Christie Woodard’s long-standing contribution to the thoroughbred racing industry was recognised on Thursday when she was honoured with the 2014 Wakeful Club Lady of Racing Award.
Each year since 1993, the award has been presented to a woman in Victoria who has shown outstanding passion and commitment to the industry in her chosen field.
Christie was nominated by Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria and the award acknowledged her success as a breeder at Yallambee Stud in Romsey as well as her contribution to the ongoing development of the industry through education and new technology.
Racing Victoria Chairman Rob Roulston presented the award at a special ceremony at Myer Mural Hall which was attended by more than 350 people including finalists Maree Ryan and Gaye Gauci-Marchant.
Racing Victoria recently announced that female participation rates in the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry are at an all-time high and RV has made further growth a key objective in its recently released three-year strategic plan, Racing For The Future.
“I feel incredibly humble to be the recipient of this award — especially up against two other women who are very deserving,” Christie said. “Racing and breeding has to be one of the most rewarding industries — where a single love for the equine allows a unique mix of business and pleasure.
“In this day and age there are so many opportunities for women to excel in the thoroughbred industry — in both racing and breeding — and it’s fantastic that there are more and more opportunities and avenues which can be followed.
“My experience in the industry has been that if you are committed, focused and enjoy what you do, you can achieve anything.”
After growing up on a farm in the western districts at Ararat, Christie originally tried to convince a pair of thoroughbred tragics — her husband Rick and brother-in-law Peter – that cattle and sheep were the way to go. Fortunately for the thoroughbred industry, that was one of the few arguments she’s lost!
With Christie at the helm, the Yallambee Stud yearling team has won numerous awards including the prestigious ‘Best Presented Draft’ at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale. Christie has sourced highly successful bloodstock on behalf of clients as well as enjoying considerable success in her own right on the track and in the breeding barn.
But it’s often her work behind the scenes that makes Christie Woodard such an industry trail blazer.
She was one of the first – if not the first – to write and develop farm administration and procedural software. She maintains Yallambee Stud’s website and provides clients with a photo and summary of their newborn foals, and has written widely circulated articles and features on areas as comprehensive as the “Causes of Infertility and Sub Fertility in Mares” to light hearted pieces about “Turning the Girls On: Teasing and the Teaser”.
She has also written countless educational articles, handbooks and documents covering the breeding and rearing of the thoroughbred, many of which are widely used by equine colleges throughout Australia.
Her knowledge of veterinary procedures is legendary and she designed and created strapless foal rugs capable of holding IV lines for short or longer periods of fluid therapy, allowing the foal to continue nursing from its mother. These are now widely used throughout Australia, saving many a foal’s life and improving the quality of care required.
And through it all, she has managed to raise two colts of her own. Christie Woodard is truly one of the industry’s unsung heroes.