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SUCCESS IS HORSE SENSE; Three experts reveal secrets of life in the saddle.

YARD MANAGER

LUCY BRINDLEY

LUCY has had a passion for horses ever since she was a little girl growing up in Inverness.

To become an important part of the team at Scotland's top equestrian centre is a dream job for the 26-year-old.

The centre opened this year after securing pounds 3.5million from Sport Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Oatridge College.

The job: I am yard manager at the Scottish National Equestrian Centre.

How I did it: I knew I wanted to work with horses from an early age. I first sat on one when I was four. But I did a business degree at Edinburgh University so I would have the back-up of qualifications.

I then got my British Horse Society qualifications and went to work at Gleneagles where they keep horses for guests.

I worked there for a year then the job came up here.

The great thing about it is the variety. The yard has to be managed and that has a regular routine. Because I get involved in corporate events which are often held here, I get to meet a wide range of people. I am also responsible for the welfare of up to 44 horses as well as the staff.

Perks: I can ride any horse I want which is a great privilege. I also get to meet the stars of the horse world which is always exciting.

Five-year plan: I see myself here for the forseeable future. I am excited about building it up into a fully-fledged centre of excellence.

Tips: Work experience is where you get a taste for what is involved. You also need determination and drive.

PERSONAL ASSISTANT

NICOLA BRUCE

NICOLA, 32, didn't have any experience of horses before she joined the equestrian centre as a personal assistant.

But she is quickly getting to grips with the strange lingo horsey people use as she takes care of the administrative side of activities.

My job: I am a personal assistant at the Scottish National Equestrian Centre.

How I did it: I have only been in my job three weeks and am enjoying it. Before this I was working with Sky in an administrative role. I started there in customer services after doing a degree in hospitality management.

This job is very different because I'm part of a small team.

I'm learning about the equestrian world as I go along and I'm starting to understand what it all means.

Perks: I get to meet a lot of interesting and diverse people and I also like working as part of a small team. I think you are valued much more for the work you do, you're not just a number like you are in a large company.

Five-year plan: I'm enjoying this job already so hopefully I will be here long-term.

Tips: This is a job where you need to be flexible because it's quite varied.

One minute you're talking to someone at a major corporate event and the next, you are on the phone talking about horses.

GROUNDSMAN

COLIN PALMER

PRESENTATION is vital to the national equestrian centre and the grounds are kept spotless by 20-year-old horticulture student Colin.

Studying at the nearby Oatridge College, Colin, of Livingston, jumped at the chance to get hands-on experience at the centre.

The job: I am groundsman at the Scottish National Equestrian Centre.

How I did it: I like to work outside whenever I can so when this job came up I went for it. Now I'm glad I can do it over the summer while the weather is warm. I cut the grass and water the plants.

There are a lot of flowers used to decorate the ring when there are shows on so there is always plenty to do.

There is also a new gallop for racehorses so I am looking forward to maintaining that.

I am starting to learn specialist skills, for example, what height the grass needs to be for dressage events. In the winter we spend a lot of time in the classroom but once summer comes we're outside most of the time.

Perks: There is a great mix in my job. We are a small, close team here which is a good thing.

Five-year plan: I would really like to work at the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh.

Tips: There are lots of different ways of getting into this type of job and also into the field of horticulture in general.

Experience is the key. You have to be prepared to work hard doing horticulture because there is a lot of knowledge to build up.

CAPTION(S):

On the hoof: Lucy is manager at top equestrian centre; Organiser: Nicola Bruce; Hay-ho: Colin pitches in at the stables
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 15, 2007
Words:785
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