Racehorse trainers prepare thoroughbred horses for racing. They have responsibility for their overall training, fitness, care and welfare. As part of this they have to establish the early training of each horse, preparing them for specific races. They have to build up each horse's stamina, fitness and technique, and devise individual training and feeding programme's.
A racehorse trainer has to run the training operation as a business including preparing business plans, managing staff and finances, dealing with clients, owners and suppliers and managing the facilities.
A daily routine usually involves:
Trainers normally oversee the marketing strategy for their business, liasing closely with existing racehorse owners and attracting new clients. They will often play an active role in selecting new bloodstock, advising owners and investors.
Racehorse training involves early starts, long hours and weekend work. Trainers work outdoors in all weather conditions and travel to race meetings throughout the country.
The majority of racehorse trainers are self employed therefore their annual income will vary significantly depending on how many horses they train and the amount of races that are won.
There are around 600 licensed racehorse trainers operating throughout Great Britain. Most yards are relatively modest in size, although larger trainers can be responsible for as many as 200 horses.
Trainers usually specialise in either Flat or National Hunt racing.
Many stables are located in rural areas, such as Newmarket (Suffolk), Lambourn (Berkshire) and North Yorkshire.
The first step for most racehorse trainers is to train as a racing groom and gain experience in assisting with training horses. Sometimes they will also have a successful career as a jockey. Several years' experience of working in the industry is required, preferably as an assistant trainer.
Applicants may prepare by attending a foundation course, which leads to an Apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Before the British Horseracing Authority issues a licence to train, potential trainers must attend three one-week training modules held at the British Racing School or Northern Racing College. Entrants must have the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 3 in Racehorse Care and Management (or approved equivalent) to start this training course.
Module 1 relates to the practical skills required to train and manage a yard of racehorses. Module 2 focuses on business skills and Module 3 on staff management.
An application for a trainer's licence must be supported by:
Progress involves establishing a strong reputation among racehorse owners and gaining new clients.
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Roustabouts do basic tasks to help keep the rig and platform working efficiently and Roughnecks do practical tasks involved in the drilling operation, under the supervision of the driller.
A racehorse trainer needs:
Many assistant trainers build up their experience by working in different countries.
British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust,
Suite 16, Unit 8, Kings Court,
Willie Snaith Road, Newmarket CB8 7SG
Tel: 01638 560743
National Trainers Federation (NTF),
9 High Street, Lambourn,
Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 8XN
Tel: 01488 71719
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.