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Harness Careers

The racing industry is one of Australia’s largest industries and is one of the top ten employers in Australia, employing in excess of 240,000 Australians.

A career in the racing and breeding industry is a rewarding experience with employment available in a diverse range of fields.

This section provides a brief overview of careers within the racing industry that may interest you.

Further information on any of the careers in this section can be obtained from the sources indicated or by contacting:

Racing Industry Training
Name:     Racing Industry Training
Email:     training@rwwa.com.au

Phone:     (08) 9445 5483

Equine Dentist

Professional specialist equine dentistry care is required as part of a horse's regular health maintenance to ensure that the animal is able to pick up and chew its food correctly. This, in turn, affects the health of the horse and helps to overcome problems where a horse may be experiencing pain with the placement of a bit in its mouth.

To become a certified equine dentist you will need to complete a Certificate in Equine Dentistry. Unfortunately, at this point in time, West Australia does not offer this course. However, it is possible to complete the qualifications through distance education, combined with a block of "hands on training".

Website: www.equinedentalpractice.com

 

Farrier

A Farrier plays a vital role in the well being and level of performance in horses - keeping their hooves in good condition and placing the appropriate shoes on horses.  The role of the Farrier is absolutely vital to the well-being and performance level of horses, with no truer a saying than “no foot – no horse”.

A qualified Farrier is one of the most important people associated with the health and welfare of horses.  Due to their proven training, skills, knowledge and commitment, almost all racing stables, stud farms and large equestrian establishments employ qualified Farriers to care for their horses’ feet.

Farrier training consists of a 4-year Apprenticeship studying Certificate III Farriery comprising both on-the-job practical training with a qualified Farrier and off-the-job theory study at TAFE.

 

Harness Drivers

Harness Drivers are required to undertake similar training to Jockeys, however, their weight and fitness is not quite as important. Harness Drivers are paid a fee for driving in races and receive 5% of all stake money earned by the horse they drive. 

To become a Driver you are required to work in a harness stable for at least 6 months and be able to drive pacing horses in trackwork. It is then necessary to apply for a C Grade licence - this licence permits a driver to drive in trials. All trials are monitored and when you are driving with sufficient skill for the Stewards to assess you as ready to drive in races you apply for a B Grade Licence which permits you to drive in country races. 

Some Drivers are self employed, similar to a jockey, however, most also train horses and many undertake this as a part-time career and also have an alternate job. Formal Training is available.

Stablehand

A Stablehand, often referred to as a Strapper, is a person who attends and grooms racehorses.  In a racing stable, a Stablehand may be responsible for caring for a number of horses at any one time.  Duties include grooming, feeding, tidying horse boxes/yards and attending races.  Duties at the races include looking after the horse whilst at the races, ensuring it is safe and remains calm and also leading the horse around prior to and after it has raced.

There are full- and part-time Stablehand positions in both Thoroughbred and Harness stables.  Many people enter stables with no formal training and learn on the job.

Most careers in racing start with a period of working as a stablehand to gain the skills and knowledge required to work with racehorses.

Formal Training: Certificate III Racing (Advanced Stablehand)  

 

Harness Horse Trainers

Being a Harness Trainer is about knowing a horse’s abilities and strengths, its health and fitness, its character and special needs to train them to become elite equine athletes.

Becoming a Harness Trainer requires a lot of prior experience and knowledge gained from years of working with horses and in pacing training stables. The majority of Harness Trainers have their own stables and are self-employed with a minority being employed as a “private” trainer by people who own a large number of horses and have their own private facilities.

Training is a highly competitive area of work and can be very rewarding. However, not everyone enjoys a high rate of success.

Harness trainers gain their experience working in stables under experienced trainers, often as Stablehands and also driving trackwork or being harness race drivers. Often they will be race drivers for a number of years prior to applying for a trainers license.

Additional Information

All people working in a racing training stable in Western Australia must be registered or licensed with Racing and Wagering Western Australia.


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