In a time when many are lamenting the lack of skilled workers in the thoroughbred industry, Faith Taylor is doing her bit to solve the problem.
Taylor sponsors one of two scholarships that the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association award each year, the Keith and Faith Taylor Equine Scholarship that supports the successful candidate to attend the five-month Diploma Course at the Irish National Stud.
A keen traveller herself, it is easy to see why Taylor is an advocate of the travel-to-learn approach.
“Travel is absolutely essential,” Taylor said. “Living in New Zealand has many advantages, but we do live a long way from other people,” she said.
“I have turned into a huge traveller and I think it is very important for young people to be exposed to other experiences and educational institutions.”
Taylor’s connection with horses was a forgone event with her family’s involvement tracing back to her Great Grandfather John Duncan who imported mares from the United Kingdom and Australia in the 1880’s.
Her grandfather, Sir Thomas Duncan, her father Ken and members of the extended family bred thoroughbreds for the sole purpose of pursuing their passion for racing, while Taylor was the first of her family to become a commercial breeder.
“My father had racehorses, my grandfather had racehorses, great uncles, great aunts, everybody had horses,” Taylor said.
“We are nothing special, just a family from the Rangitikei with an interest in thoroughbreds.
“I come from a long line of farmers with a broodmare in the back paddock.”
In 1980 Taylor and her late husband Keith bought a 170 acre property in Otaki named Waimanu. From there they bred thoroughbreds and marketed yearlings at the Trentham sales.
In 1993 The Taylor family purchased Trelawney Stud, which is managed by Taylor’s son Brent and wife Cherry.
Though she lives in Wellington, Faith is an integral part of the team and a familiar face at sales time where she can be seen running the hospitality tent at Karaka.
This is the perfect time for her to catch up with scholarship winners who complete a six-month stint at Trelawney on completion of the course at the Irish National Stud.
“I get to meet the young people at the sales and it is great to see them working so hard and becoming so skilled,” she said.
“Brent, Cherry and the team at Trelawney do a wonderful job and I am very proud of them.”
Faith’s contribution to the industry was recognised at the recent awards held by the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.
The branch originally sponsored the Irish National Stud scholarship till Faith took over in 2006. In recognition of this, her accomplishments and continued support of the thoroughbred sector, she was presented with the John A Higgs Award.
Wellington based breeder John Higgs was a foundation member of the NZTBA when it was established in the 1940’s. He continued on to bred and race horses right through until the 1980’s and his last horse before he passed away was Vin d’Amour who won the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes. Her dam Glitern was by Final Orders another colt he bred and raced and stood at stud during the 1960’s and early 70’s.
Brent Taylor is also a big supporter of the scholarship process and sees it as a way of fostering young talent and encouraging them to contribute back to the industry.
“They come back (from Ireland) and are energised and enthusiastic and have seen something very different which creates the drive to do better and share their knowledge with others,” he said.
“It is a real eye opener for them in a positive sense which can only be good for not only the student, but the New Zealand thoroughbred industry as a whole.”
“I would encourage anyone with a desire to succeed long term in the thoroughbred industry to apply, whether their interests lie in breeding, administration, trading or racing. Anyone with some sort of ambition to make a genuine career in the industry and who is willing to put in the hard work to further their education.”
For proof the scholarship process works you only need to look down the list of past winners which includes Cameron Ring who has recently joined the internationally renowned Waterford Bloodstock; Mark Forbes, who trains out of Cambridge; Dylan Treweek, who plays an integral role at Lyndhurst Farm; and Jason Smith, who is the foreman for the Baker-Forsman stable.
Faith echoes her son’s sentiments and it is evident she is eager for the scholarship winners to gain what they can from the experience.
“They have been chosen because they shine in some way. They must have a thirst for knowledge and a thirst for experiences,” she said.
“They need to learn as much as they possibly can, take in as much knowledge as they can, and remember the love of the thoroughbred underlines everything.” - Amie Best