Mischa Pearlman in
If you’re in any way squeamish, you should probably look away now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
During the race, horse Diamond Dark – which was being ridden by jockey Romain Julliot – took a fall after a bad jump and tumbled over, sending Julliot flying.
The horse behind him, Sulfite, was unable to swerve out of the way, resulting in one of Diamond Dark’s hooves smashing into jockey Erwan Bureller’s jaw, breaking it.
Briens, who travels all over the world to shoot horse races, was taking photos of the race and managed to snap not just the tumble, but also the grisly image of the horse’s hoof breaking the jockey’s jaw.
The 55-year-old photographer said: “When I saw the picture on my computer, I immediately thought it’s not the same as usual because of the precision.
“As I was taking pictures I saw Diamond Dark make a bad jump and when he fell Sulfite couldn’t do anything to avoid it.
“I want to tell you, I am really sorry for the injured jockey, Erwan Bureller.
“But if the accident had been more serious for himself or for Romain Julliot, the other jockey, and of course for the horses, I would never have published this picture.”
Incredibly, both horses emerged unscathed from the incident – which, judging from how dramatic the pictures are – was extremely lucky. According to Briens, who has been a professional horse racing photographer for more than three decades, in these kinds of steeplechases, the risk of falling is common.
“I’ve seen many, many situations like this in my career,” he continued, “and immediately after the fall, the horses and jockeys were up.”
Diamond Dark’s jockey also escaped unscathed after the fall. And while Bureller’s jaw was fractured, he’s apparently making a swift recovery. Whether he ever gets on another horse again after what happened remains to be seen, however. I’d definitely have second thoughts about it.
Featured Image Credit: Jean-Charles Briens/Kennedy News