Cadet Blog: Week 4 - Sophia Flight

Rider Sophia Flight isn’t just learning about the racing industry during the Explorer Cadetship but also making lifestyle changes thanks to help from the coaches. She explains what those changes are and how they’ve made her feel in this week’s blog.

The beginning of the week kicked off with listening to a podcast that discussed what would become my weekly manta ‘small steps climb mountains’ whilst running a lap around the university at 6.30 a.m. and dodging all the rabbits. Running in the morning is not something that I thought I would enjoy doing, especially on a Monday morning, but believe me it wakes your body and mind up out of what I fondly call ‘zombie mode’.

Monday was also a good day for me in terms of facing the reality of my goals and what I need to do in order to overcome them. My biggest challenge throughout this program has been keeping on-top of my nutrition and not devouring the packet of Tim Tams on the bench after a tiresome day in the program. As someone who likes trans fats and sugar (and a lot of it) the transition between a junk food based diet to a balanced diet has been a severe adjustment in which I can now take pride in saying that the days of feeling sick to my stomach, head spinnings and struggling to keep up in the riding class due to a poor lunch are over!

I have taken a lot of comfort in that I am not the only one in the program who has had to adjust to the new lifestyle, but with the help of our fitness and nutrition coach Tracey O’Hara, I have found the journey to be not as embarrassing and soul crushing as I thought it was going to be. Tracey, being a former track rider and jockey herself, understands the adjustments that need to be made in order to be competent and successful within the industry. Her knowledge accompanied with her surprisingly relatable experiences have made the process from hot chips to salad and spinach a small step to accomplish and not a mountain to try and climb.

One of my favourite things about this program is the theoretical units we undertake during the week, my personal favourite being ‘factors that affect racehorse performance’ as we get to practice our theoretical knowledge out in the real world at barrier trials, the Inglis classic sales and races at Hawkesbury racecourse. I also find that this unit has allowed me to connect more with my friends in the non-riders program and learn bits and pieces about topics that they get the opportunity to study.

As the week drew to a close, we were all fortunate enough to visit Ranvet, a world leader in Equine Nutrition and the people who give us our mouth-watering breakfasts in the morning. Walking through and discovering how Dr Percy Skyes vision became a reality was very inspiring experience. The highlight of the visit was discussing supplementation whilst being able to look at, touch and smell the surprisingly delicious smelling supplements.

Looking forward to what lies ahead, I am excited to see what feathers I can add to my cap, enjoying every moment I can with my friends and riding the rollercoaster that is the cadetship program with a smile on my face.