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Careers A-Z

The thoroughbred horse racing industry provides a diverse range of career opportunities for people who are passionate about horses. Below you will find a variety of roles that range from working closely with the horses, to providing administration support to the industry.

For more information on any of these roles, please contact Racing SA's Industry Training and Development Officer, Clare Lindop on 08 8179 9803 or clindop@racingsa.com.au

Assistant Trainer

A horse trainer’s right-hand man, the assistant trainer ensures everything runs smoothly from managing the staff to saddling horses at the races. Assistant trainers also help plan horses’ training schedules, communicate with owners, run satellite operations outside the main stable and keep everyone on task. Many assistant trainers go on to become trainers.

Training Opportunities:

  • Cert III in Racing (Stable hand)
  • On the job Training as Foreman/assistant Trainer
  • Racing Industry/Horse Experience Required
  • Cert IV Racing Trainer

Barrier Attendant

A barrier attendant is a horse handler, part of the race day team at the beginning of a race to ensure horses are calm and safe at the starting gates.

A Barrier Attendant works efficiently to help horses into the barriers, climbs up the side of the individual gate and sometimes stays with a horse keeping them calm until the barriers fly open.

The Barrier attendant keeps the horses and Jockeys safe, checks that approved equipment is being worn and re-fit any damaged equipment.

*did you know that horses can jump from a standing start to 50kmph?!

Training Opportunities:

  • Certificate II in Racing
  • Certificate III in Racing (Stable hand)
  • On the job training.

Bloodstock Agent

A bloodstock agent specialises in the buying and selling of racehorses, broodmares and stallions. Studying pedigrees, visiting Studs and viewing horses, especially attending Yearling Sales. Will advise prospective buyers on horses to purchase, and also bid and purchase on spec.

Training Opportunities

  • No formal training requirements
  • Industry experience recommended
  • Certificate II in Racing
  • On the job training

Clerk of the Course

The clerk of the course monitors and assists horses getting to the barriers. The Clerk ride their own horses, and often lead another horse and jockey and generally keep an eye on all of the field. They have a direct two-way radio communication to the Stewards for safety.  Our Clerks will also assist during emergency situations and help catch a horse which may have got loose.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II in Racing
  • Certificate III in Racing (Track Rider).
  • On the job training

Clerk of Scales

The clerk of scales oversees the pre-race weighing out of each Jockey, ensuring each rider weighs out with the correct equipment and either the exact weight or no more than 0.49kg of the horses advertised allotted weight.

The Clerk of The Scales must also ensure that any weight allowance claimed by an Apprentice Jockey is correct and deducted correctly for each of their rides. There may also be permitted circumstances where a Jockey may have permission to ride over the allocated advertised weight that the horse was allotted, this needs to be documented and advertised prior to start time.

After each race the Clerk of The Scales is responsible for overseeing each Jockey weighing in with the correct riding gear they weighed out with, and must be at the same weight or within 0.49kg of the weight they weighed out at; and if a jockey weighs back in more than .5kg lighter, then the horse will be disqualified.

Once all jockeys are weighed in after the race, the Clerk of the Scales will declare Correct Weight, and all horse positions are final.

Correct weight may be delayed if any rider is disputing their finishing position by way of requesting the digital photo image or by a Protest in the Stewards room.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II in Racing
  • Racing and industry experience required.
  • On the job training.

Equine Chiropractor

Much like human chiropractors, equine chiropractors make sure any musculoskeletal problems in the horse are addressed. Many racing stables employ chiropractors for regular maintenance of racehorses in addition to treating injuries or rehabilitating from old injuries. Chiropractors work on racehorses, breeding stock at farms and young horses going to sales.

Training Opportunities

  • Cert II Racing
  • Stable/Horse Handling experience preferable

Equine Dentist

An equine dentist performs routine dental examinations and corrects and maintains the proper and efficient dental working of an equine mouth. Good oral and digestive health can enhance a racehorse’s performance.

Training Opportunities

  • Cert II in Racing
  • Certificate IV in Work Practices for Equine Dental Technician

Equine Flight Attendant

Flying grooms are qualified and experienced equestrian professionals who work as part of a highly specialised team in the business of air transport for horses. They are caring and experienced in handling nervous or distressed equine travellers. Flying grooms have veterinary training to deal with situations and emergencies specific to air travel with horses. Their calm, knowledgeable, handling of even the most nervous flyers helps the horse to have a journey which is both comfortable and stress-free

They may travel all over the world with top international equines, for example racehorses that are based in UK/Europe travelling to compete in Australia. Thoroughbred mares/Stallions are sometimes flown to selected studs for breeding.

