Last spring, I sat down to recap my very first sanctioned win over hurdles, which was done on the huge stage of the Iroquois in Nashville, TN. Last fall I sat down to recap the aftermath of that first win, and to talk about my second win but also a few low points that followed. I told about the struggles of being an amateur/apprentice jockey who was trying to gain experience all while trying not to learn things the hard way at the expense of owners, trainer, horses and fellow riders. Last year was, what I thought, a banner year for myself. I had proved to myself that I had what it took to ride jump races and be competitive. I had won two races and I felt like I belonged. I was proud of myself, but I wasn’t too sure how much more success would come my way. I was content with myself, as I said at the beginning of the year if I did not win a race in 2016 I was not going to continue trying to ride races and would focus on a training career which I hope will be in my future. Never in a million years did I see things going the way they would for me in the spring of 2017, but wow, I am not complaining.
Well, it’s been quite a spring. It’s funny how we all can’t wait for spring and racing to begin, but once it begins we find ourselves overwhelmed and busy and then before we know it, the spring season is all over!
This has been the most exciting and memorable spring racing season for me as a rider. As a young fairly inexperienced female jockey in steeplechasing, there are definitely many obstacles that I’ve had to overcome to get opportunities to ride races. I have won over 20 point to point races, but have only ridden a handful of sanctioned jump races. I started this spring with a win over hurdles at Blue Ridge Point to point on Dai Bando (trained by Jimmy Day) and a 3 rd on Orchestra Leader over hurdles at Warrenton Point to Point (also trained by Jimmy Day). I also won a 2-mile training flat race on Lune De Caro for my boss, Jonathan Sheppard. Little did I know at the time that those point to point races would lead to the biggest spring season of my career.
It’s going on 5 months since the Steeplechase community said goodbye to the horse that has meant the most to me in my 20 years of dealing with horses. The funny thing is, I didn’t own him, he was not mine in any way shape or form. He was in the barn from the time
Jump racing has been advertised as “the first second career for many flat horses,” but what many owners and trainers in flat racing don’t fully understand is how old steeplechase horses are and can be. Just because they have peaked a year earlier and are ending their flat career at the age of 5 or