Lindy Maurice is a pathfinder, born in an Australian town with few paths but plenty of horses. Wishing to share her enthusiasm for racing with the younger generation, Lindy designed Thoroughbred Industry Careers to help immerse young people in different aspects of the sport.
Experience made me want to make it easier for others
I grew up in a very small rural town in New South Wales (pop. 1500) where horses were a big part of the community and competing was a big part of my life growing up. My mother was an amateur jockey in the 1960s and we use to go to the races quite a bit when I was young.
When I was about 9 years old, a girlfriend (who is now married to a prominent Sydney trainer) and I decided to let ourselves into our local racetrack to have a proper race on our ponies, which probably indicated the way I was heading.
I started riding trackwork as I was finishing high school and once I’d completed university, I headed straight to England to work in a yard. But it was the return to ponies with my children that made me reflect on my experience trying to break into the thoroughbred industry in my 20s, which made me want to change the status quo.
I developed Thoroughbred Industry Careers (TIC) as a result of there being a lack of information on careers and pathways into the Australian Thoroughbred Industry, combined with the issues around staff shortages.
Providing an industry-wide insight for young people
The Explorer Program is aimed at school/university leavers who have a passion for horses but don’t necessarily know how or where to get started with a proper career. It is a 12-month stud and stable horsemanship and mentoring program, which includes 12-weeks of residential practical and theoretical training. This is followed by two paid work placements at leading racing stables, followed by a stud farm.
The program is designed to allow young people the opportunity to explore the whole industry before deciding which area they may like to pursue further. The Explorer Program is a great way to engage those who are about to enter the workforce.
Young people and racing
Another major gap here in Australia is engagement with young people. The research is quite alarming: young people don’t know much about racing and if they do it is likely to be a negative perception. As a sport, racing loses so much ground because young people don’t play it like they can cricket or football so we have to work harder at how we overcome this or we run the risk of becoming irrelevant to future generations.
Engaging with the next generation through education
Racing to School in the UK is a perfect concept, which we would like to try and emulate… to think that the charity will engage with well over 15,000 students in 2020 is absolutely incredible.
Around 90% of Australians live in urbanised areas where the majority of Australian’s major racecourses are situated, so I see the Racing to School model as a way for the major race clubs to work together and deliver an intelligent program, which allows young people to understand the wonders of racing.
A very special Forum in Newmarket
It was an honour to be a part of the Godolphin Education Forum, which brought together in Newmarket before Christmas representatives from around the world to share ideas and support each other’s efforts across education and community engagement work.
There was something very special about people from all over the world looking to share their problems and solutions. Racing is a global sport and a global brand and what was most interesting to me what that every region faces almost identical challenges, which means the benefits of collaborating will be very powerful.
Godolphin should be applauded for continuously leading the world in the way they care about the health and prosperity of the industry beyond themselves – they set an incredible standard, which in turn inspires us all to be better.