I never truly understood the phrase “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” until I commenced my stable placement at Lindsay Park Racing. The horses, location, management, staff and opportunities all culminated to provide an experience far beyond what I could have imagined.
What surprised me during my time was the welcoming atmosphere and the workplace culture to give opportunities to those who are eager to learn and listen. I feel this was particularly valuable during these early stages of my career, as it ensured I was comfortable to ask questions without feeling too silly or inexperienced. That atmosphere helped broaden my understanding of not only stablehand duties, but also racehorse pedigrees, training and race gear, veterinary treatments, horsemanship (especially with young horses), training programs, race nomination planning, raceday strapping and exercise alternatives such as swimming and water walking.
A definite highlight was the opportunity to work daily with quality thoroughbreds who I never dreamed of having the privilege to handle. I developed a soft spot in particular for Vega Magic who has a presence about him that embodies the thoroughbred spirit – he thrives doing his job and carries himself with incredible purpose. Other favourites of mine included Faatinah, Fifty Stars, and a filly that is yet to race. The Spring Carnival is just around the corner and I genuinely can’t wait to see the results of the winter preparation. However, Lindsay Park has asserted a mindset that these athletes are first and foremost a horse – a cuddle, a good sand roll and close attention to the need for spelling ensures that any caliber of horse has its fundamental needs met.
An aspect of the industry that I didn’t know about was the emphasis on ensuring that there is an adequate work/life balance. Working thirteen days a fortnight in a quiet town could easily turn into a cycle of solely work and sleep, so it was impressive to see efforts made to balance this. This included catered Group One win celebrations for staff, daily cooked breakfast/lunches and frequent dinners and drinks at the local pubs. Euroa is also a prime location for snow trips to Mount Buller and weekends away in Melbourne.
I would like to extend a huge thank you to David, Tom, Ben and the Lindsay Park Racing team for such a wonderful experience. In particular, I’d like to thank Justin – my allocated rider – for his patience and willingness to always explain the ‘why’ behind decisions made during a horse’s preparation. It was an honour to work with someone who is so kind and intuitive with the horses and sets an industry standard I hope to one day emulate.
It was incredibly difficult to leave Lindsay Park; however, I now look forward to broadening my breeding industry understanding at Arrowfield Stud.