Jockey Carly Mae Pye, who has died from injuries suffered in a fall at Rockhampton racecourse, had lived for horses almost all her life.
The 26-year-old suffered severe head neck and chest injuries when a horse she was riding in a jump-out on Monday broke its two front legs, and fell on top of her.
Pye was the eldest of four children and showed her ability with horses from an early age on the equestrian stage.
She rode on the equestrian circuit for many years and won state titles before she decided to try her hand as a professional jockey.
Pye became indentured in the 2006/07 season and won the central Queensland apprentice jockeys title the following year.
In all she rode about 200 winners with the highlight of her career being two wins on star Rockhampton galloper Rocky King at Eagle Farm last year.
Pye knew all about the dangers of racing as she narrowly escaped death when she was trampled by a horse in a fall at Thangool in Central Queensland in July 2012.
Pye recovered and she and her partner, trainer Tim Cook, were regulars at meetings across central Queensland.
Cook and Pye were inseparable and he was at her side when the decision was made to turn off her life support system on Tuesday afternoon.
Racing Queensland chief executive Darren Condon was with the family.
“The racing community, particularly in Rockhampton, is in mourning this evening and Racing Queensland will continue to offer its support during this difficult time,” Condon said.
Many jockeys and race fans expressed their sadness on Twitter.
“It only gets harder every time we lose another jockey #ripcarley,” champion rider Chris Munce said.
Alicia Nolen, the wife of prominent jockey Luke Nolen, said her thoughts were with Pye’s family.
“As we’re all getting excited about the Caulfield Cup, the family of a jockey is in mourning. Our thoughts are with them. RIP Carly-Mae Pye,” she said.
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