Cadet Blog: Week 6 - April Cooper

Wet weather didn’t put a damper on the Cadets’ sixth week of the program with riders practicing their skills in the indoor arena. Rider April Cooper tells us how they handled the change and how the rest of the week added to yet another great week in the program.

This week was a bit messy due to the constant wet weather but we were still able to ride the horses. On Monday and Tuesday, we worked on our flatwork basics in the indoor arena whilst still incorporating our trackwork riding skills. We were then able to ride outside over the following days when we rode on the grass.

During the week, we also participate in theory classes which also have a practical component. On Monday afternoon, we were given a lesson on applying for jobs in the industry and had to perform a mock interview.

Tuesday was interesting as we got to watch the apprentice jockeys ride the mechanical horses in a simulated race. We then had our breeding class in which we got to inspect some of the mares, judge their reproductive conformation and learn how to wrap a mare’s tail in preparation for foaling. We missed out on our class on Wednesday morning as half of the cadets went on an excursion to meet Gai Waterhouse at her Randwick stables with the other half heading there next week. On Thursday morning, we watched some vet checks being performed on the TAFE horses to clear them as fit for purpose.

Fridays are my favourite day as they are our excursions days. We go out into the industry to discover all the different jobs that are available. A notable thing I’ve learned is that everyone has the same passion for thoroughbreds and the sport of horse racing. This week we headed to Inglis Riverside Stables and we were provided with morning tea. We learned about the history of Inglis, what risks and challenges they have encountered and how they have come to be so successful by overcoming these.

We then had a special guest in Strawberry Hills Farm’s Farm Manager Bridie Sparks, who spoke to us about how she made it to be where she is now.

I am looking forward to this weekend as I will be heading to Rosehill for the Golden Slipper Raceday. While this two-year-old race may unveil another up-and-coming champion, I am extremely lucky to be able to see three horses in which have already proved themselves to be some of the best in the world. Winx will be the highlight as well as The Autumn Sun and Redzel.

I am loving every moment of the opportunities I have been given while being here. Being in the racing industry has been my childhood dream ever since I was six years old and having my first memory of watching Makybe Diva win her second Melbourne Cup in 2004.