Page 20 - January-February 2020 HER
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HER Cover
history,” she said.
Unlike most professions, Mo-
quett says she feels there’s no for- mal training when it comes to learn- ing how to work with racehorses.
“(My first time on a racehorse) was interesting because I didn’t know how to do it. They didn’t really teach me how. They just said like, ‘Good luck.’”
“Once I started riding on the track, then people helped and gave out tips. If you survive, then you learn,” she said.
For the past 20 years, Moquett said she’s been working with and riding horses well enough to earn her keep. However, she said she spent many more years learning all the ins and outs of her duties on horseback and in the backside barns.
“That’s the thing about racing, there are no internships. They don’t have real schools to learn how to ride racehorses. So you have to do it all while you’re being employed,” she said.
In 1997, she found herself at Oak- lawn where she later met her hus- band. This was the first track where she encountered other women on horseback.
“That really inspired me. I got really excited to see women riders. There were women in the barns but I was more interested in seeing the women riders. They all kind of help you out and stick together.”
“There’s a shed row community for sure. You may be together 12 to 14 hours a day, depending on how many horses you have in. Ev- erybody gets to know everybody. Those become the people you turn to when you need something and vice versa. It’s really nice,” she said.
As an assistant trainer, Moquett said she is sort of like a mother in the backside barns, managing not only an entire team of thorough- breds but 30 or more people as well. If ever a problem in the barns, she knows about it and immediately goes about solving it.
“So the kids would be the horses. Are they eating? What’s their tem- perature? What issue do they have physically or mentally that you can maybe help them with,” Moquett said.
“You have to manage your em- ployees, as well. You know, there are multiple lists of feeding sup- plements, shoeing dates, vaccines, worming, all the things that it takes to care for something. Just like your family, basically,” she said.
For the most part, she and her husband have a solid crew that trav- els with them from track to track.
From late fall until May, they live in Hot Springs and race their horses at Oaklawn Park. Once the live rac- ing season concludes, she and her
“We are spread out across the country for most of the year, but get to share wonderful experienc- es together when Ron and I come
friends in town and invite our fam- ily down to gather around the table and get back in touch with each oth- er. Having fast horses and winning moments are awesome but, having friends and family to share it with is the real joy! I consider myself lucky to have such a focused partner in life and in my career I’m so glad that I took that job at Oaklawn Park so many years ago,” she said
A large portion of her duties as ‘barn mom’ consist of advocating for her horses. While none of them can verbally communicate with her, Moquett insists that each horse in her barn has their own way of letting her know exactly what is going on.
“It’s exciting. Figuring out a horse is maybe the most rewarding thing. You have to think outside the box sometimes. There’s always something to figure out. You’re nev- er bored,” she said.
“They can talk and tell you what’s wrong with them by you watching their body language and them shifting their weight a certain way. Or how they just relax in their stall might tell you or give you an idea of what’s wrong with them,” she said.
Each person working in the Moquett barns demonstrates this innate ability to communicate with these massive creatures on a unique level. This line of commu- nication between the horses and their grooms, exercise riders, and trainers seems to be a key element to winning races.
“It seems like people have it or they don’t. You can always get stronger. You can always learn tech- niques, but to have the balance and the ability of forethought to miti- gate experiences for a horse is key,” Moquett said.
“You have to see what’s coming before it comes, anticipate that, and then try to guide your horse and keep it relaxed while guiding it accordingly,” she said.
Just like with people, Moquett said she has had her fair share of difficult horse personalities on and off the track. One of her favorite horses, Whitmore a 7-year-old geld- ing who has won over $2 million racing, was also one of her most difficult to train.
“He was really hard to just deal with every day on any level. Usu- ally, if a horse is good in the stall, they might be bad on the track and vice versa. You come back from the track, and you’re like, ‘Oh my God. This thing is killing me.’ and the groom loves it because it’s perfect in the stall,” Moquett said.
“It kind of found me. When I was young, there was an old man from
my hometown came to the farm that I was riding horses
at and asked if anybody
wanted to ride racehorses. And of course, I did.”
 husband leave for Kentucky for the remainder of the spring. Once sum- mer comes about, they leave and head north to Saratoga in New York.
down to Arkansas for the winter. We really cherish our return to Hot Springs each year for the opportuni- ty it provides us to visit local close

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