Unit of competency details

RGRPSH203A - Perform basic driving tasks (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes RGRH205A - Perform basic riding or driving tasksNew unit replaces part of RGRH205A. 23/Sep/2008
Is superseded by and equivalent to RGRPSH203 - Perform basic driving tasksUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. Minor change to performance criteria for clarity. Prerequisite added. 04/Jul/2018

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 24/Sep/2008


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 achieve basic driving skills using a well-educated horse with a docile temperament. It includes protecting the welfare of people and horses and providing post-exercise care of horses.

The term well-educated horse' refers to an animal that has undergone sufficient training to ensure that it behaves in a safe, tractable and manageable way when being handled, even by inexperienced personnel.

To undertake this unit the candidate will be able to apply safe horse handling skills and workplace OHS standards. It is recommended that RGRPSH201A Handle horses be delivered in conjunction with or before this unit of competency.

This unit of competency operates in workplace 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 novice harness drivers to attain basic driving skills with a range of well-educated horses.

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



Protect safety and welfare of people and horses.

1. Appropriate personal protective equipment is selected, worn, stored and maintained.

2. Safety instructions, including venue -specific requirements  , are followed.

3. Potential hazards  are identified and risks minimised .

Provide pre-exercise care of horse.

4. Horses are caught and secured following safe handling procedures.

5. Pre-exercise grooming is carried out.

6. Wear and suitability of designated gear  are checked and fitted.

Apply basic driving skills.

7. Sulky is mounted and horse controlled in accordance with supervisor's instructions  while aided by an assistant to release horse from tie-up rail.

8. Effective driving position  is demonstrated and maintained.

9. Aids  are used to control movement, speed and direction of a horse at walk and trot.

10. Sulky is dismounted and horse is controlled while aided by an assistant to secure horse at tie-up rail.

11. Goals to improve driving skills are discussed with supervisor.

Provide post-exercise care of horse.

12. Gear is removed and horse is warmed down as necessary.

13. Post-exercise grooming is carried out.

14. Horse is released following safe procedures.

15. Equipment is cleaned and checked for wear and breakage  then stored in an appropriate manner.

Required Skills and Knowledge


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

Required skills 

  • applying aids to control speed and direction of a horse at walk and trot
  • applying safe handling and work practices when dealing with horses
  • applying safe basic driving skills
  • communicating with employer, supervisor, co-workers and public venue employees using assertive communication techniques to gather, interpret and relay information related to performing basic driving tasks
  • completing duties in accordance with safe operating procedures and nominated time frame
  • following instructions
  • identifying and correctly using different items of driving apparel
  • identifying and correctly using different items of gear and assessing their condition in terms of safe use and need for repair
  • identifying gait at which horse is working
  • identifying and following venue rules
  • 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 

  • aids to control the speed and direction of a horse
  • basic industry terminology related to driving horses
  • communication procedures within stable and wider racing industry
  • common horse behaviour, social traits and vices
  • purpose of using 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.

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 practising basic driving tasks
  • demonstration of control of a quiet harness horse in basic driving manoeuvres in a controlled area
  • implementation of procedures and timely techniques to complete basic driving tasks safely, effectively and efficiently
  • working with others to undertake and complete basic driving tasks that meet required outcomes.

Evidence should be collected over a period of time using a range of well-educated harness horses of different ages and sexes in racing stable and track environments.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Competency must be assessed in a racing workplace or simulated environment that provides access to the required resources. 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 well-educated harness horses
  • materials and equipment relevant to assessing candidate's ability to practise basic driving skills
  • safe handling and controlled driving areas, such as racing stables, and training or 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 and firsthand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
  • simulation exercises.

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.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • RGRCMN201A Follow OHS procedures and observe environmental work practices
  • RGRPSH201A Handle horses.

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 perform basic driving tasks. Workplaces include harness stables and racecourses, training tracks and public areas.

