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Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards 2015

18 November 2015

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‘I look upon working at Sandhill as a way of life rather than a job’

Our series on the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards continues with Johnson White, assistant trainer to Philip Hobbs and winner of last year’s administration award

How Important are these stud & stable staff awards?

They’re a fantastic way of recognising all the staff for their hard work. We've been very keen to support them since the early days. All the members of staff who have been put forward for the various categories over the years have been very grateful and excited at being recognised for their work, even if they didn't get beyond the nomination stage. Liz Welsh, one of our two head girls, won the overall title in the third year and I know it meant a huge amount to her and the rest of the yard,who were very grateful for the financial prize and extremely proud of what she achieved.

What did it mean to you to win the award?

I was very humbled to be even nominated by Philip [Hobbs]. I felt I was representing the fantastic team here at Sandhill, without whom my job would be a lot more difficult. To get down to the last three was a huge honour, especially given who I was up against. When you’re sitting in a room full of people who have been in the industry all their lives and see their dedication, it made me immensely proud. During the ceremony I remember thinking I’d be very proud to finish third, so when my name was announced I was overjoyed.

What qualities make good stable/stud staff?

I think stable staff require certain Our series on the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards continues with Johnson White,assistant trainer to Philip Hobbs and winner of last year’s administration award qualities that go way beyond other jobs. I look upon it as a way of life rather than a job and I think that’s very much the mindset stable staff need to have. We’re very lucky to have a very loyal, dedicated, hard-working  team; nothing is too much trouble to produce the horses and yard looking at their best at all times, and producing plenty of winners. We've several staff that have been here for well over 15 years, testament to their loyalty and their enjoyment of working here.

What is the most testing part of your job?

Unhealthy horses are by far the hardest part. The most important thing for a successful yard is to keep happy, healthy and good horses in training for as many weeks as possible. We all work long hours in all sorts of weather to produce that, and when you’re doing that and the horses aren't healthy, it seems even harder work. During such times it’s not always easy to keep morale high. This also applies to injuries with horses who are cared for and looked after so well by their grooms – it’s heartbreaking for them and us when you have a serious injury to a horse.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

Seeing the natural progress of young horses and younger members of staff.Equally, to see any of our grooms progress from the point-to-point field to riding as professionals and doing well.

How can life be improved for stud and stable staff?

Life has improved hugely over the past 20 years. This comes in many forms,ranging from pay to accommodation to working hours. We were involved with a programme called Investors in People several years ago that helped to get the staff’s opinion across. As a result we now have annual appraisals with all the staff, which are extremely useful and a very good way of finding out if there are issues that need addressing.

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