Careers in breeding or stud work can range from the practical, hands on work such as stud groom or stallion handler to the more office based roles such as stud manager, marketer or secretary.
- Individuals who enjoy studying the science, physiology and anatomy of horses with a passion for their welfare and care
- Career opportunities which do not involve riding
- Careers in management of a wider equestrian business
Stud Groom or Stallion Handler
For careers relating to stud grooming please see our Careers in Grooming section. A groom at a stud may also be required to assist with the initial handling of foals, to get them accustomed to human interaction. A stallion handler will have a similar role to a groom with the addition of handling and caring for the stallions at the stud.
A Stud Secretary works in the offices at the stud. They will have responsibility for all administration work involved with the stud including maintaining health records, when the mares were covered and by which stallion, vets appointments and foaling due date. They will be the main point of contact between the stud and their clients (horse owners), vets and other health care professionals. You will also have responsibility for booking mares in for covering, invoicing for stud fees and receiving payments due and also ensuring the stud’s bills and outgoing costs are paid on time.
The day to day tasks of this role will be similar to that of any yard or equestrian centre manager – see our Careers in Grooming section. You will also need extensive knowledge of equine breeding techniques including artificial insemination, embryo transfer and natural covering. You will have responsibility for ensuring the different groups of horses at the stud (stallions, mares, mares in foal and mares with foals at foot) are suitably cared for and managed appropriately. You will also need to manage appropriate facilities for the foaling process ensuring the welfare needs of mare and foal are met.
Your next steps
A professional in this career will require broad equestrian knowledge and practical ability, including the management and handling of horses, equine health, anatomy, physiology, feeding, fittening, saddlery, shoeing, stable design, grassland management and the highest level of turnout.
The BHS Groom Pathway is the one for you!
The BHS Groom Pathway supports and celebrates those wishing to pursue a career as a groom, from a foundation groom through to a stable manager. You will learn a variety of skills and a wealth of knowledge to support your chosen career, including: handling a variety of horses, tacking up for various disciplines, lungeing, anatomy, physiology and conformation, horse health, behaviour, nutrition and fitness, clipping, trimming and plaiting, the responsibilities of working as a groom and yard management. Our qualifications have been developed by industry experts and those currently working in the field ensuring our qualifications are relevant and will be what your employers are looking for.
The foundations of breeding, including aspects of broodmare care including covering, scanning, gestation and birth and the information required if looking after a broodmare for a client, the health requirements and care of the foal pre and post birth are covered from Stage 3 Care and above.
If a studwork career within the racing industry is where you want to go The National Stud and The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association offer a range of full time and part time courses that will enable you to build upon the skills and knowledge gained through the Grooms Pathway.
Competencies to support a career in Breeding or Stud Work
As you will be handling a range of horses, and temperaments, from foals through to stallions, experience in this field is essential. Offer to volunteer at a local stud or yard to begin to gain necessary skills and confidence, and also this demonstrates to employers your commitment and enthusiasm for this career.
To work in this industry you must be competent, confident, level-headed and have a common sense approach to your work; you can often find yourself in stressful situations (particularly around foaling time) so you must be typically composed and assertive. Early starts and late finishes including weekend and Bank Holiday work is expected, so dedication and a passion for horses is essential. As the tasks asked of a groom or stallion handler are generally manual tasks, a good level of physical fitness is required in order to work efficiently without undue stress and strain.
- Grooms can often live on-site, with accommodation being provided at a discounted rate, or as a package with the salary. You would need to check with potential employers however often pets or your own horses are allowed.
- Being a part of a team that produces healthy foals from conception to birth can be so rewarding. Job satisfaction box ticked!