Emily Fewster is a young girl riding down in Maryland and I recently got het on the phone and this is what was said:
FOTH: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
EF: I was born in Korea and I was adopted and I grew up in Maryland.
FOTH: What sort of girl were you growing up? Were you a tomboy like most of
the other female riders I have spoke to?
EF: I wouldn't really say I was a tomboy. I wasn't really girly, but I wasn't a tomboy either. (laughs)
FOTH: At a young age did you know you wanted to become a jockey or was that
something that was the farthest thing from your mind?
EF: I always kinda said I wanted to be a jockey and everybody said how hard it was and said "good luck" cause it probably won't happen, but I knew I wanted to be a professional rider in some area when I was older. I knew that is what I wanted to do, but everybody kept telling me how hard it was to do it, so I settled being just a professional at it and I just got really lucky.
FOTH: I know some girls did show jumping and stuff when they were like 9 or
10 years old. Did you do any of that prior to becoming a jockey?
EF: Yeah I started riding when I was 5 and I horse showed horses and I broke babies and I schooled some timber horses, I did a little bit of everything.
FOTH: Looking back was becoming a jockey easier or harder than you thought
it was gonna be?
EF: It was harder in different aspects. It was harder in aspects that I didn't expect and it was easier, like everybody told me how hard it would be to get really fit and I said to myself I am pretty fit I gallop every day and jog and I do all this stuff (laughs). Riding fit and gallopping fit are totally different. It was kinda a surprise to me how hard it was for me to get fit like that. It was pretty easy cause they said how hard the guys were gonna be on me and how mean everybody was going to be and I didn;t have that hard of a time adjusting to people.
FOTH: Did you hotwalk and do some exersise riding down in Maryland before becoming
EF: Actually I was gallopping on a farm and I started doing that when I was 13 and then I went to the racetrack and I got hooked up with Dickie Small, which I was really lucky again and from there I gallopped for him and he sort of took me under his wing for a little while and then I went to the Fairgrounds with him and then from there I hooked up with Steve Assummussen. They were 2 really good people to learn from.
FOTH: Did you notice a big difference in the Fairgrounds and the Maryland tracks
your riding at now?
EF: It is a little bit different as the Fairgrounds is more country than Maryland. I like both places and riders down there are very, very good and they taught me a lot and the riders here (Maryland) are also very good, but the riders down at the Fairgrounds a little bit older and the jock colony here is a bit more younger.
FOTH: Now did you ride your 1st race down at the Fairgrounds?
EF: Yes I rode my 1st race there I rode like the last part of the meet.
FOTH: Do you feel that the time that you were there that female riders are
given a pretty fair shake?
EF: Well there is not many girl riders down there and I feel like they are a bit more old school in their mentality so I feel like on the East Coast you will get more of an opportunity.
FOTH: How many races did you ride down at the Fairgrounds?
EF: I rode maybe 25 races.
FOTH: Your 1st race let's go back to that for a moment. Were you nervous at
all going out into the paddock, being in the jock's room, etc?
EF: No, I pretty much went through my same routine and it's funny when I walked out of the jock's room, Robby Alvarado let me use his lucky saddle so I was pretty pumped about that and I was all ready and I walked out (laughs) and I stutter stepped and I just stopped and looked around and was like "oh wow" and it just kinda hit me and I was really pumped and I just wanted to do a good job cause I was riding for Dickie and I just wanted to do everyhting that he wanted me to do.
FOTH: Now where was your 1st win at?
EF: That was down there.
FOTH: Tell me a little bit about that. Did you win by a lot or a little?
EF: I was on the front end and the horse paid over a $ 100.00 to win and I was like "oh my gosh, now what do I do". (major laughter from emily)
FOTH: What was it like jogging the horse back to the winner's circle?
EF: It was unreal. I almost wasn't sure what to do. (laughs) I was like ok I know where to go, but this is so fun and everyone was clapping and carrying on and it was just a really good feeling.
FOTH: Now after the race I am sure the jockeys got you good. Did you know that
EF: No. (laughs and giggles) I walked back with my valet and he told me "you did so good and let me take your helmet for you, you must be so hot and tired" and I was like "I'm great, I'm pumped" and he takes my helmet off my head and I am like "what are you doing" and I went up to the room and Shane Sellers had a egg in his hand and he was like "good job good job" and he smushed the egg on my head and I was "ewwww why did you do that" and everybody ran out and got me.
