Category Archives: Career

A Career in the Racing Industry

This blog focuses on horse careers in the equine industry.  But when it comes down to it, the equine industry is very large!  There are many different facets of the industry that in themselves offer so many jobs. And these in turn are vastly different.  So this post is going to focus on a career in the racing industry.

Horse racing is a massive industry and in Australia it is one of the top employers of people.  Racing Australia has put together a website that specifically focuses on jobs in the industry.  And not surprisingly, they have a section on this site that focuses on racing careers.

There is a list of various jobs that are some way or another involved in the racing industry.  This includes barrier attendants, racing operations and stewards.  Alongside this are bloodstock agents, professional syndicators and thoroughbred trainers.

A Career in the Racing Industry | Equus Education
A Career in the Racing Industry | Equus Education

Track riders, stablehands and stud hands are also on the list.  And for those who help with the health and welfare of the horses there are equine veterinarians and nurses as well as farriers.  Horse breakers and pre-trainers also come into this mix.

Race callers and racecourse managers also help to keep the sport functioning well for observers and those employed in the industry.  And track riders work alongside jockeys to ensure horses are ready for race day and able to run well on the day.

If you head along to the racing careers page you can learn a little about each of these jobs and how they link in with what is known as the sport of kings.  Have you considered a career in the racing industry?

“But what truly horsey girls discover in the end is that boyfriends, husbands, children, and careers are the substitute-for horses.” – Jane Smiley

The Jockey’s Guild

The online dictionary definition of a guild is “an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal.”  And so the Jockey’s Guild could be looked at as a setup with a focus on jockeys, working towards setting guidelines and rules to protect them in a racing environment.

The Jockey's Guild | Equus Education
The Jockey’s Guild | Equus Education

According to the history of the Jockey’s Guild it was back in the 1940s that frustration was rising around the environment in which horse riders worked.  There was little concern for their needs as they rode horses for other people.  For riders that were unable to ride due to disability or injury from race riding, there was no support.

The Jockeys Community Fund and Guild in 1940 was precipitated by the racing injury of Sammy Renick. When Eddie Arcaro visited Renick, who was recuperating in the hospital from a broken leg, their discussion led to the formation of an organization that would represent the concerns of jockeys.”

Those who founded this organisation were the leading jockeys of the turf at that time.  These included Eddie Arcaro, Don Meade, John Longden, “Red” Pollard and many more. As it states on their website, the objects of the Jockeys Community Fund and Guild are:

  1. To accumulate, by contributions and dues from the members, a fund from which would be distributed financial aid.
  2. To encourage and foster good morale and good character of its members
  3. To support a policy of fair play and honest treatment as to owners, turf clubs and racing clubs
  4. To uphold the best interests of horse racing
  5. To assist in every honorable way to further the interests of its members
  6. To furnish financial aid to any member of the club at such time and in such amounts as he may deserve and within the ability of the club to afford
  7. To establish a means whereby members of the club would have available additional assurance of freedom from want and insecurity in the event of misfortune and inability to earn.
  8. Any other lawful purpose consistent with the specific objects stated in this article

The guild has helped to purchase insurance for jockeys by racetracks and get ambulances on site at tracks. Fees for jockeys have increased over time and sanitary conditions in jockeys’ rooms have been improved.  Other improvements have related to helmets, increased insurance, changing of racing rails material – the list goes on.

The Guild has been set up to improve racing conditions and the welfare of jockeys in the industry.  As needs arise, they are able to be addressed and funds acquired to purchase, change, improve or introduce new products and settings.  Whatever industry you work in, it is worth knowing if there is a setup that will help to fight for your rights within it.

Working in an Equine Association

I am getting the chance to view more online equine setups at the moment.  I was recently going over content that we have put together for students undertaking a couple of units relating to care for performance horses.  There are many links within this that go to equine related associations.  Breed associations, horse riding associations, etc.  And I thought about working in an equine association.

