Kathy O’hara’s Unique ‘Stress Release’
Kathy O’hara’s love of eventing and show jumping was the catalyst for a successful career in thoroughbred racing.
There are four horses on Kathy’s five-acre property that mean as much to her as any trophy sitting in her cabinet. They represent both the reason she was able to develop into a Group 1-winning jockey and what will be a large part of her future beyond horse racing. From around the age of 12, Kathy and her sister Tracy, started out in eventing and show jumping and a zest for riding was born, that would eventually lead both sisters into the racing industry. Kathy said, “It’s a real passion of mine, I love doing it and the reason I wanted to get into race riding. None of my family was involved in racing, it was only through the horses that came about.”
Prior to starting her apprenticeship, with eventing and show jumping well and truly in the forefront, Kathy bought two mares to compete on. When she turned 15 and the life of a jockey took over, the mares were rested until some years later, when she made the decision to breed from them. Each produced two foals and those four horses now form Kathy’s passion and, since she resumed eventing about five years ago, are part of what drives her on the track.
“We waited a while to breed with them. One is seven now, two are four and one is five,” she said. “It’s been a long process getting there. I put the mares on the backburner a bit and didn’t really do anything with them when I started riding because I was here, there and everywhere They are all quite young, they don’t sound young, but in terms of showjumpers a four-year-old is very young. Seven is probably the prime age to start going through the levels but I’m pretty excited about two of my young ones.”
Those two horses are called Ziva and Emma and compete under the names of Vespa Martini and Emmasary Lass.
When she’s not committed to the races, Kathy spends as much time putting the horses through their paces and taking them to competitions.
“Primarily in the summer months she’ll sneak in a ride between trackwork and the races, and she has a true desire to see her horses realise their full potential.