Tired of all the bad news? So were we. So, in our new series, we focus on the positive, asking people from non-horse racing families two questions: how they get hooked, and how they'll hook someone else on horse racing this year.
KERI BRION, ASSISTANT TO JONATHAN SHEPPARD
What was the experience that made you fall in love with horse racing?
I grew up down the road from a horse racing training and breeding farm and I used to walk down the road and feed the mares and foals carrots. When I was 10 years old, I started working at the farm and when I started learning to gallop at 13 I gave up all my showing aspirations and knew horse racing was for me. Everything, the training, the racing, the breeding…the racing community which is really like family, all of it was so fascinating and it really sucks you in. Seeing the ins and outs of the business from the breeding side of things to the training and racing really got me attached, but the first time I stood in the winner's circle with a horse that I was around on a regular basis was when I was truly hooked.
Would you commit to creating one new fan this year and, if so, what would be the experience you use to introduce them to the sport?
I would gladly to commit to making one new fan this year. I am lucky enough to be the assistant to Jonathan Sheppard whose facilities are one of a kind in that the horses get turned out before they train and you really get to see the horses' personalities. I would love to bring someone around to the stable and let them watch the horses play and be horses in turnout and watch them play and train and maybe even have them pick out a few favorites. I think if they came a few times a month just to enjoy the horses and watch us work and the horses train, they would get the same kind of thrill if I could them get them to the races. They would feel a part of things and if they got to stand in the winners circle with some sort of connection to the horse/team–I think it would really get them hooked to the sport!