Monday, September 21, 2009
By Kayla Jarvinen
The life of a jockey isn’t all fame and fortune… No, not at all. Despite all of the risks that jockeys take on a day-to-day basis though, that’s what I want to do and am going to do. I’m going to be a jockey.
I remember watching the 08’ Triple Crown with Big Brown and all the drama that surrounded him. My family has never been involved with the racing industry but for as long as I can remember, every year we’ve watched the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont on TV -- and 2008 was no different… Except that was the year I fell in love with horse racing. It must have been right after the Preakness; I walked into the kitchen, told my mom I was going to be a jockey, and then settled down at the computer to do some research… And that was that. I don’t know what it was, but I’m hooked for life. Being a jockey is the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night.
It’s kind of amusing actually. I had, for some reason, never really noticed the guys perched precariously over the horses’ backs during the races. I guess I always knew they were there; I had just never given them much thought before. It kind of just came upon me suddenly… “Hey, those guys (called jockeys) ride horses for a living! I’d like to do that someday. Yes I think I will.”
At that point I didn’t realize what I was getting into. I didn’t know at the time that jockeys are the toughest athletes around (at least in my opinion), both physically and mentally. I didn’t know that it was a male-dominated sport and that only 10% of jockeys are female, and even fewer are successful. I didn’t realize, simply, the dedication that you have to possess to pursue a career as a professional jockey. All I knew was that it looked thrilling out there and I wanted to be a part of it!
That was just last year. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about horse racing and jockeys; I now have some pretty amazing people helping me achieve my goals and dreams; and this last August I attended a Jockey Camp put on by retired jockey, Eclipse Award winning apprentice, and creator of the Equicizer, Frank Lovato Jr. I learned so much at Frankie’s camp, and I actually won a jockey saddle there, which I practice on every day. I know my journey’s just beginning, and I have such a long way to go and so much more to learn. I’m up for the challenge though. I work out regularly -- running, lifting small weights, push-ups, sit-ups, etc. Because when it comes time for my first race, I want to be ready. I hope that when I become a jockey, I can make it a little easier, open the door up a little wider, for others girls that are like me and want to have this sort of career.
I just want to say thank you real quick -- first to my parents. I know it has to be hard for you to let your “little girl” pursue a career in such a dangerous profession but you both support me anyway and without you guys I really don’t know how I’d ever make it. I also want to thank Frankie. When I first saw your jockey videos on YouTube last spring, I had no idea how much of an impact you’d have on me. I’m always amazed at how much you know and how much I’m learning from you… So thank you for your belief in me as well as taking the time to help me and answer my never-ending stream of questions.
My parents, my family, Frankie, and so many others inspire me to work my hardest and never give up. I know this is going to be a long road, but I want to be a jockey more than anything and I know that with the help of these wonderful people, I will get there.
My name’s Kayla Jarvinen, and I’m 14 years old and a freshman in high school. I’m home schooled and working hard to graduate early. My current goal is to attend the North American Racing Academy -- a college in Lexington, Kentucky -- to further pursue a career as a jockey. Some day, I’d like to race on the New York and California racing circuits.
Labels: Frank Lovato Jr.
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