Deep within the shire of the Macedon Ranges lies an ever growing racing stable. Romsey, in Victoria, is home to Luke Oliver’s yard and this is where we get to meet Georgina Eliza McCartney. ‘Georgie’ grew up on the beautiful Barwon Heads, Victoria. Torquay beach was Georgie’s back yard, which is known for its surfing, and nature walks. From growing up walking along sandy beaches beneath towering cliffs to now walking on the sand track at work, we begin to get an understanding of everything that is beautiful about Georgina.
While in High School, Georgie was a boarder at Ballarat Grammar. Weekends home and school holidays were spent helping out her dad on their family hobby farm along with her eventing and show jumping. On completion of high school Georgina graduated as a veterinary nurse. Georgina was a small animal vet nurse for 9 years. While a vet nurse she met Luke Oliver.
Georgina and Luke have been dating for three years and the last two years have seen Georgie’s career turn from small animals to thoroughbred race horses. While Luke works out front, behind the scenes Georgina oversees the daily routine and running of the stables. “We start at 6AM every day morning” said Georgie.
The daily routine for Luke’s horses is paramount. Stables, feeds, hosing down, more tacking up and untacking, and cooling down is all under the management of Georgie. Another huge part of her job is the administration of veterinary prescribed medications, keeping up with the daily stocktake, bandages changed and horses on box rest. The list is endless from AM to PM. This certainly isn’t the easiest job, and amongst all this there are also the 150 feeds that need to be made up daily Not an easy job but one that is handled with ease. Also, she does in no means take all the glory, she cannot thank the dedicated team behind them. They have on average 10 to 15 staff on farm from maintenance, ground, and front staff.
“We start at 6AM every morning, track riders start at 6:30 which allows us time to tack up, and put on the walker” said Georgie.
On race days Georgina ensures that the runners feel as normal as possible. They go out in the morning for a light canter/slow work. Keeping to the same feed routine with only a slight change to their diet e.g. no hay or Lucerne chaff. Both Georgina and Oliver like to travel with the horses on race day. While Luke talks to the jockey and the owners, Georgina is busy concentrating on the horses health and welfare pre race. “Kyneton is our lucky track”.
The love and affection that Georgina gives the horses reflect in the stables daily running. She encourages the owners to come to the farm to see the horses in their own ‘bedroom’ environment . On race days it is hard for the owners to get a true feeling of what their horses’ real temperament is like. She likes to show the owners the horses on the treadmill, walker, getting saddled up, hosed down, everything which is natural to them on a daily basics. Also getting to know what their likes and dislikes are. On race day they are race ready.
Without a doubt, the farm in Romsey oozes potential. The positive vibe that you feel when you arrive at the stables, greeted by hard working, dedicated, friendly staff is so reassuring that it’s no wonder the stable is having amazing success. With dedicated staff traveling from the other side of Melbourne to ride track work, “We have some of the best riders”.
Georgina can only be described as a very friendly and welcoming face to Kerrygail. Stable manager is a very modest category to her role.
Although this wasn’t Georgina’s childhood ambition her past life experiences give her the perfect foundation for running Luke’s stables. Another huge part of her job is the administration of veterinary prescribed medications, keeping up with the daily stocktake, bandages changed and horses on box rest. The list is endless from AM to PM. This certainly isn’t the easiest job, and amongst all this there are also the 150 feeds that need to be made up daily.
“We have the best roster in the industry, happy staff is a part of our success. We are all a big family here’’.
Words by Sinead Hughes