LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX18) — Friends say that Callie Witt was someone who loved horses from the very beginning.
"You can tell she was hands on. She had great hands," said Schuyler Condon a fellow horse trainer and friend. "She could become one with the horse. She could teach horses to do things that most people couldn't."
Condon watched Callie grow up in Nebraska but knew that Callie had a long-term dream.
"I watched her barrel race with my wife and stuff and she said, she wanted to gallop racehorses," said Condon.
Callie's dream took her to Kentucky and the Equine Program at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
"Callie joined our program a couple of years ago and was in our racehorse riding course. She was an exemplary student," said Dixie Kendall a Coordinator at the BCTC Equine Program. "Always positive, always the first one to show up. last one to leave. Eager to learn."
Callie had also been working for Trainer Joe Sharp as an Exercise Rider for a year out at Keeneland. Condon says she can't believe she's gone now.
"A young person like Callie, you know, the sky was the limit for her and this team. I know one of her biggest goals was to be a jockey and to be honest, I believe she was getting closer and closer to that goal every day she was out there in Kentucky."
BCTC Equine Officials say she was one of the best students to come through the program. They say that is how they want to remember her.
"There was no place she wanted to be except on the back of a horse and just so proud of everything she accomplished."
Trainer Joe Sharp made a statement saying “We are devastated by the loss of Callie as she has grown near and dear to our barn. “Callie aspired to be a jockey and was about to graduate from the North American Racing Academy. She had been making great progress toward her goals and had a work ethic that was second to none. She was unique … you don’t see many in her generation with that level of grit and determination. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family.”
Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “Our prayers go out to Callie’s family, friends and our collective racing community at this difficult time.”