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Skye's the limit for former jockey in the medical world

3 minute read

In her new life after race riding, former Queensland jockey Skye Bogenhuber is living out her dream.

Dubbed the "Queen of Clifford Park" for her deeds on the Toowoomba circuit, Skye Bogenhuber was a Weetwood champion hoop as well as a multiple jockeys premiership winner on the Darling Downs. 

After a career littered with injuries – headlined by one serious head concern – the 39-year-old has long been planning for life after racing.

She has landed on her feet and the popular former hoop says she is in the perfect position going forward.

Bogenhuber has recently completed her studies at the University of Southern Queensland to become a neurological nurse and will soon take up a graduate position at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

"I have gotten satisfaction throughout my studies, placements and working when you are helping patients – you are always getting satisfaction," Bogenhuber said.

"There is so much more to come once I can do so much more. It will only get better and better and it will feel better."

Before she takes up the position at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, the Group-level winning rider has been working at the Toowoomba Base Hospital in recent times.

As she was a Weetwood Handicap and Toowoomba Cup winner in the saddle, it is fair to say that Bogenhuber is a recognizable face on the Darling Downs.

Yasmyn Baker – a registered nurse at the Toowoomba hospital – works closely with Bogenhuber and says her popularity and familiarity with patients helps those in need.

"Skye has really been able to bond with the patients as Toowoomba has a really big racing community," Baker said.

"Obviously being the Base Hospital, we service a lot of the Western Downs, as well.

"We see a lot of country people that come in and it is a really good talking point, it makes them feel more comfortable. It certainly helps before surgery."

Baker jokes that Bogenhuber is a bit of a celebrity around the hospital halls.

The move into the medical world for Bogenhuber was sparked following a fall in a jump-out at Toowoomba in March of 2019 where the experienced jockey was unconscious for two days.

She suffered a brain bleed and not long after made the decision to put her learnings and experience to good use.

The first female hoop to claim the Clifford Park jockey's premiership became so intrigued by the brain, its inner workings and the ability for it to recover following incidents like a significant fall from a horse, that she decided to dedicate her post-racing life towards helping others.

"It has made me so much more aware of how special our bodies are and again our brains," the former jockey said.

"I am enthralled about the brain and its recovery; I am in awe of how I recovered and I wanted to know everything about the process."

She initially started studying neurophysiology and completed a semester of a seven year degree.

Bogenhuber then switched to a much more manageable three year degree to become a neurological nurse, which she has recently completed.

"I set my heart on that and thought it was perfect," she said.

"I am going to be helping people who are in a similar situation as I was with brain injuries. I have just finished my degree and I am waiting for registration – it is a very exciting time.

"The fact that I am so close, makes me enjoy the time before it comes. I am very proud to get to the end of it after all my work at the hospital."

Fellow nurse Baker thinks Bogenhuber's first career as a professional jockey prepared her perfectly for her the medical world.

"I do not think there is many people on the planet that work harder than jockeys," Baker said.

"So, I think Skye is always happy to get in and do some hard work and she knows what it is like to make sacrifices for what you love and want to do.

"Her riding career definitely benefits her and makes her a really good nurse."

Bogenhuber's position at the Princess Alexandra Hospital is for a period of six months and she will work on a part-time basis completing six shifts a fortnight.

"It is an absolute honour," she said.

"It is an amazing invaluable experience. I am definitely looking forward to it."

After a 17-year riding career, it was not one specific injury that forced Bogenhuber's hand into retirement.

Her last ride was in July of 2022.

She just felt she would follow her gut feeling and walk away without getting seriously hurt again.

Reflecting on her career, Bogenhuber says Miss Imagica's Weetwood Handicap victory in 2013 stands out as does her Group 2 Moreton Cup triumph aboard The Monstar.

She entered the record books as the first female jockey to win Toowoomba's iconic Weetwood Handicap.

"I miss being around the horses the most, I thought I would miss racing a lot more but I actually do not miss it that much," she said.

"I just accepted it in my head that there would be no more. But, I do miss the one-on-one interaction with a horse – that special time with you and just the animal.

"I do miss that but I luckily get to go and see the horses when I can with my off days from work."

Bogenhuber is still connected with the racing industry as a panel member of the new Racing Appeals Panel.

The RAP is an independent entity that provides quick, accessible and fair reviews of stewards' decisions for all codes of racing in Queensland.

The panel consists of experienced legal, veterinary, animal chemistry and racing industry professionals who are independent of the government and the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

 


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