestyle. When I didn't have that around me I felt like a different person."
Graham remembers most of the incident, but it was when she landed that it became obvious there was a problem.
"It's all in the way you land sometimes," she said.
"It doesn't matter what you're doing or how fast you're going. I fractured my C3, C4 and C5 vertebrae and that put me out of the saddle for originally they said 12 months.
"I thought I couldn't wait that long, but I'm glad I did because each month that's passed it's gotten so much better."
The 23-year-old has recovered one month ahead of schedule which has allowed her to return to saddling up on a pony.
"That means everything is progressing well so it's definitely been a long time nonetheless, but I'll take a month earlier for sure," she said.
Surprisingly, there haven't been any mental demons that have accompanied the return to riding.
"I think I'm past that point," she said.
The new year looms as a chance for Graham to restart her jockey career that still remains in its infancy.
"Having an end date (for the rehabilitation) makes it easier because the first six months it felt like I was stuck inside my house," she said.
"But since I've been able to work out, go to the gym and do pilates it means I was able to get out and about and do things. Now the date is a lot closer to return to trackwork, I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel."
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