Thinking back over the last few years, and of what is coming next, it’s hard not to feel emotional. I remember clearly Christmas Day in 2005, flipping through the Canadian Thoroughbred magazine and landing on a story about Carolyn Costigan, a young Canadian who was enrolled in the Darley Flying Start programme. My interest immediately piqued, I jumped online to learn more. That’s where the dream began.
Now, I’m just days away from beginning my own Flying Start journey. In the five years that have elapsed since that Christmas Day, I’ve met many of my goals in my quest to becoming a Thoroughbred industry leader. I’ve worked with broodmares and in foaling units, with yearlings doing sales prep, breaking, and training, at the racetrack as a groom and hotwalker, as an office assistant and an editorial intern. All of these were wonderful accomplishments, and important stepping stones along the path to Flying Start, which was the most important target.
Like in any journey, there have been important people to help me along the way. There are a few special ones I’d like to point out:
My parents: My parents ingrained in me many valuable principles from a young age. Three things in particular I have always known are to work hard, have proper manners, and most importantly, to always go after your dream. I think once my parents realized it was inevitable that I would have a career with Thoroughbreds, they pushed me to reach the very top; mediocrity was never an option. For that I will be forever grateful.
My parents are also the type of people that did everything to help me succeed. They gave up their days off to take me to the races to see my favourite horses, including nationwide treks to Kentucky, New York, and California. They ensured that I met the most influential people in the business at a young age, whether that meant bullying our way into paddocks or sneaking onto backstretches. They made me realize that it takes more than just a name to succeed. It takes heart and resilience and a little faith, and today I’m realizing the results of all of those things.
Lauri Kenny: The day I started working at Schonberg Farm (July 4, 2005), I believe was also the day Lauri took me in as another daughter. Over the last five years I have been closer to Lauri than anyone else, and there are times I swear we are telepathically connected. We basically finish one another’s sentences, and it still amazes me how Lauri always seems to know what’s best for me. He can tell me something I hate hearing at the time, but it won’t take me long to realize he knew what he was doing. Lauri understands me better than anyone else does, he is unconditionally there for me, and I don’t know what I would ever do without him.
Liz Pathak: I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason, and when I met Liz in September 2008, I knew this was good news. Liz had just returned to Ontario fresh from Flying Start, and I was never more eager to meet someone than when I met up with Liz to inspect yearlings at Woodbine. From the day we met Liz began helping me with my flying start quest, and I believe having her as a reference had a great impact on my being selected for the programme.
So here I go, on to the next great chapter of my life. I cannot imagine the wonderful happenings the next two years will hold, but I can promise to cherish each one and do myself and those who believe in me proud. I hope you will follow my journey, every step along the way.