Training Opportunities

  • Cert II in Racing
  • Cert III Racing
  • Industry and horse knowledge essential
  • Airlines may require individualised training
  • Equine qualifications are necessary for this work, to prove that the groom has attained a high level of proficiency in horse care and possesses dedication. It is advisable (maybe necessary) to be registered as a flying groom with the Animal Transport Association and DEFRA. Physical fitness is absolutely crucial to this role. The responsibility of caring for millions of pounds worth of bloodstock needs to be taken seriously

Equine Vet Nurse

An equine nurse plays a role in all aspects of equine veterinary care including medicine, surgery, intensive care, breeding and anaesthesia. Equine nurses are often involved in clinical pathological and radiographic procedures. They also aid in the cleaning and maintaining of an equine facility, and implement quality assurance methods and OHS procedures.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II in Racing
  • Certificate III in Veterinary Nursing
  • Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing

Farrier

A farrier is responsible for the care and maintenance of horse’s hooves and the shoeing of them. This involves regular shaping and trimming of the hooves, and shoes need to be replaced every 8-12 weeks. Racing plates are also lighter aluminium, and work shoes are heavier steel shoes. 

A farrier is always at attendance on a race day in case there is any requirements for a horse to have a shoe put back on prior to a race.

 Training Opportunities

  • Cert II in Racing
  • Certificate III in Farriery (Trade).
  • On the job training

Feed Merchant

Specialist supplements stock of quality hay feed up to date with latest brands and scientific research trends and rules and regulations

Training Opportunities

  • Cert III Racing
  • Industry /Horse knowledge
  • Sales marketing small business management

Foreperson

A foreperson is a senior stable hand who looks after the daily organisation of the stable, overseas the welfare of the horses and staff. Co-ordinates and takes instructions from the trainer to ensure the smooth running of the stable, and will often be in charge of the racehorses at the races, if the Trainer is at another race meeting, and may also travel interstate with horses to compete. 

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate III in Racing
  • Certificate IV in Racing (Trainer)

Handicapper

A handicapper is responsible for setting the weight horses carry in a race.

They analyse horses' performances, using current form, statistics, times, prizemoney earned, gender previous weight carried,  and the standard of the competition it raced against. They aim to give every horse a reasonable chance of achieving a good performance in a race. 

The horses are given a weight in relation to their ability by using the above formula and a consistent bench marking rating system. This Rating is used to calculate the allocated weight in all Handicap races, and where applicable to set a ballot order if surplus horses need to be eliminated.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II in Racing
  • Certificate III I in Racing Services
  • Industry Experience favourable

Horse Breaker/Educator

A horse breaker educates young horses and prepares them for their career in thoroughbred racing.

 Training Opportunities

  • On the job training 
  • Certificate III Trackwork Racing

Jockey

A jockey is a professional sports person licensed by thoroughbred racing jurisdictions. A jockey lives, eats and trains as a professional athlete. 

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate III in Racing (Track Rider)
  • Certificate IV in Racing (Jockey).
  • On the job training.
  • Certificate IV in Racing (Jockey).
For more information on courses available, please view the course outline here.

Jockey Manager

A jockey manager works as a booking agent for a professional jockey. They need to be on the phone communicating with racehorse trainers, securing the best rides for their client. Managers will be booking ahead for the following weeks.

Watching races, and understanding and interpreting form is crucial.

Training Opportunities

  • No specific courses for this role.
  • Skill Set training/training components

Judge

A judge on race day watches the race from a tower at the Finish Line. They determine the official placings in a race by recording each horse’s exact finishing position, the distance between every horse, the individual times and the overall times including sectional times.

