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2nd August 2022

Guest blog: Leigh Pollard
When I was asked to do this my mind was completely blank but now I have thought about it I have too many ideas! 
I have been working for Kim for 11 years now and been travelling head girl for 7. I was second travelling for a season before that; a job role that was created for me as the number of horses increased.
I feel very lucky that Kim could see the potential in me and allowed me to prove myself, it is proof that if you work hard enough you can achieve your dreams! 
I feel racing yards are very insular behind the scenes and it is interesting talking to people from other yards at the races and realising how differently everyone does things. I always find it interesting that we are all trying to achieve the same thing but there are so many different ways of doing it. It also helps the lads realise that the grass is not always greener elsewhere!
I suppose it comes down to experience and trust but I feel I can go to Kim and Matt to discuss any ideas or concerns I have regarding horses at the races and we work things out between us. I am responsible for everything to do with racing, making sure the tack is correct and in good condition, I have all the passports and colours, I ensure they are correct and clean for the next use. I also maintain the lorries and organise any issues to be fixed. This sounds obvious but in very few yards do the travelling people have as much responsibility, but I have noticed they sometimes also have more problems! Kim and Matt are very busy and they do not want to be worrying whether we have the right bit or if the lorry MOT is due.  I have full responsibility but also if anything goes wrong it comes back to me. If I am not going to a particular meeting I will write down a detailed list of instructions for the staff going, to cover myself as well as them. 
I no longer ride out so I have more time to organise myself and do my job properly. It would be easy to burn out, especially through the winter as it can be very relentless. I love what I do and I enjoy the organisation side of it.  
When you spend so much time with these racehorses it is hard not to get attached to them and I have been lucky enough to give several of them a home after racing over the years. 
The first was Charles who I looked after from the first day I arrived. He was a proper monkey but an amazing teamchaser and I had a lot of fun flying over big hedges with him. Unfortunately I lost him to colic 3 years ago but I like to think he enjoyed his ‘retirement.’
My sister has a horse called Snowmane who was not in the yard very long as he came from the flat but didn’t suit jump racing. She knew of him as she broke him in as a yearling and when he came up for rehoming she couldn’t say no! He is enjoying a successful second career as an eventer and most recently completed at Barbury. 
I currently have Carqalin who I have had for 3 years. I was very lucky as Mrs Bailey retrained him with an eye on Archie having him but that didn’t work out; she then offered him to me and I jumped at the chance to have him. He is a lovely all rounder who turns his hand to anything. He events through the summer and team chases in the spring and autumn. We also enjoy hunting when we have time!
My other boy has also come full circle; I looked after and rode The Drinkymeister when he was in training here and was devastated when he went to Henry Daly for a change of scene. He did win there and stayed there on retirement but I got wind that he may be looking for a new home. I feel very lucky that his owner John Perriss and Mr Daly allowed me to have him and I have been enjoying our progress together. It has been a bit slow as he is a bit accident prone and the hard ground doesn’t help but I hope to get him out and about by the end of the year. 
I would recommend to anyone to get an ex racehorse. They are all so different and rewarding and can do any job.