Trading A Pen For Reins

Many of us give up on our childhood dreams as life and its many challenges often steer us in different directions. But we may find that the memory of those dreams sometimes leads us back to our passions, and with some luck, the chance of realizing them still remains. For Dominic Prince, a forty seven year old journalist in London, the love and passion for horses and the horse racing industry has stayed with him, although the thought of becoming a jockey faded as the years passed by. But earlier this year, he decided to do what it takes to lay down his pen, take up the reins and become a part of the horse racing world he so loves.

Standing at five feet and ten inches, Dominic Prince weighed sixteen stone. He smilingly jokes that being married to the best chef in Britain, Rose Prince, has not helped his weight much. But after Christmas, he decided that it was time to cut down on drinking, stop smoking and watch his diet. He also began cycling and walking to lose weight and become fitter, which did help. Prince has always been involved in horse racing and horses, either by writing about them, doing documentaries or just going down to the track to be a spectator. So, in his bid to lose weight, he decided to take on his childhood dream and placed a phone call to Charlie Egerton.

Charlie Egerton, is a very well known trainer in Britain, and fortunately for Prince, they know each other well. Egerton told him that the chance of riding in a race was very good, if he lost the weight and also told him to begin riding any horse that was available. Prince began by riding a horse in Dorset and then advanced to riding an ex-racehorse that was stabled in their village. By September, he was heading to Berkshire, where Heads Farm is located, and for two months, he rode every morning. Two or three horses each morning and staying true to his diet, Prince is now weighing a proud twelve stone and getting ready to take on the racecourse as an amateur jockey.

Through all the falls, injuries, disappointments and elation, Prince got to learn firsthand what the life of a jockey is all about. He has not only reached a goal in his own life, but shown the world that it is never too late to chase a dream. As most jockeys smoke, due to cigarettes being an appetite depressant, it is the only aspect of the old Dominic Prince that he has reverted back to. But says with a smile, in regard to his experience: "It has been brilliant. Life-changing. The only downside is all the jockeys smoke, so I have taken smoking up and puff like billy-o. I will give up again soon."

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