They also interpret the photo finish digital image and make the decision of the placings when all horses cross the line, separating them to any discernible margin (or declare a Dead Heat as required). In addition record individual times  to 100th of a second.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II in Racing favourable
  • Racing experience required.
  • On the job training

Photographer

Equine photographers can be found at racetracks taking photos of race day events or on-farm photographing foals for stallion ads. While some farms have photographers on staff, most farms hire specialist stallion photographers for marketing purposes. At the track, many photographers work for media outlets and you can see their work in industry or mainstream publications, in addition to advertising.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II Racing
  • Skill Set
  • On the job training

Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists play a vital role in keeping horses feeling fit and well. Physiotherapists can help treat musculoskeletal problems such as back pain by manually manipulating joints or using ultrasound and shockwave therapies. They can help with ongoing horse soundness or address issues that pop up with racehorses.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II Racing

Pre-Trainer

A pre-trainer is responsible for conditioning and preparing horses for racing after they have been spelling.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II in Racing
  • Certificate III in Racing (Stablehand)
  • Certificate IV in Racing (Racehorse Trainer)

Race Programmer

Racing programmers are responsible for developing and scheduling the racing calendar. They analyse statistics relating to race programs for the state racing authority.

They provide recommendations to improve the overall racing calendar, which includes development of race series, process improvements, race condition analysis and black type upgrade targets.

Their goal is to ensure the race calendar will provide races best suited for the horses in the population.  When a race meeting is delayed or cancelled, the race programmer will need to adapt the schedule accordingly.

Training Opportunities/requirements

  • Certificate II Racing
  • Certificate III in Racing Services
  • On the job training via Cadetship
  • Previous experience with rostering and scheduling systems is critical.
  • Race programmers will require an excellent knowledge of the local industry and the mix of thoroughbred abilities and aptitudes racing in that area.

Race Caller

Employed by television and radio stations, a race caller calls the race and race trials.

The job of a race caller is to accurately describe the running of races so the audience knows what is going on and where horses are located throughout the running of the race. They also spend the day announcing results and other on-course or on-air news between races.

Training Opportunities

  • Understanding of the industry and form
  • Certificate II in Racing
  • No specific training but industry experience and broadcasting favorable

Racing Administrator

Each state in Australia has a principal racing authority (Racing SA as an example) tasked with overseeing racing in that region.

There are a range of business roles within each organisation with departments responsible for horse registration, finance, licensing, regulation, media and marketing.

A number of administrative roles exist that support the operation of racing clubs and the racing industry.
Possible careers:

  • Accountant/Finance Officer
  • Club Secretary/Manager
  • IT Manager

Racing Australia is the peak national administration body for Thoroughbred racing in Australia.

Training Opportunities

  • Industry Experience favourable
  • Certificate III in Racing Services
  • Certificate IV in Book Keeping
  • Certificate III & IIV in Business Administration

Racehorse re-homer/re-trainer

Training Opportunities

  • Proficient horse rider, equivalent to Cert III Racing Trackwork or higher
  • Industry connection

Racecourse Manager

A racecourse manager is responsible for the management of the race track to make sure it provides a safe and fair surface for racing. Public and Members Race day experience, hospitality, events and functions.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate III/ IV in Sports Turf Management
  • Racing/Industry Experience

Stablehand/Strapper

A racehorse’s constant companion, the strapper makes sure a racehorse has everything it needs to perform at its best. From feeding the horse, to mucking out the horse stall, to grooming and presenting the horse on race day, the strapper spends hours with the horse every day and often is the first to notice if something is amiss. There are often great opportunities to travel in this role.

The tasks of a stablehand involve handling horses, preparing them for their daily routine, attending to stable duties such as feeding and walking horses as well as assisting the horses on race day.

 Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II in Racing (Stablehand).
  • Certificate III in Equine Industry.
  • On the job training

Starter

The Starter's goal is to ensures that races are run efficiently, on time and safely.

According to the distance of each race the starting stalls or the barriers will be shifted into position. The Starter will oversee the horses arriving for the start of each race and with the help of the Barrier Attendants, ensures the overall safety of the horse and riders.

The Starter will communicate with the Race day Stewards and commentators to broadcast any delays or last minute equipment or Veterinary checks needed.

The Starter calls the horses and jockeys into their correct starting gate numbers with minutes to go before the advertised/official start time, so that the horses are all loaded in a fair and orderly manner.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II in Racing
  • Certificate III in Racing
  • On the job training

Racing and industry experience required.

Steward

A steward oversees all aspects of horse racing and wagering to ensure that the rules of racing are adhered to.

Stewards have a variety of tasks during a raceday, most importantly ensuring racing rules are followed.

