Ruth Scherer: a female jockey’s race out of the gates
“It’s tough to be a girl in this sport- you just got to work extra hard,” said Ruth Scherer a female jockey at Mount Pleasant Meadows race track, Mount Pleasant, MI.
Ruth has wanted to be a jockey since she was 15-years-old, when she was put on her first race horse. For years, Ruth competed in show horse competitions and won many world medals, but she felt like she needed something more challenging. So Ruth made the transition into a different type of horse-related sport, horse racing.
Ruth is currently in her jockey apprenticeship stage, which means she must complete 40 wins before earning her jockey license. Since she has just begun it is hard to get mounts on the best horses, she must earn the owners trust. However, it is hard getting mounts just being a woman jockey- even though this is one of the only sports where men and women can compete evenly.
In training to become a jockey Ruth has sustained many injuries including, pulled tendons in her arm and leg, a broken foot that was shattered in 5 different places and a torn ligemate. “Everyone thinks it’s such a glamorous sport,” said Ruth who was covered in mud from nose down after one particularly muddy race.
The competition standards at Mount Pleasant Meadows, where she is currently spending the summer/fall season, are not as strict as other tracks. Ruth will be traveling to race at either a track in Miami or West Virginia for the winter season where she will have to begin intense work out regiments and dieting to meet weight.
Six days a week Ruth arrives at the track before sunrise to exercise and train the horses for various owners. On average she rides over 15 horses a day. “I used to ride up to 30 before Tommy got here.”
Ruth’s boyfriend of 8 years, Tommy, is also a jockey and rides multiple horses each morning. They begin their morning around 7am and end around 11am or later. “I used to end at 5pm, shower, go straight to bed and then wake up at 4am.”
Ruth has loved horses since she was young and knew she always wanted to be involved in some sort of horse sport. Now that she is finally out of the starting gate, it doesn’t seem like she’ll be slowing down anytime soon.
Update: a couple weeks after this, Ruth injured her knee in a morning training session and has since has surgery. She is now taking some time to heal before she rides again.