Monday, June 15, 2015

Running, Skiing and Meditation- Just a Few of This Leading Lady's Favorite Things

Athlete/Fitness: Donna Barton Brothers, Retired Jockey
You've read all about her in our June issue but here are a few more fun facts that might surprise you about this leading lady...

Today's Woman: Do you miss being around horses? 
Donna Barton Brothers: I’m still around them. I’m out at the track covering races, and my husband is the bloodstock agent for Starlight Racing, a racing partnership that’s based out of Louisville – I’m chief operating officer for them – so we go see the horses at the barn when they’re stabled here at Churchill Downs or when they’re in Florida for the winter. And about six months before my husband retired from training, I got a dog. She and I run trails at Cherokee Park, so between just being outdoors and still having my connections to the animals, I feel content.

TW: Was going from jockey to TV commentator a difficult adjustment? 
DBB: Going into TV, the hardest thing for me was that when I was interviewing a jockey, I felt like I already knew the answers because, well, I watched the race. It took me a while to realize that the viewers aren’t all former jockeys like I am, so it’s my job to ask a question that is relevant and that is going to bring some interesting information to the viewer through the answer. So learning to be totally cool with asking questions I already knew the answers to was one thing, and the second thing was that I learned I didn’t always know the answers. 

TW: Do you see the sport differently now that you’re on the other side of it? 
DBB: I do. I am more sensitive to the way the sport looks to an outsider now. As a commentator, I’ve had to adjust my language because some people have no idea what we’re talking about when we use the racing lingo. The other thing has to do with our whipping rules. I still believe that the whip doesn’t hurt the horses – horses slow down with pain, so if the whip is really hurting them, they’re not going to run faster – but is it helping them enough that we can ignore the fact that it just looks insensitive? A few swats here and there are one thing, but when someone gets into a steady rhythm and hits the horse 25 times through the stretch, I think that can turn people off.

TW: How do you take care of yourself? 
DBB: Mondays and Wednesdays I do Annie Locke’s class at Baptist East Milestone, Fridays I do Pure Barre at her studio, and Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays I run the trails at Cherokee Park with my dog. This winter was pretty annoying because the trails were just too dangerous with all the ice and snow. Fortunately, I did take three ski trips this winter, but if I had to stay here it would have driven me crazy because it just wasn't conducive to going outside. 

TW: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
DBB: My down time is only January, February, and part of March. I like to ski, and I’m in the Louisville Ski Club. Then my husband and I will take a couple of trips to Florida during the winter and see the horses and spend a little time on the beach. We enjoy that. The other thing I like to do, and I know it sounds weird, but my house will go for months without having a drawer cleaned out, so I actually like cleaning out all the drawers and organizing in January and February. I like to get life back in order before it all starts up again.

TW: What would surprise people about you? 
DBB: Probably that I’ve been regularly practicing meditation for five years. A homeopath I was going to recommended it, so I decided to try it and made a commitment to do that for a year. And what happened was that just after a couple of months, I could really see how much it really made me settle down. It’s a lot easier to keep my emotions and my mental acuity in balance and not get discombobulated and frustrated and out of sorts with things, people, and situations when I do my regular meditation. If I feel anxious or have anxious moments, I’m able to tap into that feeling that I have in meditation, and I never knew how to access that before. 

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