Kylie John­son Liv­ing Her Dream

Liv­ing Her Dream

Ladies in Racing - - Contents -

Kylie John­son is one of the peo­ple that as a lit­tle girl had a dream and her pas­sion and en­thu­si­asm al­lowed her to hold onto that child­hood dream and since Fe­bru­ary 2018 she has been liv­ing out her dream of work­ing in the Rac­ing In­dus­try, one that has cap­ti­vated her since a young age.

As young chil­dren we are al­ways asked what we want to do when we are older, the com­mon re­sponses out of vivid imag­i­na­tions usu­ally in­clude: Fire Fighter, Po­lice Of­fi­cer, Doc­tor, Vet and many more. As we progress through ado­les­cents and into adult­hood, for most of us the dream oc­cu­pa­tion changes and we take a dif­fer­ent path in life. While oth­ers hold onto those child­hood dreams and pur­sue them, even­tu­ally achiev­ing them (even if it takes longer than planned). We sat down with Kylie and find out more about her jour­ney and pas­sion for the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing the job that she has la­belled her “dream job”.

How and when did you get into rac­ing?

I was al­ways the typ­i­cal lit­tle girl- wanted a pony and wanted to do pony club. Un­for­tu­nately, com­ing from a fam­ily where money was ex­tremely tight they were just dreams I had and I en­vied all those that had the ponies and were do­ing pony clubs on Satur­days. I was also the kid that would bor­row ev­ery horse book from the li­brary to ed­u­cate my­self about all the var­i­ous breeds, so firstly the love of horses was al­ways in my blood, not born into it from fam­ily tra­di­tions. Orig­i­nally from Mel­bourne, one year in the late 80s my pri­mary school had or­gan­ised a school ex­cur­sion to Caulfield Race Track and the Mel­bourne Mu­seum as it was an an­niver­sary of the mighty Phar Lap’s 1930 Mel­bourne Cup Win. My mum was not re­ally a horse per­son and I didn’t think she would let me go on the trip so I forged her sig­na­ture so that I could go. It was on this trip that I got to learn more about rac­ing and I was first ex­posed to The Thor­ough­bred, I was just re­ally taken by their beauty and re­gal­ness. On the tour we had a talk from a jockey and trainer, it was that mo­ment that I de­cided that was what I wanted to do- I wanted to be a jockey! Af­ter that day ev­ery­thing was about rac­ing: Watch­ing it on the TV, steal­ing the form guide out of the pa­per to learn the names and how to read form, even to the point of rid­ing my push bike like I was in a race- I was one ob­sessed lit­tle kid!

Did you have the sup­port of your fam­ily?

Not re­ally, as mum wasn’t re­ally a horsey per­son. I also be­gan to stop eat­ing all my food be­cause I wanted to stay thin so I could be light enough- they were also en­ter­tain­ing dis­cus­sions be­cause I would end

up grounded for not eat­ing all my din­ner or I would miss out on dessert (not that it wor­ried me then). When it came the time to think about uni­ver­sity in High School, I didn’t want to go to uni as there were no qual­i­fi­ca­tions for rac­ing. I had ex­pressed in­ter­est in study­ing Breed­ing Man­age­ment, Horse Han­dling and a va­ri­ety of other horse re­lated cour­ses. Un­for­tu­nately, be­cause when I fin­ished school I was still con­sid­ered a mi­nor I need a parental sig­na­ture on the form- I had learnt my les­son the first time I forged a sig­na­ture, so I es­sen­tially put the dream on hold and went down a dif­fer­ent path.

How did you first get your start in Rac­ing?