Working in an Equine Association | Equus Education
Working in an Equine Association | Equus Education

If you want a career with horses, what’s to stop you from pursuing work within an association that you’re familiar with?  Perhaps you grew up in the Pony Club scene. So why not pursue a career with the Pony Club Association of your particular state?

Or maybe you are familiar with the American or Australian Quarter Horse Association and have an admiration for the breed and associated horse riding events.  Why not a career with the AQHA?

The vast majority of these associations have an online presence.  They have members, rules and regulations, shows and other functions and so much more.  What’s to stop you from utilising your skills, knowledge and passion to pursue a job within one of these areas?  It could be
– website development
– online marketing
– finances
– other forms of marketing or administration
– or even horse related

If you have a passion for a particular horse related association, why not reach out to them and find out about career possibilities with them?  There may be options you haven’t even considered.  It’s always worth asking!

And of course working within an equine association that reaches out to so many horse people would be a great networking opportunity.  It could open other career doors for you in the future.  Or you may find you’re in a position to help others along in their equine career.

Keeping Current as an Equine Educator

As a teacher at TAFE in the equine department, it is important that I stay current with my knowledge and qualifications. In fact, it’s this way across the board for TAFE teachers! But let’s stick to equine 😉 There are many free resources online that equine professionals can use to keep themselves informed and current. Keeping current as an equine educator means I ensure my job. It is my responsibility to make sure I am educating myself about latest practices and proving current capabilities and knowledge.

Keeping Current as an Equine Educator | Equus Education
Keeping Current as an Equine Educator | Equus Education

The subjects that I am helping to teach and assess, I need to prove that I have the knowledge and qualifications to do so. As I come across new resources, courses, quizzes, webinars, etc that focus on topics covered in the units that I teach, I take part in them. This helps to keep my knowledge current whilst also providing me with new avenues to explore information and resources.

Occupational health and safety seems to be a subject in any course. It is definitely prevalent across the horse care, performance and breeding courses that I help to teach. So something like the Free Safety Signs Quiz that you can undertake online and even get a dated certificate with your name on it is a great way to prove currency in an important topic.

Likewise, the free Biosecurity Course at My Horse University is relevant to me.  This is for the biosecurity units that I help to teach and mark in. Again, this free resource results in a certificate on successful completion with the student’s name.

Keeping Current as an Equine Educator

There are a number of free resources online. Many of these you may inadvertently stumble across.  This is as you research information or resources to guide your students or employees toward. Information fact sheets or booklets are another piece of information that can be added to the list.  These are read resources to prove currency.

If you are a professional in an industry where you need to prove currency, keep a log of achieved courses and certifications, read resources and attended webinars throughout the year.  This is so that you can easily prove relevant professional development. Definitely as an educator it’s worth seeing what you can utilise for free online to build your competency and currency.

The Australian Jockeys Association

Although this website is aimed at helping you to develop your horse career, I love that there are many sites that do that for individual horse related careers! Take the Australian Jockeys Association for example. As it states on their website, “our goal is to provide Jockeys with all the information needed to maximise their careers.”

The Australian Jockeys Association | Equus Education
The Australian Jockeys Association | Equus Education

You can utilise the AJA website to find information regarding insurance, about racing rules, and even how to become a jockey.  There is even what to do if you’ve had an injury or fall. The site is broken up into the different states of Australia.  Then there are resources and contacts for each of these states. Great!

So how did it come about? Back in 2001 it was determined that a national body for jockeys should be established. Before then, there was one for each state and they were unable to meet demand and resource needs effectively.

“In April 2002, representatives from all State and Territory associations met in Melbourne and agreed that a national peak body to represent the interests of all jockeys in Australia should be established as soon as practicable. It was unanimously agreed that this body should be known as the Australian Jockeys Association (AJA).”

The Australian Jockeys Association

Perhaps you’re riding as a jockey in Australia, but you want to look into riding overseas. Well they’ve got this covered, too! In fact, you can be led to links for the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa, the United States, New Zealand and the list goes on! There’s also Canada, Korea, Ireland, France and Germany. What a line up!

