LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Lexington woman uses multiple sclerosis and the coronavirus lockdown time to build a business centered around the iconic cavalier jockeys.
"I was diagnosed at 31," said Katy Jones, "So when the pandemic started, I immediately knew that I had to be extra, extra, extra cautious. And that led to a lot of free time and a lot of crafts and projects but this, by far, was the most, I mean at this point, it's life-changing."
Jones founded Riders Up- Custom Cavaliers & More, a custom jockey cavalier company all hand-painted and designed by her out of her garage.
She said her business, was not exactly what she planned.
"I had always wanted a Cavalier. I didn't know where to get one. Even... I just did not know where to find one, much less someone to paint it and someone to paint it to the quality that I would have wanted it," explained Jones. "So, I did a lot of figuring trying different products trying different methods. And after I got mine done, my friends on social media went wild over it. And here we are."
Jones said cavaliers are seen all over Kentucky often matching a farm's silks or donning a family symbol or crest are usually used as a symbol of hospitality.
"That's why you see them, well on people's front porches, outside a restaurant; outside a hotel, so they're a sign of welcome. And I think that for Lexington, especially in Kentucky, they're just the ultimate, you know Horse Capital of the World souvenir. You know, 175 pounds souvenir that should last for generations," said Jones
Jones' jockeys are heavier than most at 46 inches tall and are made out of concrete, "I would say each jockey takes for a normal design around six hours in total."
She designed a jockey for the 147th Kentucky Derby which sits on display at the Summit at Fritz Farm through the second week of May. The highest bidder will win the jockey and the proceeds will go to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
For her, the business is about much more than an entertaining side-gig.
"It's almost meditative, so I just really enjoyed being out here," she said. "It keeps me active keeps me, you know, limber and just really the more you can help your brain build pathways or rebuild pathways, the better I'll be in the long run. Because I was diagnosed at 31. I'm 34 now. So, I really want to continue to have an active lifestyle to be able to work. You know, for the next 30 years."
To connect with Jones or to order your own cavalier, click here.