Unit of competency details

RGRPSH201A - Handle horses (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes RGRH207A - Handle horses safelyUnit revised with transport element removed and new unit developed RGRPSH202A Assist with transportation of horses. 23/Sep/2008
Is superseded by RGRPSH201 - Handle racehorses in stables and at trackworkUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. Changes relating to merging two units to reflect job task. 04/Jul/2018

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 24/Sep/2008

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
ACM40512 - Certificate IV in Equine DentistryCertificate IV in Equine Dentistry1-2 
RGR30408 - Certificate III in Racing Services (Cadet Steward)Certificate III in Racing Services (Cadet Steward)1-3 
RGR30208 - Certificate III in Racing (Advanced Stablehand)Certificate III in Racing (Advanced Stablehand)1-2 
RGR40308 - Certificate IV in Racing (Harness Race Driver)Certificate IV in Racing (Harness Race Driver)1-2 
RGR20108 - Certificate II in Racing (Stablehand)Certificate II in Racing (Stablehand)1-2 
RGR20408 - Certificate II in Racing Services (Track Maintenance)Certificate II in Racing Services (Track Maintenance)1-2 
RGR30508 - Certificate III in Racing Services (Track Maintenance)Certificate III in Racing Services (Track Maintenance)1-2 
RGR40208 - Certificate IV in Racing (Jockey)Certificate IV in Racing (Jockey)1-2 
RGR30108 - Certificate III in Racing (Trackrider)Certificate III in Racing (Trackrider)1-3 
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  24/Sep/2008 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit of competency specifies the outcomes required to identify, and safely catch, control and handle racehorses for the purposes of training and racing.

It is recommended that RGRCMN201A Follow OHS procedures and observe environmental work practices be delivered in conjunction with or before this unit of competency.

This unit of competency operates in work environments of racing stables, paddocks, yards, racecourses and public areas.

Licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements may apply to this unit. Check with your State Principal Racing Authority for current license or registration requirements.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit of competency supports stablehands, strappers, trainers and others authorised to handle horses.

Competencies attained in this unit apply to the harness and thoroughbred codes of the industry. Consequently when performance criteria are applied they will relate to the harness or thoroughbred code and statements of attainment will reflect this distinction.

This unit can be contextualised for other industries while also maintaining the integrity of the unit.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



Identify horses.

1. Features  used to identify horses are evaluated.

2. Horses are identified using industry standards  .

Safely approach, catch and lead horses.

3. Behaviour and level of education of horses  are identified and considered prior to handling.

4. Risks  associated with catching and leading horses are evaluated.

5. Appropriate gear  for catching and leading horses is correctly identified and applied.

6. Horses are approached and caught .

7. Effective leading techniques  are demonstrated.

Control horses in training and competition environments.

8. Risks associated with handling horses in public areas  are evaluated.

9. Safe leading, holding and controlling techniques  are applied to horses.

10. Safe leading and handling techniques in confined spaces  are demonstrated.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • applying safe handling and work practices when dealing with horses
  • catching, leading and handling a range of horses in a variety of environments
  • communicating with employer, supervisor, co-workers and others using assertive communication techniques to gather and relay information related to horse handling activities
  • completing duties in accordance with safe operating procedures and nominated time frame
  • evaluating risks associated with catching and handling horses
  • identifying and correctly using different items of handling gear
  • identifying features of horses using industry standards
  • identifying horse behaviour, social traits and vices
  • leading and handling horses in enclosed spaces
  • reading and interpreting workplace documentation, including relevant rules of racing
  • relating to people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with varying physical and mental abilities.

Required knowledge 

  • basic industry terminology related to handling horses
  • basic understanding of applicable federal, state or territory legislation and regulations, and national standards and codes of practice relevant to full range of processes relating to own work role and responsibilities
  • communication procedures within stable and wider racing industry
  • common horse behaviour, social traits and vices
  • purpose of using different items of handling gear and appropriate personal protective equipment
  • racing industry animal welfare requirements
  • racing industry safety requirements, including safe operating procedures
  • relevant rules of racing
  • relevant road safety rules
  • reporting requirements in relation to handling horses safely.

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit and include evidence of the following:

  • knowledge of the requirements, procedures and instructions that are to apply when handling horses
  • implementation of procedures and timely techniques for the safe, effective and efficient handling of horses
  • working with others to undertake and complete horse handling procedures that meet required outcomes.

Evidence should be collected over a period of time using a range of racehorses of different ages and sexes, and at different stages of preparation in racing stable and track environments.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Competency must be assessed in a racing workplace that provides access to the required resources or simulated environment approved by the relevant State Principal Racing Authority. Assessment is to occur under standard and authorised work practices, safety requirements and environmental constraints. It is to comply with relevant regulatory requirements or Australian Standards requirements.

