Rose Pearson likes to ride. Race-ride. At just 164cm, this pocket rocket who grew up in Norwich, England, had ponies as a child and went on to ride racehorses at 16. She’s been living in Mornington for the past eight years and has been racing for the past three and a half. She explains: “Racing in the UK is seasonal. Lots of jockeys go away on working holidays. I came to Australia and stayed. I had to wait to race until I received my permanent visa. I’m just lucky that I came at a time when female jockeys were on the rise. These days, in some races, seven out of 10 of the racers are women. The girls are on the increase. Everyone is so supportive here. There’s a great comradeship between male and female jockeys. We help each other out.”
Rose’s day starts early. She’s up and doing track work by 4am or 5am six days a week with trainer David Brideoak. Three of those mornings she may be training elsewhere before hitting David’s track. Once a week she drives two-and-a-half hours towards Bendigo and trains at Sutton Grange. There’s no track work on Sundays. “Most days I’m finished training by 10am, and if there aren’t any races scheduled I have the rest of the day off. But if I’m racing, I get notified two days before and I may have to travel anywhere! I may have to go all over the state or across the border into Albury. Or down to Tassie. My manager books the races for me. I love the unpredictability of it. It’s never boring.”
With all that training, Rose keeps in top physical condition. She’s careful about what she eats, goes to the gym, walks her dog and if she needs to drop a couple of kilos before a race, she has a sweat bath/sauna. She continues: “Being a race-rider is a young person’s sport. I’m 28 so will need to change my direction. I think I’ll go into training.”
Whatever she decides, this jockey’s love of horses will see her racing towards her future. Giddy-up, Rose, and ride high.