The transition from horse worker to support worker

Amy Rees

“It’s given me a different perspective on life that’s for sure.”

Mckayler Barnes
Mckayler Barnes. Photo | Amy Rees

After being involved in the Harness Racing industry for most of her life, local driver Mckayler Barnes decided it was time for a change.

Now, instead of spending her days caring for horses, she spends them caring for people in her new role as a support worker.

“I needed a change from the horses,” Barnes said.

“I had done it for such a long time and just needed a break.”

Having worked for two of Bathurst’s largest stables – Steve Turnbull and Peter Bullock – Barnes enjoyed her time learning different training techniques and hopes to put this to good use in the future.

“I’ll always have something to do with the horses,” she said.

“I still help a few trainers of a morning when I can and I’ve been thinking about getting a horse to train myself and have a bit of fun with but we’ll see.”

To date, Barnes has notched up 66 victories in the sulky, with her last win before changing jobs aboard a gelding called Happychappy Shannon.

“I think I’d like to drive again at some stage but for now I just have two that I own and I’m just enjoying the break,” she said.

“I really like my new job. I’m a real people person and it’s good because I can take my clients to see the horses which they love.”

Barnes says that her role as a support worker has really opened her eyes and she loves being able to help people.

“The people we care for are all at different levels (physically and intellectually) but for most of my clients they just want you to be like a friend,” she said.

“It’s given me a different perspective on life that’s for sure.”