Amy Hebert

Amy Hebert is an amateur jockey based out of New Jersey. I recently met her over at Philadelphia Park and shortly thereafter got her on the phone for this chat.


FOTH: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

AH: I was born and raised in Milford, Connecticut.

FOTH: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

AH: I have 2 brothers. One is older and the other is younger.

FOTH: What do you parents think of you being an amateur jockey?

AH: They think it is great. They are very supportive.

FOTH: What type of girl were you growing up?

AH: A tomboy.

FOTH: Where you involved with horses most of your life?

AH: I started riding when I was 8 years old. Horse shows, and 4 H club things like that.

FOTH: Did it feel very natural getting up on a horse?

AH: I was very comfortable with them.

FOTH: For those who don't know what exactly is an amateur jockey?

AH: It means we make no money (laughs) We only ride against other amateurs. We ride at a heavier weight and with our amateur club there are some opportunities to ride abroad which is very nice.

FOTH: How long have you been an amateur jockey?

AH: About 5 years now.

FOTH: About how many times a year do you get to ride?

AH: It varies. We have about 10-15 races a year, but you don't get to ride in every race. This year I have ridden about 10 races so far.

FOTH: Do you remember your 1st race at all?

AH: It was at Monmouth Park which is my home place where I ride. The horse's name was “Valley o Vocka"

FOTH: Do you remember where you got your 1st win?

AH: It was about 3 years ago on a horse named “French Bread"

FOTH: Did you get plastered with stuff?

AH: Nope. I only got wet. I got off easy. (we both laugh)

FOTH: Now what do you do for a job?

AH: I am an exercise rider up at Monmouth Park which is fun and I help my husband out with his business and I am starting to do tack repair.

FOTH: Is there any chance of you becoming a full time jockey?

AH: Too big. Too heavy. I enjoy being an amateur. I wish we had more opportunities to race, only riding 10-12 times a year doesn't give you a lot of time to get better.

FOTH: For those who don't know tell us what an exercise rider does.

AH: I ride thoroughbreds in the mornings and depending on the schedule we jog, gallop or breeze them. It is the day to day training of the race horses.

FOTH: Have you had any accidents at all?

AH: I had one at Aqueduct as the horse in front of me broke down about a 1/8 of mile from the wire and I had just moved over the rail to come up from the inside and I looked up and saw silks and switched my whip and I saw legs and girth and I said "please jump" and my horse didn't so the horse in front of me broke down, I went down and the guy next to me went down.

FOTH: Do you feel female jockeys do not get the respect they deserve in the horse racing industry?

AH: That is a tough one. Respect, I mean me as an amateur I have always been treated nice, but then again I am not a threat to anyone. I have a lot of respect for the girls that do cause I know it can't be easy. I think the main factor is the strength weakness.

FOTH: What female jockeys do you like that you have seen ride?

AH: Janice Blake has always been very helpful. The girls up at Suffolk Downs, Jill Jellison and a French girl, I can't remember her name right now. Everybody is usually pretty nice to me.

FOTH: What racetracks have you ridden at so far?

AH: Rockingham Park which is really nice and it is sad to hear they are just trotters there now. Suffolk Downs, Philadelphia Park, Arlington Park which is a treat, Colonial Downs, Laurel, Pimlico, Aqueduct and Belmont.

FOTH: Any favorite track you rode at?

AH: Colonial Downs as the nicest turf course I have ever ridden at. I always enjoyed going up to Boston as well.

FOTH: Do you know how many wins you have?

AH: I think I have 5 wins so far.

FOTH: How much longer do you want to do this for?

AH: Till it is not fun anymore.

FOTH: Take us through what you do in a typical day.

AH: I get up early. I gallop between 8am and 10am in the morning. I have a retired turf horse that we are teaching to jump. I usually go and school him. Take my dogs for a walk, go help my husband at his job, come home and make dinner and go to bed.

FOTH: Do you ever stay and watch the races at Monmouth?

AH: I sometimes go and watch the horses that I work out if they are running in a race I will try and go watch.

FOTH: If a girl came up to you and asked how to become a jockey, what would you tell her?

AH: Go to school first. Learn to ride. I think it is hard just going to the racetrack and learn to ride. Get fit. I think going to the gym and working out helps.

FOTH: Any hobbies you like to do?

AH: Fox hunting and showing (laughs) All horse related.

FOTH: Ok Amy thanks a million for the interview. Any last words you want to say?

AH: No, but thanks for the interview. It was a lot fun.

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