Barrier Attendant Career Profile

How do I become a Barrier Attendant?

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25 January 2024


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What is a Barrier Attendant?

A barrier attendant is responsible for managing and handling race horses as they are loaded into the starting barriers before a race begins.

horse 1

Alternative Names

In the context of horse racing, a barrier attendant may be referred to by several alternative names, depending on regional variations or specific roles they perform. Here are some alternative terms for a barrier attendant:

Gate Crew:

Members of the team are responsible for managing the starting gates or barriers.

Stall Handler:

Individuals who handle and guide horses into the starting stalls.

Stall Assistant:

Personnel assisting with the loading and positioning of horses in the starting stalls.

Gate Operator:

Someone involved in operating or managing the starting gates.

Starting Gate Attendant:

Individuals responsible for overseeing the starting gates and ensuring a smooth loading process.

Barrier Technician:

Those who handle the technical aspects of the starting barriers, ensuring they function properly.

Gate Man/Woman:

A colloquial term for someone involved in the operation of starting gates.

Starting Steward:

In some regions, officials overseeing the starting procedures may be referred to as starting stewards.

Loading Crew:

A collective term for the team responsible for loading horses into the starting gates.

These terms may vary in different racing jurisdictions or regions, but they generally refer to individuals involved in the preparation and loading of horses into starting barriers before a race.

Career Categories

The barrier attendant career can be found within the following OZT career categories:

  • Animal Care

What does a Barrier Attendant do?

With which Groups of animals does a Barrier Attendant work with?

Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With whom does a Barrier Attendant work?

A barrier attendant in horse racing works closely with various individuals and teams involved in the organisation and execution of races. Some of the key collaborators include:


Barrier attendants assist jockeys in mounting the horses and positioning themselves in the saddle before the race begins. They ensure that the jockeys are safely and securely prepared for the race.


Starters are officials responsible for initiating the race. Barrier attendants coordinate with starters to ensure a synchronised and orderly start once all horses are loaded into the barriers.


Barrier attendants may interact with horse trainers as they handle and load horses into the starting barriers. Trainers may provide specific instructions or information about individual horses.

Gate Crew:

The gate crew or starting gate team, includes individuals who work together to manage the starting gates and ensure that horses are loaded safely. Barrier attendants are an integral part of this team.

Officials and stewards:

Racing officials, including stewards, may oversee the entire racing process. Barrier attendants work in collaboration with these officials to ensure that the starting procedures are conducted according to regulations.

Track Personnel:

Other personnel involved in track operations, such as track managers, may coordinate with barrier attendants to ensure the overall safety and efficiency of the race day activities.


In some cases, veterinarians may be present to assess the health and fitness of the horses. Barrier attendants may need to coordinate with them to ensure that any special considerations for particular horses are addressed during the loading process.

Security Personnel:

Depending on the racing venue, security personnel may be present to maintain order and address any security concerns. Barrier attendants may collaborate with them to ensure a secure Environment.

Effective communication and collaboration among these various parties are essential for the successful and safe conduct of horse races. Barrier attendants play a crucial role in this coordination, particularly in the moments leading up to the start of a race when the horses are being loaded into the starting barriers.

What does a Barrier Attendant focus on?

A barrier attendant’s role involves managing and handling racehorses as they are loaded into starting barriers before a race begins. While this role is specific to the racing industry, there are several specialisations and career directions that a barrier attendant can explore within the Equine industry. Here are different paths that a barrier attendant can venture into:

Starting Stall Supervisor:

Advance to a supervisory role within the starting stall team. Starting stall supervisors oversee the loading and handling of racehorses into starting barriers, manage stall attendants’ schedules and duties, coordinate with racing officials, ensure compliance with racing regulations and safety protocols, and handle any issues or emergencies that arise during the loading process.

Equine Handling and Training Specialist:

Develop expertise in equine handling techniques and behaviour training. Equine handling specialists focus on training racehorses to enter starting barriers calmly and confidently, desensitising them to barrier loading procedures, addressing behaviour issues related to loading stress, and ensuring horses are well-prepared for race starts.

Racecourse Operations Manager:

Transition to a role in racecourse operations management. Racecourse operations managers oversee various aspects of race meetings, including starting procedures, track conditions, safety measures, scheduling races, coordinating with race officials and stewards, managing facilities, and ensuring smooth race day operations.