Stewards judge if races are run cleanly and determine if any punishments or disqualifications are needed. If so, stewards are responsible for handing them out.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate II Racing
  • Certificate III in Racing Services
  • Certificate IV in Racing Integrity
  • Racing and industry experience required
  • On the job training via cadet programs available

Stallion Handler/Stallion Nominations

A stallion handler is responsible for the day to day care of the elite stallions around the world.  Handling stallions can be quite challenging so the more horse handling you can get the better. the stallion crew find their jobs quite rewarding as they can be dealing with challenging horses on a daily basis, however, the eliteness of the horse they can be working with is next level.

You have the opportunity to work with some of the most valuable horses in the world. Working with the stallions is a highly respected job and allows you to see and work with some of the best horses that have ever graced the race track.

This sales role is responsible for selling stallion nominations to breeders who wish to get their mare in foal. Typically based at the farm where the stallion stands, the nominations person is tasked with attracting the best quality mares to each stallion by cultivating relationships with clients. This role also includes researching pedigrees, helping with marketing campaigns for stallions, and hosting stallion parades

Training Opportunities

  • Racing and industry experience required
  • On the job training required
  • Cert III Racing Stablehand
  • Stallion Nominations - Experience in sales and business is also valuable. Progression to this role often comes after years as a stud groom.

Stud Hand/Stud Groom

Stud hand positions are usually the beginning of a career in the horse breeding industry. Duties include: basic horse handling, feeding; cleaning and maintenance of stables, paddocks and equipment; maintaining property; operating machinery and equipment.

Training Opportunites

  • Certificate II Equine Industry
  • Certificate III in Racing (Advanced Stablehand)

Stud Manager/Stud Secretary

Typically the most senior hands-on role on a horse farm, the stud manager co-ordinates all duties from staff management to horse breeding activities. In addition to day-to-day tasks such as horse management, overseeing staff and client liasion, stud managers are also responsible for pasture management, the organisation of paperwork and budget co-ordination.

Training Opportunites

  • Certificate II Equine Industry
  • Certificate III in Racing (Advanced Stablehand)

Syndicator

Syndicators purchase horses, typically at public auction, then put together groups of owners to race it together. A syndicator’s tasks include selecting a horse, finding interested potential owners, completing all paperwork (including legal requirements for ASIC), and communicating with the trainer to give owners updates on the horse. Syndication companies typically have junior co-ordinator roles, responsible for client liaison, marketing and administration tasks.

 Training Opportunites

  • Certificate II Equine Industry.
  • Certificate III in Racing (Advanced Stablehand)

Track Work Racecourse & Facility Supervisor 

A track work supervisor monitors horse training operations and ensures that all personnel on the track are licensed and that OHS procedures are adhered to.

Training Opportunities

  • First Aid Certificate
  • Racing/Industry Experience

Trainer

A racehorse trainer is responsible for the care, maintenance and racing performance of racehorses.

The trainer is the primary carer for each racehorse in training. This person (alone or in a partnership) is responsible for training horses in preparation for raceday. In addition to being responsible the horse’s health and wellbeing, trainers keep owners updated on horse progress, perform media tasks and create individual training plans to make sure each horse maximises its earning potential.

They are the coach and plan the preparation of the athlete.

Training Opportunities

  • Cert III in Racing
  • Certificate IV in Racing (Racehorse Trainer).

Track and Turf Maintenance

A role in track maintenance involves maintaining the upkeep of the race track, grounds and facilities at a racecourse.

Training Opportunities

  • Horticulture or Agriculture experience
  • Certificate III/ IV in Sports Turf Management

Track Rider

A track rider rides trackwork for a range of trainers to exercise them and provide feedback on their health and progress to trainers.

Training Opportunities

  • Certificate III in Racing (Track Rider)

Veterinarian

An equine veterinarian is essentially a horse doctor, working closely with the horse staff to identify and treat issues.

In the racing stable horses are generally checked over by a veterinarian pre- and post-race, and after each gallop to check for any potential ailments.

On a race day there is always a Vet at the start of every race to inspect the horses. Sometimes a Vet may call for a horse to be scratched behind the barriers if it presents with any lameness or any other situation where the Vet deems it is in the horses best health interests not to race.

On a stud farm, veterinarians work closely with farm staff to foal mares, then scan and pregnancy test mares going back in-foal. They also ensure all farm stock are healthy and free from injury.

Training Opportunities

  • Cert II in Racing
  • Certificate III in Racing
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Science.
  • On the job training