I grew up in a small village called Ratoath in Co Meath with my mum, dad, and five brothers — four older and one younger. I married my lovely husband Ted in 2012 and we have two girls of our own now, four-year-old Rosie and two-year-old Holly.
I’ve been around horses my whole life. I don’t remember the first time I got on a horse, I don’t even remember learning to ride a horse. My mum had us on ponys from a very young age and it all progressed from there. I always wanted to compete and do shows but I didn't know if I was going to be able to make a career out of it. When I started competing and realised I had the ability, that's when I really started getting the bug for it. The Carberry name definitely helped get me along my way… but I also had a name to live up to.
I do think I was born to be the person I am. I was born into a racing family and I was given the skills at a very young age. And I have a gift for it, so I was lucky to be born into a family that gave me the skills straightaway to work with that gift.
My proudest achievement in life is definitely having two healthy, beautiful girls. It was a miracle for me. Rosie and Holly love watching me on Dancing with the Stars every Sunday. I haven't been able to spend much time with them recently because of it, but they've been so good. Anytime I say I've to go they say, 'you go dancing mummy?' I'll definitely bring them on a trip away after all this because it's been hard on them not seeing me much.
Dancing with the Stars is full on, it's been very very tough. You're learning things for the first time ever —and it's harder to teach an old dog new tricks. It's a lot tougher to learn things when you're my age. I have the fitness, that helps. But I'm not really musical, I don't have an ear. It's been hard — but I've taken to a few of the dances really well. I can't believe I've done as well as I have.
I think my greatest quality is that I give everything my all, whatever I do. I don't do anything in halves. I try to do everything to the best of my ability and give it the time it deserves. I never want something not to work out because I didn’t put the time in, I don’t want to feel that regret. With Dancing with the Stars, it started with me training a few days a week, but now I am training every single evening. I am glad I am giving it the time though, we’ve been rewarded so far.
My greatest skill is horsemanship.
The greatest challenge I've faced in my life.... being a jockey is probably one of the toughest things, mentally. It becomes your whole life. You have to give it so much time, energy and dedication. I always knew it was what I want to do and I really enjoyed it, but it was tough. Your job is your life, and you need to give it everything because if you don't, you won't achieve what you want to achieve. It's only when you retire and step back you realise how much your life had become wrapped around the sport.
Looking back, the one thing I do regret is that I didn’t travel the world more. There is a timescale for women having families and being a jockey… there was a choice. Go travel or have the family I’ve always dreamt of having. I do regret that I didn’t travel as much as I would’ve liked to before I had my family, it’s something I feel I didn’t do enough of, but it can wait until I am a bit older and the kids have grown up.
What scares me most in life is not knowing what's around the corner, when the end is, and something happening my girls.
The person I turn to most is my husband Ted. We met 17 years ago, and have been married for 10. Since we met, he’s been my rock, my biggest supporter, my backbone.
The life lesson I would like to pass on is don't let fear take something that you've always wanted to do. Give it a go, don't have regrets.
What cheers me up on a bad day is chocolate.
The greatest advice I’ve been given is to just live life as much as you can. When it comes to racing, the best advice I got was from my dad who always said ‘win your race once, don’t win it twice.’ Basically, if you hit the front too early in the race, you’re giving another horse a chance to pass you. So win it once, not twice.
I would like to be remembered as a good mother and a good support to my family. If my career can help support that, that’s a bonus.
If I had taken a different fork in the road I might have been become a sports massage therapist. I studied that for a year and really enjoyed that.
What surprises me in life? Every day is a surprise. If there's one thing that’s for sure it’s that there is always a surprise around the corner.