Susan DItter is a jockey I knew when I worked at Garden State Park and I recently connected back with her and I asked her if she would be willing to be on my website and she agreed so I emailed her some questions and here is what she said to them and this was like old times at Garden State Park he he...
FOTH: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
SD: Born in Ohio but raised in Maryland
FOTH: Any brothers or sisters?
SD: 2 brothers 1 sister.
FOTH: At what age did you start becoming interested in horses?
SD: I can't remember not being interested in them.
FOTH: What did you think of horse racing in general when you saw your 1st live
SD: That it was pretty and looked fun, but what else do you expect from a 9 or 10 year old girl?
FOTH: What event or events led to you becoming a jockey?
SD: I'd been working at the track galloping and breezing horses contentedly then decided I wanted to ride races as soon as I made that choice I ended up falling into great gallop jobs with the top trainers and horses or wonderful asst. jobs. Finally before I turned 30 I figured I had better just do it. I am glad I did, too.
FOTH: Tell me what you remember about your first race.
SD: I remember thinking "what am I doing!!!" in post parade but as soon as I got in the gates it all went away and I was ready. Then it was so fast it was over before I knew it.
FOTH: Tell us what you remember about your 1st win. Did you get creamed after
SD: Not really, they couldn't get us too bad at Garden State since they never had much food in the kitchen. Heck, they had to hit me with ketchup and mustard packs since they didn't have bottles....
FOTH: Looking back was being a jockey easier or harder than you thought?
SD: It was about what I expected but I was still surprised about the guys that wouldn't ride a girl for fear of us being hurt.
FOTH: What tracks did you rode at when you were a jockey?
SD: A few races in Maryland, Garden State Park, Philly Park, Penn National, and Monmouth mainly.
FOTH: How long did you ride for and what event or events led to you retire?
SD: I rode a little over 2 years and quit because I couldn't control my asthma that started near the end.
FOTH: Do you still miss it a lot?
SD: Not really. Actually I didn't miss it too bad after I stopped, but when I'm done with something, I'm done.
FOTH: What are some memories you have of riding at Garden State Park and were
you sad to see it close down?
SD: I have great memories and friendships from there...and yes, I'm very sad to see it end, it was a piece of racing history that is now gone. Amazingly I have run back into jockey Willie Lozano and trainer Carl Deville down here at Evangeline Downs!
FOTH: If you could change a couple things about the sport of horse racing what
would they be and why?
SD: I wish there was still the same pride the horsemen (from grooms to riders to trainers) had in their jobs and animals. It has become harder to find. And I wish they could get more public OUT to the races. The virtual world has made it to easy for the people to stay at home and only see what TVG or HRTV can show them. They miss out on so much.
FOTH: What advice would give somebody who wanted to become a jockey?
SD: Learn as much as can, work as hard as you can, and take advice when offered without giving an answer back.
FOTH: Did you think you were a pretty good jockey when you were riding?
SD: I think so.
FOTH: Do you think the riding weights should be raised by maybe a pound or
SD: I never had an issue with it, but I am naturally small, but for the general population I think it would be easier on the riders.
FOTH: What injuries did you get over the years and what was the worst one?
SD: I luckily never got hurt badly riding races. Funnily though I shattered my left leg as the outrider in Sam Houston in 2006.
FOTH: What have you been up to since you retired and have you gone to the races
much since you retired?
SD: I have worked in the racing office since 2006 when I got hurt so yes I go to the races nightly....Not much choice LOL
FOTH: Being an ex-jockey, can you tell when a rider gives a horse a good ride
or a bad ride?
SD: In most cases yes, but usually it's not truly a bad ride as the circumstances that unfold that make them look bad when really there's not much other options.
FOTH: Any last words. Thumbs up for doing this interview.
SD: No not really.
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