Unit of competency details

RGRPSH502A - Plan and implement education of horses for racing (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes RGRH421A - Manage the education of standardbreds or thoroughbredsNew unit with partial equivalence to RGRH421A. 23/Sep/2008
Is superseded by and equivalent to RGRPSH502 - Plan and implement education of horses for racingUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. Minor changes to performance criteria for clarity. 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 prepare horses for life in a racing establishment, including educational opportunities to expose horses to the routines and activities that occur in a racing training complex and at a racing meeting, using industry-approved techniques and principles of learning theory, animal welfare and OHS.

To undertake this unit the candidate will have already achieved or be able to demonstrate competence in the practical care and management of harness or thoroughbred racing horses and the application of OHS standards in the workplace.

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 senior stablehands, trainers and others authorised to educate horses for racing.

The unit focuses on the competencies associated with preparing horses of various ages and abilities for Australian racing programs. Harness and thoroughbred racing occurs under different conditions consequently when performance criteria are applied they will relate to harness or thoroughbred horses and statements of attainment for this unit 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



Oversee introduction of racing husbandry practices.

1. Opportunities to familiarise horses with racing stable activities  are provided.

2. Opportunities to familiarise horses with racing tack and equipment  are provided.

3. Remedial or corrective equipment is introduced.

Oversee introduction of racing exercise practices.

4. Opportunities to acclimatise horses to exercise related activities are provided.

5. Acclimatisation of horses to working on the track is supervised.

6. Race start activities  , procedures and equipment are introduced to horses.

Evaluate horses' adaptation to racing routines and equipment.

7. Social and housing needs  of individual horses are identified.

8. Horses' condition  and general health are reviewed.

9. Horses' acclimatisation to stable and training routines and gear is reviewed.

10. Specialist advice  is sought where necessary to modify behaviour or introduce race or exercise skills.

Required Skills and Knowledge


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

Required skills 

  • applying horse learning principles to the introduction of young or inexperienced horses to new or stressful activities and environments
  • applying safe handling and work practices when dealing with horses
  • communicating with stable staff, horse health specialists and others using assertive communication techniques to gather and relay information related to education of horses for racing
  • complying with animal welfare policies in the care and management of horses
  • consulting specialists for the training and handling of horses
  • dealing with emergencies
  • directing or instructing others in the handling of horses
  • evaluating options for handling and educating horses
  • identifying and modifying potentially stressful or hazardous situations and activities for young and inexperienced horses
  • identifying relaxed and distressed behavioural characteristics in horses
  • identifying, fitting and using different items of riding or driving gear and assessing their condition in terms of safe use and need for repair
  • identifying, fitting and using different items of exercise and protective equipment on horses
  • maintaining OHS workplace procedures
  • modifying or adapting training and education practices in relation to individual horse response to stimuli
  • 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
  • supporting others in applying education programs to horses in the appropriate manner
  • written communication skills to document education programs and record observations.

Required knowledge 

  • activities that racing horses are required to perform
  • behaviour of horses in normal and distressed states
  • communication procedures within stable and wider racing industry
  • indicators of horse's ability to comprehend and complete required tasks
  • industry terminology related to education of racing horses
  • OHS protocols and racing industry safety requirements, including safe operating procedures
  • principles of horse anatomy and physiology
  • racing industry animal welfare requirements.

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 planning and introducing racing husbandry and exercise practices to racehorses
  • implementation of procedures and timely techniques for the safe, effective and efficient introduction of industry-approved routines and activities related to educating horses for racing
  • working with others to implement and complete horse education 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 horses that are being educated and trained in a commercial racing stable under the care of a licensed trainer and 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 harness or thoroughbred horses that are currently in training
  • commercial racing training establishments, and training and racetracks
  • materials and equipment relevant to assessing candidate's ability to plan and implement education of horses for racing
  • 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.

Where performance is not directly observed any evidence should be authenticated by supervisors or other appropriate persons, at least one of whom should be approved by the State Principal Racing Authority.

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:

  • RGRPSH401A Relate anatomical and physiological features to the care and treatment of horses
  • RGRPSH408A Manage horse health and welfare
  • RGRPSH409A Determine nutritional requirements for racing horses
  • RGRPSH501A Plan and adapt training and conditioning programs for racehorses.

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 plan and implement education of horses for racing. Workplaces include harness or thoroughbred stables and racecourses, training tracks and public areas.

Racing stable activities  include:

  • accepting restraints, including being tied up
  • adapting to living in stables or yards
  • feeding routines
  • shoeing
  • standing for grooming, hosing, clipping, tacking up and rugging
  • standing or working close to other horses.

Racing tack and equipment  include:

  • bridles
  • blinkers, winkers and hoods
  • harness specific:
  • cart
  • head check
  • hobbles
  • jog machine vehicle
  • protective equipment, including:
  • boots
  • bandages
  • swimming pools
  • thoroughbred specific:
  • girths
  • saddles and associated tack, for example:
  • breast plate
  • martingale
  • saddlecloths
  • treadmills and walking machines.

Remedial or corrective equipment  includes:

  • assorted bits
  • blinkers or hoods
  • harness specific:
  • ear muffs
  • head check
  • lugging pole
  • nosebands
  • spreaders
  • thoroughbred specific:
  • barrier blanket
  • brow band
  • cornell collar
  • martingale
  • noseband
  • nose roll
  • pacifiers
  • tongue tie
  • winkers.

Methods that could be used to acclimatise horses to exercise related activities  include:

  • horses ridden or driven singly under direct supervision
  • horses worked with experienced, reliable horses
  • horses loaded onto truck or trailer and transported to track
  • horses put into tie-up stalls.

Methods that could be used to acclimatise horses working on the track  include:

  • introducing other working horses at controlled distances and speeds to work with inexperienced or young horses
  • learning theory, including:
  • classical conditioning
  • habituation
  • operant conditioning, for example:
  • extinction response
  • positive and negative reinforcement
  • practising on home or quiet track where number of horses on track can be controlled
  • working young or inexperienced horses with experienced and confident horses.

Race start activities  include:

  • harness specific:
  • performing score up
  • mobbing to race start
  • loading for standing start
  • loading for mobile start
  • parading in birdcage
  • thoroughbred specific:
  • parading in mounting enclosure
  • moving to race start
  • loading into barriers.

Social and housing needs of racing horses  include:

  • need for company of other horses
  • need for personal space
  • need for shelter with adequate ventilation and room to move and lay down.

Assessment of horses' condition may  include:

  • blood tests
  • evaluating condition score
  • evaluating muscle definition and balance
  • weighing.

Acclimatisation to stable and training routines and gear  may include:

  • horse is eating up feed and drinking appropriate amounts of water daily
  • horse is less reactive to repeated exposures to stimuli
  • horse maintains weight
  • horse shows interest in surroundings and activities
  • horse stands relatively quietly for exercise or race preparation activities.

Specialist advice  may include:

  • dentist
  • farrier
  • horse breaker
  • jockey or driver
  • nutritionist
  • other trainer
  • specialist young horse trackwork rider or driver
  • starter
  • thoroughbred barrier attendant
  • thoroughbred specialist trackwork jump-out rider
  • veterinarian.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit Sector 

Harness and thoroughbred racing codes

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Functional Area

Functional Area 

Racing performance services