07/05/2014 10:15AM

Jones galloping horses 11 weeks after serious riding accident


WILMINGTON, Del. – Larry Jones is back galloping horses at Delaware Park, albeit at a reduced level, 11 weeks after being involved in a serious riding accident that sent him to the intensive care unit at nearby Christiana Medical Center.

Jones was injured April 19 at Delaware Park when a 2-year-old he was aboard reared and bolted sideways, throwing him to the ground. Jones broke two ribs, bruised a lung, and most seriously, hit his head, which resulted in bleeding on the brain.

Jones resumed ponying horses about five weeks after the accident. He said Saturday he has been galloping horses for "about three weeks."

"It was by far the worst accident I've ever had," Jones said. "I'm getting on three or four horses a day. The most I've been on is six."

Prior to the accident, Jones said he would regularly gallop 12 horses a morning.

Jones' ribs and lung are healed, but he said he is still dealing with the effects of the head injury. Doctors have told him it could be six months before those symptoms subside.

"I'm ahead of schedule, but I realize things aren't like they were," Jones said. "It's hard for me to do paperwork. It's hard to concentrate sometimes. Like, if there is a disagreement at the barn, I just kind of lock up. I can't deal with it. Sometimes I just don't answer the phone. Sometimes I have to avoid everyone for a little while."

Galloping horses is one of Jones' favorite pastimes, and he said it helps him stay in touch with how the horses under his care are feeling.

"I really enjoy getting on the horses in the morning. It's my favorite part of the job," he said. "It helps me, especially with new horses, figure out how they're going, how fit they are."

Over the years, Jones, 57, has trained the following Grade 1 winners: the Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, the Kentucky Oaks winners Believe You Can and Proud Spell, Hard Spun, Island Sand, Kodiak Kowboy, Joyful Victory, and Wildcat Bettie B.

Jones said he is fortunate that his wife, Cindy, is such an intricate part of their stable and that she has been a tremendous help as he recuperates. Although the past few months have been difficult, Jones has kept his winning attitude.

"I just have to cowboy up and step it up," he said.