Courtney Worthington - Rider

My life has always revolved around animals, especially horses. My first ride was at 2 months old on an old mare named "Meo". I then graduated to a chestnut pony named "Sweetheart", who needless to say was anything but. When I turned 7 I moved to a 24,000 acre cattle ranch in Northern California with my parents. I learned the art of branding, roping, gelding, barrels, cutting, pole bending and breaking the babies, to name a few.

I decided, after reading every "James Harriott" book written, that I wanted to become a small town large animal Veterinarian. My dream went a little off course when I moved to L.A.. The lure of the fast buck was very enticing. I soon got into modeling, commercials and acting. I moved to Paris for 6 months and worked my tail off. I did quite a few commercials, print work, videos and posters. Sunkist, Budweiser, Wrangler, Revlon, Moulsen beer, Guess? and Ivory were my best clients. It was an exciting lifestyle for a while but it also got old quite fast. I kept modeling on and off for about 6 years. I worked as a stockbroker, agent, 3rd grade teacher, and then finally decided to follow my dream and enroll in school for my Veterinary Technicians license. It took me 3 years of fully loaded semesters to finish a 4 year course.

I worked in a small animal clinic for a year and a half but always dreamed of getting back to the horses. My father had racehorses on the ranch along with the Quarter horses we used for the cattle. I broke and trained all of them, and got into cross country and show jumping for a few years. I worked for a trainer in So. Cal. who had racehorses. This was an awesome job, the whole barn was mine. He had stallions, broodmares, horses in training, yearlings and weanlings. Unfortunatly, my boss had a little upset with the IRS and his entire stock had to be liquidated.

While working on my Veterinary Technician degree I started working at the Southern California Equine Foundation, which is the hospital at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park racetrack. I took X-rays, assisted in surgeries, screw removals, epiglottic entrapments, Laryngotomys, chip removals, anesthesia and arthroscopic procedures. This was a wonderful learning time for me and I do miss the intelectually stimulating part of learning the horses anatomy, make up and functions in such detail. Taking a 1,200 lb animal, anesthising him and putting him on his back [with the help of a mechanical crane], putting a tracial tube down his throat and surgically opening up the troubled spot seemed an incredible procedure to me. Learning how to mend a broken bone with a plate and pins and how to surgically open up the horses airways.

I would come out of surgery and wait for the horse to recover, open the doors for the groom to take him back to the barn and be so envious of the people I saw riding out to the track on these beautiful creatures. I then decided, if the time ever came, I would work on the backside with these animals. The time came and I have been with a wonderful barn for the past year, enjoying the one on one with the horses, knowing their seperate personalities and studying them.

My father put the racehorse bug in me at age 9 and I hope someday soon to also have a few of my own.

The racetrack is the most addicting drug there is, far more than any other vice that you could sucomb to. The best part about this addiction is it takes place outdoors while the sun is peaking over the horizon, the sound of hooves thundering by and the warm breath of a beautiful thoroughbred nuzzling your hand.

Thoroughbred horse racing is definitely a vice worth indulging in.


The Running Horse (