Celebrating Women in Horse Racing

The world marks International Women's Day on 8 March every year. This year’s theme, #EmbraceEquity celebrates the achievements of women and calls all to embrace equity and differences in the world. Horse racing is one of the few sports in the world where men and women compete equally. This International Women’s Day, STC celebrates women in horse racing by spotlighting three female trailblazers at Singapore’s oldest and only horse racing club.


Our story follows Singapore’s only female jockey and professional horse trainer, Jerlyn Seow and Donna Marie Logan respectively, as well as STC‘s Head of Stables and Racing Operations, Pauline Ng. We dive into their journeys as they share their thoughts on embracing equity and gender diversity in a male-dominated industry.


Jerlyn Seow, 29, Apprentice Jockey with S Crutchley Racing 


Donna Marie Logan, 62, Trainer with Te Akau Racing


Pauline Ng, 47, Head of Stables and Racing Operations at STC


When and how did your journey with horses and racing begin? What do you think are your greatest achievements?


Jerlyn Seow: It all started with a Hong Kong television drama on horse racing. My curiosity was piqued and there was no turning back after I came across a job opportunity at STC in 2016. I left my dream of becoming a veterinary surgeon behind to pursue racing. The going was tough but I did not give up. As Singapore’s only female jockey today, I am filled with a huge sense of pride and achievement.  


Donna Logan: I literally grew up on a racecourse. My family was involved with horses, one way or other and every weekend, I would tag along with my parents to the races. I love horses and was told I was a natural on one from young. I first got an apprentice jockey licence to ride races and then a trainer’s licence later in 1987.


Training horses is my life’s work and I’ve been doing so for close to 35 years now. Training 1,040 winners, including Group 1 winners in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore is an outstanding achievement and one of my greatest accomplishments. The other is seeing my daughter and son excelling in their own fields in the horse racing industry.


Pauline Ng: I first stepped into the Club 23 years ago. Over the years, STC has opened up endless opportunities to me; I’ve worked in various roles and learnt different aspects of the industry. Currently, I oversee the import and export of horses, stables management and day-to-day racing operations.


In 2016, we had the monumental task of exporting 103 horses to Vietnam on short notice, during an equine disease outbreak no less. The task was complex but we made the impossible possible. That was one of my greatest achievements! 


Pauline with one of three customised STC horse floats for the transportation of horses within Singapore


Donna with Racing Manager and husband, Peter Woods


What are your thoughts on women in horse racing?


Jerlyn Seow: Horse racing might be a male-dominated sport in Singapore but what men can achieve in this sport, women can too. I am living proof of that! This is an industry that requires prep work with animals, so basic requirements would include good discipline and a passion for animals. These do not differ across gender, and are vital qualities needed in the sport! 


Donna Logan: I have never viewed myself any differently as a woman in this sport. I have earned the respect of individuals in every country I have raced and trained in. Female counterparts in countries like Australia and New Zealand are more active in the sport and industry. My daughter, Samantha, is a trainer in New Zealand with her own racing brand. We need to do more for racing in Singapore.


Pauline Ng: There are many females working behind-the-scenes in the Club, across a multitude of roles supporting operations and races. They might not be in a front-facing role but they play a big part in making the Club successful.


Jerlyn taking a break at the stables at STC


International Women’s Day encourages us to #EmbraceEquity. Are there are sufficient equal opportunities in horse racing? In your opinion, what would equity look like when it comes to the sport?


Jerlyn Seow: Yes, all jockeys in the Club are given equal opportunities in the sport. The sport is gender neutral. What matters is to be present and willing to learn, work hard and grab every opportunity. Equity in this sport is about open communication and open opportunities. Open channels and opportunities were key to helping me start with zero experience and industry connections.


Donna Logan: Definitely. There are many different roles in racing that both men and women can be involved in, including broadcasting, race commentary, syces, veterinary practise and many more. Equity would be providing opportunities to anyone seeking to be involved in the sport or industry, regardless of gender, background or circumstances.


Pauline Ng: There are plenty of opportunities in STC, especially for anyone keen to learn! Do not let gender norms hold you back. Equity is about being given the chance to do what you want and love. I always make sure my teams have a chance to be involved in different aspects of the Club and races so they can discover their interests and build a rewarding career with the Club. 


Pauline outside the Stables office at STC


What are some initiatives or changes you think the horse racing community can help to make, to encourage greater gender diversity in the local equestrian / horse racing community?


Jerlyn Seow: Shifting the perception of horse racing in Singapore and attracting more talent will help. When you make it a day out for the family at the races, it can help cultivate in the young an interest in the sport of horse racing. We need to promote the sport to younger audiences for its longevity.


Donna Logan: Horse racing has been titled the Sport of Kings. It is a sport in its own right. Engaging children and getting them excited about horses and their purpose is a start and will help nurture their interest and involvement in the sport.


Pauline Ng: Encouraging fellow colleagues to step up and take on more front-facing roles will help. It is about grooming and building confidence and competency skills, which would lead to greater gender diversity within the horse racing community.


Donna with one of her racehorses at rest


Any parting thoughts or words of encouragement to share with all, especially women, who are interested in getting involved in the sport or industry?


Jerlyn Seow: Do what you love and don’t give up! The learning curve in racing may be steep but the results will be rewarding and you’d have a unique career unlike any other!


Donna Logan: Follow your dreams and do what you love! With determination, you can be what you want to be, gender differences notwithstanding! I have been richly rewarded in my career and I hope to be able to share my experiences and expertise with new talent in the industry.


Pauline Ng: We welcome and encourage women to join this industry. Have the right mentality and attitude and you will find a role that suits you and gain an extraordinary experience and career! 


Jerlyn gearing up for a ride


With a goal to further the Sport of Kings, these extraordinary females have been defying odds, pushing boundaries and upping the standards of horse racing in Singapore. Still, more needs to be done to close the talent gap within the industry. For more information on career opportunities and unique career roles at STC, please visit: here.