From rehabilitation to science, racing and indigenous opportunities, the Thoroughbred Retraining Program is fast becoming an education hub for many groups and individuals aiming to learn more and gain experience in the Racing and Equestrian industries.

The Canterbury headquarters for the Racing NSW Thoroughbred Retraining Program no longer just rehabilitates and retrains retired Thoroughbreds, but has recently become a popular stop for students and volunteers. Thoroughbred Retraining Manager Scott Brodie explains it was a natural progression for the Program to extend to helping humans.

“The original Retraining Program was set up with the St Heliers Correctional Facility to help rehabilitate and educate inmates at their Muswellbrook facility” explains Brodie. “Now we can confidently say we are rehabilitating and educating a range of other people on the outside as well.”

One of the various groups to have an ongoing benefit from the Retraining Program are students from the Darby McCarthy Indigenous Program, which is designed to provide Indigenous people with prevocational training and job placement in the horse racing industry.

The students can gain work experience and coaching in stable management by working with at Canterbury and Racing NSW’s General Manager of Workplace Development and Training Opportunities Maurice Logue explains that the program at Canterbury offers an excellent opportunity to be introduced to horses in a relaxed environment before being exposed to the often high pressures of racing stables.

“The TAFE WSI courses are not able to run classes of less than 15 students” explained Logue, “so the Rehabilitation Program has also proved invaluable to providing groups of less than 15 gain entry level skills which enable them to gain employment as a trainee in the Racing Industry”.

More Recently the Thoroughbred Retraining Program hosted a group of 25 4th year Equine Science students, led by Dr Natasha Hamilton from the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney. The students were instructed on the Program’s systematic training procedures, horse training techniques and animal behaviour.

“There aren’t many opportunities to learn about training horses right in the middle of the city, so it was a fantastic opportunity to see how it all works” Dr Hamilton said.
"We all enjoyed the demonstration and were very impressed with the job done by the Thoroughbred Retraining Program, It’s great to see Racing NSW initiating and funding this horse welfare program".

At the conclusion of the visit, several of the students applied to commence work on a volunteer basis joining numerous other volunteers from various TAFE and University courses.

By helping to educate these various groups, the Retraining Program is not only gaining invaluable exposure and support, but it also helps to instil the importance of animal welfare and planning a horse’s future beyond the racetrack. Taking into account the educational element at the St Heliers correctional centre, the Thoroughbred Retraining Program in conjunction with the Australian Racing and Equine Academy is really doing its bit educationally for the NSW Racing Industry.

University of Sydney Student Veronika Jendruch now volunteers with the program
Students from the Darby McCarthy Indigenous Program
Persia Thorburn a recent program graduate