Start box, start gate … what’s the difference?
Jennie Brannigan is no stranger to the racing world, having taken a role in renowned race trainer Michael Matz’s barn galloping his horses in training. She’s a jack (jill?) of all trades, though, as she’s also a well-established eventer who will be competing at Rolex this year.
I asked Jennie awhile ago what life was like galloping with your stirrups much shorter than most would feel comfortable. “I will say that it is completely different because your stirrups are so short,” Jennie said. “The muscles used are different, but I’ve evented some pretty strong Thoroughbreds, and I think it would help me now going into handling a strong horse and learning how to handle and go with it. It is a certain skill that galloping helps.”
Just over a year after this interview, Jennie made her official debut as a jockey, piloting Tim and Nina Gardner’s Where’s The Beef to a fourth place finish in the first race at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase in South Carolina.
Jennie and “Beef’s” story is quite touching, both coming back from the trials and tribulations that come hand in hand with the horse world. You can read the full story on Jennie and her racing debut over on Eventing Nation here.
It’s got to be intimidating, making your debut in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are raising their eyebrows at your qualifications to be there. Jennie quickly silenced any doubts, though, and if you didn’t know her from Adam you’d think she was just another jockey out for a spin on a gorgeous gray horse.
Where’s The Beef is a bit of an all ’rounder too — Jennie took him out eventing while he was enjoying some downtime from the track, competing at the Beginner Novice and Novice levels over the winter. Now, he’s aiming for the $75,000 Carolina Cup this weekend with his regular jockey, Willie McCarthy, in the saddle.
We’ll be cheering on Beef and waiting for Jennie’s next race, but in the meantime please enjoy this video of Jennie blazing the trail in this weekend’s race.
To enjoy the video, please click the image below or click here.
Go Riding (eventing, racing, and everything in between!) and Go Fleeceworks!