February 6, 2020

Changing Horses

In this month’s magazine, Seonaid Renton tells Fionnuala Fallon how she found a passion in growing flowers after a successful and passionate career in horse racing

As a child, the Scottish-born flower-farmer and florist Seonaid Renton spent every spare minute of her time riding ponies, an all-consuming passion that eventually led to her working for some of Britain and Ireland’s best-know racehorse trainers including Henrietta Knight, Martin Pipe and Willie Mullins. “My father didn’t want me to go into the horse racing industry and instead insisted that I study hotel catering at James Watt College in Glasgow but it didn’t make any difference… Even though I completed the course, I was still absolutely determined to get a job working with horses.”

Soon Seonaid, pronounced ‘Show-na’, became what’s known as a ‘travelling head girl’, which meant that she was responsible for looking after horses travelling to race meetings around the country as well as preparing all the tack and the jockey’s colours – the distinctive jackets and helmets that jockeys wear in races to identify them, their horses and the horses’ owners. “I loved it but as anyone who has worked in the racehorse business will tell you, it’s full on, seven-days-a-week. You work long, unsociable hours from early in the morning until late in the evening and rarely get a day off. That inevitably becomes exhausting.”

To continue reading this article pick up a copy of The Irish Garden today. Or subscribe by visiting www.irishgardensubs.com. Prefer to phone? Call Kim at 01-2947712 (10am to 1pm, Monday to Friday).

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