Aldbrough St John teen starts dream job at racing yard

Imogen Thornton and Ann Duffield.

A Richmondshire teenager is riding high after starting  her dream job at Ann Duffield Racing.

Imogen Thornton, 18, from Aldbrough St John, has started work at the yard at Constable Burton, near Leyburn, after achieving a distinction* and two distinctions in a level 3 Cambridge Technical Diploma in sport and physical activity at Richmond School and Sixth Form.

She has a wide range of responsibilities, including mucking out, riding out and clipping horses.

Her role has already developed and she also accompanies the vets when they visit, helps out at the on-site equine rehabilitation centre, as well as looking after the horses when they travel to races.

Ann Duffield, owner, said: “There is nothing that I can’t ask Imogen to do and I know she will never let me down. She is a great asset and works really well in our team, she just gets on with whatever jobs need doing.

“She overcomes problems herself, has great respect for our clients and is extremely resilient.  It’s thanks to the support of her parents and school for making her the person she is.

“Imogen will climb the ladder, she has great potential and will make the most of the many opportunities for progression in the world of racing.”

Imogen made a positive impression on the team at Ann Duffield in Year 10, and again Year 12, after completing her work experience at the yard.

Aware that Imogen would be finishing college in the summer, Ann approached Imogen with a full-time job and the offer to train in different aspects of racing.

Imogen has been riding since she was two and has competed regularly for more than 12 years.

She was a leading member of the Richmond School and Sixth Form Equestrian Team and during her seven years at school took part in championships across England, bringing home a haul of trophies.

Imogen has embraced the working life, which sees her start at 6.30am and work until 12:30pm and then return for a 4.30pm  to 6pm shift, as well as regular weekends.

She enjoys all aspects of her job, but her favourite part of the day is riding out and going to the race events.

She said: “Working with horses is something I have always wanted to do as I love them so much.

“There are so many opportunities here and I am hoping to train as either a flat or jump jockey which will involve going to college part-time.

“Ann’s motto is ‘where horses come first’, and this is immediately evident to everyone who visits or works at the yard. Ann really takes care of her staff and makes us feel valued members of the team.”

As well as training 20 racehorses at the yard, Ann Duffield Racing offer gallop and equine rehabilitation facilities, including a water treadmill.