This woman is out to win. For 27-year-old Texas native Stacey Denise Swayze, the decision to become a jockey was easy: “I love being outside and I’ve owned horses all my life. Riding just came naturally to me.” She’s just the right size, too: 5'2" and 110 pounds. “I eat like it’s going out of style,” she says, “but riding keeps me in shape. It uses every muscle in my body.” Stacey describes herself as a “tough competitor” and says nothing can keep her from jockeying—not even the accident she had in 1995 when her horse stumbled, she was thrown over its head and the horse ran over her. Her injuries included a torn biceps, a torn rotator cuff and a bone fracture, but Stacey was back on the track after a year of physical therapy. Chalk it up to her strong will. “I don’t ever want to be helpless,” Stacey says. “I can change a tire, or my oil. I have things under control. Besides, riding gives me a feeling of freedom. I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. I don’t want to go to heaven if there aren’t any horses there!”
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