Assessment of the practical components of this unit will be by observation of relevant skills.

The following resources must be available:

  • a variety of harness or thoroughbred horses
  • materials and equipment relevant to assessing candidate's ability to handle horses safely
  • safe handling areas, such as racing stables and racetracks
  • work instructions and related documentation.

Method of assessment 

Assessment methods must satisfy the endorsed Assessment Guidelines of the Racing Training Package.

The suggested strategies for the assessment of this unit are:

  • written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
  • observed, documented and firsthand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
  • simulation exercises conducted in a State Principal Racing Authority approved simulated environment.

Evidence is required to be demonstrated over a period of time, therefore where performance is not directly observed any evidence should be authenticated by supervisors or other appropriate persons.

This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role, for example:

  • RGRCMN201A Follow OHS procedures and observe environmental work practices.

Guidance information for assessment 

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording in the performance criteria is detailed below.

The range statement provides details of how this competency can be used in the workplaces of the racing industry to handle horses. Workplaces include harness and thoroughbred stables and racecourses, training tracks and public areas.

Features  of a horse include:

  • brands
  • colours
  • markings
  • points
  • sex.

Industry standards  are:

  • standards that are used by the regulatory racing body to classify and register horses.

Identification of behaviour and level of education of horses  involves:

  • assessment of behaviour patterns prior to handling
  • communication traits of horses, including:
  • body signals
  • non-verbal (mouth and face)
  • verbal
  • education level required for safe handling and controlling
  • identifying good behaviour and bad behaviour traits and vices
  • understanding senses of a horse, including:
  • eyesight
  • hearing
  • smell
  • taste
  • touch
  • sixth sense.

Horse behaviour  problems may include:

  • bed eating
  • box walking
  • crib biting
  • pushing or barging
  • rug chewing
  • weaving
  • wind sucking.

Risks  associated with catching and leading horses may include:

  • bites
  • gear breakage
  • horse injury
  • kicks
  • loose horse
  • personal injury
  • trampling.

Controlling risks  associated with catching and handling horses includes:

  • adhering to responsibilities under OHS legislation and workplace practices
  • adhering to responsibilities under national and state codes of practice; federal, state and territory legislation; and local government regulations covering animal welfare
  • adhering to rules of training tracks and public venues
  • awareness of relevant road safety rules
  • considering variables that influence behaviour of horses, such as:
  • fences and equipment
  • other persons or animals
  • vehicles
  • wind and noise
  • contributing to development of risk control measures
  • holding horses for veterinary, farriery and other treatments
  • identifying and reporting unsafe work practices
  • identifying emergency situations
  • reporting defective gear, including:
  • cracked leather or PVC
  • frayed leads
  • rusted bits, buckles and clips
  • understanding individual horse behaviour
  • using gear or equipment that is approved by the regulatory racing body to be worn by horses when being handled in stables, public places and on training tracks
  • wearing approved personal protective equipment.

Gear  may include:

  • anti-rearing bits
  • bridles
  • double clip leads
  • head collars
  • head pieces and bits
  • hobbles
  • leads
  • leg ropes
  • single clip leads
  • twitches.

Horses may be approached and caught  by:

  • checking soundness of gear before approaching
  • positioning gear in advance of handling
  • talking to the horse
  • encouraging horse to face handler
  • approaching horse from near side
  • taking extra care with horses in groups
  • using and fitting appropriate and approved gear.

Leading techniques  may include:

  • applying appropriate pressure should horse rear
  • allowing some slack in the lead
  • leading person to person when approaching another horse moving in opposite direction
  • leading into and out of yards
  • leading through gates or stable doors, which are open or shut
  • never leading and carrying something at the same time
  • never leading two horses at one time
  • never wrapping lead around any part of handler's body
  • never letting horse turn its tail to handler
  • talking to the horse
  • using both hands on the lead
  • using leads of suitable length
  • walking at near side shoulder.

Public areas  include:

  • bridges and roads
  • shared yards and paddocks
  • racecourses
  • stables
  • training tracks.

Holding and controlling techniques  may be required:

  • when holding and controlling horses under supervision for veterinarian, farrier or for treatment requirements, by:
  • placing horse against a wall or suitable fence
  • using bits, twitches and blindfolds
  • using non-mechanical aids, such as:
  • covering an eye
  • raising a leg
  • skin hold.

Confined spaces  include:

  • barriers
  • crushes
  • floats and horse trucks
  • race stalls
  • swab boxes
  • swimming pools
  • tie-ups
  • treadmills and other walkers.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit Sector 

Harness and thoroughbred racing codes

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Functional Area

Functional Area 

Racing performance services