There was a time when Corrine Andros’ career choice would have seen her grab the bull by the horns. Literally. But, at age 17, a tip from a friend put her on track for the life she had always dreamed of.
It wasn’t so long ago that Andros, now 22, figured she could combine her love for horses and affinity for the rough and tumble rodeo world into a job.
In the days and weeks before she finally settled on the idea, Andros had a series of typical teenage-parent conversations with her mother.
“I was at that point in my life where I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with myself,” recalled Andros, who was born in Vanderhoof (885 kilometers north of Vancouver), British Columbia. “My mom asked me, ‘What do you want to do? What will make you happy?’ I had always been around horses and I enjoy the rodeo, so I thought that it was a good fit for me.”
“A friend of mine asked me if I’d heard about the jockey and exercise rider program at Olds College (in Alberta),” remembered Andros. “I didn’t even know it existed. All my life, I’d been around horses. For as long as I can remember, the thought of being a jockey was always on my mind. When I found out about the school, I knew it was for me.”
The girl who once jumped on the back of a bucking bronco at a local rodeo, had finally found her true calling.
After working in various capacities at racetracks in Alberta, Andros arrived at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver in 2013, galloping horses for some of the Vancouver oval’s top trainers.
She relished the opportunity, and also knowing that every day she was drawing closer to getting a leg up as a jockey. Not even a morning training accident — one that forced her to head back home to recover — derailed her plans. After recuperating from her injuries, Andros began riding at the ‘B’ tracks in Alberta. It was a chance to hone her skills, and prepare for a return trip to Hastings.
“I’ve been thrown from a bronc, hurt while riding horses, but it never gets me down,” she said. “I’m a low-stress person. Nothing really gets to me. You just dust yourself off and get back up again.”
That tenacity has paid off handsomely. On May 17 at Hastings, Andros enjoyed a banner day, winning four races, including three consecutive triumphs.
The victories, one a neck score, another by a nose, were quickly put into perspective by the young apprentice, in knowing a quartet of wins doesn’t make a jockey the darling of the grandstand.
“It’s a tough game,” said Andros. “One day, you can have multiple wins, the next day, you can be aboard a big favourite and wind up last. You figure that out early on. When the race is over, win or lose, it’s on to the next one. You need a short memory.”
That, and a solid long-term goal.
“I can see myself doing this for at least the next 10 years,” said Andros. “I truly enjoy it. Just like any other job, there will be good times and bad. I want to continue to learn, to get better, and to be the best I can be at it. But, I love everything about it.”
Which is why she has no regrets about giving up ambitions of a career on the rodeo circuit. “Things have worked out well, better than I ever expected,” admitted Andros.
And that’s no bull.