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news RoR Support Racing Staff Week

18th October 2021

Racing Staff Week recognises the contribution of the industry’s entire workforce, in all British horseracing employs 17,500 staff, from stud and stable staff to breeders, racecourse staff and administrators.

Now in its fifth year, Racing Welfare are the driving force behind Racing Staff Week and their aim is to bring the racing industry and its followers together to showcase the passion, skill and dedication of all the staff across the breadth of the industry, whose hard work makes our great sport possible.

To celebrate ‘Racing Staff Week’, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) will be highlighting some of our members who combine their work in the racing industry with looking after and riding a former racehorse.

First up is Steph Potter, who tells us how she juggles her full-time racing job with looking after her former racehorse, 14-year-old gelding, Follow The Facts, who is now competing at Advanced Medium in dressage.

Steph Potter and Follow The Facts

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? I am racing secretary to Charlie Hills and formerly Barry Hills and have been part of the furniture here at Faringdon Place for 14 years. When I am not at work, you can usually find me out and about on the horse, out on my bike or walking the dog, and have also recently climbed Ben Nevis.

When and how did you get your former racehorse? I was gifted Follow The Facts (Ned) in 2012 from Nicky Henderson’s stable, a week after his last run.

What was he like in his early retraining and did you know the horse during his racing days? I didn’t know him in his racing days, but he settled into life outside racing very easily. He has always been very straight forward and is generally a cool customer.

Does he have any funny quirks? He does enjoy a buck every so often. I have eaten the dirt a few times! But he generally is a good boy and enjoys life.

How do you juggle working in racing and looking after your former racehorse? Luckily, I keep my horses fairly close to work, so I usually muck out in a morning and then ride when I have finished work in the evening. The nature of the job means some long hours and some late evenings, but I manage to juggle the work/life balance.

What has he achieved and has your partnership exceeded all your expectations? Ned has been a star and exceeded all my expectations. I originally got him to go eventing on, but this didn’t quite go to plan and I have ended up doing dressage on him instead. We are currently competing at Advanced Medium, which I would never have thought in a million years we would be doing. He isn’t made for the dressage arena really, but he tries so hard and his temperament has made him into what he is now.

What plans do you have with him? We will just keep moving forward and enjoying what we do and see where we end up. As long as he is a happy boy then I am happy too.

Have his racing contacts kept in touch with you and follow his progress after racing? Yes I have kept in touch with Mrs Roberts who bred him and owned him while he was with Nicky. I keep her up to date with what we have been up to and also send her photos of him.

Why do you love thoroughbreds? They are such versatile horses, and given a chance can turn their hooves to anything that’s asked of them. I adore them and they really are special horses, time and patience is the key.

Latest news RoR is always interested to hear of other success stories so please email us and send a photograph of your own story.

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