Unit of competency details

RGRPSH503A - Trial and race horses (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes RGRH422A - Train and race standardbreds or thoroughbredsNew unit with partial equivalence to RGRH422A and RGRH423A. 23/Sep/2008
Is superseded by and equivalent to RGRPSH503 - Trial and race horsesUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. Minor changes to performance criteria. 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 select appropriate trials or race programs, enter horses in trials or races, and comply with rules of racing and related protocols.

This unit also requires 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 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 trainers and others authorised to trial and race horses.

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



Plan racing schedule.

1. Current status of horse fitness and education is reviewed.

2. Trial and race meeting program and race classes available are evaluated.

3. Horses are entered for trials and races.

Trial horses.

4. Factors to consider when trialling horses are evaluated.

5. Trials are arranged, including engagement of driver or rider.

6. Performance in trial is reviewed  and future plans are reassessed.

Race horses.

7. Rider or driver is engaged for race.

8. Race meeting preparations  are planned and relayed to staff.

9. Race meeting protocols and procedures  are completed.

10. Race meeting officials' directions  are followed.

11. Racehorse owners  are advised of race meeting information and procedures.

Review trial and race performance.

12. Horse's recovery  is assessed.

13. Trial and race performance is assessed .

14. Future race and training plans are prepared .

Required Skills and Knowledge


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

Required skills 

  • communicating with staff, horse health specialists and others using assertive communication techniques to gather and relay information related to trialling and racing horses
  • complying with animal welfare policies when trialling or racing horses
  • complying with directions of officials and rules of racing
  • ensuring OHS workplace procedures are followed
  • ensuring owners are kept informed of racing plans and arrangements for their horses
  • identifying possible options for improving race performance
  • incorporating safe operating procedures into all instructions
  • informing staff of race meeting preparation and post-meeting requirements for horses
  • investigating possible causes of poor performance
  • planning racing program or schedule for individual horses, including spacing of trials and races
  • presenting horses in a fit and healthy state for trials and races
  • 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 appropriate races for individual horses
  • selecting corrective gear or equipment to improve the racing performance of individual horses
  • selecting suitable riders or drivers for individual horses in trials and races
  • written communication skills to complete workplace documentation and reports.

Required knowledge 

  • communication procedures within stable and wider racing industry
  • industry terminology related to racing horses, including type and class of race
  • license and registration requirements for staff and horses
  • OHS obligations and racing industry safe operating procedures
  • protocols and procedures for entering horses for races
  • protocols and procedures for racing horses
  • purpose of using appropriate personal protective equipment
  • racing industry animal welfare requirements
  • roles and responsibilities of trainers, staff and officials at trials and race meetings
  • rules of racing.

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 implementing racing schedules to trial and race horses
  • implementation of protocols, procedures and timely techniques for the safe, effective and efficient trialling and racing of horses
  • working with others to implement and complete 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, track and race meeting 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, safe racetrack areas, race meetings and related facilities
  • materials and equipment relevant to assessing candidate's ability to trial and race horses, including rules of racing and approved gear
  • 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.

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

  • RGRPSH501A Plan and adapt training and conditioning programs for racehorses
  • RGRPSH502A Plan and implement education of horses for racing.

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 trial and race horses. Workplaces include harness or thoroughbred stables and racecourses, training tracks and public areas.

Race meeting program and race classes  include:

  • race distance
  • race start type
  • race location, including:
  • country
  • metropolitan
  • picnic
  • provincial
  • harness race classes:
  • pacing and trotting (all of the categories below can apply to either race style)
  • 2 year old
  • 3 year old
  • 4 year old
  • claiming
  • derby
  • graduation
  • heat
  • invitation
  • match race
  • metropolitan and country races:
  • classes 1 to 10
  • mobile start
  • show
  • sires stake
  • standing start
  • thoroughbred race classes:
  • group
  • handicap
  • listed
  • open
  • special condition
  • restricted races:
  • maiden
  • trophy
  • classes A to D
  • classes 1 to 6.

Factors to be considered when trialling horses  include:

  • determining exercise required prior to trial
  • need to trial in order to educate horse for racing
  • reason for trial, for example:
  • previously banned from racing
  • top off fitness
  • rider or driver availability
  • time frame before targeted race meeting
  • trial calendars and opportunities to trial on a particular track
  • weather and track conditions.

Performance in trial is reviewed  using:

  • comments from rider or driver
  • quality of trial field
  • track conditions
  • track record
  • trial time.

