His dad and pop rode buckjumpers in the rodeo ring but apprentice jockey Tyler Schiller didn't think he'd join the family tradition on a flat thoroughbred race at the start of his jockey career.
The 23-year-old apprentice was lucky to escape serious injury when his mount Come on Harry flung him through the air into a metal 1600m marking post at the start of race one at the Gundagai Cup meeting last Sunday.
The wet track was tricky enough, but as sometimes happens in racing, the girth strap slipped on barrier rise, constricting the horse's stomach, and Come on Harry lost the plot, putting Tyler on to a 200 metre rodeo exhibition.
Tyler, raised at nearby Young, who is fresh from winning the prestigious Albury Gold Cup, thought he was back at the rodeo where his dad and pop once rode.
His mount suddenly veered through the field.
"If he kept going in a straight line I would have been right," says Tyler.
But Come on Harry headed straight towards the rail and eventually flung Tyler off, sending him crashing into the metal marker at the 1600m.
Luckily, he only copped cuts to his arm and a black eye. He then crashed into the running rail, as did Come on Harry.
"It looked spectacular but I actually didn't feel too bad," he said.
"When he started bucking, I thought I had him, but he took control out of my hands. I didn't think he'd start veering towards the rail. The girth can slip and they just don't like it. He flung me over the top and I hit the post."
Tyler grew up in Young later trying to be a harness driver with his family before turning to riding thoroughbreds at age 15. His dad Peter is a well-known trotting trainer. Both his dad and pop rode buckjumpers at rodeos.
"I saw plenty of it. Dad and pop rode, but as far as buckjumping goes I'm calling it quits for now."
It was only his second fall off a horse in his short career, the first in a race. He once was tipped off a horse behind the barriers at Tumut. Schiller has really taken the bit in his apprenticeship, first at Jerilderie, then joining the Chris Heywood racing stable at Wagga Wagga. He was in high demand before relocating to Sydney where he now gets regular rides from some of the city's top trainers including Chris Waller, Joe Pride and Mark Newnham.
He recently won the Albury Gold Cup for Newnham on Harmony Rose. He'll mix it with the best jockeys in the land and indeed the world this week in Sydney at Canterbury races and then in the prestigious Sydney Championships meeting at Randwick where he'll have a ride in the Sydney Cup for Joe Pride.
He'll be out of his apprenticeship in April next year.
Meantime, he says he's willing to get back on Come on Harry for trainer Danielle Seib, who apologised for Come on Harry's antics at Gundagai to Schiller.
"I said to Danielle I'd be happy to ride him at his next start - if he gets through his trial." Stewards have enforced an official trial on the horse to see if he has amended his manners.
The stewards report at Gundagai said: "Come On Harry - Commenced to buck shortly after the start and dislodged its rider. Apprentice T Schiller required immediate attention from the ambulance officers and was subsequently transported to Wagga Base Hospital. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities. Trainer D Seib was advised that the gelding would be required to compete satisfactorily in an official barrier trial prior to racing again."
It was a lucky escape for the young aspiring hoop, but he's country tough.
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journalist and author
journalist and author
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