By NZ Racing Desk

Jockey Samantha Collett hasn’t been idle over the COVID-19 lockdown period. Photo: Trish Dunell

Leading New Zealand jockey Samantha Collett hasn’t been idle during the country’s near two-month lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just two days into lockdown the Matamata hoop decided to follow her passion and enrolled in an interior design course.

Interior design has been a growing passion for Collett, which was heightened last year when she was furnishing her new property, which she owns with partner and fellow jockey Shaun McKay.

“I have been very passionate about interior design for quite a while and it’s something I have always wanted to get my teeth into and it seemed the perfect opportunity to get cranking on that,” Collett said.

“I am into my second assessment now and I am really enjoying the change. I have enjoyed having to sit down and apply myself to something totally different.

“It has been really good for my mind, I have enjoyed the new challenge.”

The pragmatic rider is looking ahead towards a career beyond racing and she hopes this course will lead her down a path to one day owning her own interior design business.

“I would like to say I could ride forever, but that’s not going to happen, so I have been able to do this online,” she said.

“Ideally, in the grand scheme of things, I would like to eventually start my own business. I have always been intrigued by interior design and the more I have got into it the more I have wanted to learn.”

While Collett is enjoying the course, she admitted that sitting in front of a screen for an extended period of time has not come easy to her.

“I do struggle sitting down in front of the laptop for a long period of time. It’s something I am not used to,” she said.

“I try and set aside time during the day, after I have come in from trackwork and farm jobs, to get my teeth into the study.”

Collett has also enjoyed spending some quality time with partner Shaun McKay on their 20 acre property, something she said they have not been able to do much of prior to the lockdown.

“I quite enjoyed the time off. It has been refreshing, but obviously a bit of a financial strain,” she said.

“Shaun and I are pretty lucky that we have got plenty to do on our farm to keep us busy and I have got horses here to ride.