Catching up with Laura Horsley, winner of the 2022 Toby Balding Award for Training & Development

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We’ve caught up with Toby Balding Award winner, Laura Horsley to find out what she’s been up to since winning the training fund…

Three days with the British Racing School…

So I have just got back from three days at the British Racing School in Newmarket where I completed the Racing Secretary Course. If I had to sum up the course in one word, it would be FABULOUS and I honestly cannot recommend it enough. The British Racing School do an excellent job covering all aspects of aRacing Secretary’s role within the industry and what may be
expected from you, and quite honestly I feel it’s an invaluable course to do if racing administration is something that interests you.

The course is split into three days in which you cover a range of topics all relevant to the role of aRacing Secretary. It’s a mixture of tours, guest speakers, classroom-based activities and so much more. It’s a great induction to the role of a racing secretary and opened my eyes to the other admin-related roles within the horse racing industry, such as Operations Manager, Stud Secretary, HR specialist and so much more I didn’t know existed. I’ve worked in the industry for around 10 years, and I never had the foggiest idea that there were so many opportunities for admin-related jobs within racing, it was completely eye-opening.

To be fortunate enough to have some of the leading industry business representatives in to do live talks, was so informative and useful and I feel I have come away learning so much. The course gives you so much value for money, and for people like myself who maybe don’t want to ride out forever, it offers you an alternative option to stay within the racing industry and to be an integral part of a yard’s success.

So why did I do the course?

After being awarded the Toby Balding Award and funding for training and development, I looked into courses that would help me achieve my career goals in the industry. The Racing Secretary course was of real interest because I already have my Level 2 in Business Administration, and I know what I eventually want to do with my career and the knowledge gained in the course will be extremely useful in achieving my goals.

Looking ahead

My next plan of action is to try and gain some office-based work experience as either a Racing Secretary or look for a role at a stud farm or veterinary hospital. I would really like to increase my admin skills within the equestrian industry as I have nearly 10 years hands on yard experience but am less experienced on the admin side.  To achieve my long-term career plan I will need admin knowledge and skills so this feels like an important next step to take. 

I really feel I have come away from the course feeling enthused, refreshed, influenced, and excited for what is to come next. I feel I have got off to a flying start with my funding and course choice and am now looking ahead to what course to book myself onto next.’

Laura Horsley, Travelling Headperson for Harry Fry Racing

It was so great to hear how Laura is getting on and lining up these all-important career development opportunities, made possible through the Toby Balding Award. If you’re new to the award, this is an annual award worth £3000 and it supports the development of young people in the British horse racing industry. Keep an eye on the Racing Groom website, newsletter and social channels to hear when the 2023 award is open for applications.

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