Rider or driver is engaged for a race  by:

  • determining which riders or drivers are available
  • selecting rider based on weight claim (thoroughbred)
  • selecting rider or driver based on skill with particular horse temperament or style of racing
  • selecting rider or driver on experience with nominated race or race location.

Race meeting preparations  will include:

  • advising officials:
  • if horse is not available to run
  • race strategies
  • gear changes
  • arranging accommodation for horse and staff if required
  • arranging transportation to and from race meeting
  • briefing staff on:
  • allocation of staff for race meeting and home stable duties
  • safety procedures at race meeting
  • routine procedures of conducting a race, including:
  • collecting horses as they return to parade area
  • drug testing
  • grooming horses
  • handing over control of horse to rider or driver
  • harnessing up or saddling horses
  • identifying horses
  • parading horses prior to start
  • restrictions on feeding and watering horses at race meeting
  • supervising horses during race meeting
  • checking track and weather conditions
  • confirming horse is ready to run by:
  • checking hoof condition and shoeing
  • conducting out of competition drug tests if required
  • reviewing health, eating and drinking
  • reviewing performance in trackwork
  • determining exercise required prior to race.

Protocols and procedures that apply to race meetings  include:

  • accepting horses for races
  • answering questions and attending inquiries as required by stewards
  • arriving at race meeting in given time frame
  • attending horse in tie-up stalls
  • attending inquiries to assist apprentice or junior driver during inquiries
  • collecting horse post-race
  • collecting saddle (thoroughbred) and number from jockey or driver room
  • completing stable returns
  • complying with drug testing protocols
  • ensuring self and staff attending race meeting are registered, have required identification and are appropriately attired
  • ensuring shoes, plates or no shoes are approved for racing
  • nominating horses for races
  • notifying stewards of race instructions for rider or driver
  • parading in required time
  • parading winners according to officials' instructions
  • presenting horse to race in good health and well-groomed
  • providing identification for horse at race meeting
  • providing riders or drivers with race instructions
  • registering race colours of owners
  • saddling up or tacking up with clean, well-fitting approved gear that is in good repair
  • sewing bandages.

Types of officials' directions likely to be made during race meetings  include:

  • asking for documentation of horses
  • instructing participants to move from nominated area
  • instructing patrons in case of an emergency or safety issue
  • instructing patrons to leave racetrack venue
  • instructing race meeting veterinarian or farrier to attend, inspect or treat horse
  • instructing trainer to present horse for pre or post-race drug testing
  • questioning on any aspect of conduct of race meeting
  • questioning trainer on health or injury status of horse pre and post-race
  • questioning trainer on race strategies or other instructions to rider or driver.

Information required by racehorse owners  includes:

  • prospects of horse in race
  • protocols for addressing and complying with officials' instructions
  • required protocols (including dress standards) and safety procedures in parade or presentation areas
  • routine procedures of conducting a race, including:
  • identification
  • parading
  • meeting rider or driver
  • horses sent to start
  • race run
  • horses return to parade area
  • drug testing
  • their rights in protests, appeals or inquiries
  • use of mobile phones.

Assessment of horse's recovery  will include:

  • checking for heat or swelling after cool down
  • checking for signs of injury after race
  • monitoring horse's recovery rate through vital signs
  • checking horse movement and behaviour during exercise 48 hours post-race
  • monitoring horse response to exercise in week post-race
  • monitoring horse's eating and drinking habits 24 hours post-race
  • reviewing horse's behaviour for signs of distress or pain.

Trial and race performance can be assessed  by:

  • comparing quality of race field to nominated horse
  • considering track and weather conditions, and trial or race incidents that affected horse's performance
  • expected race place compared to actual
  • race winner time compared to nominated horse time
  • reviewing race video for performance in various stages of race
  • rider or driver comments
  • track record for race distance.

Future race and training plans are prepared  with consideration to:

  • checking horse's health and fitness via blood and other tests
  • consulting with owners
  • determining if horse is better suited to racing in opposite direction (thoroughbred)
  • determining if race class for next race should be same, higher or lower
  • determining if training and conditioning need to be modified, for example:
  • more or less work
  • varying type of work
  • giving horse a short or extended spell
  • race performance during current preparation
  • rationalising whether horse should continue racing
  • selecting another rider or driver.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit Sector 

Harness and thoroughbred racing codes

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Functional Area

Functional Area 

Racing performance services