Kayla Crowther stamped herself as something special by outriding her apprentice jockey claim in June and finishing second in the SA metro jockey premiership for 2019/20. Today she talks about life as a senior jockey, her advice for young people wanting to enter the industry… and a pet rat.
Q: How are you finding life as a senior jockey?
KC: Initially it flowed really well. I found I didn’t really notice much difference, but I’ve probably had a bit of a reality check lately.
Things probably aren’t going as well as they were. I’ve got a lot of rides, but the quality probably isn’t quite what it was.
I’ve only been riding for 3½ years and I have no claim. I still think I’m riding well enough, but the Stokes stable probably isn’t flying at the moment, so it’s hard for me to go as well as I was.
Q: How old when you first realised you loved horses?
KC: I started horse riding lessons when I was five. I’ve always loved horses for as long as I can remember.
I got my own horse when I was 11 and it just flowed through from there.
I’m really thrilled to have my job circle around that.
Q: So, was your family involved in horses?
KC: No, not at all. Mum loved horses and I think she rode a little bit.
Q: Do you still enjoy riding for leisure?
KC: I don’t have any horses, but I’d love to get back into it a bit. I’d love to do a bit of pony club and go to Strath show jumping and things like that again, but I haven’t been in a position to have a horse for the last couple of years. That’s what I’m really wanting to do.
Q: So you’re an animal lover? You have dogs and cats etc.?
KC: I’m a serious animal lover.
I’ve had pet snakes, I’ve had pet rats. I even said to Tommy (Stokes, partner) the other day that I want another pet rat.
I’ve got a cat, two dogs. I always had birds when I was young.
Yeah, I’d be a real animal freak if I didn’t have to contain myself. If I was on a farm or something I’d have llamas, goats… I’d rescue any and every animal.
That’s probably what I endeavour on doing (ultimately).
Q: Any advice for young people contemplating try to break into the industry?
KC: I think you just have to do what you love. And you know, it’s going to be hard at times, but racing can be the absolute best part of your life. The highs are really high.
There’s no better job and lifestyle. But I think you really have to be happy doing it, because if you start to resent it, it can be a very hard job to be in.
Q: Thanks for your answering those questions, Kayla
KC: You’re welcome.
IMAGE: Kayla Crowther gives Sylvan Crest a pat after her winning ride at Strathalbyn this week.