By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Robbie Henson was walking horses at Hastings for his dad Steve at the age of 10 and there was no doubt in his mind at that early age what the future had in store for him. “I was born into racing and my desire to stay involved just got bigger and bigger every day.”
Today at 29, Robbie gallops horses for trainers Carl Lausten, Keith Pedersen and those from the Steve Henson barn, of course. He still grooms for his dad, works in the jocks room as a valet and makes himself available when the call goes out for an extra attendant in the starting gate.
“I love what I do,” he says.
The word ‘love’ also comes into the conversation when he relates that he met his wife Michelle at the track while she was grooming for Glen Todd. Michelle now works as a manicure and pedicure technician and they make sure they find time to golf together with friends at least once a week while raising young daughters Naomi and Alexa.
Robbie and Michelle teamed up with John and Tammy Snow in the annual BC Cup golf tournament this past Monday, finishing with a respectable 10-under at Newlands.
“One day I’d like to train full-time,” Robbie says. “I did get my trainer’s licence in 2013 for when I’d go to Phoenix for winter racing with my father. But I’ve had to put my training plans on hold for now because of my work in the jocks room.”
Robbie spends his winters freelancing in restaurant restoration and playing pick-up hockey at 8 Rinks in Burnaby whenever he and his buddies can arrange ice time.
“I was named after Bobby Orr,” he says, noting that the legendary Hall of Fame defenceman was and still is his dad’s idol.
Steve Henson is a beloved mainstay at Hastings who quickly volunteered to train for Hastings Racing Club 1 when the concept was introduced in 2015.
“Dad is really a people person,” Robbie says. “He underwent a dental overhaul recently and when he comes over for dinner his menu consists of the same food our 16-month old Alexa eats … soft foods and juices. He gets quite a kick out of that.”