Young Gun Q & A: Courtney Barnes

21 April 2021

For Wingatui based jockey Courtney Barnes, early experiences riding ponies was enough for her to know she wanted a job working with horses. Ten years on from her first raceday ride, and Courtney is enjoying her most successful season to date! We caught up with Courtney to chat about her life as a jockey, her 'why' and where she sees herself in 5 years time. 

What drew you to racing?

Horses! I had ponies growing up and was very much into show jumping and eventing. 

What does a typical day in your life look like?

I’m up early (like most people in the industry!). I head into work, check on the horses, organise what’s happening for the morning and then get ready for track work. Depending if I have races, I’m either off to the races for the rest of the day, or on a non-race day I’ll try to fit in a run and a bit of form study. If I’m not riding I’ll usually be watching races.

What has been your proudest career moment to date?

Winning the White Robe Lodge on Coulee. It was great to win a win a Group 3 race on my home track at Wingatui. 

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I’m not sure if I’ll still be riding in five years, maybe not! But if not, I’d love to still be in the industry working with horses.

What advice would you give to a young person looking to get into the New Zealand Racing industry? 

Work or volunteer in as many areas in the industry as possible. There are so many, figure out what you like best. You’ll meet some great people and build good connections. Everyone in the industry is very willing to help, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Why do you love racing?

Because I get to work with horses every day and it’s incredibly rewarding.

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