Equine Welfare and Safety Officer:

specialise in equine welfare and safety initiatives within the racing industry. Equine welfare and safety officers work to improve safety protocols during barrier loading, monitor racehorse well-being and behaviour during loading procedures, implement best practices for horse and rider safety, and collaborate with industry stakeholders to enhance equine welfare standards.

Racecourse Steward:

Transition to a role as a racecourse steward responsible for overseeing racing integrity and enforcing racing rules and regulations. Racecourse stewards monitor barrier loading procedures to ensure fair starts, investigate incidents or complaints related to barrier loading, review video footage for race starts, and participate in stewarding decisions during race meetings.

Equine Veterinary Assistant:

Gain skills in equine veterinary care and support. Equine veterinary assistants assist veterinarians in pre-race health checks, monitor racehorses for signs of stress or injury during loading, provide first aid if needed, handle medical equipment and supplies, maintain veterinary records, and collaborate with veterinary staff to ensure the health and well-being of racehorses.

Racecourse Event Coordinator:

Manage racecourse events and race meetings. Racecourse event coordinators plan and coordinate race schedules, barrier loading procedures, pre-race activities, entertainment events, promotional activities, and hospitality services for race day attendees, ensuring a positive experience for participants, spectators, and stakeholders.

Equine Industry Education and Training:

Develop and deliver education and training programmes related to barrier loading procedures and equine handling for industry professionals. Education and training specialists offer workshops, seminars, certifications, and continuing education courses on starting stall operations, horse behaviour, safety protocols, and regulatory compliance within the racing industry.

Equine Industry Consultant:

Offer consulting services and expertise in starting stall operations, equine behaviour, and racecourse management. Equine industry consultants provide advice, training, and support to racing organisations, racecourses, trainers, and horse owners on best practices for barrier loading, equine welfare, safety standards, and regulatory compliance.

Equine Industry Researcher:

Pursue research roles focused on equine behaviour, starting procedures, and racecourse operations. Equine industry researchers conduct studies, gather data, analyse trends, and publish findings related to barrier loading techniques, stress management for racehorses, starting stall design improvements, and other topics relevant to enhancing horse and rider safety and performance in racing environments.

What does a Barrier Attendant focus on?

Their primary role is to ensure that the race horses are loaded into the barriers to ensure the safety of both the horses and the jockeys.

What are the daily tasks of a Barrier Attendant?

The daily tasks of a barrier attendant in horse racing may vary based on the schedule of race meetings, training sessions, and other events. However, here are some common tasks that barrier attendants typically perform on a regular basis:

Inspection and Maintenance:

Conducting regular inspections of the starting gates and related equipment to ensure they are in proper working order. Any issues or malfunctions may need to be reported for prompt repairs.

Communication with Trainers:

Collaborating with horse trainers to receive information about specific horses, such as behavioural tendencies or any special handling requirements during the loading process.

Horse Handling:

Actively participating in the handling and loading of horses into the starting barriers on race days, ensuring that the process is conducted safely and efficiently.

Assisting Jockeys:

Helping jockeys mount and position themselves on the horses once they are in the starting gates. Ensuring that jockeys are ready and secure for the race.

Coordinating with Starters:

Working closely with race starters to synchronise the loading process and facilitate a smooth start to the race.

Emergency Preparedness:

Being prepared to handle emergencies or unforeseen incidents during the loading process, including the calm and safe evacuation of horses if necessary.

Crowd Control:

Managing the area around the starting gates to ensure that spectators and unauthorised individuals do not interfere with the loading process.

Record Keeping:

Maintaining records related to the loading of horses, including any incidents or special instructions provided by trainers.

Training Sessions:

If there are training sessions or trials, Barrier Attendants may be involved in handling horses during these sessions, preparing them for the actual race day.

Collaboration with Officials:

Working with racing officials, stewards, and other personnel to ensure that all procedures are conducted in compliance with racing regulations and standards.

Equipment Handling:

Properly handling and storing equipment used in the loading process, such as whips or safety gear, and ensuring that it is in good condition.

These tasks collectively contribute to the smooth functioning of the starting procedures on race days, maintaining the safety of both horses and participants in horse racing events. The specific responsibilities may vary based on the racing venue and its operational procedures.

With what kind of tools and technology (if any) does a Barrier Attendant work?

