Race Horse Groom Training

Length of Program: 15 WeeksProgram Intakes: Winter Intake (February program start)February 2020


Race Horse Groom Training

Please note, the Winter 2020 intake of the Race Horse Groom Training program has been cancelled. Please contact us at horses@oldscollege.ca if you have any questions.

This course helped me pursue my dream of working with horses. Thanks to the experiences and information I learned during the course, I have thrived working at racetracks and as an assistant manager at a breeding farm. The instructors are valuable sources of information and knowledge, and a lot of fun to work with. Whatever job you want with horses, this program is the ideal foundation

Taryn Alard, Race Horse Groom Training Graduate (2015)

Horse being lead towards a race track

What can you expect from our program?

If a career with horses in an exciting, fast paced and high profile industry sounds appealing, then the Race Horse Groom Training Certificate might be right for you! The relationship between the horse and groom is by far the closest in the industry because grooms provide the daily care and attention to these prized equine athletes. Keeping their charges both physically and mentally happy provides unlimited job satisfaction.

What will you learn?

During this practical hands-on 15 week program (includes a 3 week practicum) you will learn all of the skills you need to provide intensive professional care for both flat and harness racing. Courses in the program include bandaging techniques, stable management for the flat race track and the harness race track, understanding nutrition, conditioning, veterinary techniques, hoof care, harnessing and race preparation. Each phase of the course will teach you to work with horses as you would in an industry barn using industry loaned race horses as your main ‘textbooks’. This hands-on knowledge is combined with theory sessions designed to make you a better horse person and provide you with all of the necessary skills to successfully provide day to day care for race horses, as well as maintain the standards required for the race paddock. Your instructors are experienced professionals, with North American experience to help you learn best practices and techniques with a focus on safety and continuous improvement.

With support from Horse Racing Alberta and industry partners you will receive your hands on training with Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses and Standardbreds. Olds College boasts an excellent range of equine amenities including the Canadian Equine Centre of Innovation (CECI), a state of the art multi-million dollar riding arena and stables complex. Your hands-on training will take place at Northlands Park Race track in Edmonton, Century Downs Racing Centre north of Calgary, and potentially other racing or breeding facilities. Part of your training will include field trips to training centres and breeding stables where you will see state of the art health care and therapy tools in action.

Graduates of the Race Horse Groom Training program have experienced success at the race track with Stakes winning horses and many have used the program as a stepping stone to other careers in the industry. Race Horse Groom Training alumni Amanda Gregory graduated in 2005 and worked for a racing stable for six years before she took out her Trainer’s License and started her own Thoroughbred racing stable. In 2013 she had 12 horses in her care and had 85 starts, 14 wins and over $140,000 in earnings and achieved a lifelong goal with her first stakes win.

Program at a glance

Credential: Certificate

Length of Program: 15 Weeks

Method of Delivery: Olds Campus

Directed Field Study/Work Term/Practicum: A Work Term consisting of 120 hours (approximately 3 weeks) is completed at the end of the program.

Program Intakes: Winter Intake (February program start)

Applications Open: February 1 for the Winter Intake

Selection Process for Admission: Competitive based on interview

Tuition, Mandatory Fees, Books, and Supplies: Please refer to the current Fee Schedule for details

  • Tuition & Fees: $1,460 / Books & Supplies: $265

*These fees are provided as estimates only for the purposes of budgeting. Please note that all fees are best estimates and are subject to change.

This program is not recommended for International Students as it is difficult to get the appropriate Visas for such a short program.

International Students will require a Co-Op Work Permit as well as a Study Permit for this program.

What do I need to apply?

Admission Requirements

  • 18 years of age or older
  • 50% or better in English Language Arts 10-1 or 10-2
  • 50% or better in Math 10C
  • Complete an Interview & Practical Assessment
    • Verbal Interview to assess the applicant’s knowledge of the horse racing industry, experience with horses, interest in the program, and career goals.

    • Practical Test to assess the applicant’s manual dexterity to adequately cope with the course material.

    • If an applicant is unable to attend on-campus testing, they may have the option of submitting a video test and participating in a Skype/telephone Interview. Those applicants opting to participate in video testing risk the program being filled first by on-campus testing applicants.

  • Meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement (completed at minimum 3 years of formal education taught entirely in English or provide the results of a recognized English Language Proficiency exam)

Interview: Applicants with the required information completed and submitted will be pre-screened and those meeting the minimum requirements will be invited to participate in an interview. Please note that not all applicants may be invited for the interview component. The interview involves a verbal interview to assess the applicant's interest in the horse racing industry, any experience with horses, interest in the program and career goals

Applicants who meet the academic admission requirements and are invited to interview will be directed via an email from the Admission Officer on how to arrange the date & time for their interview.

Selection For The Programs : Applicants will be notified of their admission status by mid-December. The number of qualified applicants may exceed the number of available seats within the program; therefore, the highest ranked applicants in the competitive entry process will be selected for admission. The remaining qualified applicants will be ranked and placed on a waitlist.