FOTH: Now have you had a chance to turn the tables and do that to a new jockey
EF: Actually Luis Garcia's little brother won his 1st race and I wasn't there for that, but they definitely got him. It is all in good fun and just one of those things you got to get done to ya. (laughs).
FOTH: I know you rode down at Colonial Downs last summer. How ws it riding
mostly races on the grass as opposed to the dirt?
EF: The turf course down there is lovely and you get really big fields so you get a really good opportunity to ride and I got really fit and I had a really good meet last year. I like riding on the grass and the dirt, but I prefer the grass races down there.
FOTH: How long do you plan on riding for?
EF: I haven't really set a date when I am not gonna ride anymore. As long as I am comfortable and healthy and I am happy doing what I am doing I don't see any reason to stop unless I am unhappy and unhealthy.
FOTH: Have you had any injuries so far?
EF: Yeah I was in Texas for a little while and I got my my sterum squished and I lacerated my liver, I broke my knee at Colonial 2 years ago, and I broke my finger the other day. (laughs) Those were only the major ones. I have been lucky I have not had any life threatening injuries so far.
FOTH: Take us through what you go through in a typical day.
EF: I like to go out and work in the morning, so I usually get up at 4:00 am to leave the house at 5:00 am. I walk around with my agent and work out horses till 10:00 am and then go to the room or go home and then ride and then afterwards my mare just had a foal so I go out to the farm and I take care of that. I really don't do anything exciting and that is pretty much what I do every day.
FOTH: How do you prepare for a race?
EF: I definetly think it is imporant to study the race if not just your horse, but to see who else is around you and what else is going to be going on besides what is going on with you. I also think it is important to listen to what your trainer says so I try to do a little of both. As soon as the gates open it's like you try to do what they want you to do, but then it is your own judgement for the most part.
FOTH: Do you have a proudest day as a jockey so far whether it was 3 wins in
a day, a stakes win, etc?
EF: The one day I specifically remember I was walking though Target in New Oreans and some old man came up behind me tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around and he hugged me and he was like "the other day I bet on your horse and it was my last two dollars and I made back my paycheck, I am so releived, thank you so much" and he shook my hand I was like 'wow" and it was a really good feeling. I know I really didn't do anything cause riders only 5% or 10% of what the horse does, but it was just nice that in a small little way I helped that man out.
FOTH: Have you ever got recogzined outside the racetrack besides the one time
you just spoke about?
EF: Yeah sometimes people come up to me like at especially when the meet is at Laurel and your around Laurel all the time people see you. For the most part I don't have my helmet on when I am out and about so people really don't see me without my helmet on ya know.
FOTH: If a young girl came up to you and said she wanted to become a jockey,
what advice would you give her?
EF: To work hard, talk a little and really listen to those people who are woth listening to.
FOTH: Do you pretty much plan on staying in the Maryland/Virginia area and
maybe ride a race or 2 in say Delaware or Phila Park?
EF: It is kinda like whatever opportunity I get and sounds the the best and will help me with my carreer. I mean I would love to go back to the Fairgrounds I loved the racetrack there and the people, but I really like it here. I am pretty happy wherever I am so I am not really made any plans on where I am gonna stay.
FOTH: Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do when your away from
horse racing in general?
EF: Shopping does go on quite often. Rosie and I go out shopping quite often. I have horses on the farm and animals at home so I really don't have a lot of time for extra activities. For the most part my life is pretty quiet.
FOTH: Do you do anything special to stay in shape and have you ever had any
problems with your weight?
EF: No thank goodness I am naturally small and as far as the working out thing goes I try to lift hand weights and I try and stay concious of what goes in my body. I should work out more than I do. I try to do the cardio thing, but I would say gallopping horses in the morning keeps me fit.
FOTH: DO you think another female rider will win a Triple Crown Race?
EF: Of course I think so. I think there is enought alented female riders and I think might not happen next year or in 5 years, but I think it will happen.
FOTH: Have you ever been taken off a horse to your knowledge just because you
were a female?
EF: Well anywhere you go your going to be taken off horses. Yes I have heard that "oh we might try a guy he might be a little bit stronger" but you know it happens whereever you go whether your a guy or a girl. It didn't really bother me.
FOTH: Emily I am out of questions anything you want to say to wrap this up.
Thanks for the interview.
EF: I just really appreciate the interview and hopefully I'll see you soon.
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