Barrier Attendants in horse racing primarily rely on a combination of specialized equipment, safety gear, and technology to perform their duties efficiently and ensure the safety of horses and personnel. While their work is largely hands-on and involves direct interaction with horses and starting gates, there are several tools and technologies that may aid them in their tasks:

Starting Gates:

Barrier Attendants work closely with starting gates, which are mechanical structures used to contain horses at the beginning of a race. These gates are operated electronically and require careful handling and coordination during the loading process.

Safety Equipment:

Barrier Attendants utilize various safety equipment to protect themselves and ensure the well-being of the horses. This may include helmets, protective vests, gloves, and boots designed for horse handling.

Communication Devices:

Communication devices such as two-way radios or headsets may be used by Barrier Attendants to communicate with other personnel involved in race operations, including gate crews, jockeys, and race officials.

Safety Harnesses and Tethers:

In some cases, Barrier Attendants may use safety harnesses or tethers to secure themselves to the starting gate structure during the loading process, providing an additional level of safety.

CCTV Monitoring Systems:

Some racing facilities are equipped with closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitoring systems that allow Barrier Attendants and race officials to observe the loading process from different angles and ensure everything runs smoothly.

Safety Barriers and Railings:

Barrier Attendants may utilize safety barriers and railings positioned around the starting gates to create a controlled environment and prevent unauthorized access during the loading process.

Emergency Response Equipment:

Barrier Attendants may be equipped with emergency response equipment such as first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and emergency medical supplies to address unforeseen situations effectively.

Training Aids and Simulators:

Training aids and simulators may be used during the training of Barrier Attendants to simulate the loading process and provide hands-on experience in a controlled environment.

While the primary focus of a Barrier Attendant’s work is on practical skills and direct interaction with horses and starting gates, the integration of tools and technology helps enhance safety, efficiency, and communication in the fast-paced environment of horse racing. It’s essential for Barrier Attendants to receive proper training in the use of these tools and equipment to perform their duties effectively.

The work environment of a Barrier Attendant

Where does a Barrier Attendant work?

A barrier attendant in horse racing primarily works in outdoor environments, often at the racecourse or track where horse racing events take place. Here’s a breakdown of the indoor and outdoor aspects of their working environments:

Outdoor Working Environment:

Starting Gates/Barriers:

Most of the work for a barrier attendant takes place outdoors at the starting gates or barriers, which are positioned on the racetrack. This is where they handle and load horses before the start of races.

Track Area:

Barrier attendants are actively involved in activities on the racetrack, including positioning horses, assisting jockeys, and ensuring a smooth loading process.

Paddock Area:

In some cases, barrier attendants may also work in the paddock area, where horses are saddled and prepared before the race. This is an outdoor area where horses and jockeys gather prior to heading to the starting gates.

Training Facilities:

Depending on the racing venue, Barrier Attendants may also be involved in handling horses during training sessions. Training tracks are typically outdoors.

Indoor Working Environment:

Equipment Storage:

While the primary work is outdoors, there may be indoor spaces for storing equipment used during the loading process, such as safety gear, whips, or any paperwork.

Meeting Rooms:

Barrier attendants may attend meetings or briefings with other racing personnel in indoor spaces, discussing procedures, safety protocols, and any updates relevant to their role.

Places of Employment:


The primary place of employment for barrier attendants is the racecourse or track where horse racing events are held. This is where they handle horses during loading procedures.

Training Centers:

In addition to racecourses, barrier attendants may be employed at horse training centres where horses undergo regular training sessions.

Stables and Paddocks:

While not their primary workplace, barrier attendants may interact with horses and trainers in stable and paddock areas.

Administrative Offices:

Some administrative tasks, such as record-keeping or attending meetings, may take place in administrative offices associated with the racing venue.

Overall, the work of a barrier attendant is dynamic and involves a combination of outdoor and, to a lesser extent, indoor activities.

What is the average annual salary of a Barrier Attendant?

It’s important to note that salary levels can vary significantly based on factors such as experience, location within the country, specific employer, and prevailing economic conditions. Here are the average salaries in each country or region. Keep in mind that these figures are approximate and subject to change.

United States (USA):

The average annual salary for roles involving animal care and service workers, which may include those working with horses, is around $26,000 to $31,000. Specific salaries for barrier attendants may vary.


In Canada, salaries for animal care and service workers, including roles related to horse care, may range from CAD 30,000 to CAD 40,000 on average.

