Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! I don’t think today’s post will be a long one, but it is one I really wanted to share when I read about it. So without further ado, I’ll get straight into it for you.
Diane Crump was born on May 18th in1948 to Walter and Jean Crump in Milford, Connecticut. When she got a little older, her family moved to Oldsmar Florida and at 13 years old she began taking riding lessons.
At 20 years old on February 7th in 1969, Diane Crump became the first woman to compete as a professional jockey in a pari-mutuel race in the United States at Hialeah Park Race Track. However it wasn’t all smooth running for her.
In 1968, two women had been forced out of horse races they had been entered in to after male jockeys threw rocks at the trailers used as locker rooms by the women and threatened to boycott the race day if the women participated so Diane knew, she also would not have it easy.
There was so much hostility towards her that she needed a police escort to get to the track, guiding her though a very angry crowd of people who were shouting things such as ‘go back to the kitchen and cook dinner’ amongst other sexist comments.
Diane Crump ignored the constant abuse thrown at her and she did indeed ride her horse Birdle ‘n Bit. She finished 9th in the 12 horse race and when she returned, there were cheers of support for her. Just two weeks later, Diane rode her first winner.
In 1970, Diane became the first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby. She won the first race on the card that day and then in the Kentucky Derby on board Fathom, she finished 15 out of 17.
In the early 70’s Diane received invitations to ride in Puerto Rico and Venezuela. In a race in Puerto Rico, she realised the male jockey behind her was holding onto her saddle, basically getting a free ride during the race. She began to hit him with her stick and they spent the remainder of the race hitting each other, however the male jockey pulled away and ended up winning the race.
In 1985, Diane retired from the saddle after riding 235 winners (she is officially only credited with 228).
On February 1st 1989, Diane suffered a broken leg, ankle and ribs from a riding accident and was hospitalised for 10 days. Her leg was broken in 6 or 7 different places and the doctors told her she would never be able to ride again.
In 1991 she began to work as a trainer for a small yard at Middleburg Training Center in Virginia, however in 1992 she returned to riding up until 1998 before finally retiring completely from racing in 1999 and beginning to run her own equine sales business living in Virginia.
I thought it was so sad when I read this story that she was treated so awfully by the race-goers, but I have a lot of admiration for her for continuing to pursue her dream as well as opening the sport up to women for years to come. If she hadn’t been brave enough to stand up to the sexist abuse, who knows how differently the sport could have been.
I love the fact that sexism within racing no longer exists, whether you’re male or female you get equal opportunities to take part and succeed if you put the work in and that is proven by the success of those like Bryony Frost, Hollie Doyle, Rachael Blackmore and so many more.
I had never heard of Diane before researching this post, so I hope I have taught you all a thing or two with today’s post and I will see you Saturday morning at 11am for a new post.