CINDY Browne harboured her passion for horses as a barrel racer.
But at Friday's Gundagai New Year's Day meeting she'll be powerless to influence the result from the grandstand when she makes her training debut with Deganway.
Browne has been Chris Heywood's stable foreman for six years now, but an abundance of young horses coming through prompted the Wagga trainer to hand over Deganway to his right-hand woman.
It's been a slow and steady process to get Deganway to the race track after a stifle injury ensured he went to the paddock for several months.
He hasn't raced since Australia Day, where he backed up his sole victory in seven career starts at Tumut over 1400m with a ninth at Wagga.
"I've worked with Chris for about six years now and he's helped me out a lot. This horse had an injury so we recuperated him, and gave him a bit of a crack," she said.
"Chris has got so many other horses coming in that I got the chance to take him over and have a go. We put him in the paddock and gave him a lot of time, he's such a sweet horse you couldn't not do it.
"As the horse got on with age Chris had to weigh up the pros and cons and he's got other babies coming through, so that gave me a chance."
Browne said patience and "listening to the horse" are the major lessons she's taken from Heywood before Deganway races in the Class One Handicap (1180m) at Gundagai's non-TAB meeting.
"I come from more of a rodeo background and just got the job through Chris when I needed some work and I've fallen in love with it from there," she said.
"Mostly just listen to the horse, he'll tell me everything i need to know.
"I've brought him along pretty slowly and he had a jump out the other day which we were quite happy with. We'll see how he goes as it's probably not his distance, he probably needs a bit further.
"He hasn't run too badly over 1200, he's more adept at 1400, but I think he'll run a great race. We've brought him along slowly and done a lot of work with him, so we hope the fitness is going to be there."