The best thing about getting started in horse racing is that you don’t need any qualifications to get started in the sport. Many people have come into the industry with no equine experience and worked their way up to high position roles in stables and studs around the world.
But if you want to get into certain careers in the sport, you will need schooling.
Becoming a veterinarian probably requires the most official schooling of any career in the industry. You will have to complete an undergraduate degree, which takes about three years, before going to a school to become a doctor in veterinary medicine. This whole process takes about seven years but can take longer depending on circumstances such as if you would like to specialize in a certain part of veterinary science. You can read more about becoming a vet here.
While becoming a farrier doesn’t take as much schooling as becoming a vet, there are multiple educational paths to take that usually culminate with a Certificate III in Farriery. These courses will teach you the basics such as how to handle horses while shoeing them and more detailed information such as the best course of action when making plans to shoe a horse.
Many people also complete a four-year apprenticeship so they can learn from an experienced farrier on the job while also making connections with potential clients. Because new information constantly comes out about new shoeing techniques, it is also important to stay caught up on all the latest news through seminars and workshops. You can learn more about becoming a farrier here.
Does being a jockey seem more like your kind of job? There are also qualifications and educational opportunities for that as well.
While it is recommended that you have horse and riding experience before becoming a jockey, multiple programs have courses to get you the practical experience you need. In New South Wales, that program is run through TAFE NSW while in Victoria it is offered through Myskills. Even if you have horse experience, most of the time you’ll have to take an Apprentice Jockey course through your state’s racing authority. There are a few considerations if you’re thinking about being a jockey and you can hear advice from two top jockey here.
While many jobs in the thoroughbred industry don’t require qualifications, that doesn’t mean the opportunity doesn’t exist to take courses that won’t teach you more about your chosen path and give you certificates. We have a page full of information on educational programs and available Certificates here.
One great thing the industry provides is industry designed pathways.
The Thoroughbred Industry Careers Explorer Cadetship is a year-long program for people without racing experience that involves an intensive three-month training course followed by stints with a trainer and a stud farm. This will give you the education you need on all ends of the industry to make a decision about your career path in racing.
A shorter program is the four-week Equistart program, which is more focused on coursework but also has you complete a one-week placement on a farm in the Hunter Valley.
For those who want to travel abroad, the United States has the Kentucky Equine Management Internship, which accepts college students who don’t have experience in the racing industry. Depending on the time of year you are in the program, you may help with the breeding season or during the yearling prep and pre-training season.
If you have experience in horse racing and want to focus on the breeding side of the industry, the Irish National Stud Breeding Course and English National Stud Breeding Courses provide you with hands-on education for every aspect of horse breeding. The intensive programs take place early each year and the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association offers a scholarship for an Australian every year.
The Godolphin Flying Start course is another educational opportunity for those with thoroughbred industry experience, providing 12 students the chance to experience all parts of the industry in five different countries over a two-year course. Applications close in February with the program starting in August.
You don’t need a formal education or qualifications to join many careers in the thoroughbred industry. But if you find yourself headed toward a career where one is necessary or wanted, there are more than just a few educational options available when deciding which path is right for you.