If you plan to ride race horses in Australia, I encourage you to check out this resource.  It aims to keep you informed and also to help you succeed.

Profile On: Tracy Beavers, the Printable Pony

“I’ve loved horses ever since I was a kid, and from the very first riding lesson I ever took, I was hooked. In college, my love of horses helped me discover my major: Agricultural Communications with a minor in Equine Science. My first job out of college was running the communications department for the world’s largest single breed horse show, the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Now, as the founder of The Printable Pony — a blog and Etsy store dedicated to providing stylish and economical solutions for equestrian enthusiasts — I’m putting my degrees to good use!”

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Currently I spend about 15 hours per week writing blog posts, developing new products and staying up to date with the hunter/jumper industry. Plus, I’m at the barn to ride my horses at least 5 days per week. Being able to have the flexibility to ride is one of the best things about being an entrepreneur!

Profile On: Tracy Beavers, the Printable Pony | Equus Education
Profile On: Tracy Beavers, the Printable Pony | Equus Education

What is it exactly that you do?
The Printable Pony is primarily a blog, where I chronicle my journey as an adult amateur showing on the local A circuit in hunter/jumpers. I also have an Etsy store where I sell printables and stationery to equestrians just like you and me! A typical day includes research and writing blog posts, brainstorming and creating new products, designing graphics and also planning social media content. Plus, I read a lot about the industry as a whole.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
I know several bloggers as well as Etsy store owners who do earn a full-time living! Currently, The Printable Pony is in its start-up phase.  While it’s growing quickly, it’s not quite profitable enough to provide a full-time income (horses are expensive!). One day, I hope it will though! And as I said above, a lot of the skills I use to run my business today I learned from my degree in Agricultural Communications and minor in Equine Science (which did get me a full-time job doing a lot of what I do now). So I definitely think it’s possible!

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Persistence. Dedication. Creativity. Don’t give up because it’s tough and don’t let failure stop you from continuing to innovate!

Favourite horse memory?
The day I bought my very first horse — he was a 16th birthday gift from my parents and ensured that my love of horses didn’t fade throughout high school, college and beyond. He taught me so many life lessons.  My time with my first horse, Visa, turned me into the person I am today!

Future goals?
Keep trying new things to make The Printable Pony a fun, creative space for me, as well as my fellow equestrians. And to enjoy the journey, both in and out of the saddle!

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The amazing people you meet — so many equestrians are hardworking, intelligent and generous. I am so blessed to be among such talented and driven men and women every day!!

The Equine Gnathological Training Institute

Have you heard of the word gnathology? It was a new one for me recently! It relates to mastication (chewing) and teeth in general. The Equine Gnathological Training Institute (EGTI) is a horse dentistry school. It provides hands on training that focuses on the care of teeth in horses, mules and donkeys.

The Equine Gnathological Training Institute | Equus Education
The Equine Gnathological Training Institute | Equus Education

As it states on their website:

“The mission, purpose and goal of the Equine Gnathological Training Institute is to fill the needs of the horse and the people who care for them through quality training for responsible gnathological practitioners, providing quality services and relationships in the field of animal husbandry.”

EGTI is setup to provide realistic training for those wishing to get into the area of equine dentistry. They aim to provide this at a reasonable price with the primary goal of helping the horse. This is achieved through enabling personal training, efforts and endeavours for those wanting to care for horses’ teeth.

You can utilise the Equine Gnathological Training Institute website for two main purposes:

  • to develop a rewarding career through training and qualification
  • as a practitioner, owner or training seeking additional practical training and beneficial information

The Equine Gnathological Training Institute

Equine gnathology specifically looks at the masticatory system of the horse. This covers the physiology of it, disturbances to normal function and potential treatment for these issues. If a horse is unable to chew properly, then this affects their body condition, their comfort and ultimately their ability to perform. It is further stated on the site:

“Because equine gnathology is not generally a part of veterinary or dental school training but part of normal animal husbandry similar to horseshoeing, most is learned through specialized private schools and experienced mentors.”

