Nissan’s Lorette Knowles-Taylor sitting out the Cell C Derby

Lorette Knowles-Taylor will be cheering from the sidelines for a second year running

Superwoman Lorette Knowles-Taylor will unfortunately be watching this year’s derby from the side lines for the second year running due to back-to-back concussions which have ruled her out of riding for three months. The ever energetic athlete will still give the show all she’s got in terms of helping the Farnham pupils as well as her husband bring home the rosettes.

Time off

“In addition to the falls, I’ve been smacked on my head twice by my horses – just freak accidents – no one’s fault – but it resulted in back to back concussions. I have been out of action since the Shongweni World Cup and just to be safe will be off until January 2018. It’s now not really about the riding – but if I fall off and have another blow to my head that’s the problem, so rather be safe than sorry! I have undergone a 24 hour EEG as the sports concussion specialist referred me to his neuro-surgeon. My CT scan immediately after the show in Shongweni showed no bleed or bruising luckily and my tests with Dr Jon Patricios at the end of August were within normal parameters which was also great news! I may still need a brain MRI – but fingers crossed that’s not necessary as I’m claustrophobic in that tiny tunnel!”

Handing over her rides

Having to hand over her rides to fellow Team Nissan riders Oscar Ncube and husband Barry Taylor, Lor (as she’s affectionately known) says she wishes them both nothing but good things.
“We have a great team at Farnham – Barry is riding the Jansen’s Nissan Catwalk 22 in the big classes, and Oscar is on their other horse Callaho Cento’s Boy in the 1.30ms. Callaho Sampras has returned to the farm for breeding duties. Then new Team Nissan rider, Cheyenne de Beer is riding my Nissan Elite Rhythm in the 1.30ms and Nissan Eagles Lady Grace in the 1.10ms. Callaho Sheridan will start with Oscar now in September – but she is only four so she has lots of time!

Barry rides Catwalk 22 (nicknamed Kitty Cat) beautifully. He was unlucky in the Reonet World Cup at Revil Stables at the end of August, just touching a pole in the jump off and ending 7th. I’m really hoping that he has a great derby though – it was Kitty’s first one last year and Barry gave him a beaut of a round (I was on rest then too after shoulder surgery). Kitty is a super star: he has all the scope in the world and is super careful but can be very spooky at the crowds, noises and things happening outside the arena. This quirk and spookiness doesn’t worry Barry in the least, as everyone in the industry knows he is the best with these type of horses.

Road to recovery

Having taken some time off, Lorette says she’s feeling all the more better.
“For the last 3 weeks I have really taken it easy – I really wasn’t well after the Shongweni show so took a lot of time to rest. I’m now feeling really refreshed and upbeat! Now that I’ve completed all the tests and been given the all-clear, I can get back into coaching my juniors, help Barry prepare for Derby and the rest of the big shows, do some yoga in the mornings and get back to my sessions with the Biokinetisist. Running the Farnham admin and accounts has never ceased even though I felt unwell – and that’s a lot of time each week too that I won’t be able to run away from unfortunately! During these quieter months I’m also keen to run some showjumping clinics across the country, in places that don’t have regular coaches at their disposal. The obvious choice for a Cell C SA Derby win would be Nicole Horwood on Mark White Nissan Capital Don Cumarco they have been amazing over the past 4 years. One cant forget the in-form Lisa Williams and Nicola Sime-Riley. I would never discount Barry even if Catwalk isn’t his regular ride, but generally speaking derbys are quite unpredictable – so it’s an open game!”

One to watch

Her favourite horse and rider combination to watch at the moment is Barry  on Sean Neill’s fabulous grey, ‘Rio.’ “Sean has hurt his back quite severely, so Barry took over the ride 2 months ago. Barry has just started jumping the big flashy grey gelding in the big classes. It’s super to watch!
She might not be mounted, but trust us when we say that Lorette will be out in full force come derby time: whether riding or mentoring, she’s always a force to be reckoned with!

Text: Caroline Malan of The PR Machine

Ticket prices

Saturday 30 September: R50 – R100 (depending on seats)
Sunday 1 October (the main day):  R100 – R600 (five price ranges available: R100, R150, R200, R250 and R600).
Tickets will be available on Ticketpro from Thursday 24 August.
Discounted weekend packages available.