Working in Australia has the advantage of giving you the opportunity to choose a job that you’ve wanted to try for a while. If you have always dreamed of working with horses, it’s totally possible and accessible here in Australia! Many different roles are available, from farm hand to groom to rider. In this article, we give you all the information to find a job and Marie takes us behind the scenes of her experience in a racehorse stable.
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Finding a job in a stables in Australia
After arriving in Sydney, I started looking for a job to earn some money. It was only when I saw an ad on Gumtree that I realised it was possible to work in a racehorse stables in Randwick, in the heart of Sydney. There are generally a lot of teams recruiting on the East Coast and in the Melbourne area.You will also find adverts for working in stables on www.racingjobs.com.au.
If you are up for volunteering, check the Wwoofing, Helpx and Workaway websites. You will have access to many offers, some of which are in the heart of stud farms, equestrian centres, horse farms, etc. You generally work a few hours a day in exchange for accommodation and food.
I applied by sending my CV, listing my equestrian skills. I have been a horse-rider for about 15 years in France. A few hours later, I had an interview in their office, within the stables, the same day! So the process was very quick.
During the interview, the team vaguely explained the daily tasks to me. These consist of taking care of the racehorses before they go to train, preparing them, saddling them and bringing them to the race track. Pretty simple for any rider!
It is necessary to have a good level of English to work in a racing team, so you can understand instructions and be understood.
Test and license required to work in a stable
Before I could get my hands dirty, I had to do an online test called Horse Safety Induction. This test is used to find out if I know the behaviour and safety rules required for working with horses. I also had to register with NSW Racing to be able to do this job. It works the same way as an equestrian license.
With all the paperwork done, I had to show up the next morning at 4am to prepare the horses for daily training and start my first day as a stable hand.
Hours and wages
My hours were from 4am to 9am, then from 2pm to 5pm and are the same for all stables. I worked 7 days a week, with one free afternoon per week and every second Sunday afternoon off.
The salary is generally around $28 an hour, with double pay on Sundays and holidays. Some stables offer a weekly package, deducting the price of accommodation and food from your salary.
In terms of equipment, you will have to wear safety boots, in case one of the horses steps on your foot. The horses are between 3 and 7 years old and are sometimes complicated to handle.
Anyone can apply to work in a racing team, whether you have experience or not. If you do not have experience with horses, you will be required to clean the stables. If you are confident with horses you can work as a stable hand (or groom). Jockey positions are also available.
Read more: Working on a cattle station in Australia
A typical day at the stables
It wasn’t an easy start but I got up the next day at 3am and took the bus to the stables at 3.30am. I was first given simple tasks that did not involve taking care of the horses. I had to clean the boxes and shower the horses coming back from training.
Over the following days, I gained the trust of my colleagues and they let me bridle and saddle the horses and walk them to the race track for practice.
Each horse is given a shower and shampoo after being ridden and is boxed again until the afternoon. Every afternoon, all the horses are put on the walker or walked by hand for about 15 minutes. During this time, the boxes are cleaned for the second time of the day. The stables must be kept remarkably clean. Some of these young horses are worth a few million dollars! Horses are truly athletes in their own right.
Every day the same routine begins again. Only Sunday is a rest day for the horses. On Sundays they are only put on the walker and not mounted.
Sunday is also trial or race day. As a stable hand, you may be required to work and travel to race locations. These working hours are paid double.
Review of the experience
The work schedule was pretty intense. Depending on where you live, you should be aware that you may have to get out of bed extremely early to get to work on time in the mornings.
All in all, it was a great job. If you like horses, it won’t feel like work and the time will pass quickly. Physically, you will be walking a lot. You may also be required to carry loads (wheelbarrows to fill the boxes, buckets of food for the horses). You need to be in good physical shape for this job.
There are sponsorship opportunities in this sector. I myself have met stable hands and French jockeys sponsored by the team. You will also have plenty of opportunities to find work throughout Australia. Practically every medium-sized town has a racetrack and a stables around it. Be aware, however, that the license for working with horses varies by state and has a duration of only one year.
Racing work is generally not eligible for Working Holiday Visa renewal. However, if you work in stud through the breeding process, gestation, foaling and growth of the foal, depending on the location, it may qualify. Check with your employer in advance.
Eligible jobs for a second & third year visa
Remember that not all jobs are eligible to qualify you to renew your Working Holiday Visa.