United Kingdom (UK):

Salaries for similar roles in the UK may range from £17,000 to £25,000 per year.


In India, salaries for comparable positions could range from INR 2,00,000 to INR 4,00,000 annually.


The average salary for roles involving animal attendants in Australia is around AUD 50,000 to AUD 60,000 per year.

New Zealand:

In New Zealand, salaries for similar roles may range from NZD 40,000 to NZD 50,000 annually.


Salaries in Nigeria can vary widely, but for roles in animal care and related services, average annual salaries may be around NGN 600,000 to NGN 1,200,000.


In Kenya, salaries for comparable positions might range from KES 300,000 to KES 600,000 per year.

South Africa:

Average salaries for roles in animal care services in South Africa may range from ZAR 80,000 to ZAR 150,000 annually.

Regional Averages:

South America:

Salaries can vary widely across South American countries. In general, average salaries for similar roles might range from $10,000 to $20,000 per year.


Salaries in European countries can vary significantly. In general, average salaries for similar roles might range from €15,000 to €30,000 per year.

Southeast Asia:

Salaries in Southeast Asian countries can also vary. In general, average salaries for similar roles might range from $5,000 to $15,000 per year.

Can a Barrier Attendant be promoted?

In a career as a barrier attendant in horse racing, promotions may not always follow a strict hierarchical structure, like in some other professions. However, career progression can be influenced by gaining experience, acquiring additional skills, taking on more responsibilities, and, in some cases, pursuing further education or certification. Here are three or four potential promotion levels for a barrier attendant, considering Education, Responsibilities, and Certification:

Barrier Attendant (Entry-Level)


High school diploma or equivalent.


Assisting in the loading of horses, ensuring safety protocols are followed, and collaborating with the gate crew and jockeys.


Basic certifications in horse handling and safety.

Senior Barrier Attendant


Some additional coursework or on-the-job training related to horse behaviour and racing procedures.


Taking a lead role in coordinating the loading process, training new barrier attendants, and liaising with trainers and jockeys.


Advanced certifications in equine behaviour, safety, and emergency response.

Chief Barrier Attendant or Supervisor


Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Equine Science, Animal Science, or a related field.


Overseeing the entire loading process, managing the barrier team, implementing safety protocols, and collaborating with race officials.


Leadership or supervisory certifications, and ongoing professional development in equine management.

Barrier Manager or Racing Operations Manager


Bachelor’s or master’s degree in Equine Management, Business Administration, or a relevant field.


Managing the overall racing operations, including the starting gates, scheduling, and personnel. Involvement in strategic planning and decision-making.


Advanced certifications in racing operations, business management, and leadership.

What kind of difficulties may a Barrier Attendant face?

Barrier attendants in horse racing may encounter various challenges associated with the nature of their profession. Here are some challenges they might face:

Physical Demands:

Lifting and Handling:

Loading horses into starting barriers can be physically demanding, requiring strength and agility.

Outdoor Work:

Working in different weather conditions and standing for extended periods can pose challenges.

Safety Concerns:

Animal Behavior:

Dealing with unpredictable behavior of horses, which may be agitated or nervous before a race.

Risk of Injury:

There’s a potential risk of injury to both barrier attendants and the horses during the loading process.

Variability in Working Conditions:

Different Venues:

Working at various racecourses with different facilities and conditions.

Event Specifics:

Conditions may vary based on the type of race, the number of horses, and the overall event setup.

Emotional Challenges:


Handling high-stakes situations before races, where precision and efficiency are crucial.

Animal Welfare:

Dealing with the emotional aspects of working with animals, especially in cases of injuries or emergencies.

Business Management:

Logistical Challenges:

Coordinating with other racing personnel to ensure a smooth start, especially in large events with multiple races.


Ensuring effective communication with trainers, jockeys, and other team members.

Regulatory Compliance:

Adherence to Rules:

Staying informed about and complying with racing regulations and safety protocols.


Maintaining accurate records related to the loading process for regulatory purposes.

Continuing Education:

Keeping Updated:

Staying informed about advancements in equine science, safety practices, and racing regulations.

Training Opportunities:

Seeking and participating in continuing education programmes to enhance skills.

Unpredictable Work Hours:

Race Schedules:

Work hours can be irregular, especially on race days, which may include evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Emergency Response:

Being on call for emergency situations, which can disrupt normal work hours.