Interested in equine dentistry as a career? Then be sure to check out the Horse Dentistry website.  Telling people you’re studying at the Equine Gnathological Training Institute may be a mouthful, but I’m sure it would be worth it!

The Western Canadian Farriers Association

A not for profit organisation was set up in 1983 to benefit Farriers in Western Canada. This is known as the Western Canadian Farriers Association. It states on their website that their main purpose is “to organise farriers for the promotion of excellence in the art and science of farriery.”

The Western Canadian Farriers Association | Equus Education
The Western Canadian Farriers Association | Equus Education

I like that the act of trimming and treating horses hooves is seen as both a science and an art! The WCFA is governed by a constitution and by-laws and membership occurs annually.

They further state on the WCFA site:

“The WCFA is not only an association concerned with farriers, but with everyone in the horse industry, aiming to inform the public, and particularly the horse owner, of the quality and standard of farrier service that is available.”

On the front page you can focus on their main points:

  • Find a farrier
  • Ask a farrier
  • Join our membership
  • Our newsletter

The Western Canadian Farriers Association

The site has more to offer than the above including business articles and articles by farriers. You can also find out about the association and membership fees.  Knowing about associations like this could benefit you.  Especially if you’re running a sole proprietorship or small business as is often the case as a farrier.

You’re able to show you run a quality business offering a great service by being part of a recognised association. You can also stay up to date on the latest news in your industry, promote your services and connect with other farriers in the region.

“A horse which stops dead just before a jump and thus propels its rider into a graceful arc provides a splendid excuse for general merriment.” ― H.R.H. Prince Philip

Profile On: Dr David Marlin, Equine Exercise Physiology

Dr. David Marlin has a background in equine exercise physiology.  He was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about what he does and how he got there.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Probably 75%. As well as my work, my son used to ride and my daughter still does and I sometimes go to watch friends compete, although avoid offering advice unless they specifically ask. I go racing at Newmarket as well. I enjoy photography and horse events make great opportunities for taking pictures.

Dr David Marlin, Equine Exercise Physiology | Equus Education
Dr David Marlin, Equine Exercise Physiology | Equus Education

What is it exactly that you do?
My background is in physiology, biochemistry and computing with some experience in electronics. I started off doing my degree at Stirling University and then spent a few years in different jobs before I saw that the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket was setting up a unit to study equine exercise physiology. I managed to get a PhD with David Snow and Roger Harris who were running the group and ran the first study in the UK on a high-speed treadmill.

Then I worked for Newmarket racehorse trainer Luca Cumani for 3 years before going back to the AHT. Around 18 years ago I setup Science Supplements and 15 years ago I setup my own consultancy business. I work or have worked for many different clients including:

  • the IOC, FEI and DEFRA,
  • charities such as the BHS, World Horse Welfare and Redwings,
  • commercial companies such as Spillers, Polar, Arioneo, Haygain and Equilibrium Products
  • as well as private owners, riders and trainers.

Essentially I either help design or conduct studies, evaluate studies, advise on products and services, help with marketing, get involved with new product development, and help sort out problems. I also have another working life separate from horses in human sport and healthcare involving physiological monitoring and respiratory diagnostics.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes, it has been for me.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I think to some extent I was in the right place at the right time.  Before university I was interested in fish farming. I learned to ride at University and then spent some time training with rider, coach and judge Judy Harvey. When I started at the AHT there were small computers around but no software. I wrote my own software and so that really helped me progress.

I also used to make a lot of my own kit for studies as you couldn’t buy it. The 1990’s was a great time for equine research – grant money was fairly easy to come by. I also had the opportunity to work with some great scientists; David Snow, Roger Harris, Eric Hultman, Birgitta Essen-Gustavsson, Bob Schroter, Frank Kelly, Ed Robinson, David Poole, Howard Erickson, Hal Schott, Petra Reinhold. Too many to name.

