We were young, once, when all we dreamed of was a horse of our very own.
Before win pictures adorned our walls, there were stick figure versions plastered on refrigerator doors when our tiny hands depicted the best versions of the horses living in our minds they could.
We once paraded through the house in our brand new helmets that, at the end of our first lesson, would result in our hair plastered to our heads like wet newspaper from the stifling velvet armor.
We were once at the rail of a track, white knuckled and wide eyed, forever changed by the heart of a racehorse.
We forget, sometimes, that once it was just about the love of a horse.
By the time Amy Nesse was just eight years old, the pages of her copy of Blood-Horse’s Top 100 Racehorse of the 20th Century were well worn and her brain full of information on the racehorses of times past. As she grew, so did her love of racing and the history of the sport. Eventually it led to her “(Race)Horse of the day” on Twitter, a daily offering to the horse racing masses of a horse of note from racing past or present. “It was kind of for me, at first,” Amy says, “I just enjoyed it and it was just my way to research and document horses, then people just took to it and enjoyed it as much as I did.” It proved to be instrumental in developing Amy’s online presence and, not long after, a single blog post led to multiple offers for Amy to write professionally about racing.
Although Amy admits she never thought of herself as a writer, it gave her the opportunity to get a foot in the door and opened Amy up to a world of exploration and learning.
“I had it in my brain very early on that I wasn’t going to be normal,” Amy says, “I was truly going to work my brain off and dive in and be bold. I think a huge part of it is being bold; if you have a true passion and determination people will see it and it will get noticed.”
Bold and daring, Amy immersed herself in the world of horse racing.
Her first interview and article with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith was a huge leap into the game. It was also important in helping Amy identify what she values in the industry early on. “[Mike] has such a love and understanding for what he does; he’s something else,” Amy says. She was blown away not only by the jockey’s humility, but also his genuine love for the horses and his ability to connect with them in an instant.
That connection and passion is something she found echoed in her interview with Donna Brothers, Amy’s other favorite interview; Amy refers to Donna as has having a “joyful spirit” for the horses, and an infectious love of the sport. Those values have become very important to Amy as she recognizes something in the successful people in the sport that is intrinsic to who she is as well: they never forget what brought them into racing in the first place.
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Amy’s love of horse’s started as so many of ours do, as an obsession that is one of the first true loves of our lives. She dreamed of fields of horses, Olympic jumping stadiums, and her own little pony as a small girl, but her love of racing was ignited by one Afleet Alex. Today, it’s her own horse Jude who keeps that flame alive. Jude was an ex- carriage and show horse who fell into Amy’s life when she was least expecting it and now occupies most of her time – when she’s not writing.
“There’s something about having a horse that makes working in the horse industry more inspiring,” Amy says – a sentiment everyone who has ever been around horses resonates with. “I’m all in with the horses, and every part of my life revolves around them – something about that drives me.”
Amy Nesse brings a much needed youthful outlook to the industry, and while her end goal is uncertain, she has mastered being a student of the game. Whether it be bloodstock agent, historian, reporter or trainer, two things remain absolutely clear: First, Amy is way ahead of her years in both knowledge and devotion and brings a fresh, bold, voice to the game… and Thoroughbred Insider.
Second, she is a constant reminder of why we love racing in the first place. She is a reminder that when we are caught up in the number of Derby wins for a trainer, or lifetime earning of a jockey, or fractions on the track, that none of that would be relevant if it weren’t for the horse. When we get caught up in all the chatter that surrounds the game, we forget what brought us here in the first place. We forget the common thread that brings together strangers the first Saturday in May, and so many Saturdays in between. But no matter where Amy’s passion takes her, that love of horses will always prevail.
“In the end,” Amy says, “that’s what I would like it to be for me: a labor of love to the horse and to the game.”
Meet More of the Thoroughbred Insider Team…