The rac­ing in­dus­try has al­ways been one that has been in my heart and where I have re­ally wanted to be, at most of my pre­vi­ous jobs I have been the one that oth­ers turn to for their cup tips or to even or­gan­ise the an­nual Mel­bourne Cup events. Back in 2010, I was work­ing two jobs and the com­pa­nies were merged to­gether so as a re­sult I was given a sub­stan­tial pay rise in ac­cor­dance with the work­load that I had. Now I could have been stupid with the ex­tra money but in­stead it gave me the op­por­tu­nity to do the one thing that I have al­ways wanted to do – own a race horse! So I did some re­search and even­tu­ally in­vested into my first race horse, a very flashy look­ing Stra­tum filly that would even­tu­ally be Hawai­ian Rose and trained in Gos­ford on the cen­tral coast of NSW. En­joy­ing the own­er­ship jour­ney, I couldn’t stop at one so even­tu­ally I had twohorses are like pringles, you can never have just one! The own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence al­lowed me to con­tinue to grow my knowl­edge. I wanted to be more in­volved and knew that it is tough to crack into, in­stead I an­swered a call out on Face­book for the NSW Thor­ough­bred Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Trust (TRT) who were look­ing for vol­un­teers to look af­ter the horses go­ing through the pro­gram. So I went along and loved the open day, from then I con­tin­ued on with vol­un­teer­ing. Mon­day to Fri­day I lived my Cor­po­rate World life and then ev­ery Satur­day (rain, hail or shine un­less my own horses were rac­ing) I would go to Can­ter­bury and at­tend to the horses, even­tu­ally be­ing trusted enough by Scott Brodie and his team to be more hands on with the train­ing of the horses- this was my heaven!

Over­time your ideal role in rac­ing changed, tell us more about that

Yeah as a kid for sure I wanted to be a jockey but sadly weight got the bet­ter of me and I be­came too heavy, be­sides also know­ing what jock­eys had to do to keep their weight down de­terred me from that. I looked at other roles around and from be­ing part of a Syn­di­cated horse, I found that I re­ally en­joyed chat­ting to peo­ple about their horse and keep­ing peo­ple up­dated, also hav­ing a back­ground in Train­ing & De­vel­op­ment I have a nat­u­ral knack for be­ing able to un­der­stand peo­ple and com­mu­ni­cate well with oth­ers, from this I de­cided that my ideal role would be a Rac­ing & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ager. So I went on this path of look­ing into what was re­quired and look­ing for roles around, at that point not many go­ing so again I re­fo­cused to other po­si­tions. As a young kid and as I got older as well as be­ing in­volved with the TRT horses, I be­gan to take a lik­ing to want­ing to be a strap­per, look­ing af­ter horses all day, what could be bet­ter. Un­for­tu­nately, things in my cor­po­rate world for a pe­riod didn’t go too well, I had been made re­dun­dant from a role and was quite dev­as­tated. So I de­cided to make a change and gave up on the cor­po­rate world, I replied to an ad­vert for a Horse Han­dler at John Thomp­son Rac­ing and was in­vited in for a trial. Sadly the morn­ing was a tough gig and as my body was hurt­ing, I had come to re­alise that the work the sta­ble hands goes so un­rec­og­nized by many peo­ple and I had de­vel­oped a much deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion for them. As it wasn’t for me, I re­turned back to the cor­po­rate world and had found my dream cor­po­rate world job, lit­tle did I know that 12 months in and I would once again be faced with re­dun­dancy. This time around it re­ally had a neg­a­tive im­pact on me and men­tally I needed some­thing to save me from mak­ing a dras­tic de­ci­sion, I saw a call­out again on Face­book for Sta­ble Hands at Leilani Lodge un­der the guid­ance of James Cum­mings. I was de­ter­mined to give it an­other go, so again went in for a trial and did well and was given a chance to look af­ter some qual­ity horses in a good sta­ble where I would learn much more. I was liv­ing my dream of be­ing around horses for two weeks, be­fore I had to re­turn to the cor­po­rate world as fi­nan­cially I needed more money to be able to live suitably. From here I de­cided that my dream job in the rac­ing in­dus­try is def­i­nitely a Rac­ing/com­mu­ni­ca­tions Man­ager, th­ese were the roles I would now be look­ing for.

Re­cently, you made a life chang­ing de­ci­sion to change your world, tell us more.

I sure did and it feels like a life time ago but one that I have no re­grets over! I ob­tained a role at a large elec­tron­ics com­pany in May of last year. To start with I was en­joy­ing the work and build­ing good solid work­ing re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple. How­ever, as time went on and I set­tled in I was con­stantly sick (the flu or gas­tro was a com­mon work­place bug), felt like I was un­der so much stress and I be­gan to be­come un­happy (feel­ing like I was los­ing sight of who I was as a per­son). To­ward the end, all of this took its toll on me and I be­came ill and needed to make some changes to my life to en­sure my own health, both phys­i­cally and men­tally. One night on good old Face­book, I no­ticed a call out for a Rac­ing Sec­re­tary that was re­quired for a Syd­ney Trainer, so I re­sponded and next thing I knew a job in­ter­view had been or­gan­ised. I at­tended the in­ter­view and I guess as the say­ing goes “the rest is his­tory”. Be­ing suc­cess­ful in get­ting the role, I walked away from the sta­bil­ity of the cor­po­rate world that I have known for so long to fi­nally achieve my dream of work­ing fully in rac­ing. I was over the moon to share the news with ev­ery­one, for I had fi­nally achieved my dream.

