There is more to the Shadwell Estate than breeding champion horses
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
It breeds and breaks in champion race horses from its studs across Norfolk and Suffolk but there is a lot more to the Shadwell Estate.
Based at Nunnery Stud just outside Thetford, Shadwell is a world-wide operation with studs in Ireland, the USA, Australia and France.
Regarded as one of the best bloodstock operations in the world, stallions from the estate, themselves ex-champions, sire horses who end up winning on the top racing circuits.
Away from breeding, Snarehill Stud, off the A1066 near Thetford, is becoming a leading rehabilitation centre in Europe.
With horse walkers, treadmills, a salt water spa and swimming pool, injured horses are treated with care to enable them to return to training and racing.
James O’Donnell, assistant stud director, said: “At Shadwell we take great pride and care in our race horses. To have a facility like that, it is world class. If a horse is injured, our aim is to give it as much time as it needs and get it back to racing again.”
And beyond the equine roles, are the many gardeners, farmers, groundsmen and administrators who keep the business running smoothly.
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A team of six gardeners, based at Snarehill Stud, grow and look after flowers for all of the Shadwell properties. Some are regularly donated to Thetford.
Of the 220 people employed by Shadwell in England, 190 are in East Anglia and many of them are local.
“We rely heavily on the local area for our work force,” said Mr O’Donnell. “We do employ a huge sector of different job skills here. “Predominately we are seen as an equestrian employer but within that we have a range of jobs including gardeners and maintenance workers.”
He added: “Working in the equestrian world is hard work but we have a family atmosphere here at Shadwell and a great community.”
Shadwell has an active programme taking students from the National Stud for a year with the aim of offering employment. Mr O’Donnell said they also like to help people find their desired career through training.
He said: “I think something we are really keen to do is to continue to grow our presence as an employer in the local area. We have had people who are gardeners and want to work with the horses. And we are happy to retrain them.”
It is owned by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the deputy ruler of Dubai.
Originally a 6,000-acre country estate, Shadwell was purchased in 1984.
The Shadwell Estate Company Ltd includes six studs, including Elmswell, Salsabil and Beech House Stud, all found in Suffolk.
The worldwide operations are run from Nunnery Stud, built in 1987, just outside of Thetford on the A1088.
It has been home to champion racehorses and influential stallions, including Green Desert, Oasis Dream, Cape Cross and Invincible Spirit.
Shadwell also rears Arabian racehorses and have eight stallions based in the UK, France and the USA.
There is also a stud in Ireland.
Retired race horses are retrained in show jumping, dressage and as polo horses.
Retired stallions live at the stud.