Looking for advice on getting a job at a track! - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By boldstart
  • 2 Post By Nanette Levin
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-14-2012, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for advice on getting a job at a track!

Hey! I am a rider looking to get a job possibly exercising at a track, Ive just moved to a new city so have no connections hear in the equine industry! I have never worked at a track before so I'm not sure how to go about getting a job at one, any advice would be very helpful!

Thank you!
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-14-2012, 01:15 PM
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I am concerned that you don't mention anything about your skill level or your qualifications to be an exercise rider. And not all disciplines have a good skill transfer to racehorses.

It's fairly difficult to walk straight on to the backside and get a job as an exercise rider; usually you have to brought on or recommended by a trainer who's willing to vouch for you. Some states require you be licensed to ride at the track.

If you are new to TBs and racing and are not rock hard fit, a much better option is to start as an exercise rider at a farm with a training track where they break yearlings, ready two years for the track and bring horses back after a layoff. That way you'll have a chance to build your skills and fitness without worrying about all the other traffic on the track. Most likely you'll be riding the stable pony for a period of time while you're learning.

It helps to have some experience with green horses or backing youngsters for this type of job.

You don't mention *what* city you've moved to or what part of the country you're in, so I can't be more specific than that.

You also didn't mentions your size and weight; most farms and trainers prefer exercise riders to be 125 or less, some will let you ride as heavy as 145 but will only put you on older horses. Be prepared to be asked that question, and be prepared to have them ask you to step on a scale. For an exercise rider, weight is a bona fide occupational qualification.
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-16-2012, 04:45 AM
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Its hard to give you advice when you dont state riding expereince.

Look into a trackriding course. I did one at TAFE in Australia and thats how I get started. Also, looking into getting ground work first. Get a good idea on what you are getting yourself into. I worked for 8 months on ground before even sitting on a racehorse.

Try to look for a job out on a farm (horse are more relaxed and great way to learn without people talking bad stuff about you). Also look into a job at a pretrainers and breakers. Great way to learn.

Bascially before you even sit in a saddle, make sure you know the termionoly in the racing industry. It can get quite confusing and its good to have plently of work on ground and just watch riders.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-16-2012, 06:59 AM
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I agree. You need to tell us what discipline you have been doing and for how long.

I had a similar thought recently. I have the contacts but track work and exercise riding is a different kettle of fish to any other discipline. You cant just jump on and have a gallop down the track. And you need to physically and mentally fit. The style of riding can be a huge change. boldstart gives good advice though.

You need to meet trainers and assistant trainers. Or maybe on a stud. They want to hire riders that they KNOW have the experience and dedication. It's a tough game
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-16-2012, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice, i do have the experience and references, in canada, but as i have moved to nyc I was looking for some work close to the city. I lived in the country before so was able to work at private stables. My references don't know anyone hear unfortunately. I guess Im just wondering what the best way to meet trainers would be,I definitely realized Im going to have to ask around more, with people i know in Canada! Its always better to be referred. . .
But Thank you everyone for your inputs! i appreciate it!
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-17-2012, 04:03 AM
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To meet trainers just head to the races for a day and talk to strappers, foremans and trainers. get an idea of who will help you and who wont. Also get to racetrack for early morning trackwork and talk to trainers down there.

Its about networking, word will get out you are looking for work and sooner or later an offer should pop up. =]]
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-17-2012, 08:32 AM
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Strappers and foremans doesn't really translate into American English. Is that like grooms and exercise riders or assistant trainers?

To the OP - so what's reasonable commuting distance to you? Belmont and Aqueduct? And Meadowlands and Monmouth Park in NJ?
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-17-2012, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by maura View Post
Strappers and foremans doesn't really translate into American English. Is that like grooms and exercise riders or assistant trainers?

To the OP - so what's reasonable commuting distance to you? Belmont and Aqueduct? And Meadowlands and Monmouth Park in NJ?
Haha sorry. It changes from country to country.

A strapper is someone who takes the horse to the races eg goes in the truck, grooms them, walks them, saddle them up and fix them up after a race. Usually a strapper is a stablehand who works at the stable, but then it can be a trackrider (exerise rider) who rides the horse or just someone who needs a bit extra cash.

A foreman is just like an assistant trainer. They look after all the horses and staff and oversees the operation. You will see them in big stables eg Peter Moody, Gai Waterhouse etc etc. You will see them when a trainer has two stables in different states eg Mark Kavangah has a stable in Victoria and South Australia. Mark is never present in South Australia so a foreman take cares of everything.
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-18-2012, 10:52 PM
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New to the group. Nice to meet you all. I actually saw this thread through a Google alert (on horse jobs) and decided to sign up because I thought I might be able to lend a hand.

Whisper18 (curious user name), I'm actually in NYS and have a bit of experience as an exercise rider at the track.

As boldstart, maura and MysticL have mentioned, it would help to know your age and prior experience. This is usually a sport for the younger crowd (but not always, more than 20 years and counting ). Everyone provides great advice and things to think about.

References from CA in another sport doesn't necessarily make you a good fit for the racetrack. Farm work is very different from what you'll encounter at the track. It's a whole 'nuther world when you hop aboard a racer for morning workouts with 20, 100 or more other horses in the mix on an oval where speed is the directive in the afternoon (or evening).

That said, if you meet someone frontside (usually best done during racing hours) who can sign you in to get to the backside (preferably the next early morning), you might be able to convince a trainer to give you a mount. I don't know of any tracks in the US (certainly not in NYS) where licensing isn't required, so you'll need to convince someone to offer a horse for an outrider assessment. Be careful here. Best to spend some time getting to know the players before you eagerly hop aboard the crazy no one else will ride. Once you get a license, you can pick up mounts as a freelancer or look for a job with a trainer string.

There are a lot of training farms in the Saratoga area not too far from NYC. You might want to consider hooking up with a farm out there with the aim of continuing with your mounts at the track (short season so a lot of these horses then go to NYC, NJ or other NE tracks).

My introduction to the track was an interesting one. I was boarding a horse across the street from a TB stable that had a need for a rider to start winter conditioning training indoors. They came looking for help and I decided to give it a shot. It was tons of fun so I followed the horses to the track. I was amazed at how much I could get paid to ride. So, sometimes, you just get lucky.

Learned a lot of lessons the hard way. Hope you can find someone to take you under their wing so you don't have to.
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