What is your ti­tle and who do you work for?

I am now a Rac­ing Sec­re­tary at John Sar­gent Rac­ing.

Tell us about a typ­i­cal day in your job, what do you do?

I no longer do the 9am to 5pm, my days start much ear­lier and I am in the sta­bles at 7am ev­ery morn­ing. There are jobs that I have to do on a daily ba­sis in­clud­ing: - Print­ing emails that John needs to read over - Lodg­ing the Nom­i­na­tions & Ac­cep­tances with Rac­ing Aus­tralia - Book­ing Jock­eys for the rides - Book­ing trans­port for races/tri­als or or­gan­is­ing trans­port for any horses that need to be picked up from ag­ist­ment prop­er­ties - Bank­ing and Pay­ing bills - Up­dat­ing the web­site and keep­ing an eye on the So­cial Me­dia Chan­nels - Up­dat­ing our boards with where all the horses are - En­ter­ing the daily pro­ce­dures into Ardex I also do the monthly ac­counts, an­swer­ing the phone, greet­ing any vis­i­tors to the sta­bles – es­sen­tially my job is to sup­port John in any ca­pac­ity that he re­quires when it comes to the ad­min­is­tra­tion of his busi­ness.

It sounds like an in­ter­est­ing job, is there any­thing that you don’t like about it?

It is in­ter­est­ing but fun be­cause although I do some of the same tasks ev­ery­day it isn’t al­ways the same. When I first started I would make a lot of mis­takes (to be ex­pected) but I was so hard on my­self and didn’t like let­ting John down. If I had to pick one of the things I don’t like it is the Debt Col­lect­ing (chas­ing up non-pay­ing own­ers), how­ever, I seem to be get­ting good re­sults so that is a pos­i­tive!

What is it like to work for John Sar­gent?

There are good and bad days just like any job, but I am ab­so­lutely lov­ing it! In a short time I have learnt so much and I con­tinue to learn more ev­ery day. Some peo­ple say that he is in­tim­i­dat­ing but he is pretty good to work for.

Now we hear that you keep your­self pretty busy, tell us what else you do?

I like to keep my­self very busy, so when not work­ing with Sarge (usu­ally in the evenings) I do some rac­ing jour­nal­ism- I am the Rac­ing Ed­i­tor for Pa­tri­ots Rid­ers Man­age­ment (write all their blogs for the web­site). When not do­ing that I also write for G1X Rac­ing (gen­eral in­ter­est ar­ti­cles), I have my own horse rac­ing blog which is shar­ing my life in­side the rac­ing in­dus­try (www.horserac­inglife.blog). Then ev­ery fort­night on Fri­day nights, I do all the on course an­nounce­ments at the Bankstown Pace­way – so yes life is 100% horse rac­ing and I am lov­ing life so much more now!

Tell us your horse’s names and who trains them?

Well un­for­tu­nately Hawai­ian Rose is long re­tired as is my other mare I had a share in, Belle Voleur. I cur­rently have a 5% share in an All Too Hard filly named Fidelius Charm trained by the pow­er­ful combo in Gai Water­house & Adrian Bott, hope­fully she will get to the races soon and we get to see what she is made of. The horse I have had for quite a while now is Rav­i­tude (Pen­dragon x Ravis­sant), he has had a change of trainer and is now with Nick Mitchell Rac­ing lo­cated at Gos­ford. He has been a trou­ble­some horse but the team are work­ing him out and hope­fully an­other win is not too far away, it has been a long time be­tween drinks for this boy but I still love him to bits.

So would you say you are liv­ing your dream life?

I ab­so­lutely am! It has taken me a long time to get to where I am and now that I have achieved my dreams there is no look­ing back. I am proud of my ac­com­plish­ments that I have ob­tained in life but wak­ing up ev­ery day know­ing that I never lost sight or gave up on my dream makes me the most hap­pi­est. I have had some real low mo­ments in life and it has al­ways been rac­ing and horses that have kept me fo­cused. Just goes to show that if you can dream it, re­ally want it bad enough then you can and will achieve it.

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