A Track Rider plays a vital role in conditioning thoroughbreds to a level of fitness suitable for racing, they can also be known as 'work riders' too. Track Riders follow directions given to them by the trainer and ride each thoroughbred's work to those instructions. A Track Rider is required to ride at speeds that vary from walking, trotting, collected canter through to controlled speed known as half-pace and, or three-quarter pace or even-time.
A Track Rider's duties require strength as well as judgement, it's skilled work as riders need to be able to interpret information that concerns each horse's action and health to a high level of accuracy when reporting back to the trainer.
Many Track Riders are employed by a trainer, but some work freelance, riding work for a number of different stables, in this instance they must possess a high-level of riding skill. This can often be the case in smaller training centres where individual trainers don't have enough horses to warrant the full time employment of their own Track Riders. There is a growing need for Track Riders and there are a high number of casual positions available at most race tracks around Australia. Some larger stables offer incentives for those riders who want to just ride work while holding down a job in another field.
Track work commences in the early hours of the morning with most major metropolitan racecourses opening at 4am, with provincial and country racecourses opening slightly later.
All Track Riders must be licensed by their respective Principle Racing Authority to ensure they have the adequate skills required to handle thoroughbreds. Track Riders will often have previous experience riding horses.
If you have no previous horse riding skills, there are courses available to assist you with the base level requirements you need to become a Track Rider.
RGR30108 – Certificate III in Racing (Trackrider)
Further information can be found on the RWWA website: