EARLY every morning Tracy Piggott climbs onto her horse and rides out across the flat, lush plains of Co Kildare.
A workout for the body and mind, she spends up to three hours in the saddle. Given her lineage — her dad is the famous jockey Lester and her mum Susan also has a racing background — the daily canter is no surprise.
Yet, for years she’d followed other sporting passions, leaving her past behind.
But now the RTÉ sports presenter has found form and is back doing what she loves most.
“It was always in the back of my mind that I’d really like to go riding out, it’s part of who I am. Then one day about two years ago I said, ‘right I’m going’ and I’ve never looked back.
"It was supposed to be one morning a week, and then it was two and now it’s every day.
“I’ve always found exercise really good for my head. And being outside with animals — it really helps me. Plus, with my work, I am much more connected and involved with everything that is going on.”
Fitness has always been a key part of her life. Before returning to riding, she took up cycling, swimming and also qualified as a reformer instructor —“I found it fantastic for my body”.
Another “big distraction” was the birth of her daughter, Thea, eight years ago.
They are just back from a visit to Switzerland where Lester now lives.
“It’s lovely over there. He’s in good form.”
Tracy will be joining her father at the Curragh later this month for the Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival (May 21 – 22) and for the opening of an exhibition, sponsored by FBD Hotels & Resorts, to honour Lester’s career.
“To my mind he wouldn’t be the most patient of people but when it comes to sitting down and signing autographs and that kind of thing he’s brilliant.”
What shape are you in?
I turned 50 last year and I probably feel better now than I did in my 30s — every way — physically, mentally.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I’ve never been into sweet things but I like really good dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. I like broccoli a lot.
I’d have protein powder in the morning sprinkled over porridge oats and then I put in some flax seeds and other seeds and I’d have almond milk and a bit of fruit.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
I like red wine. For years, I’ve said I’ll do a wine course but I never got round to doing it. I do vary a little but I always go back to Bordeaux.
What would keep you awake at night?
If I have coffee after 2pm I can’t sleep at night. And tea as well, though obviously the herbal ones are fine.
Also, if my daughter wasn’t well or she was upset that would always keep me awake.
How do you relax?
I have three dogs and l love taking them out for long walks. Also, I have been practising Japa meditation for about two-and-a-half years. It’s a chanting meditation which really suits me.
I tried meditation where you sit here and close your eyes and I found it hard to not get distracted, whereas with Japa you are repeating Sanskrit mantras.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
I’d love Peter Kay the comedian, Spike Milligan, he’s just so off the wall, I think Gandhi would be really interesting to throw into the mix and Imelda May might be fun to have in there as well. And to really stir it up, Kevin Myers.
What’s your favourite smell?
I love musk oil. It reminds me of something I don’t know what. I like natural fragrances as opposed to the chemical ones.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
Loads of things. Probably my nose because I’ve broken it three times.
If you look at me straight on it kind of zig zags down my face. I broke it once while riding, the other two times were accidental silly things that happen.
When is the last time you cried?
Last week. My daughter was a flower girl at my great friend Jenny’s wedding. When we all turned around as they entered the church, I was the first one to burst into tears.
What traits do you least like in others?
I don’t like any form of bullying, cruelty, unkindness or gossiping.
What traits do you least like about yourself?
Mainly I wish I wasn’t so impulsive and impatient and scattered brained. And I wish I was better at time management.
Do you pray?
I pray regularly — in my own way.
What would cheer up your day?
A big hug from my little girl.
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