Vicki Pascoe - new Northern Region Councillor

Recently elected NZTBA Council member Vicki Pascoe admits to having only one brief six-month spell in her life when she was without a horse. "I got my first horse at 11," recalls the Northern region representative.

New NZTBA Councillor Vicki Pascoe
That six-month period occurred when her pony foal had died and her grandfather took her to Claudelands and bought her three broodmares. "You had to be 21 to own horses and I was 16 so they went in my mother's name," she says.One of those broodmares lived to the grand old age of 33, being pampered by Vicki after spending her later years as a nanny to younger horses.

Despite her love of horses and desire to work with them Vicki's parents were totally opposed to her working in a stable.

"My cousin Robyn Langwell used to ride with Linda Jones in the Powder Puff Derbies, and I used to go riding at Murawai Beach with Robyn," Vicki says.

Instead of life at the end of a pitchfork, Vicki's working life began at the Auckland Star as secretary to the paper's photographers.From there she moved into the National Bank and was one of 12 women who were selected throughout the country for an escalated career path.. "At the time there was a lot of pressure to give women more opportunities," Vicki explains."I ended up in the corporate division."

At that time Vicki and husband Terry had 42 acres at Silverdale where they were agisting horses, while both working full time but the desire was there to focus more on their horses. "It was pre-crash and we sold up and bought 100 acres here," says Vicki.

Having bought the property that was to be billed Club Med Agistment, Vicki transferred with work and was then headhunted by the National Australia Bank.

During her time in banking Vicki witnessed a number of things that had her shaking her head. "When I was in Auckland I saw the push of the corporates into breeding. One day my boss put a box of IWS – instruments by way of security – on my desk and there were any number of prominent names among them," she says.

"I saw it all from the other side, the tax dodges where accountants would tell their clients they had a tax problem and 'here take a share in this'. There was a lot of money written off."

Vicki believes those days are behind us now. "I would hope we never get back to that," she says. "We don't need to get people to join the industry for the wrong reasons."

A member of the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Association for 31 years Vicki says it was initially Ron Ladd who took her under his wing, while Mike Kneebone was responsible for suggesting she join the committee of the Waikato Branch.

"Ron Ladd, whom I had a lot of respect for, took me along to branch rep meetings and got me involved that way," she says.

Having served as vice-president for two years under John Thompson, another who has earned Vicki's respect, she then took over the president's role.

One of the aspects of her time within the Waikato branch of which she is most proud is the on-going success of the branch's communication tool, Bloodline."Jen Campin and I started it up and the branch has done a fabulous job to get it to where it is now," she says of her pet project.

Having finally left the bank 13 years ago to immerse herself totally in the agistment business Vicki claims she has the perfect job. "I am paid to do what I want to do," she says. "We have a lovely, good and regular clientele and we race horses to develop families."

One of those families she is intent on developing further includes In Honour, who broke her maiden recently. The fact that that maiden victory came at her 41st start earned the rising six-year-old mare plenty of Trackside airtime and aggravated her breeder/part-owner."I got very angry with some of the comments," she says.

"Especially when you hear Graeme Hansen talking about how we need horses racing and then when you have a horse like this who has still managed to bank nearly $20,000 without winning, there is all that negative comment."

In Honour showed ability early on according to Vicki but, like a lot of later maturing types, didn't quite have the strength to match that ability. "We knew she had the goods and she was always running on. It helped that she was with a patient syndicate," she says.

Two of the syndicate members are also first time owners who have now moved into other horses and brought in other new people, something that gives Vicki immense satisfaction."We have five syndicates going and we try to make it as much fun as possible," she says.

The key according to Vicki is communication and ensuring that when they go to the races they go as a group and enjoy the day."It's a bit like pyramid selling!" she says. "If you can give people a good experience then they will keep going and bring in others."

As a new Council member Vicki states one of her interests lies with the NZTBA's corporate sponsors and membership benefits.

"I would like to look at helping further enhance the relationships with the likes of BNZ, Dunstan and Fertco and the benefits to members," she says.

- Mary McCarty


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