As Keeneland Racetrack is up and running their spring meet, I am able to see many inspiring people and horses in my industry. After seeing an old coworker, “Gator” and recalling a story from a few years back, I was able to sincerely thank Gator for a comment he made that day.
Gator is a very seasoned, experienced horseman who has grown up riding horses at the track. We were galloping two horses together that needed to stay eyeball to eyeball. Over a mile of these two horses challenging each other to go faster, but staying at a controlled pace. After ¾ of the mile knowing I still had another ¾ to go, my body was on fire as my horse had a firm grip on the bit and was pulling with his whole body to go faster, to win the race with the other horse.
My back and stomach muscles, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and legs were all screaming at me to just let that horse go; to soften the hold I had on the reins. I was about to turn my head and say to Gator “..I can’t hold him anymore”… and allow my horse to ease ahead of his, when Gator turned to me and said,
“Sit’n chilly like Julie Krone” and grinned at me.
All the pain, all the weakness, left my body and I swelled with a second wind.
Julie Krone, leader of lifetime wins by a female jockey, retired in April of 1999 with 3,545 victories and more than $81 million in lifetime earnings. She became the first female jockey to be enshrined in the National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame as well as, this year she was inducted into the National Woman’s Hall of Fame. Gator comparing me to her for that instant, gave me the connection to ignore the rough patch and to strive to be better!
We all need to surround ourselves with inspiring people and energy whether they are in the flesh or by reading and following their careers. Our inner champion needs the support, the push and the sharing of stories to keep our fuel tanks full. If we surround ourselves with the inspiration and support of those who we truly admire and respect, we will find strength from those sources . Plus by visualizing those people achieving or replaying their accomplishments, gives our brains a mental picture to strive towards.
Thank you Gator, from the bottom of my heart, your words ring through my head and make my heart smile.
Fitmark Ambassador 2013