Friday, 05 July 2013 13:14

Corrine Andros ready for Evergreen Park

Written by Don Moon, Evergreen Park
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I know it's important, I honestly do but we're talking about practice. We're talking about practice man. We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice” – Allan Iverson

For NBA player Allan Iverson it was the competition and not the practice that was important to him.

For rookie jockey Corrine Andros it has been all about practice.

The 21-year-old year old had been practicing, or training, for this moment since she first sat on a horse before she was able to walk.

Friday night she is hoping all of that practice, or training, will pay off when she steps into the stirrups for the first time in a competitive horse race during the opening day of The Horses At Evergreen Park.

Is the petite 5-foot-4, 115 pound native of Vanderhoof, B.C. tough enough to compete in a sport that can have a bit of an edge to it?

The fact that she is riding Friday is good indication of that. Just three months ago, after a stirrup broke, she fell off a horse while training at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver and broke some ribs. She was back in the saddle in time to train again during the horse race season in Lethbridge in June.

The folks in Smith, Alberta know about her toughness. In 2010 the tiny teen got on the back of a bucking bronc during a rodeo in the town. She didn’t make the eight seconds, but gained a lot of admiration for her courage and resilience.

She is all healed up now and champing at the bit to live up to the accolades she has received from her peers.

"She's has many good qualities," veteran trainer Dino Condilenios told the Montreal Gazette. "She is strong and has good hands when she is on a horse. That's usually an encouraging sign of someone who could be successful. I'd say she has a bright future. But until she rides, we really won't know."

Grande Prairie race fans will be the first to find out because she will be up on a good number of horses during the Horses At Evergreen Park – which run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and holiday Monday, over the summer. Post time for the Friday and Saturday races is 6 p.m. and Sunday and holiday Monday 1 p.m.

Besides riding for Kathy McNally, whose horse she will be on during her debut, she is also working for Riley Rycroft and Ron Olson. She hopes to get two rides a day this weekend and then, hopefully, cover the field (which could mean as many as nine mounts) on other nights during the summer for a variety of owners beyond McNally, Rycroft and Olson.

She likely won’t be battling against Tyler Walker in many of those rides. Walker, who is her boyfriend and agent, was injured in Lethbridge and has been told to take a couple of months off.  Something Andros, who graduated from the horsemanship and riding program at Olds College with honors, says probably won’t happen so they very well could meet on the track at some point in August.

As she prepares for her debut Andros, who can be followed on Twitter at @CAjockey, was asked 10 questions. Here are the questions and answers:

Q:What is your background with horses?

CA:My mom always loved horses and had ridden since she was young so naturally my sisters and brothers grew up riding. My brothers sold their horses for dirt bikes and my sister continued riding. So when I was born and she was 12, her and my mom taught me to ride. I grew up doing gymkhanas and rodeo events, then learned to train our own horses then did a lot of other people's for various western disciplines. I'd always loved the harder ones to train because they seemed to turn out the best so fear and difficulty never fazed me. 

Q:Why did you want to become a jockey?

CA: I've always wanted to be a jockey somewhere in the back of my mind, but I thought of it more like when a young girl dreams of being an actress or a singer. As I've said, fear has never been an option in my mind and I've always loved the adrenaline of being on a fast horse. I like succeeding at things that are difficult and have loved horses more than myself my entire life.

Q:Who do you look to as inspiration and as a role model?

CA:The lifestyle of the horse racing industry and the opportunities that come up are what inspires me the most. I do really love the way Mike Smith (Hall Of Fame jockey with over 5,000 wins) rides and his attitude about everything but whatever track I am at, I pick the rider whose style I like the most and I try to learn from them.

Q:Who has been the biggest help to you as you pursue your dreams?

CA:The biggest help in pursuing my dream has been my mom as she has never ever let me down and has constantly been talking to me supporting me every single day of my life. She taught me to believe in myself and that I can do anything I want in life. I don't ever lose sight of that.

Q:What do you consider your best attributes, your strengths?

CA:My best strength is my perseverance. There is nothing in the world that could have stopped me from achieving this and I will continue to improve as I love to learn and believe there is no such thing as perfect. Though I strive for perfection, as I'm sure anyone who loves what they do does.

Q:What do you need to work on the most?

CA:I kind of keep what I'm working on to myself. I don't really tell anyone my strengths and weaknesses. I find I'd rather prove I can be better at something that to say it.

Q:Is there a lot of butterflies as you prepare for your first race?

CA:I'm not nervous yet about my first race. I feel as ready as I can be. I am ready to take the next step in learning. I'm sure in front of the crowd on Friday night I will be a bit nervous though.

Q:What are your goals?

CA: My goals are just to be the absolute best rider I can be. Where ever that takes me is yet unknown. 

Q:Is there an intimidation factor you have to worry about and if so how will you handle it?

CA:The intimidation factor in my mind is that I'm not alone out there. As much as I only have to worry about myself, there are other guys out there putting their lives on the line and I need to do what I can to keep myself and them safe.

Q:Do you feel comfortable on the Grande Prairie track and how does it compare to other tracks you have been on?

CA:The Grande Prairie racetrack feels like home to me. I love everyone I ride for and every horse I get on. I am the absolute happiest I have been at any track. Though at every track I have been at I’ve had great friends and great teachers. I learned so much working for Greg Tracy and Mat Williams last year in Vancouver and Edmonton - they are a huge part of why I am as ready as I am to race now. Though I wouldn't be at all where I am without the help of Nancy Houston, Twylla Bensmiller, and Theresa Sealy from the Olds College Gallop/Jockey Course.

  • Don Moon, Evergreen Park, Grande Prairie
Read 1833 times Last modified on Friday, 12 July 2013 16:30