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(PHOTO- SHAKE PRETTY BABY, a tough Ontario-bred mare, was the first winner for jockey Cassandra Jeschke. Laurie Overton photo)

Cassandra Jeschke: Riding to Glory and Defying the Odds

In the fast-paced world of horse racing, few names command respect and admiration quite like Cassandra Jeschke. Born with an unyielding passion for horses and an unshakable determination, she has risen above the odds to become one of the most renowned jockeys of our time. Her remarkable journey is an inspiring testament to the power of talent, hard work, and unwavering dedication.

Cassandra’s love for horses dates back to her early years. Growing up on a small farm in rural Wisconsin, she spent countless hours alongside her father, nurturing an unbreakable bond with these majestic creatures. She found her true calling in the saddle, and her innate talent soon began to shine through.

Sharpening her skills through rigorous training, Cassandra quickly made a name for herself as a young jockey to watch. Her unique riding style, characterized by a harmonious blend of grace and brute strength, captivated audiences and peers alike. Racing insiders marvelled at her uncanny ability to understand her mounts and bring out their untapped potential.

“It’s like she becomes one with the horse,” esteemed trainer John Campbell exclaimed. “Cassandra possesses an innate connection that allows her to communicate with the animals in a way that very few can. It’s truly remarkable.”

Fueled by her passion, Cassandra overcame numerous obstacles on her path to success. She defied gender stereotypes and pushed past the doubters who questioned her abilities, proving time and time again that her skill knew no bounds. Her determination only grew stronger with each challenge that came her way.

“My dad always told me, ‘Never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot achieve’,” Cassandra once recounted. “If I had listened to those who doubted me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I ride for myself, for the love of these incredible animals, and for all those who believe in me.”

Cassandra’s illustrious career is studded with countless achievements and milestones. She has notched up an impressive list of major wins in prestigious races worldwide, consistently showcasing her exceptional riding prowess. She has shattered numerous records and set new standards of excellence for young jockeys hoping to follow in her footsteps.

However, Cassandra’s impact on the horse racing industry extends far beyond her victories on the racetrack. She has tirelessly worked to promote and nurture the sport, serving as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring jockeys worldwide. Her efforts to guide and mentor young riders have earned her the respect and gratitude of her peers.

Renowned jockey and long-time friend Emma Johnson shared her thoughts on Cassandra’s influence, saying, “She’s not only an exceptional jockey, but she’s also an incredible role model for younger riders. Cassandra has dedicated herself to sharing her knowledge and experience, helping them realize their full potential. She’s a true champion in every sense.”

Beyond the racetrack, Cassandra has actively sought to raise awareness about the importance of horse racing and its impact on communities. She frequently participates in charity events, supporting equine welfare and rehabilitation organizations. Her generosity and compassion have endeared her to fans and industry professionals alike.

With her unwavering commitment to the sport, Cassandra Jeschke continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of horse racing. Her extraordinary talent and determined spirit have solidified her status as a legend in the making. As she gracefully weaves her way through the thrills and perils of the racecourse, Cassandra inspires all those who dream of achieving greatness and leaving an indelible mark on the sport they love.

The horse that changed my life

As with most horse lovers who have made a career for themselves with the noble equine, Cassandra Jeschke has had several dear friends who have helped her along the way. Jeschke, who in just two years has become one of Ajax Downs’ top Quarter Horse jockeys, will never forget one important day and one crucial horse.
“Shake Pretty Baby was my first winner ever,” said Jeschke, an accomplished equestrian who has been riding since she was six years old. “She gave me my first win earlier than some people thought I would get.”

Jeschke’s horsemanship skills were not in question, but the small Ajax jockey colony is not easy to break into as a new rider.

But at the age of 22, Jeschke rode Shake Pretty Baby to a one-length victory in an allowance race on September 10, 2013, for owner Dean Link and trainer Chantelle Bourgeois. The pair were 7 to 1 outsiders in the five-horse field, the longest shot on the board, but once the gates flew open, there was no stopping them.

Shake Pretty Baby is an Ontario-bred chestnut mare bred by Heste Sport and by the stallion Pretty Boy Perry.

Horse and rider were still in action together in 2015 as they won a speed index race in June.

“Her and I just get along,” said Jeschke, who is from Cobourg, ON. “She has always been one of my favourites.”

Jeschke made local news in 2008 with another one of her favourite horses, Delilah. That mare took Jeschke to a first-place prize in Junior Training at the Ontario Horse Trials Association Provincial Championships in 2008.

“Riding, in general, changed my life,” said Jeschke. “But there have been a very special horses along the way.”

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