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Horse trainer

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Summary of occupation

Horse trainers work to ensure that their horses are at peak performance for a race or show. Horse trainers may feed, exercise and groom horses. They may also be involved in teaching jockeys, and ensuring stablehands are shown the ropes. They plan and supervise training programs for the horses in their care. They will attend race or show meetings and keep records of accounts. Many horse trainers are self-employed, and own their horses.

ANZSCO description: Prepares horses for riding, breeding, racing, work, show or competitions. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names: Racehorse Trainer, Trainer
Specialisations: Horse Breaker
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A horse trainer needs:

  • a genuine interest in horses
  • patience
  • good communication skills
  • no allergies to hay or animals
  • to enjoy outdoor work.
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Working conditions

Horse trainers may be required to start work early and finish late. Even those that are self-employed may work long hours. The work may be in hot and not-so-clean conditions.

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Salary details

The salaries of horse trainers can vary significantly.

On average, horse trainers can expect to earn at least $835 per week ($43 399 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. As a horse trainer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

Many horse trainers are self-employed and run their own small business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their services, as well as their level of skill and experience. In many cases, the trainer will receive a percentage of the race winnings.

Some horse trainers are employed as a private trainer by people who own a large number of racehorses and have their own private facilities.

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Tools and technologies

Horse trainers need to be proficient with bridles, saddles and other types of harness equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a horse trainer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. Some horse trainers begin by being a stablehand and gain experience working in stables under experienced trainers. Entry to this occupation may be improved by obtaining a formal qualification in racing.

You can complete a traineeship. The advanced stablehand or trackrider traineeships usually take 36 months to complete.

You can also complete a Certificate III in Racing (Advanced Stablehand). The course is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

In Western Australia, horse trainers must be registered or licensed through Racing and Wagering WA.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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