By: Casey Burnett
Chelsey Keiser is from North Star, Ohio where she grew up with horses and first started off barrel racing with the influence of her parents, who both liked to ride. Her family later shifted their interest to horse racing but it was hard for her to watch someone else ride her horse. Because of this, Keiser became interested, trained, and began to ride herself. The twenty-one year old first started racing at Laurel Park, Maryland in March of this year and also raced and Pimlico before coming to Colonial Downs.
In regards to being a female jockey, Keiser believes every day is a new day. Although it can be tough, it is rewarding to know that she is working and competing with many male riders and showing them that a female rider can do just as well. Some men can be intimidating on the track but Keiser stands her ground and isn’t scared off.
It may have been a rough start for Keiser but she has moved her way up. This season she has 103 starts, 8 wins, 9 seconds, and 7 thirds through late June. “You realize you’re not going to win them all” she says, “But when you do and you get a horse that tries and gives you a good ride, you appreciate how much time people dedicate toward their horses. It’s very rewarding that they trust you to get it done.” One of the more difficult things Keiser says comes with horse racing is keeping your emotions in line. “You never want to burn a bridge but you learn to let things roll off your shoulders.”
The traveling aspect of the job is something Keiser enjoys. “There are times when it gets hard but for the most part I don’t mind it. I am very thankful to the trainers and owners who have put me on horses and given me a chance. I am also thankful for the people who have stood behind me and supported me from the beginning”.