Finalists – Horsemanship Award
17 May, 2021
In a year when so many SSSA finalists have great expertise as a rider or horse handler, Mandy Radecker and Adam Shankly are at the top of the tree.
Mandy’s experiences as a jockey, and at just about everything else in racing, also made her a finalist in last year’s awards. Adam, meanwhile, generally keeps his feet on the ground as he handles some of the world’s finest livestock at Arrowfield Stud.
Mandy’s main role is head trackwork rider for Brisbane trainer Michael Lakey. But there is far more to the former champion apprentice jockey who started riding at the age of three.
After getting a start in racing as a trainee stablehand with Gympie trainer Kaye Hull, Mandy began an apprenticeship with prominent Brisbane trainer Pat Duff in 2004, only to suffer shocking injuries in a race fall in April of that year.
As she recovered from a broken neck, broken pelvis and fractured hip, her racing future looked bleak, but she was back in the saddle before the end of the season and was duly crowned Queensland’s leading provincial apprentice.
Mandy retired from race riding in 2012, landing a winner at her last ride, and has since carved out a new life working trainer Michael Lakey as a trackwork rider who specialises in turning problem horses around.
“From her award-winning career as a jockey, her ability to communicate with young horses and to educate them, to her passion for re-homing, Mandy is a truly remarkable woman,” Lakey said.
Despite having received considerable recognition as a young jockey, Mandy said that becoming an SSSA finalist gives her special satisfaction.
“I was shocked and speechless when I was told I was in the last five. To now be one of the final two is such an honour,” she said.
Adam Shankly has spent the past 20 years looking after horses at Arrowfield Stud – and not for one moment in those two decades has he failed to impress the farm’s manager Paul Messara.
“Adam Shankley stands out for both his superbly professional handling of our stallions and his consistent, sympathetic approach to every horse in his care,” Messara said.
“Adam has worked with all of Arrowfield’s stallions since he joined us and has established a relationship with them all. His immense skill, strength, judgement and horse-sense is second to none”
Like so many of the finalists honoured in the Stud and Stable Staff Awards, Adam started young and never diverted from the life he loves.
He began working with horses while at school and his first, full-time job was in the yearling barn at Widden Stud before a move to David Moodie’s Hobson Lodge racing stable in Melbourne.
Adam came to Arrowfield in 2001 and a couple of years later was entrusted with accompanying Hussonet as he shuttled to the United States.
On his return, Adam took up a stallion manager’s role at Arrowfield with responsibility for eight stallions and has continued in similar roles ever since, working with such notable horses as Redoute’s Choice, Flying Spur and Not A Single Doubt.
“Adam gives everyone – including insurers and stallion shareholders – confidence and peace of mind,” Messara said.
Adam’s years at Arrowfield have provided regular highlights, particularly at the sales and on the racetrack and he regards his selection as an SSSA finalist high among them.
“These awards are a concept that gives everyone throughout the industry something to strive for,” he said.
“We all do what we do because we love it, but the recognition we get from the awards makes everyone feel valued.”