Will I be part of a team or work individually?

While there are some everyday tasks in racing that you will do individually, overall horse racing is very much a team sport. Just like other sports, each horse has a team behind him making sure everything from his feed to his training schedule help him live up to his potential.

Many times in race interviews, you’ll hear trainers or jockeys thank the grooms back at the stable for having a horse ready. Even though the trainer and jockey play the leading role on race day, it really does take a lot of work to get a horse not only to peak for a big race but also just to be in shape for a race day.

The one thing that is different about horse racing compared to other sports, however, is that horses have a team surrounding them from the day they are born.

While only one person may be on foal watch at any given time to make sure no mares foal unattended, when a foaling occurs oftentimes at least one other person is called in to assist. From that point on, the horse will always have a team behind it. Every decision and task from making sure the foal is healthy soon after birth to teaching it early lessons such as how to lead or preparing it for a sale will be made by a team. While there will be times in a horse’s life where one person is assigned to take care of his every need, there will still be a group around the horse to pitch in and make decisions when needed.

There are a variety of different roles to be played in the breeding of horses that will be done individually but will either aid or abate the team’s process.

On a day-to-day basis, many farms and training operations will have informal morning meetings discussing what is on the schedule for any particular day. While many things are part of the daily routine such as feeding and mucking boxes, it isn’t unusual for other activities to be added.

A day on a breeding farm may include bringing in mares and foals for vet work or holding horses for the farrier. Even tasks such as mucking boxes or feeding may have you working in teams to get the done quickly. During breeding season on a farm, other duties could be taking a mare to the breeding shed or being part of the breeding shed crew if you are working with stallions. There are a variety of different roles to be played in the breeding of horses that will be done individually but will either aid or abate the team’s process.

As the person who knows your charge better than anyone else in the barn, you’ll also let the trainer or foreman know if anything may seem off about the horse.

During sales preparation, it is very rare that you will be in a barn doing the work without other people. From the first day of sales prep to the final horse that walks through the ring, you will be working side-by-side with a group of people all day. Everything from bathing horses to exercising them will be done in groups that not only helps keep everyone safe but also build relationships between horses and humans.

This will also be the case when you work in a racing stable. From the moment you walk in to the barn in the morning, you will talk to the trainer or foreman about everything from if the horse cleaned up his dinner from the night before to if he has any visible injuries. As the person who knows your charge better than anyone else in the barn, you’ll also let the trainer or foreman know if anything may seem off about the horse. Sometimes you’ll also be asked to give suggestions on what may better help the horse if an issue arises.

No matter what role you take in the Thoroughbred industry, you will be an integral part of a horse’s career. Every person around a horse shapes his success through their interactions with him as a foal or their care of him at the track. But this definitely is not a one-man show. Even if you are the stable foreman, you will be expected to work as a member of the team to make everything run smoothly and help with the success of the stable – whether it be making sure horses are comfortable in their boxes or a foal has a smooth entrance into the world.

Overall, horse racing is indeed a team sport. One of the major perks of this is that you will make lifelong friends and learn more than you ever thought you would. Being in a group environment not only teaches you more about the industry you have chosen than you’d ever thought you’d learn but also gives you experiences you’ll never forget.