Part of our second intake of Cadets, Laura Gambling is currently completing a placement at Eureka Stud.
They say find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. The Thoroughbred Industry Careers Explorer Cadetship has enabled me to find that passion and that lifestyle.
It’s a lot of hard work but for all the hard work there are so many rewarding moments. Just before I started mu placement a good friend and mentor told me ‘head down; bum up. Work hard, learn lots and continue to improve.’ These are words I’ve lived by and, if I’m honest, they’ve served me well.
I’d never have imagined the opportunities I’ve got to experience so far but the highlight has definitely been getting to accompany Eureka Stud and the 32 yearlings that were prepared for the January Magic Millions Yearling Sale to the Gold Coast. To see all the hard work back on the farm come together as these yearlings went under the hammer and then to see the new owners so excited about their future racehorses makes you so proud and so incredibly happy to be a small step in their journey.
Working with the yearlings really makes you appreciate all the work that goes into these babies before they get broken in. So much of them being well mannered racehorses comes back to their experiences on the stud. It is so rewarding.
To see them come in from the paddock where they just got to be horses, to then come into the barn where they get a refresher on catching and leading them to their first experiences. First baths, first shoes, first rugs, first time on a walker, first good groom. These are all things we all take for granted, me included.
These yearlings had to do just as much learning as I did but when it starts to come together you really feel you’ve achieved something important. So much of my time was spent just grooming the yearlings. Some days it felt endless and like I was getting nowhere but to finally get to see the end result made it all worth it. It was incredible to see the transformation that a few short months make.
The sales were an absolute hive of activity. I knew people would come view the yearlings but I didn’t realise that most days it’s just non-stop parading. Not just one at a time, some days I counted as many as seven or eight parades going on. There were people and horses everywhere.
After watching the others do it on the first day, I got an opportunity to have a go myself. I didn’t always get it right but I was so thankful that everyone, including potential buyers, were patient with me as I learnt and as the days went on my confidence grew. The rest of the time it was about keeping everything running smooth, whether it be catching horses, going over them with a brush, cleaning boxes, sweeping, filling waters, or giving lunch to the yearlings when the madness stopped for just a few moments.
It was about having to do as little as possible when we got to the end of the afternoon, so it was just feed and rug for the night. We had such a great team, the atmosphere was fun when it could be but down to business when it needed to be too. In all the whole experience so far has been exciting, I’ve learnt so much and I’ve grown as a person. I’m looking forward to now starting it all again with the yearlings for Sydney, Adelaide and next lot through the Gold Coast!