MEET stunning jockey Laura Cheshire – who says she was a 'tomboy through and through' growing up.
Cheshire, 36, has been one of Australia's top riders for years and has 169 career wins to her name.
That amounts to just under £1.6million won for the owners of the horses she has ridden.
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Cheshire wanted to ride from an early age – even if being in the spotlight has led to her receiving vile abuse.
She revealed at the end of 2019 that one of her former racehorses had tragically been tortured and killed.
Secret hidden camera footage showed abbatoir workers' abhorrent treatment of champion horse War Ends.
Cheshire believed the horse was living happily in a 'forever home' after saying goodbye following years of looking after him.
She had no idea of the true extent of what was going on.
But the footage of its disgusting treatment rocked the racing community – and led to a barrage of abuse aimed at Cheshire.
One message read: "I truly hope you break your f***ing neck."
Cheshire responded to that comment by pointing out she actually already had broken her neck in a riding accident.
Speaking of the torment, Chesire wrote on her Facebook page: "I'm still overwhelmed that I saw what I did, and that I am now copping hate messages from people who've never even picked up a horse's foot let alone sat in a paddock in the midde of winter with one that was on death's door and helped it pull through.
"When did humans become such a horrible species?
"When did vegan militants decide they were so far above others that messages of abuse were acceptable?
"This blows my mind."
The jockey now spends much of her time ensuring horses have a safe place to live after they retire from the track.
And it comes naturally given racing was in her blood from a young age.
Cheshire, who was born in Sydney, told femalejockeys.com she was a 'tomboy through and through' growing up but has loved horses for as long as she can remember.
Asked what led to her becoming a jockey, she said: "It was basically the first job I thought of that was working with horses apart from being a vet, which I didn't want to do.
"I was small enough and determined enough to give it a try."
She admitted she faced some battles as a female jockey in a sport still dominated by men.
Cheshire said: "It was hard in the way of trying to get people to see you are just as well suited to the sport as any male.
"The actual riding part came naturally as I've always been around horses."
As any jockey knows, injuries come just as naturally as riding.
And Laura suffered a horror one on Christmas Eve 2010 when her horse broke a leg during a race.
She said: "I hit the deck pretty hard. I got put into a halo brace, which is probably the worst thing I’ve had to deal with pain-wise.
"They drill it into your skull with no pain relief.
"They don’t give you anything because they need to know exactly what you are feeling while they are doing it."
Fortunately she made a full recovery and now combines riding with her work rehousing horses.
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