“After decades of riding all over the world for the U. S. Team, winning a medal, instructing and coaching at all levels, I will admit to being nervous and possibly intimidated the first day Rosie came to my place for a lesson! What I’ve learned in the last five years is how fortunate I am to work with someone with such God-given talent and yet who is so grounded and humble. Rosie has never hesitated to give back to the horses she loves and are responsible for her career.
Now, if I can just convince her to go for it and ride for the United States. We would finally have a female individual Gold Medalist in USA Eventing!”
- Dorothy Crowell – United States Equestrian Team member; WEG Silver Medalist
“Rosie was an outstanding jockey throughout her career and a role model for aspiring riders, especially younger females, she gave them hope and encouragement that they could become the next ‘Rosie.’ Since moving into the next chapter of her life, she has continued her passion for horses and the people who work with them, Rosie has worked tirelessly to promote the adoption and retraining of Thoroughbred racehorses. She has truly been a difference-maker.”
- Bret Calhoun – Breeders’ Cup and multiple graded stakes winning trainer
“Jazz Napravnik came to work for Ann Merryman and I while she was living in Towson, Md., and going to Towson University. She galloped for me at Pimlico in the mornings, and she kept saying ‘You need to meet my sister Rosie!’ She said what a great rider Rosie was and gave her the double thumbs up.
I said ‘Ok but I am not a fan of girl riders,’ and I just growled at her!
But she persisted. ‘Wait til you see my sister…’ and boy was she right!! Rosie was not only an excellent rider and horsewoman but also smart – really smart. You didn’t have to show her how to do anything multiple times. She was her own toughest critic, and what a hard worker! She came into work at 4:30 a.m. and went to (the late trainer) Dickie Small’s barn. While I had a few I trained, most of the time she’d be done before the break and then come get on one or two of mine. Then she would catch a ride to Sparks, Md. and go to my house, shower and change and head to school from 11-2:30. And a couple nights each week she would go to classes for two hours – and still had time for a life!
There was a time when I was away for three days, and Rosie fell asleep and was late for night school. They were about to kick her out. I wrote a letter on her behalf, saying not one other student at 16 was working, going to school during the day and then night school and that anyone who wanted an education that badly deserved another chance!
It was a pleasure having her live at my house. So fun, smart, hard working and the rest is history! No one can say she had it easy – she just made it look like that. I love Rosie, Joe and their kids. She is a perfect example that you can do it!! I am so blessed to have her in my life.”
- Holly Robinson – Retired multiple stakes winning trainer
“Rosie is someone whom I’ve admired for a long time. Watching her rise to the top of the jockey rankings with such grace and poise was so refreshing and needed in the racing industry. She quickly became a role model for hundreds of little girls dreaming about becoming a jockey. Her announcement on national television following her Breeders’ Cup win will go down in history as best retirement announcement ever.
The same drive and passion she had for winning races has continued in every aspect of her life. She’s an amazing mother who, even with a new demanding career, finds time to create fun adventures for her two boys. She has excelled in her new career running her own farm and training program for retired racehorses. Her natural riding talent and horsemanship have helped many horses transition and succeed in their second careers. She continues to be an ambassador for a variety of aftercare efforts and is always freely giving of her time and endorsement to raise awareness and funding. She is a true hero to our sport and specifically to the horses that give their all both on and off the track.”
- Anna Ford – Thoroughbred Program Director, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program
“As respectful of a career Rosie made for herself on the track, she has done just that off the track. Her love for the industry shines through her passion for retraining retired racehorses and teaching others her trade. All while being a wife and mother, she continues to help promote Thoroughbred aftercare.
Rosie is the definition of a SheHero.”
- Jockey Brian Hernandez and his wife, Jamie Hernandez
“As a jockey, Rosie was at the top of her game. Exceedingly talented as a rider, she accomplished more than any woman – and most men – have in the sport of horseracing. Beyond that, she was an incredible ambassador for the sport and advocate for the horse. When she announced her retirement from race-riding in her post-race interview after winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 2014, it shocked all who love the sport. Little did we know, her second career would be just as profound as her first.
Just like the horses she works with, Rosie had so much left to give after retiring from racing. Her “second career” has focused on retraining racehorses to go onto successful careers in the equestrian world.
Through both careers, Rosie has given the industry and its horses so much more than we could ever truly appreciate, and she has done so with grace, skill and persistence. As a former professional athlete, she appreciates on a different level the transformation Thoroughbreds make – both mentally and physically – when transitioning from racing to a new calling. She not only is an expert in the irons, but also so good at sharing this side of the industry with the masses through interviews, social media and more. All of us who love racing and racehorses are forever in her debt.”
- Jen Roytz – Executive Director, Retired Racehorse Project
“Rosie the epitome of a hero; here to save the day and lead the way. She is the definition of commitment. Whether it’s being a jockey, a mother, a sister, daughter, friend or rider/trainer, she is always there to give you 100% and then some. She is passionate about her horses and her family; always striving to do a little bit better than the day before. She has been my biggest supporter from the day she was born, cheering me on and believing in me even when I struggled to believe in myself. She is a role model for what it takes to be successful; never letting others thought or opinions stop her from pursuing her dream She is resourceful; when she has a goal, she will always figure out a way to accomplish it. And most importantly she is KIND. She is kind to her animals, friends, family, employees and colleagues. She is the first to help build you up when you are struggling; she will lend you a helping hand when you feel you can’t go on, even if she has had an exhausting day herself. She is humble. Even with all of her global accomplishments, she stays humble, always striving to become a better person than she already is. The world is a better place because Rosie is in it.”
- Jazz Napravnik – Thoroughbred Trainer, Life Coach and sister to Rosie
“If you ask me, I met Rosie in the summer of 2009 while I was an assistant trainer at Delaware Park. Rosie claims we met in 2007 when I was working at Laurel Park, but I don’t remember her speaking to me the first time we came in contact. Rosie was a professional to say the least. I think she could be mistaken by some as a little unapproachable, but all the while she was just very humble and even a bit shy. On the track, I developed an almost immediate attraction for Rosie’s ability as a rider and, beyond that, a true horseman. Some of my fondest memories of that first summer we began dating were when she would drag me to Maryland to go jumping using the OTTBs that she, her sister Jazz and her mother Cindy had acquired. Rosie enjoyed spending almost all of her ‘off days’ playing with her horses.
As time and career paths have changed, Rosie’s unparalleled ability to connect with horses has not. After working long, grueling hours as my on-track assistant for the first couple years of me starting my business – including up until she was 8 months pregnant with our first son – we bought a farm in Kentucky and that sparked a new light in Rosie. Rosie began acquiring OTTBs for the purpose of retraining and in some cases re-homing. As in anything Rosie puts her mind to, she worked hard to perfect herself as a rider in the discipline of eventing in which she had to become a student all over again. I have seen an equal if not greater passion ignited in her as she works with retraining the animals that have given her so many blessings in life for which she is eternally grateful.
Last but not least, Rosie is as dedicated a mother and wife as I could ever ask for. She is the definition of ‘all in’ and is very selfless when making sure that everyone under our roof gets the utmost support in whatever they pursue, whether that be the kids’ sports or holding down the fort while I’m away racing. We really have an amazing balance when it comes to raising our family and prioritizing time for each other to have the opportunities we need to focus on our careers. Only I will ever know just how blessed I am to have this SheHero by my side through life’s journey.”
- Joe Sharp – Multiple graded stakes winning trainer and husband to Rosie