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Forest Boyce

Drawing alumna Forest Boyce ‘09 had embraced her creativity while she was at MICA, but today, she’s expressing her creative side in another way: as one of the top apprentice jockeys in the country.

The past year was a breakout year for Boyce, as she ended her rookie season with 129 wins, 125 second-place finishes, and 109 third-place finishes out of 757 mounts. Her races brought $2,065,984 in purse winnings.

“I’m not surprised by her success. She’s a natural. It’s almost like it’s an instinct for her,” said Dickie Small, a trainer who worked with her at Pimlico during the time she was at MICA.

Rex Stevens, chair of the Drawing and General Fine Arts departments at MICA, remembers how Boyce would wake up at the crack of dawn to exercise horses for Small before her early morning classes at MICA. “You could see that this was a person who was determined,” Stevens said.

That determination had spilled over into her MICA schoolwork. Stevens remembers a time when Boyce sustained a riding injury, but was concerned about not being able to make it to class. “She was on the way to the hospital, having punctured a lung and broken her ribs and she called to tell me, ‘I’m not going to be in class next week,’” Stevens said.

Her love of horses was often reflected in her art. “Forest was making drawings about horses and the racetrack,” recalled Tony Shore, who had taught her at MICA during her junior year. “A lot of her focus was on things that she knew about horses that the normal person didn’t know, like the experience of going that fast.”

Earlier last year, Boyce was up for an Eclipse Award, given to the Outstanding Apprentice Jockey of 2010. She had finished in second place, though that didn’t take away from the tremendous year she had.

“Horses were always part of my life,” she had told The Baltimore Sun. “I knew in some way they would always be part of my life.”