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Brittany Arterburn is a young apprentice jockey
currently riding down in Maryland and I recently
got her on the phone for an interview and here is
what was said:
FOTH: Where were you born and where did you grow
BA: I was born in California and I lived there
until this past summer as my parents, actually my
father he always fly to the OBS sale and when he
came he said he had brought a place and the next
summer we were shipping everything to the East
FOTH: Now were you a tom boy growing up at all
BA: I played a lot of sports and I played soccer
all the way until my senior year and I actually had
some scholarship offers to go to collage, but I
tore my ACL real bad my senior year and just ended
up doing collage rodeo. I have also done rodeo my
whole life and I just settled for collage rodeo and
I am glad cause everything worked out OK.
FOTH: Was your parents pretty support of you
becoming a jockey?
BA: Well my dad, he has been around this sport a
long time and about the time I wanted to become a
jockey we had one of our good friends jockey Chance
Rollins go down in a spill, so my dad never really
wanted me to be a jockey, I shouldn't say wanted
cause he supported me in everything I have done,
but he was real hesitant about me becoming a
jockey, he just wanted me to be a little gallop
girl/assistant trainer, you know just help out with
the family business.
FOTH: Do your parents get to see you ride live
BA: When I started at Colonial Downs this past
summer he did, but when Laurel started my dad had
to go back down to Tampa, but my grandpa, he was a
jockey for a long time, Jack Arterburn, him and my
dad watch every race and I get a call and they tell
me what I need to work on and things like that.
What I did right and what I did wrong, that sort of
FOTH: Now what event or events actually led to
you becoming a jockey? Did you say exercise horses
for a number of years and then decided to become a
BA: I have always been around horses and I was
doing rodeo since I was 8 and I have always wanted
to become a jockey since I was younger, but I just
never thought it would happen and I actually went
to collage to be a vet, but before I went to vet
school this was something I wanted to do and I
never wanted to go to vet school and then say "oh I
wish I went and became a jockey before I started my
practice and stuff." started galloping when I was
16, so I did that for a good 6 years before I
FOTH: Tell me a bit about your 1st race. Was
that at Colonial Downs?
BA: Yeah it was there and it was on a horse that
I had been galloping for 3 years and I knew the
horse really well and it was one of my dad's horses
and for me I thought it was a really good place to
start and I and really glad I started on a horse I
knew and the horse took really care of me because
you get so nervous and everything just freezes you
know and the horse just took care of me, it was a
good horse to start my 1st race on.
FOTH: Where you nervous at all going out into
the paddock and stuff?
BA: I was real nervous. My palms were sweating
and I was really hot and when I jumped off my horse
I was panting pretty good. (laughs)
FOTH: Tell me a little about your 1st win.
BA: It was actually the same day as my 1st race.
My 1st race was the 6th race and I won the very
next race on a horse called "We Have A Problem".
FOTH: What was it like jogging the horse back to
the winner's circle? Were you like in complete
shock that you had just won a race?
BA: Yeah it was a felling I won't ever forget.
It was real excitement and it is funny because this
horse, I never liked galloping this horse and this
horse did everything right, but he is this big,
strong, tough horse and I wasn't expecting him to
be my 1st winner. My whole family was there and my
dad was actually the one who pressured me to ride
this horse right after my 1st race. I just remember
my dad and sister smiling so much because this
horse he is a good and special horse and they were
really happy for me. I have wanted to be a jockey
for the longest time and just galloping one of our
horses back to the winner's circle was just an
FOTH: Did you get the inanition from the other
jockeys and did you know it was coming?
BA: I knew it was coming and they got my pretty
good. Somebody got me with "vicks" and later I
found it was my own valet and it took me like 3 or
4 days to get that stuff out of my hair, to wash it
out as it just stuck to my hair.
FOTH: Describe to me what the experience was
like for you riding at the Colonial meet in
BA: I like it a lot and I had a lot of fun.
Everyone was really nice to me and I may go back
there again this summer and it just a nice relaxing
place to ride. They have really nice crowds and it
is located in a nice laid back area.
FOTH: I know your currently riding in Maryland
now, do you notice any difference in the tracks
besides the 2 turf courses that Colonial Downs
BA: Colonial I pretty much rode for my dad. I
didn't go out and try to hustle and didn't try to
meet any of the trainers and it wasn't until I got
to Laurel that I picked up and agent and started
FOTH: Take us what you go through in a typical
BA: I usually get to the Laurel or Bowie Race
Track about 6: 30 am and I walk around with my
agent and ask any of the trainers if they need any
help. I try to hustle up some business and
hopefully get lucky and help a few trainers out and
then since the post time is so early (12:35 pm) and
you have to be in the jock's room at 11:00 am, you
don't really have much time from after you work in
the morning so you pretty much go straight to the
jock's room and get ready to ride in your races.
FOTH: Do you have any hobbies or things you like
to do when your away from the racetrack?
BA: I still rodeo down in Tampa and stuff and
they have jackpots and stuff and I go and compete
in the jackpots.
FOTH: Is weight a problem for you at all?
BA: I do as I have a more muscular build and I
have to watch what I eat and I work out actually
every morning between training hours in the morning
and before I check in the jock's room and I
actually run about 3 miles a day. It's hard for me
to go in the box as that kinda drains me. I enjoy
running and have since high school. I usually I
hear about jockeys complaining about back problems
and stuff and I think because I run so much that
has actually helped me with my muscles and stuff.
FOTH: Do you have any idea how long you would
like to ride for or are you just kinda taking
things day by day now?
BA: I would like to make this a permanent job as
I love this. This is my passion riding horses and I
can't ever imagine giving it up.
FOTH: Do you have any short term goals you would
like to achieve at all right now?
BA: My only goal right now is for somebody to
look at me and mistake me for a guy.
FOTH: If some young girl came up to you and said
she wanted to become a jockey, what advice would
you give her?
BA: I would say as soon as you turn 16 go and
get your ex-rider license and see if you can get in
with a barn and gallop for a couple years and if
that is something you still want to be, to go for
FOTH: Looking back, was becoming a jockey easier
or harder than you thought it would be?
BA: That is a tough question. That part that was
harder than I thought was walking around and
hustling in the morning. You really have to get out
there every morning and show your face because it
is not good enough just to shine in the
afternoon's, you got to walk really all day. That
was one part that was really a shocker. I had been
an ex-rider for 6 years so I kinda had an idea
about what I would be getting myself into.
FOTH: Do you think another female rider will win
one of the 3 Triple Crown Races?
BA: I absolutely do. Even Rosie (Anna Napravnik)
look at what she has accomplished in a little over
a year and I think Rosie is a great rider and I
don't think this is a man's sport anymore and there
is a chance for more woman riders to accomplish
FOTH: Do you ever have any problems with any
trainer not wanting to put you up on a horse
because your a female?
FOTH: Have you had a special horse or day so far
that sticks out in your mind?
BA: That horse "We Have A Problem" he was also
my 5th winner and he is just a real special horse
and we have had him for a while and he will be
forever in our hearts.
FOTH: I am all out of questions. Anything you
want to say to wrap this up and thanks for letting
me interview for the site.
BA: No, but just thanks for the interview.
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