Life as I Know it
n Life As I Know It, Michelle Payne tells her deeply moving story. It will lift your spirits, stir your heart and give you courage. Michelle was six months old, the youngest of eleven children, when the family was hit with the tragic death of their mother, Mary. Their father, Paddy, a renowned horseman, raised his children alone. As a family, they all took on the daily demands of racehorses and a dairy farm as well as school and work. Family meant everything. Michelle was put on a horse aged four. At five years old her dream was to win the Melbourne Cup. At thirty she rode into history as the first female jockey to win the Cup on the outsider, Prince of Penzance. Her strapper was her brother, Stevie. So when she declared that anyone who said women couldn't compete with men in the racing industry could 'get stuffed', the nation stood up and cheered. It was a moment that inspired everyone who dreams of beating the odds. Michelle's hallmark grit and determination were needed in the year after her historic win. She took out her jockey/trainer licence while continuing the punishing regime of being a jockey. But a dramatic fall resulting in a split pancreas meant her year was filled with more rehab and reflection than rides.
Michelle Payne entered racing aged 15, winning her first race in Ballarat on Reigning, a horse trained and owned by her father. Michelle became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015 on the local one-hundred-to-one horse, Prince of Penzance, trained by Darren Weir and strapped by her brother Stevie. John Harms is a Melbourne-based writer, historian, and broadcaster. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, The Pearl, and nine editions of The Footy Almanac annual.