How to become a Horse Trainer

Horse trainers supervise the preparation of horses for thoroughbred or harness races, advise and consult with owners and instruct stable staff and jockeys/drivers. Horse trainers usually specialise in thoroughbreds for galloping races, standardbreds for pacing or trotting (harness) races, or performance horses for events, show jumping and dressage.

Personal requirements of a Horse Trainer

  • A keen interest in horses
  • Patient
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Enjoy outdoor work
  • Good communication skills

Education & Training for a Horse Trainer

You can work as a horse trainer without formal qualifications, but employers usually require Year 10. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a horse trainer through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Horse Trainer

Horse trainers:

  • carry out practical daily tasks, such as saddling, bridling, feeding and grooming horses
  • accustom horses to racing equipment such as bridles, saddles, harnesses and sulkies (two-wheeled carriages)
  • support the training of apprentice jockeys, drivers and track riders in horse riding or driving techniques and horse handling skills
  • supervise and direct stable staff, jockeys, harness drivers and other workers
  • plan, supervise and carry out training programs for horses
  • plan and select race programs to achieve the best placing for a horse
  • plan, supervise and carry out nutritional programs for horses
  • monitor the health of the horses and consult veterinarians and farriers on injuries and ailments
  • advise and consult with horse owners
  • attend race meetings or other horse-related events
  • keep accurate records of accounts and use correct credit procedures.

Working conditions for a Horse Trainer

Horse trainers may be required to work long hours. Much of their work is carried out very early in the morning and they may continue to work all day. Regular weekend work is also required.

Employment Opportunities for a Horse Trainer

Horse trainers are mainly employed in the horse racing industry. They work in horse studs, racing and training stables and riding schools. Some work as freelance coaches and trainers, breaking in, schooling and retraining horses from the racetrack for careers in show jumping, events and dressage. In the larger stables, and with experience, horse trainers may progress to supervisory and managerial positions. Many horse trainers operate their own business, training their own horses or training horses for outside owners and racing syndicates.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 0.6%

NSW 30%

NT 0.7%

QLD 19.3%

SA 6.4%

TAS 2.4%

VIC 28.9%

WA 11.6%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 62%

Female 38%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 4.3%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 22.5%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 20.7%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 8.9%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 6.1%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0.8%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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