I was once a little girl who had a dream job just like everyone else.
It was after the primary school excursion to Caulfield that gave me the racing bug and from then on that’s all I wanted, to be in the racing industry. Yes, agreed that the job I wanted in the industry has changed from being a jockey, to a trainer and even to a strapper, but the one thing has always remained I love the industry and very passionate about it- it only grew with me!
Having a mum who hated horses in the early days made it really hard to follow my dreams, when it came time to decide about life after high school- I knew that I didn’t want to go to uni and spend money we didn’t have, instead all the courses I put down for were of course all horse related and racing related, sadly the permission slip was not signed to be enrolled into the courses. So I live the life others wanted me to have but have always harboured the passion and longing for the racing industry.
Over many years I continued to persist and try to find my “in”, well one day I did find it- it wasn’t working in the industry but it was through ownership. At the age of 30, I had received a significant pay rise and had to decide how I was going to be smart about it. Many said to put a deposit on a house, others said put it in the bank and get interest off it. My heart said invest it into racehorses and that is exactly what I did. It was then that I went on the hunt for the horse that I wanted to cheer home and have the honour of saying I own a race horse.
That was when I met Hawaiian Rose, what fun we had over her career. Now anyone in racing (especially owners) will say that once you get the bug it never ends at one. One becomes two and two becomes three or many more. Well at one stage I did have three horses but through natural progression and life, two retired and one I still have actively racing.
As I have enjoyed the industry more, this time last year I was made redundant from a role that I gave so much time and energy to. It was the 4th redundancy in a space of 2 years, mentally I was on a downward spiral. I was struggling to find a job and mentally I was not dealing with the fact that I have qualifications and skills, but nobody wanted them. So I sat back and next thing I am back on the job hunt and looking for jobs in racing because the passion ignited again and I saw this as maybe my sign that it was time to follow my dreams.
I had a morning at John Thompson’s stables in Randwick- unfortunately it didn’t go to plan and I was back to looking for jobs on Seek. The joys of Social Media these days is that now it can also be used for advertising jobs. April arrives and an opportunity of a lifetime is posted on Facebook- James Cummings is looking for stable staff at Leilani Lodge. I was hesitant to apply because the only handling skills I had were of handling my own horses and also as a volunteer at the NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust. Anyway, I sent my resume in and quickly got a response asking me to come in for a trial.
So the next morning I was up VERY early and went in. I was paired up with a more experienced staff member to be shown the ropes of how James runs his stables. I handled it well and was told to come back in the afternoon. I just had been given a shot by one of racing royalty and was pinching myself. Sadly, as much as the passion of wanting to be a stable hand and strapper was a dream- it was apparent it wasn’t the job for me.
We look at strappers on race day and think what a great job, what most people don’t realise is the hours and the hard work that these people put in for the horses that they love and care for on behalf of the owners. As an owner and having spent that time in the stables, I have a much deeper appreciation for stable hands and strappers as it is a tough job. But I am proud that I gave it a second shot and can admit how tough it is.
So I went back to the corporate world and got a job at Samsung. It has now been 8 months and I have been working as a Quality Assurance Officer (yes the one that listens to your calls). While I have enjoyed my time with the company my health has taken a little dive (this won’t keep me down).
However, the main point of this post is that after so much persistence and housing so much passion, I have finally found that break into the racing industry. At the end of the month I will be taking on the role of John Sargent’s Secretary. What is involved is working closely with John to ensure that his stable is run smoothly, all paperwork is handled, owners are billed, our bills are paid and so on.
I am very excited for the opportunity and can’t wait to start, it just goes to show that if you have a dream that as long as you keep working towards it, anything is possible and you can and will achieve it- simply it is all in your mindset.
Dreams really do come true!