For me, collaboration with talented people who have a similar interest but perhaps complimentary skills has been something I strived for.

Favourite horse memory?
Just one? There are so many. There are two I can’t really separate. Working with Mary King and King William is one. I remember traveling with the British 3DE team to Rome in 1995 when they had to qualify for Atlanta. I took a weighbridge and discovered KW didn’t drink after cross-country. He had a reputation for being high up in the dressage and XC and then dropping 10-20 places in the SJ. We discovered once he was rehydrated that he jumped a lot better.

Meeting the Queen | Equus Education
Meeting the Queen | Equus Education

The other top moment was when the Queen asked to come and visit the AHT to hear about my research into heat and humidity for Atlanta 1996.

Future goals?
I’ve been involved in many aspects of horse welfare, including climate management of World Equestrian Games and Olympics and I’m keen to carry on in this area. I’m working on WEG 2018 in Tryon and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but I also have welfare related projects in endurance and eventing.

I’m also particularly interested in performance analysis.  I have recently published work on endurance and show jumping with long-term collaborator Dr Jane Williams at Hartpury. Jane and I also share an interest in psychology and we’ve been investigating horse owner behaviour. First study to be presented in Rome in September which might cause a few raised eyebrows

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I like to think some of the things I do have an influence on horse welfare. Horses are phenomenal animals but can be so open to abuse by a small number of riders, owners or trainers, either for financial gain or ignorance. So education is very important to me.

I really enjoy working collaboratively with others and seeing some of the next generation of young equine scientists emerge. The past year I’ve been working with Lorna Cameron at Sparsholt on a very exciting project with one of her undergraduate students, Ella Bartlett. Ella has a real talent for research.  Helping such people to develop as researchers gives me a lot of pleasure. It’s competitive being a scientist in the horse world but hard work, persistence and talent usually pay off eventually.

The Sales Integrity Program for Bloodstock Agents

Recent research on the position of a bloodstock agent made reference to a Sales Integrity Program.  At the time I thought, hmmm, what’s that?  Now I’ve had the opportunity to research it and find that it focuses on carrying out an ethical operation as a bloodstock agent or agency.  How wonderful!  You can find out about the Sales Integrity Program online.

As it states on their website, their mission is to:

“maintain the highest levels of integrity in horse sales for both buyers and sellers, while ensuring a competitive, fair and vibrant marketplace for the benefit of the entire industry. The Program is designed to educate and inform and has instituted several recommendations in the form of an overall code of ethics that all auction participants are encouraged to abide by.”

The Sales Integrity Program for Bloodstock Agents | Equus Education
The Sales Integrity Program for Bloodstock Agents | Equus Education

Now it’s not a nice thing to consider, but you are able to find out on the site about bloodstock agents that have violated the Sales Integrity Code of Conduct.  When it comes to buying horses, there is a caveat buyer beware!  It is in your best interests to make sure you research all you possibly can before you agree to buy a horse; not everyone is honest!

The site provides information for horse owners and sellers alike.  You’re encouraged to educate yourself in this field and know what the bloodstock agent code of conduct is.

The Sales Integrity Program

This initiative came into being back in 2004 by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).  Although the code was set up with new buyers in mind, it also addresses consignors, breeders, agents, veterinarians, sales companies and horses.  The view is to protect all of these people – and horses! – against negative associations with dishonest sellers.

Even though I am based in Australia, I am familiar with many of these participating sales companies around the world:

  • Fasig-Tipton
  • Keeneland
  • Barretts
  • Ocala Breeders’ Sales
  • Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association Sales

Wherever you’re based in the world, if you are a bloodstock agent – or desire to become one! – find out about initiatives such as the one above.  It helps to keep you educated, establish further contacts in your field of choice and of course sets you up to have a better career.

*note: the above links aren’t currently working but were 24 hours ago; hopefully the issue will be resolved shortly!