Women of the Racing Industry in Conversation – Jane Gollan
Thursday, 11 June 2020
Thoroughbred horse racing is commonly known as the Sport of Kings, but this week in the lead up to Quincy Ladies’ Day, we are celebrating the queens of the sport.
Jane Gollan is the director of Triequithon Qld, an eventing competition for retired racehorses, and Horse Welfare & Rehoming Manager for Gollan Racing.
Where did your love for the racing industry start?
My love of horses (which not to my knowledge were racehorses) started when I was only a young girl. I grew up on my father’s property in the hills district of NSW. He was very passionate about racing and owned a few racehorses and as a hobby tried his hand at breeding. I was surrounded by the horses as he would spell the racehorses and also have them pre-trained at the property.
I was probably still in nappies but some of my earliest memories was of a broodmare giving foal; we woke and watched in our pyjamas. I would often help with the feed runs for all the horses and loved watching them in the paddock and helping the grooms with them when they had to come in for farrier, vet or to be worked. Along with my siblings, we would join dad at the races, he had a box at Rosehill. One of my best memories was watching Octagonal race. My first experience with the retired racehorse was when I started riding a TB who had retired due to a bleed called Misty Fox and as a 13yo girl along with my instructor went on the journey of learning to event. That gelding went onto achieve great things in this discipline in the UK when he was later bought by my instructor. I was then hooked onto the sport of eventing.
It was not until after my tertiary education and a 4 year career in insurance broking that I made the decision to follow my burning ambition to work around horses but not knowing how to go about it! I took a leap of faith and embarked on this new career path without any experience. I had a couple of jobs working as Stable-hand at Randwick race course and then at Windsor for trainers before I landed a bit of a dream job as Personal assistant to Gai Waterhouse.
What’s been your proudest achievement in the racing industry?
Facilitating in bringing the Triequithon to Qld and assisting in running the event after seeing it take place in Melbourne. Triequithon is a fixed event on the racing calendar at Doomben 5 years on. The day showcases what the retired Thoroughbred can do post racing in a shortened event format for 12 retired racehorses and their riders. It was such a thrill to bring my passion of two sports of racing and eventing together.
Also to win the prestigious Godolphin award Thoroughbred Care and Welfare - doing something I love and passionate about, it was an incredible honour to receive.
This has led to recently establishing Transitioning Thoroughbreds Foundation, a non for profit organisation that transitions retired race-horses into their next chapter, by way of providing professional re-training and rehabilitation. The foundations commitment is to realise the true potential of each graduate and perfectly align them with their adopters; leading to a long-lasting home, traced for life.
Do you have any words of advice for any women interested in getting into the racing industry?
Working for Gai Waterhouse displayed to me that women can be so influential and powerful in this game. Also, alike eventing and race riding, men and women can compete on equal terms. There are so many aspects of the industry that allows for women to excel in, and even more that men may not be able to do – like donning millinery! If you have the passion for a certain area, reach out to people already doing it well and see how you can get involved. It’s never too late to make a difference whether it be as a Stable-hand, in veterinary, fashion and events, administration, rehoming racehorses , or becoming an owner (especially in ladies syndicate!). There are endless opportunities and an array of choices in this industry. If you do something that you love it builds from there.
What is your favourite part about working in the racing industry?
Whilst I love attending yearling inspections, my favourite part of the industry is Rehoming racehorses. The difference I can make to not only the animal which has served but providing support to owners and trainers who may not have a clear path of what to do with them when they retire and then finally watching the retired racehorse excel in its next chapter of life whether it is to be a competition horse or a safe pleasure mount. Nothing beats the feeling of observing the satisfaction they give to their new owners and then the friendships built in this process. Each horse can have a purpose after racing.