A stable lad/lass is responsible for some or even all aspects of the welfare of the stable owner’s horses, the care of the stables themselves or even both jobs. Their day-to-day jobs may include cleaning stables (mucking-out), feed, exercise and grooming the horses. It’s a difficult job.
The starting pay is usually around £122-a-week and sometimes requires a 5AM start and late nights. Many people consider the job dangerous. The truth is every job that requires one to work with large animals can be potentially harmful or even fatal, but others argue that it isn’t half as dangerous as participating in a race.
In large establishments there may be several lads or lasses under the management of a head groom. The head lad usually has complete responsibility for the horses including, but not limited to, creating training schedules, maintaining proper nutrition of the horses and ensuring the horses are shod, inoculated and given regular veterinary care.
Before applying to become a stable lad, you may want to acquire BHS (British Horse Society) certificates or equivalent, which are offered to any interested in expanding their knowledge of horse care, training and management. Like any other job, prior knowledge of the interested field is a major plus on your resume. Experience aside, a love for horses, hard work and extreme patience is necessary to excel in this particular job.
Once you’ve established yourself in the field and learned how to ride, you can compete in schooling races. These are practice races specifically designed to teach new jockeys how to come out of the gate and race. You gain an exercise license upon successful completion. Begin competing in small races and remember that track stewards will be watching and judging. They will critique your ability on handling and maintaining horses. After this, you can acquire a jockey’s license from the racetrack and move on to the next step in your career.
This outlines one way move up in the career, but like most jobs, there’s rarely only one straight line to the top. Have heart and determination; this industry is a tough one, but it can be very rewarding.