Final selections for the Race Horse Groom Training program will be based on meeting the admission requirements of the program and evaluation of the on-campus interview and practical test.

Academic Upgrading and High School Applicants: Applicants currently in high school or who are completing academic upgrading must submit proof of enrolment and any available interim/ mid term marks. Final marks must be submitted within one month following the completion of the course(s) and no later than one month prior to the program start date.

Alternate Admission Option: Alternate Admission status may be offered to applicants who have not or will not complete one of the academic admission requirements. To be considered under Alternate Admission Status, applicants will be asked to provide the following:

  1. (Required) Transcript(s) showing any completed high school and post-secondary courses
  2. (Required) Letter of Introduction and Intent, outlining the following:
    • Introduce yourself
    • Indicate why you wish to enrol in the program
    • Elaborate on your career goals
    • Detail your experience relevant to this program and the industry
  3. (Required) A resume of your work history, extracurricular activities, volunteer service, etc. for the last 5 years
  4. (Optional) Include copies of any tickets and/or certificates you currently hold (e.g.: first aid, safety tickets, etc.)
  5. (Optional) Letter(s) of reference from current or past employers/coaches/etc. (maximum of two letters)

*Submitting Alternate Admission material does not guarantee admission*

Out of Province Applicants: Please refer to the Provincial Equivalency Chart for course equivalencies.

International Applicants: *This program is not recommended for International Students as it is difficult to attain the appropriate permit for a program that is less than 6 months.

Directed Field Study Required: 120 hour Industry Practicum to be completed after May

Where Can I Live on Campus?

Race Horse Groom and Exercise Rider & Jockey Training Program students spend only their first phase on the Olds College Campus. Details for housing at the track during the second and third phase will be provided to students in their first week of classes.

CHOC is the exclusive service provider of on-campus housing for Olds College. Live in Centennial Village, our newest campus living facility featuring 450 private suites (no roommates), or in College Courts our 4-bedroom townhouses. Enjoy a short commute to class, partake in weekly residence life events and enjoy the safety of living on campus.

Learn More

I have some more questions. Who do I contact for help?

Our Admissions office can help navigate you through the admissions process and answer any questions you have about your program of study.

Admitted Students

Admitted Student Information

Program Dates: Find out when you term start and end dates are, so that you know when you are expected to be in attendance. For more information, please review the Program Dates & Fee Schedule.

Class Registration: You will be registered into your classes automatically. This will happen approximately 1 month prior to the start-date for your program. You will be notified once you have been timetabled into your courses. You will be able to see your class schedule in your My Olds College account. If you need to make any changes to your class registration, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Technology Recommendation: It is strongly recommended that you come to Olds College with the following technology:

  • A laptop is preferred

As part of your student accounts, all students have access to Office 365 for the duration of their time with Olds College. To access this you just need to follow these steps:

  • Go to portal.office.com
  • Enter your Olds College email address and password
  • Once logged in there is a button on the right that says "Install Office Apps"

This will give you access to the full Office suite on your computer, for both Windows and Mac based platforms.

Materials & Supplies:

View the Race Horse Groom Training Program Material & Supply List

Required textbooks will be supplied to you the first week of class.

Other Important Information:

  • Time Requirements: As you acquire the industry skills you will start applying your skills by working in the race barn alongside the Exercise Rider and Jockey Training program students. The final portion of the instructional part of the program will be at a Horse Racing Alberta track as you will experience working in different Industry barns. At the completion of instruction you will move into the Industry Practicum of your choice within the Alberta Race Horse Industry.

    • You will be attending class approximately six to eight hours per day. Classes are normally scheduled between 7 am - 4 pm, with some scheduled in the evenings and on weekends. You will be required to do daily assigned care of your horse after classes.  You should anticipate approximately 1 to 2 hours of additional study each night.

    • You will be participating in the care of the horses at Olds College, which will include doing chores as part of a team. Each chore team will be expected to work for 7 days, every three or four weeks throughout the program. On those weeks that your team is on chores, there will be two to five hours (daily) of feeding and caring for horses, to be done before and after regular class hours. Chores begin the first day of class, so please be prepared to do chores should your team be the first one selected to start that day.

  • Additional Skills: As this is a physically demanding program it is important to work on your fitness daily prior to coming into the program.

  • Horses on Campus: You will not be bringing your horse to use in the program. All horses needed for the program are supplied by the program through the generosity of our industry partners and selected for you to experience the type of horse you will ride in the flat racing industry.

  • Physical Program Requirements:

    • All admitted students must meet the licensing and drug free physical requirements of a Horse Racing Alberta groom and exercise rider.

    • All students must be able to be in a dusty, at times cold, environment, strong enough to move feed (bags and 60 lb bales) and hold a strong pulling horse on the ground and in the saddle.

  • Program Goals:

    • Increasing your horse handling and physical care experience, race industry barn management, horse health knowledge, preparing both the flat racer and the standardbred horse for daily exercise, learn race day procedures and be able to operate small farm machinery (if possible have a valid Driver's License before you start this course).

You will also receive First Aid and fire training as well as personal finance skills to help you manage your money.