Ashley Shepherd has driven at the past two Byford trial meetings.
Trainee driver Ashley Shepherd had not even brushed a horse four years ago.
Now he is just 12 drives away from a reinsman’s licence and dreams of training a team of pacers and winning feature races.
The Collie postman said his trotting journey began when he met Leo and Karen Wallrodt at a Collie trot meeting.
“I got into harness racing through the love of horses. I was always interested in how it all worked and loved being at Sunday Collie meetings,” Shepherd said.
“I was 19 and had zero horse experience other than going out to see my uncle’s thoroughbreds.
“I would meet Karen and Leo at their stalls, not really knowing them.
“They would let me pat their horses. One day I got the courage to ask Karen if I could get her race number for her.
“Then I started doing small jobs such as filling water buckets and getting the numbers.
“After the last Collie meeting, Karen asked if I wanted to travel to different tracks with them and from there I went on to get my stablehand licence and the rest is history.
“I can’t thank Leo and Karen enough for giving me this opportunity to live out my childhood dreams.”
Karen Wallrodt said Shepherd, 24, had come a long way since his first drive on one of the grandchildren’s pony trotters.
“We didn’t have a horse quiet enough at the time, so we gave him his first few drives on a pony trotter – Limehill Annabelle – who is now Lucas Suvaljko’s pony,” Wallrodt said.
“Ash has put a lot of work into improving and has gained a lot more confidence.
“He really wants to give it a crack. He works hard and listens – most of the time.
“It is good to have been able to help him out.”
Shepherd has been working as a postie for 18 months and loves his job.
“I love meeting new people every day and talking to some wonderful people and just having a good laugh with workmates and with people I meet on the road,” he said.
“The hours give me enough time in the day to do the one thing I’ve always wanted to do, train and drive horses.
“My goals in harness racing are to one day train and drive a whole heap of horses for other owners and win a Group 1 race, either as a trainer or driver.
“As they say, work hard enough for it and one day it will all happen.
“I just want to make a mention of Cody Wallrodt and the endless amount of people in the industry who have given me advice. I can’t thank them enough.”
Shepherd is keen to gets outside trial drives and is happy to travel to complete his traineeship.