Team Dynamics:


Coordinating with gate crews, jockeys, and other racing personnel requires effective teamwork.

Handling Pressure:

Managing stress and pressure during high-profile races or events.

Public Relations:

Interacting with the Public:

Barrier Attendants may need to interact with spectators and address inquiries or concerns.

Navigating these challenges requires a combination of physical fitness, technical skills, emotional resilience, and a commitment to ongoing learning in the dynamic environment of horse racing. Training programs, safety measures, and a supportive work environment can contribute to overcoming these challenges.

Future Growth and Possibilities

The employment outlook for positions in the horse racing industry can be influenced by various factors, including the overall health of the racing industry, regulatory changes, and economic conditions. Additionally, the horse racing industry is subject to regional variations, and trends may differ across different countries and jurisdictions.

Some trends and possibilities that may influence the future of the industry include:

Industry Health:

The overall health and popularity of the horse racing industry can impact the demand for barrier attendants. Changes in public interest, attendance, and betting patterns can influence employment opportunities.

Regulatory Changes:

Evolving regulations and safety standards within the horse racing industry may affect the roles and responsibilities of barrier attendants. Regulatory bodies may implement changes to enhance horse and participant safety.

Technology Integration:

Advancements in technology, such as improved starting gate designs, tracking systems, and safety equipment, may influence the way barrier attendants perform their duties. Training in the use of new technologies may become essential.

Animal Welfare Focus:

Increasing awareness and concerns about animal welfare may lead to changes in industry practices. This could include the development of new protocols to ensure the well-being of horses during the loading process.

Education and Training Programmes:

The availability of specialised education and training programmes for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a barrier attendant can contribute to a skilled workforce. Ongoing professional development may become more prevalent.

Globalisation and Exchange of Expertise:

Collaboration and knowledge exchange between different racing jurisdictions globally may lead to the adoption of best practices and improvements in the way barrier operations are conducted.

Public Perception and Engagement:

Public perception of the horse racing industry, as well as engagement with the sport, can influence the demand for various roles within the industry, including those of barrier attendants.

Availability of Jobs


Which Skills are required by a Barrier Attendant?

The skills required for a career as a Barrier Attendant can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills

Career Skills

  • Animal handling and care techniques
  • Handling equipment
  • Customer service
  • ​Good health and physical fitness
  • Basic computer literacy
Career Skills

Which Subjects must I have at School to prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become a Barrier Attendant?

Minimum educational requirements

Typically, a high school diploma or its equivalent is the minimum educational requirement for entry-level positions as a barrier attendant.

Study Focus

Subjects for Further Study:

Equine Science or Animal Science Courses:

Consider enrolling in courses that focus specifically on equine science or animal science. These courses cover topics such as horse anatomy, physiology, behaviour, and health care.


Studying biology can provide a fundamental understanding of living organisms, including horses, which can be beneficial in your role.

Advanced Studies (if necessary):

Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree:

While not always mandatory, pursuing further education in equine science, animal science, or a related field can enhance your knowledge and open up opportunities for career advancement.

Optional Short Courses:

Horse Handling and Safety Courses:

Short courses focusing on horse handling techniques and safety protocols can be valuable in preparing you for the practical aspects of the job.

First Aid and Emergency Response Courses:

Consider taking courses that provide training in first aid and emergency response, as these skills are essential in ensuring the well-being of both horses and personnel.

Regulatory Compliance and Ethics Courses:

Courses covering regulatory aspects of horse racing and ethical considerations in animal care can contribute to your understanding of industry standards.

Communication Skills Courses:

Enhance your interpersonal skills by taking courses in communication, as effective communication is crucial when working with trainers, jockeys, and other racing personnel.

Study Duration

The duration of a a College Diploma is between 2 and 3 years. Time spent on a Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 4 years, and another 4 years for a Doctorate. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

​Possible Career Preparation Paths

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A preparation path is like a road map to where you want to go.

Possible Path(s):

Here’s a step-by-step guide for a high school student interested in pursuing a career as a barrier attendant:

1.  Attend Career Guidance Sessions:

Participate in career guidance sessions offered by the school to explore various career options. Seek information on roles within the horse racing industry and learn about the responsibilities of a barrier attendant.

2.  Research All Possible Careers:

Conduct thorough research on careers related to horse racing, with a focus on the role of barrier attendant. Explore job descriptions, required skills, and potential career paths within the industry.