Safety and welfare  may include:

  • 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 arena and public venues
  • being aware 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
  • following safe operating procedures
  • identifying and reporting hazards or unsafe work practices
  • identifying emergency situations, for example:
  • gear breakage
  • horse fall
  • horse getting loose
  • understanding horse behaviour traits as they relate to practising driving tasks, for example:
  • senses
  • social behaviour
  • fight or flight response
  • understanding risks associated with handling horses, including:
  • bites
  • horse injury
  • personal injury
  • trampling
  • using approved gear for horses
  • using approved driving aids
  • wearing personal protective equipment, including approved Australian Standard helmet, clothing and footwear.

Venue -specific requirements  may include:

  • rules and regulations of training tracks
  • relevant rules of racing.

Potential hazards  may include:

  • distracting events or behaviours caused by people with no horse sense
  • distracting events or situations due to natural causes, such as wind
  • driver or horse falls
  • driver illness due to weather conditions or other reasons
  • driver injury due to getting clothing or body parts caught in gear
  • gear failure
  • hazards of:
  • driving alone
  • driving horses with bad habits
  • driving inexperienced horses
  • driving too close to other horses
  • horse's behaviour and possible reactions, such as:
  • horse's ability to learn and remember routines and locations, such as:
  • areas where previous incidents have occurred
  • home stables
  • track entry or exit points
  • horse's natural instinct to:
  • rear, bite or kick if it feels threatened, excited or in pain
  • run if frightened
  • want to stay with other horses
  • horse's lack of reasoning ability to rely on driver signals alone to discriminate between safe and unsafe stimuli
  • horse's response to loud or unusual noise or other stimuli, including machinery and other animals
  • horse injury.

Pre -exercise care  may include:

  • checking disposition of horse
  • grooming to instructions, for example:
  • brushing mane and tidying tail
  • checking legs for injury or swelling and removing mud or dirt
  • ensuring head, girth and saddle regions are free from mud and sweat
  • picking out hooves and checking shoes
  • moving safely and calmly around the horse
  • positioning horses in tie-up or in stable or yard for harnessing
  • removing bandages or poultices
  • selecting gear, checking for wear or damage and fitting as directed.

Designated gear  may include:

  • bits, for example:
  • snaffle
  • rubber
  • boots, for example:
  • scalping boot
  • shin or tendon
  • pastern boot and bell boot
  • breastplate
  • bridle
  • crupper, for example:
  • standard
  • rubber dock
  • harness
  • saddle
  • standard overcheck or head check
  • tail tie.

Basic driving skills  will include:

  • driving horses singly or in company
  • ensuring an assistant is available to untie horse from tie-up rail after driver gets into cart and to secure horse back to tie-up rail after work
  • fitting gear for comfort and safety
  • stopping and changing direction
  • understanding and correctly using aids
  • warming up horses as instructed.

In accordance with supervisor's instructions  may include:

  • getting into cart and taking control of horse before assistant releases horse from tie-up rail
  • moving off, stopping or turning as directed
  • warming up and cooling down horse
  • staying at nominated distance from other horses
  • staying at nominated speed
  • staying in nominated gait
  • maintaining control of horse when work is completed until assistant has secured horse and before dismounting.

Effective driving position  may include:

  • control of body posture
  • keeping even pressure on reins unless otherwise directed
  • placing feet in foot rests.

Aids  may include:

  • natural aids, including:
  • hands
  • voice
  • artificial aids that require experience and moderation when used, including:
  • bits
  • block blinds
  • burrs
  • dolly vardons.

Horse post -exercise care  may include:

  • ensuring animal welfare principles are followed
  • checking horse for injury and soreness
  • grooming horses
  • inspecting gear and equipment for wear and breakage
  • warming down horses following stable procedures.

Post -exercise grooming  may include:

  • brushing
  • cleaning hooves
  • hosing
  • rolling
  • scraping
  • sheath cleaning
  • towelling.

Signs of gear wear and breakage  may include:

  • gear slippage
  • frayed reins
  • perished rubber or plastic
  • rubbed hair or skin
  • rusted buckles and bits
  • worn bit joints
  • worn padding
  • worn stitching.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit Sector 

Harness racing code

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Functional Area

Functional Area 

Racing performance services