Russell Richards, Handyman

1. How long have you worked for Juddmonte and what does your role involve?

I have worked for Juddmonte for 12 years. I started as a tractor driver and when the previous maintenance retired I took over his role. My job involves plumbing, electrical tasks, building, painting, fabricating and repairing structures as well as mechanical maintenance and servicing.

2 . What experience did you have before joining Juddmonte and what experience have you gained since joining?

Upon leaving school I started working on an arable and livestock farm. Whilst there, as well as tractor driving and general farm work, I developed my mechanical skills – maintaining tractors, cars, combine harvesters and a multitude of other farm machines.

My second job was at the Equine Fertility Unit in Newmarket. I carried on in the same vein as at the farm but added to that I learned a great deal about horses from Professor ‘Twink’ Allen, including assisting in surgery.

3. What advice would you offer someone if looking for an alternative career within the thoroughbred industry?

I would suggest that they begin by working as a seasonal stud hand to see if this industry is for them or not. That way they would realise that it can involve long hours, working weekends and the work can be physically very demanding, which might not be everybody’s cup of tea!

4. What qualifications or work experience do you feel are important in obtaining for this line of work?

I have never believed that qualifications are the be-all and end-all of starting a career path. You cannot have work experience until you have experienced work!

5. What characteristics or skills do you have that you think help with this type of work?

With the multitude of different and varied tasks, often having more than one job on the go at any one time, I find the most important characteristics for my job are patience, doggedness and a sense of humour.

6. What three things would you consider to be an important aspect of your role?

  1. Ensuring that equipment, vehicles etc. are kept in good order so that the people using them are kept safe
  2. Keeping buildings and other areas safe and secure for the animals
  3. Keeping the property as a whole in good order aesthetically