It’s been a whirlwind few months for Toby Balding Award winner, Laura Horsley

 In Blog

It’s been a few months since we last caught up with Toby Balding Award winner Laura Horsley and there’s lots to catch up on!

Since my last blog, I decided to have a real think about what I wanted to do next with my career within the racing industry. Having worked in the industry in various roles, I had been thinking for some time that I wanted to do a job that would give something back to the people who work in racing and who give so much to the industry on a daily basis. Whilst thinking about what I could do, I wanted to make the focus of my next career move about something I am very passionate about, and use the award funding in the most effective way to help me achieve this.

This led me to the decision of combining my love for racing, with my passion for mental health awareness. Once I made this decision, I researched courses I could study as a mature student and the costs involved. Feeling slightly out of depth and unsure of what route was best, I decided to speak to CATS (Careers Advice & Training Service), who were great! They offer a fantastic careers advice service to people in racing, where you can go to them with ideas of what you think you might like to do and they then advise you on the best steps and routes to take to achieve your end goal.

After a couple of career advice sessions, I attended a phone interview at a local college and was accepted to complete my Level 3 in Counselling. It is safe to say I was absolutely overjoyed to be accepted! I am now attending an evening class once a week and complete assignments and work placements in and around my working schedule. I am due to complete my Level 3 in June 2023 and will hopefully progress onto my Level 4 in Counselling which is a 2-year course in September of the same year.

Knowing it’s going to take me a few years before I’m fully qualified and able to start my own business offering a mental health service to people in racing, I looked for a job to do alongside my studying. This led me to a position with Haddon Training as a Racing Coach covering the South West. Haddon Training offer apprenticeships to people working within the industry both ridden and non-ridden to help them achieve work-based NVQ Levels 2 & 3 in Racehorse Care and Management. I started my new role at the end of October, and I have loved every minute of it. It’s a fab job, and they are a great company to work for. I love that I am giving something back to the industry by helping young people start out and being a small part of their journey as they progress through their careers.

I love helping share my knowledge and experience with them and watching them grow and flourish in their roles. It’s great to see them progress up through the ranks within their yard and onto more senior roles. It is a very rewarding job and something I wake up in the morning feeling motivated to do!

In November I saw an advert for a two-day mental health first aid course being delivered at a discounted rate to people in racing through Racing Welfare. I decided to look into this, and in doing so thought it would be very useful towards my counselling course, as well as my new job so made the decision to attend the one they offered at the Racing Centre in Newmarket. Although it is a general mental health first aid course, Racing Welfare had amended the course to be more relevant and direct to the racing industry as a whole. What can I say…other than the course was fabulous. It was very emotive at times and not an easy subject to cover, but it was so well delivered and informative that I felt like I walked away with a new depth of knowledge and understanding of mental health. If you haven’t had the chance to already, I highly recommend this course to everyone in racing it really is worthwhile.  I think if each yard had one person who was mental health first aid trained it would make a huge difference to the industry as a whole.

So as you can see, things are super busy at the moment! I am still riding out at Harry Fry Racing part time, I’ve started my new job and am studying on the side. But thanks to the amazing services racing offers to people within the industry, I can achieve it all, and with the Toby Balding Award funding, I am a step closer to making my dreams a reality.”

We were a bit out of breath just reading about everything Laura’s been up to! Thank you Laura; we wish you the best of luck in your studying and in the new role; what an inspiration!


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