3.  Explore Educational Paths:

Investigate educational paths related to equine science, animal science, or related fields. Identify relevant courses or programmes offered by vocational schools, colleges, or universities.

4.  Align High School Subjects with the Educational Path:

Select high school subjects that align with the chosen educational path. Consider courses in biology, agriculture, physical education, or any classes related to animal science.

5.  Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Focus on academic success and graduate with a high school diploma or equivalent qualification.

6.  Learn about Animals:

Gain knowledge about horses and their behaviour. Consider reading books, attending workshops, or engaging in online courses related to equine studies.

7.  Align Post-School Path:

Decide whether to enter the workforce directly, pursue further studies, or explore entrepreneurship. Each path may have different requirements, so it’s essential to plan accordingly.

8.  Gain Experience Through Volunteering, Internship, Mentorship, etc.:

Seek opportunities for hands-on experience with horses. Volunteer at stables, participate in internships, or connect with professionals for mentorship to gain practical insights into the industry.

9.  Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Participate in extracurricular activities related to horses, such as horse riding, equestrian clubs, or participation in local horse-related events.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Explore joining relevant professional associations within the horse racing or equine industry. Networking with professionals can provide valuable connections and insights.

11. Gain specialised Skills:

Acquire specialised skills related to horse handling, safety protocols, and starting gate procedures. Consider taking short courses or certifications offered by recognised institutions.

12. Network with Professionals:

Attend industry events, races, or seminars to network with professionals in the horse racing community. Establishing connections can open doors to job opportunities.

13. Enter the Job Market, Finish Tertiary Studies, or Launch a Business:

Depending on the chosen path, either enter the job market with the acquired skills, pursue tertiary studies in equine science, or explore entrepreneurial ventures related to the horse industry.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education:

Stay informed about industry trends, safety standards, and technological advancements. Pursue continuing education to enhance skills and adapt to changes in the field.

By following this career preparation path, a high school student can build a strong foundation for a career as a barrier attendant and position themselves for success in the dynamic and exciting world of horse racing.

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternative(s):

Stepping Stone Career

A stepping-stone career refers to a job or position that serves as a transitional or intermediate step towards a long-term career goal. Individuals may take on a stepping-stone job as it requires minimum education or finances to enter, or to gain relevant experience and develop skills, or to make professional connections that will ultimately help them progress towards their desired career path.

These interim positions may not be the ultimate or dream job, but they provide valuable learning opportunities and contribute to the individual’s overall career development. Stepping-stone careers are often seen as a strategic approach to building a successful and fulfilling professional trajectory, allowing individuals to gradually move closer to their desired roles or industries.

A career as a Barrier Attendant in horse racing can serve as a stepping stone to various other roles within the broader equine industry, sports management, or related fields. While it may not be a traditional career path, the skills and experience gained in this role can be transferable. Here are some potential career paths that individuals with a background as a Barrier Attendant may consider:

Training and apprenticeship

The specific on-the-job training and apprenticeship requirements for a person entering a barrier attendant career can vary depending on the employer, racing jurisdiction, and the individual’s prior experience. However, here are some general considerations for on-the-job training and apprenticeship in this field:

Basic Horse Handling Training:

New barrier attendants often undergo training in basic horse handling techniques. This includes learning how to approach, lead, and guide horses safely.

Starting Gate Procedures:

Training on the specific procedures related to loading horses into starting gates is essential. This includes understanding the operation of the gates, coordinating with gate crews, and ensuring a smooth loading process.

Safety Protocols:

Comprehensive training in safety protocols is crucial. Barrier attendants need to be aware of potential risks and emergencies, as well as the proper procedures for ensuring the safety of both horses and personnel.

Communication Skills:

Training in effective communication is important for barrier attendants. They must be able to communicate clearly with trainers, jockeys, gate crews, and other racing personnel.

Observation and Decision-Making:

Apprenticeships often involve hands-on experience, allowing individuals to observe experienced barrier attendants and learn decision-making skills in real-time situations.

Understanding Racing Regulations:

Apprentices may receive training on racing regulations and rules governing the loading process. This includes understanding the role of stewards and complying with industry standards.

Emergency Response Training:

Training for handling emergency situations, such as a horse becoming agitated or injured during the loading process, is typically part of the on-the-job training.

