Nina Carberry
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Nina Carberry on her Dancing With The Stars debut

| 09.01.2022

Ladbrokes ambassador Nina Carberry talks about switching from the saddle to the dancefloor ahead of her Dancing With The Stars debut this Sunday

In her first blog she talks about getting out of her comfort zone, her desire to win, and what it feels like to be favourite.

Switching from jockey to dancer is very tough. It is something that I never ever thought I would be doing, but I am loving the challenge and enjoying learning how to dance professionally. It is something totally different and out of sync from what I would normally do. It’s great meeting different people as well and seeing how things work behind the scenes. It gets me out of the yard and into a dress which is nice as well!

“It’s taking a while for my dancing partner Pasquale La Rocca to mould me into something he needs me to be”

The dancing hasn’t come naturally to me. Being a jockey, you are kind of set into certain position and your muscles are all tense in that position trying to hold a horse, but you need to be with the rhythm of the horse. However, being with a dancer you must be flexible and light. It’s taking a while for my dancing partner Pasquale La Rocca to mould me into something he needs me to be. I am enjoying trying to be a professional dancer but it’s very hard. There is a lot of work behind it that I didn’t think would have to be done. I am in awe of all the dancers; they do incredible work and I would just love to be half as good as them.

There’s a lot of the contestants who can put a lot of days and hours in, but I have horses at the yard who need looking after in the mornings, I have my two girls as well, so I can only train in the evenings. But it is every evening and it is full on. If you don’t put the work in, you won’t get it back so I hope I have put enough hours into it to make some kind of dancer.

“Seeing everyone today dance for the first time, I was like I am going to have to up my game here”

When I signed up to DWTS I was doing it for fun, but then when you get going, it gets a grip on you and you want to do really well. Especially when you see the rest of them doing so well, I don’t want to be rubbish at this. Being amongst the rest of them rehearsing definitely drives you on more and makes you more competitive. Seeing everyone today dance for the first time, I was like I am going to have to up my game here. I definitely do not want to lose. Winning would be unbelievable. If I got half way through it, I would be thrilled but to win it would be unreal.

“I am feeling a little bit nervous, but I am not going down to Becher’s Brook or risking breaking my leg you know”

Obviously, I am feeling a little bit nervous, but I am not going down to Becher’s Brook or risking breaking my leg you know. I will have to take a lot of slagging if it goes bad but I am going to enjoy it rather than be nervous.

“I am the first equestrian person that has done it so I want to do well and want them to watch it”

I am feeling lots of support from the racing industry. Anyone I meet are wishing me the best of luck and I want to make them proud too. I am the first equestrian person that has done it so I want to do well and want them to watch it. There will probably be a new audience watching it from the equestrian world. I don’t feel the pressure of being favourite though. There are so many good contestants who I have seen dancing so I am up against it. I will give it my best shot though.

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Author

Andrew McDermott