Barbara Livingston -- Passionate Vision

The following is excerpted from Women in Racing: In Their Own Words. Published September 2001 by Eclipse Press.

When I started out, gender was a huge issue in my field of work. When I was growing up and was friends with Julie (Krone) back in the dark ages, she used to insist to people that it made no difference. And to some extent she still insists that. She still tells people, you know, "don't think of me as a female jockey. I'm a jockey that happens to be female."

But for me, I'll say flat out it made a huge difference. I think it made it much more difficult. I had a lot of trouble getting as much respect as the men that wore the big brown photo vests and carried Nikons and the various things.

A lot of photographers made my life very difficult when I came out. They would make up stories about me and tell clients terrible things about me which were flat-out lies. Why did they do that? I always thought it was insecurity on their part, which is funny, because the two that I'm thinking of right now were both capable photographers. I found it very odd that they would waste their mental energy attacking me.

I got a lot of positive feedback on the Turnback the Alarm photo that wound up winning the Eclipse Award (1992). After it was published, one of these men said to me, "It's a great shot." And I thought, "Wow, I've made it, this guy actually gave me a compliment!" Then, after I got the award months later, the same guy was standing with a group of people one day and he said, "Barb, you got to admit, anybody could have taken that shot that was there that day."

So, here it is twenty years later and they still do stuff like that on occasion. I think these guys are so hard on me because I'm just such a girl. You just see me walking around, and I'm smiling at everybody, feeding apples to the horses. Some of it is about competition -- this is a very competitive business. There is something about me being a bubbly, happy girl that really annoys them. A lot of these people don't love the horses. I just HAVE to do this work because I love horses. I can't do anything else. I walk into that paddock, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be.

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