A few months ago, I travelled to Oklahoma City to spend the day with a horse racing jockey that had been injured while racing a quarter horse in New Mexico toward the end of 2011.
I didn’t know much about Jacky Martin’s story other than that he was thrown from his mount moments after finishing a race breaking his neck in multiple places. As the day went along, I came to find out that Jacky was arguably the most famous quarter horse jockey ever by winning seven All American Futurities and thousands of other races throughout his career.
On the day I spent photographing Jacky, he had traveled with his wife to a horse sale in Oklahoma City to try to raise money for his health care bills that had been piling up. Jacky was wheeled into the famous horse sale and was immediately greeted by friends who had heard about Jacky’s story. Throughout the day, there were few dry eyes as they greeted the famous jockey now tied to his wheelchair and ventilator. Jacky’s story was one of success, downfall and redemption before his accident. He is now a paraplegic and relies on his wife Tracey and friends for every single one of his needs. Tracey Martin, Jacky’s wife, said the day of the horse sale, they raised about $70,000 for his continuing care.
Here is a link to Jacky Martin’s Update page on Facebook in case you would like to follow his progress and keep up with his story.The New York Times was interested in Jacky’s story because it tied into the bigger picture on horse racing and the increasing numbers of horse deaths and rider injuries over the years. I have never been interested in horse racing, however, the reporting in this story raises a lot of questions about the sport. Here is the link to The New York Times story. It’s a long one so make sure you have some time to take it in.Below are a few photographs from the day I spent with Jacky, Tracey and his friends.
Jacky Martin was one of the best Quarter Horse jockeys ever.
Jacky Martin is now a paraplegic after his horse racing accident in 2011.
Tracey Martin gets her husband Jacky ready to eat breakfast before Saturday’s horse sale at Heritage Place in Oklahoma City.
One of the Martin’s dogs keeps a watch as Jacky is prepped for the day.
Tracey Martin tends to Jacky’s medical needs.
Jackee, one of the Martin’s dogs, gets close to Jacky Martin to check on him as he is cleaned up and prepared to go inside a horse sale in Oklahoma City.
Jacky Martin is pushed in his wheelchair into Heritage Place.
Jacky was greeted by well-wishers as soon as he was brought into the horse sale. All around him, people cried as many saw Jacky for the first time since his injury.
Passers-by watch as Jacky Martin is greeted by fans. Long time friends could be seen crying after seeing the once spry jockey now attached to a ventilator and a wheelchair.
Pauline Martin takes a moment to greet her son Jacky.
Kisses were shared as Pauline said she had not seen her son in two months.
Well wishers file by to greet Jacky and Tracey Martin.
Many well wishers recognized Tracey Martin, Jacky’s wife, needed hugs and encouragement just as Jacky did.
The Martin’s had hat’s for anyone who wanted one and also a pot for anyone who wanted to give a donation to help pay for Jacky’s medical bills. The hats said “Jacky WILL Be Back”.
Horses get walked around a warm up area before being sold. Over 1,200 horses were sold over the three day sale.
Horse buyers take a look at horses before they go on sale Saturday.
Screens all around the arena show the sale price of horses that were auctioned.
Horse buyers line seats listening to an auctioneer call out dollar amounts for horses being sold at Heritage Place Saturday.
Horses are prepared for sale.
Mason Martin (center), Jacky’s son, spends time with his father Jacky as other well-wishers pass by to say hello.
Lance Martin(left) talks with his father Jacky and Tracey Martin while visiting his dad at Heritage Place Saturday.
Tracey Martin makes a phone call as her husband Jacky(foreground) is greeted by well wishers in Heritage Place Saturday.
Wynona Brooks spends time with Jacky Martin.
The Brooks had known Jacky since 1978 when Jacky started racing their horses for them. They have stayed friends ever since and won seven All American Futurity titles together through the years. Through his scratchy voice, Jacky said that Wynona had been like his second mother because they had spent many years together working with their horses.
Well wishers shared smiles and memories with Jacky and Tracey.
Jacky Martin is now permanently tied to a wheelchair and a ventilator.
Jacky Martin’s smile could be seen as he greeted friends through-out the day.
A likeness of jockey Jacky Martin on the back of his wife’s jacket.