Marie, who went to Sydney on a working holiday visa, had the chance to work at racing stables in Australia. Due to her passion for horses, she got a full-time job in Randwick. In this article, she tells us all about her experiences, her job search and her typical working days at the horse stable in Australia.
Requirements and working conditions
Looking for horse jobs in Australia
After arriving in Sydney, I started looking for a job to earn some money. When I saw this ad on Gumtree, I realized that it was actually possible to work with horses in the heart of Sydney. At www.racingjobs.com.au there are job advertisements for racing stables.
So I submitted my job application, including my CV and riding experience. I’ve done horse-riding for about 15 years. A few hours later, I got a job interview on the same day at their office in the stables!
During the interview, they vaguely explained the tasks. These included looking after the racehorses before they are exercised, sold, and before they go to the racetrack. It’s a walk in the park for every rider!
Before my job started, I had to do an online test called Horse Safety Induction. It was about the safety rules and the behaviour of horses. I also had to register at NSW Racing for this job. You then practically get a riding license.
After completing all the formalities, I had an appointment at four o’clock the following morning to prepare the horses for daily training and to start my first day as a “stable hand”.
Working hours and salary
The working hours were from 4 to 9 am and then from 2 to 5 pm. These are the same for all stables.
You only get paid the minimum wage (22.83 AUD per hour), but double the wage on Sundays and public holidays.
The work goes 7 days a week with one free afternoon per week and every Sunday afternoon per fortnight.
You need safety boots in case a horse steps on your foot. The horses are between 3 and 7 years old and sometimes difficult to handle.
Experience or not, everyone can apply for a job in a racing team. If you have no experience with horses, you have to clean the stables. If you have experience with horses, you can work as a stable hand (or “groom”) or even as a jockey.
Daily routine at the stables
The following morning, I had difficulties getting out of bed at 3 o’clock. At 3:30 am I took the bus to the stables. Initially, I was given simple jobs and didn’t look after the horses. I had to clean the stables and rinse off the horses that came back from training.
After a few days, I gained my colleagues’ trust. So they let me saddle up the horses and put them on the track for training.
Each horse is shampooed and rinsed off after riding and brought back to their stable until the afternoon.
Every afternoon, all horses spend about 15 minutes training in a horse walker. During this time, the stables are being cleaned again. The stables must be incredibly clean, as some of these young horses are worth millions!
Horses are real athletes
Every day, it’s the same routine. Only on Sundays, horses get a break and are not ridden.
Sunday is also race day. As a stable hand, you may work on the racecourses. These working hours are paid double.
Job experience in the equine industry
The schedules are pretty tough. Also consider the time to get to the stables, since the alarm clock goes off pretty early.
All in all it was a great job. If you like horses, it doesn’t feel like working and time goes by fast. You are a lot on your feet and it can be physically exhausting sometimes (you pull wheelbarrows when mucking out the stables or carry buckets with horse fodder).
There is also the possibility to get sponsored. As a stable hand, I met a team-sponsored French jockey. In addition, you can find work throughout Australia. There are actually many small towns with racetracks and therefore stables. Note, that the license you need is different in each state though and it’s valid for one year.
Working on the racecourse usually doesn’t count towards the second year visa.
Written by Marie Leclerc
Updated on the 04/03/2020. Initially published on the 08/03/2019.