Monday, May 23, 2016

Arlington Race Track: A Day With Alexis Kuhn
by Maddie Muuss

Alexis breezing on the warm-up track.

Our day at the Arlington International Race Track began with a behind-the-scenes tour of Rodriguez Stables, with 22-year-old Alexis Kuhn. Alexis is currently an assistant trainer for Rodriguez Stables, veering slightly from her initial path, where she studied Marketing for three and a half years at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. . By the age of eight, Alexis had already sat on her first horse but her riding career really began at the age of twelve. During her initial riding days, Alexis successfully competed in hunters, jumpers, and equitation. Although she competed for years, she still had to gain more upper-body strength to ride the race horses, since they pull more than she was used to. This gave her little option other than to be in the best shape possible.

Alexis’ fifteen years of horse experience also helped her transition to racing. Being familiar with horses gave her quite the advantage against any competition or anyone who doubts her abilities. Only six months after starting at the track, Alexis was ready to get her Assistant trainers license.

         Alexis and one of her horses.
“In Chicago, to get your trainer’s and assistant trainer’s license, you have to have three letters of recommendation and you have to pass a written test and a barn test. The written test is sixty pages and you have to be on the racetrack for two years,” said Alexis.

Since Alexis didn’t have the minimum time at the track, she had to search for a state that didn’t require the two years. That’s when she discovered that Indiana only requires six months. Alexis drove seven hours to take the test. She recalls thinking that if this test does not go well, the drive back will be the longest seven hours of her life. Luckily for her, she passed with flying colors in September 2014.

One of the most important pieces of advice Alexis gives to aspiring riders is, “Never give up is my next piece of advice. You always have to keep evolving and never take no for an answer. If someone tells me no, that’s my biggest motivation to say, ‘I can do it.’ I’m going to prove them wrong. I’m going to do it.”
One of the aisles in the Rodriguez Stables barn.

Alexis’ dedication makes her stand head and shoulders above the competition. She wakes up at 3:00 A.M. every morning so that she can get to the barn early. Even though she wakes up when most people are sound asleep, she never complains. This shows her passion for horses and making sure that everything is done the right way.

When asked what her goals are, Alexis says that she hopes to start getting horses in her name as both the owner and the trainer. She would also like to get more owners in the barn. The stable has a 20% win record, which is above average for the industry. She still enjoys being an assistant trainer but hopes to one day become a trainer. It seems that Alexis can only go up from here, and has big things planned for her future endeavors.

Alexis on the track.

I have no doubt that she will reach all her goals with ease, and maybe even surpass them. Her dedication is shown when she arrives to the barn before others, or when she makes sure that each horse has the best care possible. With her passion, dedication and love for horses, Alexis will have no issues becoming a successful race horse trainer.

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