I adore women who ride horses - particularly professional jockeys.
My admiration exists on several levels.
First, women who grow up riding horses are extremely disciplined. You can't ride a horse safely or advance in any form of equestrian competition without a great deal of self control. Equestrian competitors devote hundreds of hours each year to perfecting their craft.
Second, I firmly believe that women who enjoy riding horses have a dominant streak. Part of their love of horses centers around a need to control species less perfect than women. This includes horses and men. I love women who are creative with the use of a riding crop.
And the third reason I love women who ride horses deals with broken bones. I don't know any woman who has ridden horses for any period of time and not ended up with a broken bone.
So this blog will recognize several woman jockeys who have contributed to the equestrian sport of bone breaking.
This jockey story begins with a woman named Kathy Kusner. In 1968, Kathy applied for a professional jockey license in the state of Maryland. She was an experienced rider who had participated in the Tokyo and Mexico City Olympic games. She was denied the license on the grounds she was a woman. Kathy sued the state and was eventually granted her license.
The week before her first race, Kathy participated in a show jumping competition in Madison Square Garden.
In sensational fashion, Kathy's horse tripped over a rail. Kathy was flipped and the horse - all 1,300 pounds of her - landed on Kathy's leg.
A photo of Kathy having her leg crushed famously appeared in every major newspaper in the US.
Kathy's leg was not just broken - it was crushed. She had broken her femur, patella, tibia, fibula, and several ankle and foot bones. 12 months after the injury, Kathy was still in a full leg cast.
She recovered sufficiently to compete in the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Diane Crump was a few years younger than Kathy Kusner. While Kathy was granted the first jockey license in the US, Diane was the first female to race in the Kentucky Derby in 1970.
Dianne was a veteran bone break well before she received her jockey license having broken 19 bones before the age of 16.
In 1989, Dianne had a life threatening accident during a race in Florida. She was thrown off her horse and trampled by a succession of horses behind her. She broke over 30 bones in the accident. Her left leg was broken in 6 places. Her doctor warned her to give up racing. She ignored his advice and continued racing for another 10 years.
This woman takes bone breaking to a new level. Haley is a British jockey who has competed in thousands of races.
Haley is 37 and good looking girl. Unlike most woman, Haley actually enjoys breaking bones. A quote from a 2014 article by CNN entitled Hayley Turner: "Trailblazing jockey breaks her body for fun"
"She's not so much the pinup girl of British horse racing as the "pinned-together girl."
Hayley Turner has been a trailblazer for female jockeys in the UK, but it's taken its toll on her tiny frame -- and she doesn't mind at all.
"I could break bones all day long," says the 31-year-old, who once received fan mail addressed to "Hayley Turner -- Hospitalized somewhere in Cambridgeshire."
"I do the same as the lads and get injured the same," she adds.
Haley - who she estimates she has broken over 100 bones - was kind enough to break her leg once on video. Link is HERE.
Julie is one of America's most famous female jockeys. The 57 year old has won over 3,000 races.
Like her counterparts in this blog, she has paid the price by breaking dozens of bones. In a 2010 People Magazine article, her litany of broken bones includes broken toes, feet, ankles, legs, thighs, one hip, ribs, fingers, hands, arms, elbows, one shoulder, and both collarbones. Oh, and as an afterthought, she mentions the back she broke in 2003. No wonder orthopedic surgeons make so much money.
"Athletes tend to be known for their success," she said. "But I would rather have some little girl say, 'Oh, Julie Krone fell down but she came back. She wasn't afraid.'"
Julie was a good looking woman and had a bubbly personality. At the height of her popularity in 1990, she was a frequent visitor on late night talk shows and appeared in many magazine articles.
During that period, Julie seemed to break several bones a year. Each would warrant a mention in newspapers and magazines. Her most famous break was when she destroyed her arm in the early 90's. While she recovered, she visited every talk show available to display her 17" scar.
Well, enough of the history lesson. The point is women who play with horses break bones at astounding rates. And the broken bones are not confined to professional riders. Over the years, I have done several blog posts featuring women injured in horseback accidents.
In April, I wrote about Emily who took a little spill while riding and broke her tibia. Click on Emily's picture and you see the blog post.
And then, of course, there is my favorite horse woman of all time - Jody Jaffe. Jody is a real person. She was a newspaper writer and novelist. She broke her leg riding in the 1980's.
I have included Jody in many of my stories and actually wrote an entire novel about the woman's broken leg. Click on Jody's picture above to read more about Jody and her horses.