Rachel Watts

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I was born in central Victoria and grew up with ponies and a family that rode for pleasure. During my teenage years I competed quite a bit through pony club and this is where my passion for eventing began. After completing high school I knew I wanted a career in the equine industry so I looked into a few equine courses and decided The Diploma in Horse Business Management at Marcus Oldham College, in Geelong, was just what I was looking for.
I was awarded the Australian Equine Scholarship to study the intense one year course in 2005 that consists of 1/3 practical, 1/3 veterinary and 1/3 business management skills. During this year I was mentored by Nick Roe, a 3* event rider, veterinarian, thoroughbred racehorse trainer and director of the course. I learnt more than I could have thought I would and made a lot of contacts in all areas of the equine world. Upon graduation I received The Marvis Wardell Award for outstanding contribution to the equine course.

After college I worked for Nick and his wife Karminda on their property in Gnarwarre on the Colac side of Geelong. I helped Nick with his racehorses and a bit of property management while having a couple of eventers and a few slow racehorses in work. During 2006, Nick was running low on work, so I headed to Bimbadeen Park to work for Shane and Niki Rose for a couple of months while Shane, Niki and Michelle Robson (Shane’s groom) headed to The World Equestrian Games and Burghley. I managed the property and business before heading back to Geelong working for Nick and a local Geelong racehorse trainer.

Early in 2007 I moved back to Bimbadeen taking two horses with me, Jubilee and Niarchos. Niarchos was a previous 2* horse of Nick’s. Jubilee took me around Melbourne 3DE and to 2* level before I sold him on to a junior rider. I worked at Bimbadeen for 6 years and durig this time I managed the business whenever Shane was away, along with competing my own horses. At Bimbadeen the work never stops, there is up to 120 horses on the property at any one time from pre-trainers, breakers, eventers, young horses, breeding stock and broodmares. Shane does all of the property improvement himself so everyone learns to build stables and sheds, lay concrete, paint fences and jumps, mow, whipper snip, fix fences, drive the bobcat, plumbing just to name a few non horse skills.

During my time at Bimbadeen I also had Duncan, a stunning thoroughbred who placed in a few young horse classes and I rode around 1.20m showjump tracks before selling him on to a junior. I also had another called Final Avienge. He was pre-trained at Bimbadeen Park and when his owners no longer wanted him due to an injury Shane gave the horse to Nick to rehab and race again and he was re-named Shane. Shane went on to win a city night race at Mooney Valley and a few years later he joined me back at Bimbadeen Park.

In January 2013 I had sold all my horses and decided that this would be the perfect time to head overseas and explore the competition scene on the UK and the European circuit. I have now been living in England for 12 months, working as Chris Burton’s head groom. I have been lucky enough to have travelled to some amazing events across England and as far as Germany, France and The Netherlands.