Shadow Hill Thoroughbreds’ Samantha Sheean is a rising star of the Victorian breeding industry.
Sheean studied a Diploma of Horse Breeding and Stud Management at NMIT having never touched a horse, but knowing that working outside and around animals was where her passion laid.
Finishing the course in 2013, Sheean said that she had undertaken experience at multiple farms across the state, and made a special note of David and Kayley from Rushton Park who helped secure her in this industry.
“I had a career change a little later in life, probably around 2013, so 10 years ago now,” Sheean said.
“My work placement was at Chatswood and that’s where I met Luke and Mags Anderson, and subsequently, they hired me fresh from my Diploma.
“They were really nurturing, knowing how in-experienced I was with horses, especially my handling skills, knowing that I need to be around the animal to learn how to work with them.
“When I left Chatswood, I ended up on foal watch at Rushton Park with David and Kayley (Johnson) where I learnt so much. If it wasn’t for them helping me, I don’t know if I would have stayed in the industry.
“From there, I went over to Larneuk Stud where it was very much a nice, family environment. This is where I felt more comfortable with the farming side of things as well as working around stallions.”
After finishing up with Neville Murdoch at Larneuk, Sheean took some time away to become a mother, but nevertheless, did find her way straight back into the thoroughbred industry.
An ultimate professional, Sheean took the time to come back and work with yearlings, overcoming the fear of working with them, adding to what is now a very impressive repertoire of skills that she brings to Shadow Hill.
“After having my two kids, I ended up doing yearling prep with Luke and Mags, learning how to work with the younger horses as they can sometimes be a little temperamental,” Sheean mentioned.
“I was petrified of yearlings, but doing this really helped me gain in confidence to work around them.
Sheean was offered full-time work at Bassinghall Thoroughbreds which was impossible to knock back.
She quickly found herself at Shadow Hill Thoroughbreds after the transfer of horses from Bassinghall, and has never looked back since.
“I was offered some full-time work with Bassinghall which I snapped up,” Sheean spoke about.
“When they sold up, all their horses ended up going to Shadowhill so I sent in my resume for a job there, and had an interview with Kim (Alderton).
“As soon as I spoke to her, I accepted the role and I have just been here ever since and honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever leave.
“Since being at Shadow Hill my confidence has grown ten-fold and I cannot thank Kim enough for all the encouragement and support she has given me with any new skill that I have asked to learn, and everything she has taught me and continues to teach me.”
With no experience around horses and a later introduction to the industry than some, Sheean has done an incredible job to take everything before her and will be a major part now and in the future of the Victorian breeding industry.
“Given that I hadn’t touched a horse before, it blows my mind how far I’ve come as most of the people that I have met in the industry have grown up around horses,” Sheean mentioned.
“I always said to myself, my skill is not my asset, it is my work ethic that is. You can always teach someone a skill, but you can’t teach someone to work hard.
“I just want to thank everyone that I have worked with, colleagues and mentors, who have taken the time to teach me something new. This has allowed me to get where I am today.”
When looking towards her future ambitions, Sheean said that it is to simply be the best horse-person that she can be, and increase her skillset to its optimum.
“My aim is to be at a skill level, where I could walk into any area across the business, and have the confidence in myself that I can do this role,” Sheean said.
“I just want to be the best horse-person that I can be and to give the horses the best chance at success that they can get.”
Given Sheean’s later start to working with thoroughbreds, we asked her what we can do to promote our breeding and promote the pathways and opportunities that people can take to maximise the future of the industry.
“To get started in terms of working with animals, I just looked up ‘I want to work with animals’ and all these different courses come up, and that’s how I found it, Sheean commented.
“The fact I had to research to find my way into the industry coming from a non-horse background, it probably shows that there is not enough publication to know that even if you have no skill level, there are still pathways into the industry.
“People are always willing to teach people that want to learn.”