Careers in Racing – The Stud Hand

A stud hand is often found living in a property on a stud farm in a picturesque, rural location.  Their daily routine starts around 5.30am-6am where they begin by loading yearlings onto the walker, ten at a time, before turning them out into individual paddocks to enjoy some grass in the sun.  The stud hands then get down to work, skipping out each horse’s stable before enjoying a well earned half hour break for a cup of tea and breakfast.

Turning out a mare and her foal in the UK

After breakfast, each horse is then brought in and brushed over.  This is an important part of the day as grooming the horses not only allows the stud hand’s to check them over for any bumps and scrapes they may have got while playing out in the paddocks but it educates the horses to desensitise and tolerate being touched all over by a human which is important in case any vet work needs to be done in the future.

Kisses from a future champ!

Grooming the horses is a process that is rarely rushed, so this usually takes until lunch time to complete.  After lunch, each stable is skipped out again before the horses receive their evening feed and some hay to keep them from getting peckish through out the night.

Thoroughbred Events Australia spoke to Michaela Moody, a stud hand who grew up in the UK but has travelled all around Europe with her job before arriving in NSW, Australia to work for Vinery Stud located in Scone.  Michaela’s favourite part of the job is foaling down the mares during foaling season and watching the foals grow up.

Michaela with a proud mare, just minutes after giving birth

“Watching the foals grow up into big strong yearlings is also one of the best parts of the job, I enjoy prepping them for the sales and feel a sense of pride when they sell for big money.  It makes you feel like all the hard work was worth it!  Another perk is going to the races a few years later and watching them win, it’s an amazing feeling knowing you brought that four legged athlete into the world!”

Plenty of excitement in Spain as a yearling shows off to his buyers

Michaela admits that out in rural Australia the heat and the flies can make being a stable hand a tough job.  She also confesses that no matter how hard you try, you always end up falling in love with one of the horses you’re working with which can make it hard when they then have to go to the sales.  After all, you’re working with these animals day and night for months on end, it’s hard to not get attached when you care for them as if they’re your own.

Showing yearlings at an open day for a stud farm in Germany

Thoroughbred Events Australia asked Michaela for some advice to anyone who may be interested in a career as a stud hand…

“Go for it!  It’s a great way to start out in the Thoroughbred industry and there’s always a chance to work your way up the ladder after a few years.  There are some great opportunities to travel and meet new people, at times it can be tiring but it’s a very rewarding job where you feel like you learn something new nearly every day!”

If becoming a stud hand sounds like your perfect job then check out the links below to get started…

Get qualified:

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Words by Kiersten Duke