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What are Stud Hands and Stud Hand Jobs?

Equine Careers: What are Stud Hands and Stud Hand Jobs?

Equine Careers - Curriculum Vitae or CVWith career experience comes increased job options. Who doesn’t want to :

  • Have more jobs to choose from
  • Maximise earning potential

Breadth of experience, especially when you combine this with a logical “career story”, longevity in your roles and good references from each of your jobs is fab for your shop window which is your CV or your advertising if you are a freelance Groom.

When you work “inside” the equestrian industry there are terms, job titles and job content which we inherently understand and somewhat take for granted. If you are starting out, or you are considering a different discipline within the industry as one of your career options, sometimes it is good to have a more in-depth insight to help with your choices.

This week Emily takes a look under the bonnet of the stud world at a Stud Hands position.

Caroline

 

 


What are Stud Hands and what does the job entail?

by Emily Taylor

The horse breeding process, from planning lineage to seeing the youngsters you’ve worked with embarking on their careers, is fascinating and it’s easy to imagine that a career in the stud industry is very rewarding. Afterall, top quality international winners are not bred by chance. Whilst it is hard to imagine that any horse lover WOULDN’T want to work in an environment with foals, as Becky Parker outlines in her tongue-in-cheek look at which equine disciplines reflect your character, not every job within the equine industry suits every horse lover. There are a variety of job roles within the stud industry and this article will focus on that of the Stud Hand – what are Stud Hands and Stud Hand jobs, and who can become a Stud Hand.

 

What do Stud Hands do?

Equine Careers - What are Stud Hands and Stud Hand Jobs - Handling foals

Taking a foal to the field for the first time

Stud hand jobs can be an entry to a career in the horse breeding industry. There are specialist procedures involved in the running of a successful stud so, depending on the individual stud, stud hand jobs can be very similar to a general groom role and include all usual daily duties, or Stud Hands can be responsible for other duties specific to the stud environment. Generally speaking, you can expect Stud Hand jobs to include:

  • basic horse handling
  • feeding and haying
  • cleaning and maintaining stables, paddocks and equipment
  • basic exercising
  • cleaning and maintaining tack and equipment
  • stud hand jobs may include maintenance of the yard and property
  • operating machinery and equipment
  • basic equine first aid
  • assisting Vets and Farriers
  • holding broodmares in the covering shed
  • assisting with Artificial Insemination (AI)
  • stallion handling
  • take turns in covering “foaling-watch” which will involve night-shifts
  • you may be involved in Yearling Prep/Sales Prep

The horses you handle and care for may be worth an extraordinary amount of money – I mean £millions!

The Stud Hands role involves a fair amount of physical work and you need to be fit and strong for many of the daily tasks. Stud Hands handle young, large horses who react instinctively in every situation. The human interaction and handling of these foals and youngsters forms the foundation for their future as domestic horses, so it is vitally important that Stud Hands are confident, competent and can take instruction unquestioningly until fully trained up in the role.

If you take a Stud Hand job on a small stud farm your daily tasks are likely to be quite diverse, as all the daily tasks are managed by a small team. Larger stud farms have specialist teams, so your daily tasks are likely to be more specific/specialised.

When the youngstock go to sales they are absolutely immaculate in their turnout. As a Stud Hand, you may get a chance to be involved in Sales Prep (also known as Yealing Prep or Show Prep).

The working day for a Stud Hand typically starts at around 6.30am when the night staff hand over to you with any information about changes or incidents with any of the horses overnight. When the staff arrive, usually at about 7.30am, the horses will be fed, hayed, and mucking out and yard duties completed. The rest of the day will be spent attending to any veterinary issues, assisting the Vet or Farrier, assisting with coverings and/or Artificial Insemination (AI), general yard and paddock maintenance. A Stud Hands day often ends at around 4.30pm and you may be required to do a late night check at around 9pm some evenings.

Thoroughbred horses are only bred by natural covering. Over breed-types may be bred by natural covering or Artificial Insemination (AI). Thoroughbreds are never bred by Artificial Insemination.

 

Who do Stud Hands work with?

As a Stud Hand you will regularly work with other equine professionals who make up part of the Stud’s team:

  • Stud/Farm Managers
  • the Second Person (under Stud Manager)
  • Broodmare Managers
  • Stallion Managers
  • Yearling Managers
  • Foaling Attendants
  • Veterinarians
  • Farriers
  • Work Riders /Exercise Riders
  • Horse owners/syndicate members
  • Administrative staff

 

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Who can become a Stud Hand?

As with all equine jobs, stud hand jobs will differ depending on the size and operation of the various studs. In most cases, anyone with experience of general grooming can join an established team as a stud hand, and you may find job openings for trainees. Set up Job Alerts on The Grooms List and receive notification when Stud Hand jobs are available in your chosen location. If you would like to gain a formal qualification you can look for training courses, or even an Apprenticeship vacancy and earn as you learn on the job. Read on to find out more about the qualifications, what you learn and where to gain them.

 

Equine Careers - What are Stud Hands and Stud Hand Jobs - Newborn Foal by Crispin Mould

Maria, having sat up for a number of nights determined not to miss the foaling, helped the mare foal just after morning coffee time! Photo taken just after the birth.
© Crispin Mould

 

What Machinery and Equipment do Stud Hands use?

Stud Hands often have to use machinery and equipment as part of their daily job. These might include:

  • horse walkers
  • quad bikes
  • tractors and trailers
  • dumper trucks
  • harrows and rollers
  • paddock vacuum cleaners or sweepers (poo-picking machines)
  • leaf blowers/vacuums
  • equine spa
  • equine treadmill

 

What are the highs and lows of working as a Stud Hand?

