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Radical switch from mundane office life was a winning move

28 October 2015

In the third of our series on the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards, 2015 David Nicholson newcomer award finalist Reggie Eggleton explains what the prize means to the industry

How important are these awards?

They’re very important as they recognise that staff working at the grassroots play a vital part in the industry, and acknowledge a winning team requires staff at all levels.Personally, being nominated was a superb pat on the back from my boss[Seamus Mullins] and demonstrated his appreciation and support. 

What did it mean to be shortlisted for the award?

Realising I’d been nominated would have been enough, but then being told I’d been shortlisted to the last three was a tremendous buzz, not only for myself but for all my work colleagues and owners associated with the yard. I must admit when a letter arrived from the BHA my first thought was to wonder what I’d done wrong! 

What qualities make good stable/stud staff?

I believe there are many qualities that contribute towards what makes good staff, but without doubt working in all weathers, for long hours and doing physically hard work, you must above all have a tremendous love of the horses. You must also be a team player,take responsibility and have pride in your quality of work, be honest and,importantly, possess a sense of humour. 

What is the most testing part of your job? 

Anybody who knows me will say at first glance I'm not your natural-looking athlete, and I confess I may carry a few pounds overweight– in my defence I’ve shed two stone since I started with Seamus three years ago – so the most testing part of the job for me has to be the physical side.It’s hard graft but I love it and it helps me cut down the calories. 

What do you most enjoy about your work? 

Before joining the racing industry in my 40s I spent 20 years as a shift-worker and was also employed in an office-based environment that became mundane. I previously admired horses from a distance, but Seamus gave me an opportunity to get involved and I took the decision to jump in with both feet. It was a big change and commitment for me and my family to relocate and take a£15,000 wage cut, but I’d come to a point in my life where I thought if I don’t do it now I never will. It was also a big risk for Seamus to employ somebody with no previous experience and I can’t thank him enough forgiving me the opportunity to fulfil my dream. Hopefully I've repaid him with my dedication, commitment and hard work. I love taking horses racing and being there to see the end result, but also enjoy being in the yard when new and young horses arrive; to be involved and monitor their progress from day one is superb. 

How can life be improved for stud and stable staff?

I believe the vast majority of stud and stable staff get job satisfaction from working with horses. We all work long hours and the best way to improve the work-life balance would be for the industry to attract more staff. I’m aware and appreciate that efforts are already being made in this direction,so we live in hope. I've been lucky enough to have the full support and backing of my boss, who has given me every opportunity to receive the proper training. Haddon Training enabled me to complete my NVQ3 in racehorse care and management, and I've found that if you’re willing to learn and work hard there are plenty of people in racing willing to help you.

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