Welcome to TDNAusNZ’s ‘It Takes a Team’, brought to you in conjunction with Thoroughbred Industry Careers. Here we highlight and celebrate some of the heroes of our industry. The strappers, riders, studworkers and people behind the scenes of our champions. The people who are up late into the night foaling or up at the crack of dawn to trackwork, working tirelessly to keep the industry running.
In today's edition we chat to the man who works behind the scenes to ensure our equine athletes are in peak physical condition and recover properly following their races and after any injuries they might have sustained.
Tom Simpson began his career as a human physiotherapist who decided he liked horses more than humans and has dedicated his life to ensuring their wellbeing.
Tom Simpson - Physio
TDN: Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you get involved with the Thoroughbred industry?
Tom: When I first started I was fortunate enough to be shown around by a vet by the name of Dr Michael Robinson. An incredible person who I just kept hanging around and annoyed him into referring work to me.
TDN: Can you tell us a bit more about what you do, and how you got started in this role?
Tom: As a human Physio I decided I didn’t like humans and acquired the Masters in Animal Physiotherapy. Growing up on a farm I had a natural obsession with horses and this was the perfect compromise to continue with the qualifications I had obtained and be around horses. Much better patients…
TDN: What other kinds of opportunities has this role opened up for you?
Tom: Incredible travel opportunities for a start, travelling to Royal Ascot and Hong Kong as part of the support team for different stables and horses which has been incredible. I have met some of the most amazing people, there is no doubt horses are 2 things, 1 - an incredible leveller and 2 - a form of currency that anynone can trade in, by that I mean knowledge with horses opens up so many more doors than you can imagine because it is so specialised and has so many incredible returns. Recently it has also given me the opportunity to try out a small role in the media with a regular raceday presenting role with Racing.com which I love.
TDN: You get to work with some of the best horses in racing, do you ever feel any pressure when working with big names?
Tom: Absolutely, it is everyday pressure and the raceday is the culmination of so much hard work by everyone. It's addictive but very demanding. I take ownership of the horses under my care and know everyone of them inside out. I am in an incredibly privileged position and I don’t take anything for granted.
TDN: Who’s the best horse you’ve ever gotten to work on?
Tom: That’s easy… Winx .
TDN: What’s one thing you wish more horse owners knew about your work?
Tom: The positive effect of regular treatment and the benefits of maintaining your athlete to avoid injuries not just managing them once it's too late.
TDN: What do you love most about your role?
Tom: The horse .
TDN: What’s the most challenging aspect of the role?
Tom: The trainer! (and sometimes the vet…)
TDN: Can you give any advice to anyone thinking about a career as an equine physio?
Tom: If it's something you love then follow it, however you must attain the correct qualifications and you have to commit to it. Then find the best Vet and Physio in the discipline you love and don’t leave them, ever!