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Working Student/Intern in Racing land?

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  • Working Student/Intern in Racing land?

    So just over all curious, tried googling without much luck, figured this place might be the next best place to ask!

    I know we have working student & intern type jigs in Eventing, Hunter & Dressage land, but how about in Racing land? The work-your-butt-off-6-days-a-week/barn slave in exchange for housing & small stipend(or something of the sort)?

    For someone NOT really looking to ride, just barn work/groom type thing. Although wouldn't be opposed to riding!

    For someone NOT looking to bring a horse, a pet, or anything but themselves and a good attitude?

    For someone willing to commit to 6+ months or however long?

    Are the opportunities out there?

  • #2
    Tons of opportunities but you would start out as a hot walker most likely. Go to any stable gate and have them announce that there is a hot walker at the gate looking for a job and wait a few minutes until someone shows up.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      That's how I started in racing but it was many years ago. Ironically, I posted an ad in the COTH long before there was internet. A trainer answered and I went out of state to live on her farm and work on the farm and at the track, with racehorses, babies, layups, and a breeding stallion. She had a dorm where I often stayed at Atlantic City, and then at Keystone. It was hard work and even though I thought I was a horse-person, when I worked for her I realized how little I actually knew. I was exposed to SO many aspects of horse racing, and in one year's time I got to learn how to work the whole farm, hotwalk, muck properly, do up horses, pony, gallop, breeze, break from the gate, etc., and even had the opportunity to ride in several hunt meets.
      I wouldn't trade the experience for the world, however at times I thought I was in Hell. I lived on the farm (or at the dorms), and was never really off the job except for one day every other week. Over the years she had several young people with working visas and we were all cheap labor.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
        Tons of opportunities but you would start out as a hot walker most likely. Go to any stable gate and have them announce that there is a hot walker at the gate looking for a job and wait a few minutes until someone shows up.
        i second this. you could always check places like craigslist to see if someone is hiring for a hotwalker or groom, but going down to your local track and letting them know you're looking is probably the most effective way to go about it.

        be prepared for long hours, some stress, but a lot of fun. if you're willing to hang back when training and chores are done for the day and hold horses that are being shod or vetted, you can hear some funny stories and it's a good time to ask questions and learn some new things. work hard and maintain a positive, willing attitude even if you're having an off day. even if no one is saying anything, people are always watching and those who're recognized as hard workers with good attitudes will be presented with some amazing opportunities.


        • Original Poster

          What do you do if you don't have a local track? I'm pretty sure my state doesn't have any races or anything of the sort, but i know a few neighbor states have tracks. I do have enough saved that i could manage moving and supporting myself without a job for a bit, but ideally i'd do best with work in exchange for housing or a set job. Is two or three months enough time to get your foot in the door? (Feel free to call me crazy but i've been saving since i was 14 to be able to take a position of the sort). Or would placing adds in papers and such be a better plan?


          • #6
            If you are looking for "real" housing I would check farms first. I would not advise staying in a dorm at the track especially if you are a youngish female. It can be tough back there, and you basically get a 12x12 room.

            You can also check here...http://www.yardandgroom.com/jobs/index.aspx


            • #7
              Where are you located? That might help us give you some ideas. Also you might check into Darley's flying start program. I know nothing about it, but the ad sounds like a dream.


              • Original Poster

                I'm currently in NC. And I will check out all the places mentioned, thank you!


                • #9
                  For gosh sakes get thee down to Aiken SC and ask around - there are 1000s of racehorses and dozens of race training barns there that are perfect for a nice place to start.
                  Re: the 'working student' unpaid-slave aspect -- you don't actually have to do that for what you're asking. You can get a proper (low-paying, but includes-housing sort of thing) job with a proper salary and get all the learning-on-the-job you can stand. No need to do it 'for free' like the poor eventing WSs or even have to pay for it like to HJ WSs.
                  * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.


                  • #10


                    • #11
                      Find a track you are interested in working at, then get some contact info for trainers there. Many of them have websites nowadays. Research them, make a list of those you think would be a good fit as best as you can, and call them up. Explain your situation and what your goals are.

                      DO NOT WORK FOR FREE!!! I've seen some of these types of places on yardandgroom and other equine employment sites that offer "apprenticeships" in the racing world. They can get away with working student deals in the show horse world, but you do not need to work for free in the racing industry! Don't let anybody take advantage of you!

                      As a racetracker, you will likely be moving around a lot, so don't get suckered into an apartment lease. Find a short term rental. Most racetrackers that don't live on the backside usually get apartments together because short term rentals can be pricey. Exercise riders or assistant trainers are the ones to talk to about this. Living on the backside really depends on the track. Some are relatively decent and safe, some you'd be better off sleeping in your car (Saratoga is one of those, of all places!). Until you know your way around a little better, I wouldn't recommend staying on the backside.

                      Expect to start off as a hotwalker. Work your butt off, ask tons of questions, and you can rise up the ranks pretty fast. It's all about how hard you are willing to work.


                      • #12
                        Yes, let us know where you're located. Another option might be to work some sales of young/breeding stock. Like mentioned above, any "apprenticeships" will screw you over. Look for paid work, and it is out there. How long you last at it is the main question, work/life on the backside is not for everyone.
                        It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati


                        • #13
                          if you don't have a local track that you can get down to, perhaps you could try to get in touch with tracks in neighbouring states via email or phone. they might be able to assist you with which trainers to get in touch with or post a bulletin that you're looking for work. if their race seasons are during the summer, horses should be coming in within the next couple of months to start training and people will be hiring.


                          • #14
                            South Carolina has a bit of a thoroughbred industry. You might start there: