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Career advice from horse racing and trainings brightest rising stars, Rosie Napravnik and Joe Sharp

On October 8, about 30 students of the Bluegrass Community and Technical College's North American Racing Academy (BCTC-NARA) and the Locust Trace Agriscience Center (LTAC) were invited to ask questions about how to get started in the horse racing world from one of the top jockeys in the nation, Rosie Napravnik.

Her advice was simple and straightforward: You always want to improve your jockey skills, and also learn to speak to people in a professional manner. Present yourself as outgoing and approachable. If you show a good, strong work ethic, you'll have a good chance of succeeding in this business, said Napravnik.

As a female jockey, Napravnik said she has struggled getting beyond the perception that women are weak in the industry. To combat that notion, Napravnik said, It's important to show my strengths and establish myself as the real deal by coming early to work and staying late, and just proving that I am a capable rider and have a passion for it. I don't want any breaks because I am a female.

The How to Succeed in the Horse-Racing Industry event was held in conjunction with Fayette County Schools at the Locust Trace AgriScience Center facilities in Lexington, KY. LTAC is a career and technical high school with an emphasis on equine studies, plant and land science, and other programs. This was a wonderful occasion to collaborate with BCTC in hosting this event, said Anne Clark, LTAC Principal. The opportunity for LTAC students to mingle with industry professionals is an irreplaceable experience.

Students were given the opportunity to ask Napravnik and her husband, Joe Sharp, a rising star among the horse training ranks, about what to expect when first starting out. If you don't like working seven days a week and getting up early every day and putting the passion in what you are doing, you're in the wrong profession, said Sharp, who also emphasized the need to keep it professional, and don't party late at night when you need to be at work in the morning.

On the question of what attributes employers in the equine industry are looking for, both Napravnik and Sharp agreed that aside from being well-versed in equine studies, whether as a jockey or trainer, a newcomer needs to be a good listener and eager to learn, and always be punctual. Employers want to see consistency and you need to earn their respect, which in turn, will earn their support in your future career options. And make sure you don't jump from one job to another. Employers want to see that consistency in work ethic, Sharp advised.

Proving that initiative is also a good trait to have, Jordan Erwin, a recent graduate of BCTC-NARA, was attending the event, saw her opportunity and asked Sharp for a job. She starts this week.

About NARA

Originally launched by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, NARA is now part of BCTC and remains a highly successful career and training program offering one-year certificates and two-year associates degrees in support of the horse racing and breeding industries. http://bluegrass.kctcs.edu/NARA

Bluegrass Community & Technical College offers certificates, diplomas and associate degrees designed to improve employment opportunities and maximize success in education and training. For more information about the college and its programs, go to http://www.bluegrass.kctcs.edu/.