Unit of competency details

RGRPSH208A - Attend horses at trackwork (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes RGRH209A - Care for horsesNew unit replaces part of RGRH209A. 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Is superseded by RGRPSH201 - Handle racehorses in stables and at trackworkUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages.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


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 prepare horses for trackwork, perform post-exercise procedures and maintain working gear.

To undertake this unit the candidate will be able to apply safe horse handling skills and workplace OHS standards. It is recommended that RGRPSH207A Perform stable duties be delivered before or in conjunction with 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 stablehands, strappers, leading hands, trainers and others authorised to attend horses at trackwork.

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



Prepare horses for trackwork.

1. Horses to be worked  are verified.

2. Approved working gear  is identified, selected and checked for wear.

3. Horses are safely handled  according to rules and protocols  specific to activity and location.

4. Horses are fitted with nominated approved gear and prepared for work  .

Perform post-exercise procedures.

5. Gear is removed, checked , cleaned  and stored in accordance with stable procedures.

6. Stable procedures  for post-work or exercise care of horses are followed.

7. Rugs are selected and fitted to individual horses.

8. Irregularities with horse and gear are reported.

Maintain working gear.

9. Working gear is cleaned, checked and maintained.

10. Signs of wear and damage to gear are reported.

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
  • attaching and releasing horses from jog vehicles (harness)
  • catching, leading, handling and tying up horses
  • communicating with employer, supervisor, trainer, co-workers and others using assertive communication techniques to gather and relay information related to attending horses at trackwork
  • completing duties in accordance with safe operating procedures and nominated time frame
  • evaluating risks associated with working around horses
  • fitting approved gear
  • following instructions of trainer and working autonomously when necessary
  • following stable procedures
  • identifying and fitting rugs
  • identifying and incorporating principles of horse learning into training
  • identifying and reporting irregularities with horse and gear
  • identifying approved gear
  • maintaining working gear
  • preparing horses for work
  • performing post-exercise procedures
  • 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
  • selecting gear and rugs
  • storing gear.

Required knowledge 

  • approved gear and rugs
  • communication procedures within stable and wider racing industry
  • common racehorse behaviour traits
  • common horse illnesses or injuries
  • effective working relationships, including teamwork
  • features of horses
  • industry terminology
  • irregularities with horses and gear
  • personal protective equipment
  • racing industry animal welfare requirements
  • racing industry safety requirements, including safe operating procedures
  • relevant rules of racing
  • stable procedures
  • track rules and regulations.

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 attending horses at trackwork
  • implementation of procedures and timely techniques for safe, effective and efficient attendance of horses at trackwork
  • working with others to undertake and complete duties 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 attend horses at trackwork
  • safe handling 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, 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.

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
  • RGRPSH207A Perform stable duties.

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 attend horses at trackwork. Workplaces include harness and thoroughbred stables and racecourses, training tracks and public areas.

Horses may be worked  by:

  • jogging machines or vehicles (harness)
  • paddock exercise
  • swimming
  • trackwork, including:
  • fast work
  • slow work
  • treadmills
  • walking machines.

Verifying horses to be worked  may include:

  • asking questions
  • checking worksheets against stall numbers
  • identifying individual horse features.

Approved working gear  may include:

  • gear that is approved by the state or territory regulatory racing body for use in trackwork
  • general horse gear:
  • anti-rearing bits
  • bandages
  • blinkers
  • double clip leads
  • floating boots
  • nosebands
  • pacifiers
  • shadow rolls
  • tongue ties
  • winkers
  • harness-specific gear:
  • bridles
  • bits
  • driving boots
  • head checks
  • hopples
  • hopple shorteners
  • lugging poles
  • jog vehicles
  • pull up blinds
  • reins
  • removable deafeners
  • removable hoods
  • saddles
  • shoes
  • sulkies
  • thoroughbred-specific gear:
  • breastplates
  • bridles
  • bits
  • girths
  • reins
  • rings
  • saddles
  • shoes
  • stirrup irons and leathers
  • surcingles
  • working boots.

Factors to consider when horsesare handled  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
  • considering variables that influence behaviour of horses, such as:
  • fences and equipment
  • other persons or animals
  • vehicles
  • wind and noise
  • checking for injury
  • cooling horses down by walking in hand
  • fitting rugs and gear
  • holding horses for riders
  • hosing, scraping and towelling horses
  • identifying common hazards, which may include:
  • gear, machinery and equipment
  • other horses
  • other people, including employees
  • physical environment
  • unsafe work practices
  • leading horses into and from tie-up
  • legging up riders
  • practising safe work procedures
  • rolling horses
  • tying up horses
  • walking person to person
  • warming horses up by walking in hand, or by placing on treadmill or walking machine.

Rules and protocols  may include:

  • council regulations, for example:
  • swimming horses
  • leading horses at the track with bits and double clip leads
  • local track rules and regulations
  • road rules, for example:
  • crossing roads leading horses
  • rules of racing, including:
  • animal welfare principles
  • drugs and alcohol
  • personal protective equipment.

Factors relevant when horses are prepared for work  include:

  • checking feed and water intake
  • checking manure quality and quantity
  • checking disposition of horse
  • checking for injury
  • checking gear for wear and damage
  • following stable procedures
  • 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 saddling
  • removing bandages or poultices
  • selecting and fitting gear as directed
  • warming-up horses.

Procedures followed when gear is checked and cleaned  may include:

  • checking gear for:
  • breakage
  • gear loss on track
  • signs of wear and damage, including:
  • cracked leather or PVC
  • frayed leads, girths and surcingles
  • rusted bits, buckles and clips
  • splits and rough edges which may cause discomfort to horses
  • disassembling and reassembling all tack
  • infection control practices in care, cleaning and use of gear
  • regular cleaning and maintenance program.

Stable procedures  for post-work care of horses may include:

  • cooling horses down
  • checking for injuries
  • grooming horses
  • reporting injuries
  • rolling, hosing, scraping and towelling horses
  • rugging horses
  • walking or floating from track.

Irregularities with horse  may include:

  • epistaxis
  • exertional rhabdomyolosis (tying up)
  • injury
  • loose shoes
  • reports from rider indicating irregularities while working, for example:
  • roaring
  • soreness
  • slow recovery rate.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit Sector 

Harness and thoroughbred racing codes

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Functional Area

Functional Area 

Racing performance services