El Paso, TEXAS (KVIA) -- Bryce Bourdieu is all smiles, back in the saddle. The aspiring young jockey is determined to make his dreams of greatness come true, despite losing most of his left leg in a terrible accident last August. Learning to ride again has been a challenge, especially when it comes to balance. Bryce has one boot in the stirrup, and the top of his left leg tucked into a special pouch to keep him from falling off.
"I always lean to my right side. I was afraid to put pressure. I had that mental pressure to not put pressure on," Bryce explains. He welcomes the challenge, and all that comes with it. His positivity is palpable at Gonzalez Ranch, where he trains regularly.
"Every time he's here and gets back on the horse that brightens our mood and puts us in a better place," says fellow horseman Anthony Adkinson. Bryce's physical therapist, Isabela Acosta, agrees. She says when they first met, he could only take five steps with a walker. Now, he's ditched his wheelchair and traded it for a saddle.
"You could see the difference once he rode a horse and knew what he had to work on. His effort increased. I'm so proud of him! He showed everybody he could do it, says Acosta. Bryce has no plans to slow down, and has lofty goals.
"I wanna be the first jockey in North America to win the Kentucky Derby and the American Futurity. Hopefully in the same year," Bryce says.