Vicki Warhol-Essman is a jockey who has been riding for quite a number of years and I recently emailed her an interview to fill out and here is what she said to my questions:
FOTH: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
VICKI: Born in Minenapolis, MN. Also grew up in Isanti, MN.
FOTH: What sort of girl were you growing up?
VICKI: All I wanted to do growing up was be on or near horses.
FOTH: When did you start to discover a love for the horses and what did you want to be when you were growing up?
VICKI: I knew what I was going to be all my life.
FOTH: How did you end up on the racetrack and what was your 1st job there and what was the 1st racetrack you worked at?
VICKI: My dad rodeoed, trick rode an jumped horses in big top circuses before they started training race horses.
FOTH: Now take me through the steps that led to you becoming a jockey.
VICKI: Determination!!! Bottom line!
FOTH: Was it natural getting up on a horse for you and who taught you how to ride?
VICKI: I galloped and ponied at 15 for my mom.
FOTH: Looking back was becoming a jockey easier or harder than you thought it was going to be?
VICKI: I was the only girl rider for at least 5 yrs when I started, but that was in 1978. My dad was really tough on me! Thank God I was a natural! I didn't think about it being easy or tough, I just did it and loved it all! When my dad said your ready. NOW!
FOTH: Tell me about your 1st race. What track was it at and were you nervous at all? Where did you end up finishing?
VICKI: I was nervous but only because I was so tiny, 70lbs! I didn't want to suck or hurt anyone! The horse was "Follow that Cab! And I followed them all! I found I was ready, and officially addicted!!
FOTH: Tell me about your 1st win. What track was that at and did the jockeys get you good afterwards and did you know it was coming?
VICKI: My 3rd race I won on darxos, trained by my mom Rhoda owned by my brother Jay and dad Ted ( my 20 yr daughter Teddi Jean was named after him! ) it was same track ASD thank God I only got water thrown on me! And yes I did the same to many many bugs! Guys & girls!
FOTH: What tracks did you ride at over the years and did you have a favorite one and why was it your favorite?
VICKI: Mostly mid west but lots of others, lot's. Probably cby & prm are favorites! I did very good there but mostly that's home! Horses, vaugly who & hoist her flag! And hot rocket.....I could go on forever on that so I'll stop?
FOTH: What sort of injuries have had over the years and what was the worst one?
VICKI: I'm hurt now, Aug 13 collar bone, 4 ribs and collapsed lung! After 11 wks I just found out I need. A plate! Broke my neck, man there's way way to many to list!! I also have lymphoma!
FOTH: What are some of the best and worth things about being a jockey?
VICKI: Hands down the best is winning! And the horses! The worst. The political. B.s
FOTH: Do you feel you have a certain riding style?
VICKI: I'm definitely a finnese rider and horses show speed with me, I guess cuz I don't get in their way!
FOTH: If a young girl came up to you and said she wanted to become a jockey, what advice would you give to her?
VICKI: You need to want it more than anything! And go for it'!
FOTH: What is the craziest thing you saw happen in a race?
VICKI: In grand island Nebraska we were in gates, 2 horses flipped and 1 rider and horse scratched, David Essman ( my husband ) his horse was one that scratched, the other horse needed a rider, he switched silks, but they didn't want to unload horses, no clue really wtf!?? He got on the horse other riders tack and all and off we went! Not a usual thing for a rider to ride in someones tack especially like that! ( he saved the race and they didn't even want to give a djm!! )
FOTH: Is there any track you would like to ride at one day that you haven't as of yet?
FOTH: Do you have to watch what you eat or you don't have weight problems at all?
VICKI: I'm naturally very tiny and lucky I am!
FOTH: Do you think we will ever see another Triple Crown Horse?
VICKI: For sure.
FOTH: How do you prepare to ride a race? Do you do the same thing pretty much every day when getting ready to ride?
VICKI: Nothing, it’s so at home for me!
FOTH: Do you feel you are still improving as a rider?
FOTH: Have you ever brought in a 100-1 shot or more during your riding career?
VICKI: If not pretty close!
FOTH: Have you ever been recognized outside the racetrack?
FOTH: Do you think slot machines at racetracks helps or hurts tracks in the long run?
VICKI: Helps for sure.
FOTH: If you could change 3 things in horse racing, what would they be and why?
VICKI: The stupid stereo type that guys r stronger, if a Guy weighs 100 lbs a girl the same, you can't tell me he's stronger! We can give birth ....just saying.
FOTH: Vicki I am out of questions. Thumbs up for the interview and any last words
VICKI: Thanks for the interview Chris and good luck with the website.
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