We sat down & had a chat to the successful hoop to learn more about her career and what she gets up to when she’s not in the saddle…
Right from when I could walk, I was on the back of a horse. Dad [Peter] was a jockey and mum trained horses, so it was in my blood.
I loved the outdoors and I was the kid that would rather be on a pony than in school.
Because I started riding ponies at such a young age, it was a natural progression to riding racehorses in training and I was 16 years old when I started racing. However, if you don’t grow up with ponies you are thrown in the deep end!
I did a four year apprenticeship, which consists of theory and practical work. For example, part of your training would be to look over race replays with champion jockey Noel Harris (National Riding Mentor for the apprentice school at New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing) then explaining what is a good ride and bad ride.
We also learned all about how to care for horses.
To be honest, it’s not something I think about or talk about. The sport in New Zealand is so progressive, so the industry isn’t like that here.
Ultimately, if you’re good enough you will be successful, and I have had no struggles being a female.
In fact, it’s about 50/50 split between women and men in the jockeys’ rooms now.
It varies so much! Last week I had four days off, but this week I am riding Tuesday to Tuesday and it’s hectic; I can be riding up to ten horses a day.
Summer racing is the busiest time of the year, so I am currently starting at 5:00am training horses for a couple of hours. Then, after a little downtime, I’m back riding horses from 12:30-6:00pm.
I love horses. You can get out of bed every day and hang out with horses, which is great as they aren’t as annoying as people! But in all seriousness, the thrill of winning a race is exciting.
I’m not a fan of the early morning starts!
It was totally exhilarating. I was 16 years old and I had only done about ten rides before I had my first winner. It was here at Ellerslie, which is my favourite course and I was riding for my boss at the time who had just recently passed away.
To keep riding winners and the more group one winners I can get, the better.
Shopping – I am very good at that! I also really enjoy doing work on my farm.
I can imagine myself as a real estate agent as I’m really interested in property and think I’d be a great fit as an agent for lifestyle blocks and farms, so that might be in my future one day.
If you’re prepared to work hard, there are plenty of opportunities.