By Abby Delucyk
Jayla, at the tender age of 17, has taken on the challenge of retraining the racehorse, Classic Bright, transitioning him from the racetrack to the world of eventing.
The journey began when Terry Evans, a respected trainer in Tuncurry, was seeking a good home for Classic Bright. Jayla, with a keen eye and a passion for horses, eagerly stepped up to the plate. Since August 2023, Jayla and Classic have set out on their retraining journey together, already competing at Taree Show and having outings to Pony Club.
“I think his personality is what makes him so special! He has a sweet kind face and is a placid horse, with no intention of hurting you,” Jayla gushes.
Growing up in a family of horse lovers, Jayla learned the ropes of retraining from her mum and aunties who are seasoned riders. “I love starting from the ground to make a connection with the horse and working from there. I try and do all disciplines with my horses to let them do everything,” she said.
Her love of horses was engrained in her from a young age, constantly begging her parents for a horse since she was 5.
Besides her time with her horses, Jayla is a high school student juggling her studies with a stablehand qualification through TAFE. Her day starts early, taking care of four horses before heading to school and then returning home to complete feeding.
Dream of becoming a jockey, inspired by her grandfather’s love for racing, fueled Jayla’s ambitions to join the Racing industry. However, as she grew, she realized she may be too big for a jockey and instead switched her goals to becoming a racehorse trainer in the future.
“I got a job when I was younger at the Trots at Menangle Park before relocating up north to Tuncurry. This is where I discovered Terry and his stable,” Jayla said.
Local trainer Terry Evans has played a significant role in Jayla’s journey into racing. “He is great trainer and a good boss – he will explain something to you if you get it wrong, not yell or anything. His horses are all very respectful as well.
“I love everything about racing and working with horses. I especially love all the training and watching the horses progress with their different training,” she said.
Looking ahead, Jayla has her sights set on another one of Terry’s horses, Sir Ravenlli, the Mid North Coast Country Championships winner as her next retraining prospect.
Despite going into Year 11 and facing questions about her future, Jayla is clear about her goals. “I have my mind set on eventually becoming a racehorse trainer but also have my own business retraining and selling retired Thoroughbred racehorses,” Jayla concluded.