A farmer’s daughter who became a stablehand and then a jockey and who is now devoted to re-educating and rehabilitating retired racehorses, Amy does what the Awards themselves aim to do – to recognise what happens away from the front line of the sport and to give something back to an industry that she loves.
Amy was chosen as the outstanding entrant in the Thoroughbred Care and Welfare section of the inaugural Stud and Stable Awards in 2015.
Since then she has given back much of what she won to support her passion for looking after horses.
Amy has endured the typical highs and lows of the racing industry, but along the way she has developed an enduring ambition to improve the welfare of retired racehorses.
Having grown up on a Queensland cattle farm, Amy was introduced to racing when she took a job as a stablehand with trainer Tracey Wolfgram in Toowoomba in 2005.
“This was the first time I’d set foot in a racing stable or on a racetrack,” Amy says.
“They offered me an apprenticeship and that was when I developed my addiction to the racing industry and the thoroughbred.”
Amy spent nine years as a jockey, only to be forced out of the game when she broke both her legs in an accident with anex-racehorse that she was re-training.
Rather than let the incident put her off, Amy proceeded to devote herself to improving the life of horses after they finished on the track.
“At first I was taking the horses to my parent’s farm and spelling them and then starting their re-education when I had the time,” she says.
“Then I moved to a farm at Oakey where I started Affinity Park Thoroughbreds, re-educating and re-homing racehorses.”
Along with her husband-to-be Joe, Amy helped find new homes and new careers for more than 100 horses.
Amy then moved to Hong Kong when Joe took up a position as a vet with the Hong Kong Jockey Club in 2015, but her devotion to her cause continued.
“I continue to help trainers back in Australia forever find homes for their horses and have helped some racehorses here in Hong Kong find new homes in Australia,” she says.
It was for all that, and more, that Amy won her the Award which included a cash prize of $10,000.
Never one to sit back and admire her achievement, Amy used her prize to do more.
Since winning the Thoroughbred Care and Welfare award Amy has joined forces with an organisation in Queensland – Off The Track – that runs equestrian events for retired racehorses.
“The Off The Track series is run by Tyler and Ashley Harris who do everything voluntarily,” Amy says.
“So to help make it bigger and better, I’ve been putting my prizemoney towards sponsoring Off the Track classes at Agricultural Shows across Queensland in the hope that more people will be interested in taking on retired thoroughbreds.
“Without the generosity of Godolphin, I would not have been able to accomplish what I have this year with helping our horses.
“There are so many people within the racing industry that put their heart and soul into theirs and other people’s horses and sometimes it costs them everything just to see these wonderful animals have exceptional lives after racing.
“Every aspect of the Racing Industry is a full time job. It is tiring and relentless, and its absolutely amazing that Godolphin recognises the effort that people put in just so the horses have the best care they could possibly have.
“I would love to be able to make a retirement program for every racehorse in Australia and Hong Kong. As well as guaranteeing the future for every racehorse it would assure the public that it isn’t the end, but the beginning, for these horses once their racing careers are over.”
Nominations for the 2016 GSSSA close next Monday, 3 October at 5pm. Don’t miss your chance to reward an unsung hero of the industry.