In November 2016, former Kiwi jockey Sophia Malthus' life was changed forever.

Left a quadriplegic with almost no sensation or motor skills from the collarbone down after a freak horse-riding accident, Malthus was left to live life in a wheelchair and was forced to give up her sporting dreams.

But now, a daily inspiration to thousands of Instagram followers, the 21-year-old is sharing both the realities and possibilities of life post-injury.

"I know that my Instagram account gets shown to other young girls who have just had a spinal cord injury and I want them to know that you can still have a happy and fulfilling life," Malthus told the Daily Mail Australia.


"But people should also realise that I didn't just break my neck and go back to life – I haven't been to school or work in two years.

"I haven't been out, it's had a massive impact on everything there isn't one part of my life that it doesn't affect - but I still want people to know that I'm still happy."

Malthus, who featured in a documentary earlier this year, said one of her biggest struggles was coming to terms with the end of her budding equestrian career.

After moving to Auckland from the South Island to train, she said riding became her life before a regular day at the racing stables quickly turned terrifying.

Malthus was flung into a fence after the horse she was riding was spooked and was put into intensive care for the following six days.

Having spent a further 12 weeks in a spinal unit and nine months in a residential rehab, Malthus admitted it was tough coming to terms with her new reality.

"I always thought I would become a jockey even though it's a lot of work, we would work 13 days on and one day off from 4:30am," she said, "Then it was completely taken away from me in half a second - which is unbelievable.

"Before you're in a wheelchair you have no idea what it's like to live in a wheelchair."

But Malthus, who is now often given the opportunity to present awards at some of the country's most prestigious races, revealed that it was her positive perspective that made all the difference.

"When I realised that I would be in a wheelchair I just thought "oh God, I'm never going to be able to do anything" but I can actually do quite a lot of stuff, there are just a lot of challenges," she said.

"So many people get really hung up on the fact people are relying on others to get them dressed and stuff but it's just like it's really a waste of time ... but if I just let it be I can just enjoy the good times and get on with it.

"We always say, thank God I'm the person and we're the family that had the injury happen to them because not many people could have dealt with it."