I have known Jennifer Schmidt
for a long time and it has been a long time since I last interviewed her so
I thought it was time for a new one so I emailed her some questions and here
is what she said to them:
FOTH: It has been awhile since I last interviewed ya. What have you been up to for say the last 3-4 years?
JS: About the same....still riding races. Barrel racing in my free time.
FOTH: What tracks have you rode at the past few years and describe a bit about the one you are riding at now?
JS: I have mostly been in Oklahoma at Remington, Tulsa, Will Rogers Downs in Claremore and Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw. I shipped into a few other tracks for stakes and such. Currently at Remington and ship to WRD. Remington is a quarter horse meet and WRD is thoroughbreds. I love Remington. Beautiful track and good money.
FOTH: In 2009 you had a bad accident and that kept you out of action for awhile. How did this accident come about and were there any thoughts of quitting being a jockey?
JS: Had a bad year, with several wrecks. Was knocked out in July at Tulsa and then the big one was Sept 20 at Blue Ribbon Downs in 100k futurity. I ran second by a nose and then about a hundred yards after wire horse somersaulted over me. Shattered left pelvis, fractured l3 and l5 in my back, and right side of my face was fractured. In hospital 2 weeks. They were certain I would never ride again. I don’t remember anything about the wreck, but know I was very upset thinking I could never ride. At my 8 week follow-up the docs were amazed. They said I could go back in a month. So here I am! I know it’s dangerous, but I love it and when it’s my time, it’s my time. That wasn’t it. So I might as well keep living the dream.
FOTH: It has been awhile since you were last here on the East Coast. Looking back what are some memories you have of riding on the East Coast?
JS: Sometimes I miss the East Coast. It was fun, and loved the tracks back there. I think I get a fairer opportunity out here, but I rode many cool horses and met lots of neat people. I will never forget winning the 2yr old filly stake in NY. Might be back that way to Hialeah this winter.....
FOTH: How much longer do you want to ride for?
JS: Not sure....as long as it’s fun and I am doing well, I will keep going. I love the horses. I don’t want to do it forever, but for now it’s one day at a time.
FOTH: Is being a jockey harder or easier than you thought it was going to be?
JS: It has its ups and downs. Some days are wonderful and others I get really frustrated. It’s always harder on a girl. It is long hours, stressful, a lot of alone time, far from family.....but when a horse gives you his all it kind of makes up for it and many people on the track have kind of become my family.
FOTH: What is the best part about being a jockey and the worst part?
JS: Best-the excitement, thrill and great horses. Worst-being away from family and friends, and sometimes all the hours of hard work....
FOTH: Do you prefer riding on the grass or the dirt or it doesn't matter to you?
JS: Well, quarter horses don’t race on the turf. lol. I really truly love the turf. It’s one of my favorites.
FOTH: I know you have ridden in some quarter horse races. Tell people a bit about what exactly they are and how do you prepare for a race of that nature?
JS: Really, that’s mostly what I ride anymore. They are a rush like no other. So much depends just on the break alone. Break bad, and you are pretty much out of the race. You can look at the form and all; kind of see what you are in with, but it’[s much more on a fast break and a clean trip.
FOTH: I know your dad is a big supporter of you. Has he had a chance to see you race live much and get in a winner's circle shot with ya?
JS: Dad is the best. He was here at Remington a few weeks ago. I ran 2nd by a nostril and wanted to win so badly for him. He hasn’t been in any pics for a long time because we are so far apart, but he watches on the computer and TV.
FOTH: Do you think after you retire you could become a trainer or own horses once you retire and you’re done with horse racing?
JS: Oh for sure....will certainly train barrel horses. Maybe a few racehorses. Already train some barrel horses on the side.
FOTH: Take me through what you do in a typical day?
JS: Oh boy. Kinda crazy right now. Up at 5:30am to go feed and care for mine and clean stalls. Track by 6:30am to talk to trainers and line up lopes. Loping 7-11. Then draw. if Thur-Sat, afternoons I ride or care for mine, run errands, etc. then head to the track about 5. If I have to ride at Will Rogers Downs, I head that way after loping. It’s a 2hr drive, so that kind of takes up the whole day when I have to go there. When I find time, I barrel race. Like tomorrow, Sun May 2nd, I will lope and then drive 45 min south to Purcell to barrel race. Most of the time they work with me and get me up early so I can make it back in time for the races. I start the 6th tomorrow, so I will run my mare, drive back, put her away and head to the room.
FOTH: Have you ever had any problems with your weight and can you pretty much eat what you want or do you have to watch what you eat?
JS: Not any problems. Other than too light. Quarter Horses get in a lot heavier, but even still, I am way light right now. Lost a bunch after that accident. Still about 108 in jock clothes and eat whatever, but I have always been very healthy, and being so busy burns a lot off!! lol
FOTH: What are some things you like to do when you’re away from the track?
JS: Barrel race and rodeo. Like to run too, but valets don’t like that too much because I am already so light. Hanging with friends, movies, really anything to have fun.
FOTH: Tell me something that might surprise people that know you?
JS: Oh boy....no clue...most people are very surprised I ride my own horses so much and compete on them. Have a very nice mare that I have won a lot of money on. Was invited to the US vs. Canada barrel race.
FOTH: What sort of music do you listen to and what is your favorite band/artist?
JS: Really anything but hard rock. Like country and pop. Love George Strait Guess don’t really have any specific favorites though.
FOTH: How do you prepare for a race?
JS: Well, here at Remington we have a hot tub. Get in that for a little while to relax and help muscles. I read the form or program. Kinda putz around getting ready, ie all my clothes and such. If it’s a big race-stake or futurity or something-try not to get too stressed. lol. Guess been doing it for so long it’s just kind of routine and don’t really think about things too much.
FOTH: What has been your best day at the track?
JS: Any that I come home safe. Nah, really, don’t have a specific day. There is been lots of great races and experiences, but truthfully, after all I have gone through, at the end of the night if I am OK, my horses are OK, and I win a few here and there, it’s all good.
FOTH: Do you watch race replays to see what you did right/wrong during a race?
JS: Always....I always watch the race to see what all happened, if I could have done anything different, etc.
FOTH: What has been your proudest moment as a jockey?
JS: One of the best was winning the black gold 100,000$ few years ago, but anytime people are proud and honored to meet me, or compliment me, it’s great and hearing compliments when you don’t expect them....just the other day I heard from a trainer that a certain jockey (leading quarter horse jock for last 10yrs or so) mentioned that I am one of the hardest workers at the track, and a damn good rider. Said if I ever got the same quality mounts they all did, I would outride them. That was pretty cool to hear.
FOTH: Any short term goals you have for yourself now?
JS: Figure out where I am going here in a month! Lots of options. Trying to decide where can go to make the most money and have the best time.
FOTH: Jennifer I am out of questions. Thumbs up for this 2nd interview any last words the floor is yours?
JS: Thank you very much for all you do. It’s so wonderful, and it’s neat that us gals have so many fans. I enjoy helping you out all I can. I wish all the girls out there the best of luck in all they do, and don’t ever give up on your dreams!!
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