As with all equine jobs, Stud Hand jobs have their share of highs and lows and you need to be mindful of these when making this choice of career pathway:

Equine Careers - What are Stud Hands and Stud Hand Jobs - Highs and LowsHighs

  • It goes without saying that being part of bringing in new life in the form of a beautiful foal is an amazing experience that you would never tire of.
  • The industry is fast paced with plenty of variety in the daily and seasonal schedule.
  • There is plenty of room for career development within the stud industry, and you can build up to becoming a Broodmare/Stallion/Yearling Manager, Second Person, and ultimately Stud/Farm Manager.
  • Seeing a horse you’ve helped into the world go on to become a world class winner in any discipline is always going to be mind blowing.
  • The stud industry generally offers a long term career progression, with the opportunity

 

Lows

  • Some stud farms (but by no means all!) can feel like a bit of a conveyor belt, with a fast turnover of youngsters being bred and moving on via sales, or going into pre-training yards. We make no judgement on that, but it is a consideration to make if you are likely to become attached to the horses in your care, or you have very strong views on the early backing and producing of youngsters under saddle. Most of the big studs breed and produce for the racing world, so it’s important that you understand the nuances of this.
  • However rare, there are going to be times when things go wrong and you face losing a foal or horse in your care. Just like any animal (including humans!) things can go wrong in breeding and with young foals, and whilst you will be working closely with superb veterinarians and stud specialists, sometimes the worst comes to the worst. You will need to be very philosophical about this, otherwise the stud industry probably isn’t for you.

 

How much do Stud Hands earn?

When starting out it isn’t unreasonable to expect the National Minimum Wage, with or without accommodation, but an experienced Stud Hand can earn up to £22k-£23k pa plus accommodation. If you were to work your way up to becoming a Stud Manager you could be earning in excess of £40k pa plus accommodation.

 

 

Equine Careers - What are Stud Hands and Stud Hand Jobs - Breeding Horses

Getting an insight

This video by East Durham College shows a day in the life of a stud hand. A stud hand works in the equestrian industry often looking after a barn of mares and foals. This is Tony; she is a stud hand at The National Stud in Newmarket, Suffolk. Throughout the video she demonstrates what roles she fulfils on a daily basis. An average day for Tony starts at 8am and begins with feeding the horses. She explains how feeding the special horses at the national stud is different to feeding normal horses as they need extra supplements in their diets and cannot just feed on grass in a field. The video then continues to show some of her other duties that she needs to fulfil before the horses are sold and go on to horse training so that they can become quality racehorses. Whether you are interested in gaining qualifications in the equine stud industry or you’re just interested to learn more about what Stud Hand jobs entail, this video gives an interesting insight into the job role.

 

 

 

Gaining Qualifications

The National Stud, which is part of The Jockey Club, offer a range of full time, part time and short courses. For example,

Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Entry to Stud Employment Programme

After completing the 9 week residential programme, all trainees should have achieved:

• Basic Emergency First Aid
• Manual Handling Awareness
• Introduction to tractor driving – subject to driving licence requirements
• Relevant online certificates related to employment and stud work
• Level 3 Award in Transporting Horses on Short Journeys
• Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horse Care
• Recommendation for employment with a stud farm

After 6-9 months in paid employment:

• Level 2 Work Based Diploma in Racehorse Care (Breeding option)

 

Diploma in Stud Practice and Management

• National Stud’s Diploma in Stud Practice and Management
• Level 3 Certificate in Thoroughbred Stud Practice – accredited by 1st4Sport
• Level 3 Award in Transporting Horses on Short Journeys – accredited by 1st4Sport
• Basic Emergency First Aid
• Manual Handling Awareness

 

Intermediate Apprenticeship in Thoroughbred Stud Work

After the 9 week residential programme, all trainees should have achieved:

• Level 1 in Horse Care
• Basic Emergency First Aid
• Manual Handling Awareness
• Introduction to using small machinery – subject to driving licence requirements
• Relevant online certificates related to H&S and employment
• Recommendation for employment with a stud farm.

After 12 months in paid employment:

• Level 3 Award in Transporting Horses on Short Journeys
• Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horse Care
• Level 2 Work Based Diploma in Racehorse Care (Breeding option)
• Apprenticeship Framework Certificate

 

Advanced Apprenticeship in Thoroughbred Stud Work

Over the 18 months in paid employment an Advanced Apprentice will need to achieve the following to complete the AA framework:

• Basic Emergency First Aid
• Level 3 Award in Transporting Horses on Short Journeys
• Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Horse Care and Management
• Level 3 Work Based Diploma in Racehorse Care (Breeding option)
• GCSE Maths and English at Grade C or Functional Skills Level 2

 

Although these qualifications refer directly to thoroughbred stud work these skills will be invaluable to any equine breeding program, and indeed any equine yard! There are channels other than The National Stud to explore options for gaining qualifications in the stud industry. If you are interested in gaining qualifications within the stud industry do your homework and ensure you get the most out of your period of education. Find out more about equine apprenticeships here.

 

If you would like assistance and/or advice regarding finding staff or work in the equine stud industry please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are specialists in equine careers and equine recruitment.

 

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The content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that the information they are working to is correct and appropriate for their specific circumstances.

© Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and The Grooms List, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and www.thegroomslist.co.uk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and The Grooms List, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and www.thegroomslist.co.uk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd
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