When studying my Certificate II in Horse Studies in 2001, we were instructed to make a list of as many horse related careers as possible. Vocation 100 partly came to fruition because it was mentioned to us that previous years had managed to list over 100 different jobs that relate to horses.
We were to then consider one of these possibilities in groups and look into what was required to be able to carry out such a job – experience needed, did it require qualifications, etc.
A stable hand or strapper was the position our group was to focus on. For one who really hadn’t had much to do with racing, I was surprised to find that a lot of positions within the racing industry required having a license, a stable hand no exception to this rule.
A strapper is responsible for grooming and attending to a particular racehorse or horses. Tasks can include mucking boxes, grooming horses, feeding, tacking up for exercise, swimming and walking as well as attending race days carrying out similar duties.
It’s the strapper that you will see leading a horse around the mounting yard before a race and dealing with and cooling down after the race has been run.
There are often part time and full time positions available within harness racing stables as well as flat racing or jumps stables. Although to be a strapper for a horse at the races requires a license, it is possible to get into this position and learn on the job although some horse experience would be highly beneficial. A lot of employers apply for and cover the costs of these licenses for staff so they can strap at race meetings.
Work as a strapper can lead to higher positions in the industry and are a good way to get your foot in the door and eyes opened to what the racing industry has to offer. Formal training beforehand or alongside on the job learning could include the Certificate III in Racing (Advanced Stablehand).
Australia has more racecourses than any other country in the world but horses are such that you can work almost anywhere with them. Consider overseas work – UK, France, Hong Kong, Dubai, New Zealand or the US to name a few possibilities.
“Each leg in it’s gallop seems to stream with a rush of speed as though from a bucket of water poured o’er the field.” – Arabian Poet