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My Racing Story

My Racing Story

Kyanna Van Buuren

Kyanna pictured after riding her first winner at Roscommon in May
© Photo Healy Racing

I'm originally from Holland and moved over to Ireland when I was one. I'm not from a racing background at all, but I always had an interest in horses. I wasn't too sure what I wanted to do when I was in school, but I signed up to an Equine Business Management college course because I had an interest in horses.

I went to college in Tipperary and my course was changed in my first year. At that time, I used to go into Gavin Cromwell's on a Saturday and on my holidays because my sister, Loreena Van Buuren, was working there. After my college course got changed, and I wasn't going to go back, I decided to start working full-time in Gavin's when I was 19. My sister was working in Gavin's as ground staff. When I went in, I had obviously never sat on a racehorse so I worked on the ground before I started riding out one or two to start with, then more, before I was riding out every morning.

I was with Gavin for about a year and a half, and I absolutely loved it. He was really, really helpful and literally taught me everything from scratch. When I gradually got better, he used to bring me to the Curragh. We were riding out one day and some of the lads asked me what I weighed and I said about seven and a half stone and they said you're mad not taking out your (jockeys) licence! I talked to Gavin and took out my licence for a bit of fun. He didn't actually have anything for me to ride, so he actually bought me a horse, Muraahin, and I think I had four rides on him.

A horse I used to ride out a lot in Gavin's was Quick Suzy. She went on to win the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. I didn't ride work on her, but I used to ride her out most days in the yard. She's definitely the best horse I've ever sat on. As a two-year-old, she was miles ahead of any I'd ever ridden and she just gave you the feeling of a proper intelligent two-year-old.


I'm only about 10 or 15 minutes from John McConnell's yard and I was doing mornings in Gavin's, so I started doing evenings in John's. I've been with him since last summer and I am now apprenticed to John and with him full-time. I ride out his lots in the morning and then I work in the stable in the evening.

My first winner was a deadly day! It took about a year to finally get it and when you are going that long, you lose a bit of hope. It is very competitive - obviously, John's son Cillian is in the yard with Siobhan Rutledge. I can't even describe the feeling passing the post on No Patience in an apprentice handicap at Roscommon in May, it was amazing. It has definitely encouraged me to pursue a career as a jockey. I'm open to outside rides and have had a few for Lee Smyth, Padraig Roche and Derek Barry. I'm riding out a bit on Tuesdays for Liam Lennon, I meet him up in Dundalk.

My goal would be to ride out my 10lb claim for a start and, generally, I am always looking to improve and get better, and get experience. Siobhan is like a mentor to me in the yard. When I came in in the evenings, she would always have been egging me on, encouraging me to come in full-time and give it a go. She would always fill me with confidence and she helps me with everything. I do a lot of jockey coaching with Gordon Power up in the Racing Academy and Centre of Education in the Curragh, and he has helped me a lot with my riding.

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