Workplace Etiquette and Teamwork:

Learning the importance of workplace etiquette and effective teamwork is crucial for barrier attendants, who often work closely with gate crews, trainers, and other racing personnel.

Periodic Refresher Courses:

Ongoing training and refresher courses may be provided to keep Barrier Attendants updated on safety protocols, regulatory changes, and best practices.

Mentorship Programmes:

Some racing facilities may offer mentorship programmes where new barrier attendants work closely with experienced professionals to gain practical insights and hands-on experience.

It’s common for individuals entering this career to start as entry-level attendants and progress through on-the-job training. While formal apprenticeship programmes may not always be structured in the same way as in some other trades, the learning process is typically hands-on and experiential.

It’s advisable for individuals interested in becoming Barrier Attendants to inquire with racing facilities, trainers, or racing associations about specific training programmes, apprenticeship opportunities, or mentorship initiatives available in their region.

Average level of education of people entering this career

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certificates, Registration and Professional Associations

The specific requirements for licences, certificates, and legal registrations for individuals aspiring to become barrier attendants may vary based on the racing jurisdiction and local regulations. However, here are some common types of certifications and legal considerations that may be applicable:

Stable Employee Licence:

In many racing jurisdictions, individuals working directly with horses, including barrier attendants, may be required to obtain a stable employee licence. This licence often involves background checks and verification of qualifications.

Equine Welfare and Safety Certification:

Certifications related to equine welfare and safety may be required. These certifications demonstrate that individuals are trained in handling horses safely and are aware of the well-being of the animals.

First Aid and Emergency Response Certification:

Barrier attendants may be required to hold certifications in first aid and emergency response. This is crucial for dealing with unforeseen situations and ensuring prompt and effective action in emergencies.

Regulatory Compliance Training:

Training on racing regulations and compliance with industry standards may be part of the licencing process. This ensures that barrier attendants are aware of and adhere to the rules governing horse racing.

Local and National Racing Association Requirements:

Each racing association or regulatory body may have specific requirements for licencing and certification. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the regulations set forth by these organizations.

Background Checks:

Racing authorities may conduct background checks as part of the licencing process to ensure that individuals with criminal histories or certain disqualifications are not involved in the industry.

Ethics and Code of Conduct Compliance:

Adhering to a code of conduct and the ethical standards set by racing authorities is essential. This may involve agreeing to uphold the integrity of the sport and adhere to ethical guidelines.

Continuing Education Requirements:

Some jurisdictions may require individuals in the horse racing profession to engage in continuing education to stay updated on industry advancements, safety practices, and regulatory changes.

Membership in Racing Associations:

Becoming a member of relevant racing associations or organisations may be required. These associations often set industry standards and provide resources for professional development.

Occupational Health and Safety Compliance:

Compliance with occupational health and safety regulations to ensure a safe working environment for both barrier attendants and horses.

It’s crucial to reach out to the racing authority or regulatory body in the specific location where you intend to work to obtain accurate and up-to-date information on licensing requirements.

Professional Associations

International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA):

The IFHA is an international organisation that brings together racing authorities and organisations globally. It focuses on coordinating and promoting the integrity, structure, and organisation of horse racing.

National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA):

The NTRA is based in the United States and serves as a central authority for Thoroughbred horse racing. It collaborates with industry stakeholders to promote and enhance the sport.

Racing Victoria Limited (RVL):

Racing Victoria is the governing body for horse racing in the Australian state of Victoria. While it may not specifically cater to barrier attendants, it provides information on racing in Victoria.

British Horseracing Authority (BHA):

The BHA is responsible for regulating and overseeing horse racing in Great Britain. It sets standards for the industry and works to ensure the integrity and fairness of the sport.

Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal care.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in gaining knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you thousands of FREE short courses.

A. You can access the specialised study guide that fits in with the above preparation path

B.  If you are still uncertain about choosing this career, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses. They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while and after school, and even how to start your own business.

C.  Or, join OZT as a member to access easy-to-use lists of courses to make your career preparation as smooth as possible! And yes, membership is always free.

Join the OZT online community for special access to more tools!

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a barrier attendant.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. Some career experience is necessary; otherwise, you won’t get the job!
  • Top-notch information on each of the different species you will work with
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  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes, and certificates. Be the best of the best while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a barrier attendant, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the group, and non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the one for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu.

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