Maylan Studart is a jockey from Brazil and
she got in touch with me and I emailed her an interview and here is what she
said to the questions I sent to her:
FOTH: How old are you and how long have you been riding?
MS: I am 18. I ride horses since I was born practically, but I've started horse racing in 2005.
FOTH: What made you want to be a jockey and at what age did you know you wanted to be a jockey?
MS: I wanted to be a jockey when I was 14, but you could only get in the Jockey School here if you're 16, so I waited. I first knew that I wanted to be a jockey when I saw the Brazilian Stakes. It would be the same as the Kentucky Derby there. It was an inexplicable feeling. Something I now feel everyday when I ride.
FOTH: Are your family supportive of you being a jockey? Have they seen you race live?
MS: My family is all separated, but my racing kind of brought my family together. My parents at first didn't understand, but when they started seeing me succeed, they became very supportive. They come to see me race whenever they can. Always cheering like crazy!!
FOTH: Are there many racetracks in Brazil? How many racetracks have you rode at? Is it all dirt racing or do you have races on the grass too?
MS: We have 2 main tracks that are absolutely official, that the horses win counts on record, but in total around the country there are around 6 racetracks, but all are struggling. I have rode at 3 different racetracks. The one I'm based in, Rio de Janeiro and 2 others that I was invited to visit for an all girls race, one in S‹o Paulo and one in Porto Alegre (which I won by 3 lengths!), with all the Brazilian girl jockeys. There were 7 at the time and now there are 5. All the tracks have dirt and grass, but mostly dirt races.
FOTH: What sort of girl were you growing up?
MS: I was always tomboyish (hard guess?) when I was growing up. I traveled a lot, so I made friends, but haven't kept any, because of that. When I was 7, I went to the United States and lived in LA, California with mom, step-dad and bro. I loved it, but when my step-dad passed away, we returned to Brazil and it was a total culture chock. I was used to the American way. We returned in September 2000, and I only got used to living in Brazil again when I started in horse racing. I finally had found my place. Took 5 years, though. Before that I was always picked on.
FOTH: Did anybody teach you how to ride or were you self-taught?
MS: We have a jockey school here where they teach you the basics. But once you have your balance and know how to handle the horse, everything else you learn by yourself with your own mistakes and listening to the older jockeys and exercise riders. Racing the horse itself, you learn by yourself too.
FOTH: Are there many other female riders and do you get an apprenticeship over there when you start out like you do over here?
MS: I am the only female jockey in Rio de Janeiro, and the only reason for that is that I live very close. Besides my persistence. The Jockey Club has no infra-structure to receive any female workers. So when I race, I share a bathroom not with the jockeys, but with the starters when they rest in a small room with a TV. I also rest in there on the couch, in-between races. There is no hot box for me either. And no more girls can be accepted in the school either, because all the boys have to live there, and since there is no lodging for girls... You know the rest. To be an apprentice you have to be a part of the Jockey School.
FOTH: Do you have any plans on coming over to the US to ride one day?
MS: I do have plans to come back to the US. This time, to Florida. Calder perhaps.
FOTH: Can you make any money being a rider and have you been in any accidents yet?
MS: Here, if I was a boy, I'd be the leader apprentice, but since I'm a woman, they give me the worst horses, so I have to do my best. I struggle to come in 3rd place. The prize money here is very low, but I have saved some. Haven't been in any race accidents, only work outs in the morning.
FOTH: How long would you like to ride for?
MS: For how long my body can take it. I love horse racing and it's my profession. If my future isn't here in Brazil, oh well, I'll go somewhere else.
FOTH: Do you feel you improve with each race you ride in and are the trainers good about riding female riders?
MS: Absolutely. Every race I improve something, or correct something. But trainers are stupidly skeptical about putting me on. The ones who finally do are always surprised.
FOTH: Do a lot of people attend the races over in Brazil and what are the meets like? Is there racing year round there?
MS: Racing in Brazil is declining. Fewer horses, 600 people at the track at most, low prizes. To me, it doesn't look good. But it is surviving. There are races Friday to Monday, and it's year round.
FOTH: Do you ever get recognized outside the track at all?
MS: I have been recognized here in my city. Sometimes from people in the street, sometimes from betters and the newspaper stand guys. I've been featured in a few news papers and magazines.
FOTH: Do you think after you retire you will stay involved in horse racing?
MS: Absolutely. My life can be resumed in one word - horse.
FOTH: Do you do anything special to stay in shape?
MS: I try to work as much as I can to burn calories. But I also run on the track a few times a week. 2 laps always - that's 4 kilometers (I think it's 2.48 miles).
FOTH: Is there any female riders in the US that you admire or like?
MS: Chantal I admire so much. So beautiful and talented. And all are very inspiring, because it's a very difficult profession.
FOTH: What do you like to do for fun or in your spare time?
MS: I love to sleep!! Rest is good. I like to go to the beach, which here is right on the next block and spend my spare time with my husband. Give him some attention, because I'm always busy with the horses.
FOTH: Do you go and get your picture in the winner's circle like in the US?
MS: Yes, but since I win very few times and I save money for other things, It doesn't interest me anymore.
FOTH: Do you get any money for just riding in the race or do you have to actually win the race to get money?
MS: You do get money for just racing, but it's almost nothing. You get money from 1st to 5th place. But the good money is only in 1st place.
FOTH: Any last words. Thanks for being part of my website and thumbs up for the interview.
MS: Thank you for the interview, to share my knowledge of horse racing in Brazil and I love how you created this website for such a true purpose, to help the ones who are struggling. I wish you all success and hope that the website grows.
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