Striking a balance between work and home life can be a task faced by millions across the world throughout the year. But, that is typically a bigger issue when it comes to the horse racing industry, with action on the track taking place on a daily basis.
That can often mean that parents will have to make a difficult decision when it comes to their future in the sport, and juggling both life as a parent and their career within the sport can be a massive challenge.
However, there has been no shortage of examples of moms who have built lasting legacies in the sport of horse racing after giving birth during their careers.
Julie Krone and Rosie Napravnik made history in the Breeders Cup results, according to TwinSpires, being the only women so far to win races in one of the biggest events in the sport.
The sport is more accessible than ever in this modern day, and there is no shortage of examples of female superstars who have been able to continue building their careers in the sport after giving birth.
There are few more challenging tasks in life than giving birth and then returning to life in the saddle. However, one jockey who has seamlessly made the transition back into the competitive sport is Carol Cedeno. The 25-year-old has two children with fellow jockey Angel Serpa, and both remain prominent in the sport in the United States.
Cedeno revealed that her mother takes a lot of the responsibility for the children when the married couple heads out to work for the day, with the kids being dropped off at 5 a.m. every day. She revealed that a typical day would see her head to the yard to ride horses after dropping the kids off, before heading to the track for her rides on the afternoon.
After the job at the track is complete, she travels back to Pennsylvania to cook dinner and spend time with her children. The plan appears to bring out the best of Cedeno on the track, as she has taken over 9,000 rides throughout her career, scoring 1,245 wins to date and winning over $32 million in prize money. Among her most successful horses include Golden Candy, Witty, and Dancer’s Melody.
Ashley Broussard also shrugged off the possibility of being a stay-at-home mom after giving birth to her child. The 22-year-old returned to action just months after giving birth to her son, and she opened up about how she gets through the days balancing life as a parent and in the saddle.
She revealed that she would work five days a week, travelling 25 minutes to Evangeline Downs to ride out horses, before making the same journey on four nights per week to ride horses in competitive action.
Broussard continues to be involved with horses even on her days off, as she trains barrel-racing on Mondays and Tuesdays. She revealed that while she acknowledges that the sport is incredibly dangerous, she sees it as the best way to make a living to support her son.
She quickly became one of the most exciting young jockeys after making her breakthrough in 2013, landing a first win at Ellis Park before being the winning-most apprentice at Fair Grounds in the same year.
Broussard has taken 4,338 rides throughout her career, winning on over 600 occasions. Oh Baby Oh Baby remains the most successful horse that she has rode, having won over $149,000 in prize money on the mare.
It could be argued that being a horse trainer coupled with a parent is more time-consuming than any other profession. Trainers will typically wake up early in the morning and will be across all factors surrounding their runners in training, including diets, workout plans, and race entries.
One of the most successful trainers who is also a mother is Jessica Harrington, who has experienced huge success with both flat and jumps horses throughout her esteemed career. Harrington gave birth to two children in a later marriage, which ended in 2014.
Her career in racing began in 1989 after getting her training permit, and she quickly established herself as one of the leading trainers in Ireland for three-day event riders, representing the nation at the Olympics and World Championships.
By 1996, she was regarded as one of the best jumps trainers in the United Kingdom and Ireland. That was mirrored by the fact that she won seven races at the Cheltenham Festival, including the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Arkle with the great Moscow Flyer.
She would later enjoy a stunning end to the 2017 season, winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the first time with Sizing John, before landing the Irish Grand National in the following month. As well as jumps success, Harrington has also landed some prestigious flat successes, including the Irish 1,000 Guineas with Alpha Centauri in 2018, and the Coronations Stakes with Alpine Star in 2020.
Women in horse racing who are also mothers should take pride in their ability to break gender barriers and excel in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Their presence and accomplishments not only pave the way for future generations but also serve as a source of inspiration for their own children. This is a powerful message: that women can chase their dreams and maintain a nurturing, loving home environment simultaneously.
Managing a career in horse racing alongside motherhood requires effective time management. Women can benefit from developing well-structured schedules that allocate dedicated time to their professional commitments and quality time with their children.
This means setting clear boundaries and learning to prioritize tasks effectively. By doing so, women can be fully present in their roles as jockeys, trainers, veterinarians, or any other position they hold in the industry, and still be engaged and supportive mothers.
Support systems are crucial for any working mother, and women in horse racing are no exception. They should not hesitate to seek assistance from family members, friends, or professional childcare services. A strong support network can provide much-needed relief, allowing them to focus on their careers without guilt.
Furthermore, sharing parenting duties with a partner who understands and values their aspirations is essential in achieving work-life balance.
To sum up, horse racing can successfully navigate the challenging terrain of being a mom while excelling in their careers. It’s a journey that requires careful planning, resilience, and a strong support system, but it’s an achievable feat.