'When you're doing what you love it doesn't feel like hard work'
Laura Winstanley on what winning the David Nicholson Newcomer prize meant to her
What makes for good stable staff?
I think the most important thing is that you love being around horses; when you're waking up and doing something you love every day it doesn't feel like hard work. We're so lucky that we can make our passion our jobs. The best thing about working with racehorses is that no two days are the same, they are not machines and that is what makes working with them so exciting. Dedication and patience means that we can give these horses the best possible care while they are in training.
How important are these awards?
The awards are so special because they recognise and celebrate all the people that make racing happen. There would be no Cheltenham Festival or Royal Ascot without all the men and women who get up at 5am to feed, ride and train these horses. Every time we watch a horse gallop to the start there has been so many hours of hard work to get them to that moment, from head persons, grooms, riders, vets, farriers, trainers, owners etc. I think it is great that the awards bring the racing community together to thank everyone for all that they give to make racedays happen.
What did it mean to win?
It was huge! I couldn't believe it, it didn't sink in for ages! I love working for Sir Michael Stoute so I was so grateful to have even been nominated, let alone win. It has pushed me to keep learning, improving my horsemanship and to make the most of every opportunity I am given within the racing industry.
What is the biggest challenge stable staff face?
Our hours can be very demanding sometimes – getting up in the very early hours of the morning or coming home from racing after midnight. People in racing always put the horses first because of how much we care about them, and that is why we do what we do. Hopefully as the racing industry continues to grow we can work together to keep improving opportunities for the people who give their lives to these special horses every day.
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
I wouldn't change anything about my job, if I could go back and make the choice to enter the racing industry again I would say yes every time. I don't ever want to take for granted the fact that our job is so unique. The best feeling is watching the horse you love stick his neck out and really try for you across the winning post, because horses aren't selfish; they don't win because they benefit, they win because they are genuine.
What is the best thing about your job?
Without doubt the best thing is the horses. They are absolute athletes in every way, their characters and personalities mean that days are never boring. Creating bonds with them is amazing because it is like nothing else you can experience; it is not like getting in a car or sitting at a computer; the more you nurture them the more they try for you. Feeling their power and speed or just being around them is what people in racing wake up for every day.