Jobs in breeding

By: Horse Deals

Jobs in breeding
Jobs in breeding

Considering a career in the breeding industry? Here’s our round-up of some of the career opportunities on offer – and how to train for them…

Stud hand or groom

Alongside the usual yard duties, a stud groom will be responsible for the care of broodmares and youngstock as well as holding mares for teasing, covering or veterinary exams and assisting with foalings. Duties can also include helping with stallion viewings or semen collection. Much of the work is yard-based but opportunities exist for presenting youngstock at sales and shows.

TRAINING: Industry experts recommend training courses with a large practical element, especially the work-based diploma route. Degree courses such as equine studies should involve a relevant breeding component and plenty of practical experience.

Stallion handler

As Thoroughbreds must be conceived by live cover to be registered and raced, many studs still stand a selection of stallions on the premises. A large stud employs handlers to care for these stallions and assist during covering. Additional duties may include foaling, youngstock training, record keeping and organising stallion viewings.

TRAINING: The role was traditionally known as ‘stallion man’, yet successful handling calls for sensitivity and common sense rather than mere brute strength. Most handlers work their way up to the stallion unit from stud groom positions, gaining the necessary experience to deal with these highly-prized and occasionally hormone-driven animals.

Stud secretary

At the heart of any successful stud is a well-run office, where stud records are maintained and administration relating to horses, owners and staff takes place. A stud secretary should possess good communication skills, an aptitude with computers and a meticulous attention to detail. Duties typically range from booking in visiting mares to completing bloodstock registration forms and preparing sale papers, but can extend to handling PR, stud accounts and health and safety matters.

TRAINING: While there’s no defined route into this sought-after role, strong secretarial skills coupled with an understanding of stud procedures will stand you in good stead. Consider computer qualifications such as the ECDL (European Computer Driver’s Licence), plus any additional accounting and book-keeping training. The National Stud offers a five-day Equisoft Stud Secretaries’ course.

AI technician

Developments in AI have opened up a huge area of opportunity within the modern non-thoroughbred breeding industry. An AI technician is usually based at a stud and deals with the care of the mare before and after insemination, the handling of fresh, chilled or frozen semen and the insemination procedure itself.

TRAINING: Look for a DEFRA-approved course at an established training centre. Twemlows Stud Farm in Shropshire offers a two-day course, run in conjunction with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which includes practical and written tests.

Semen agent

British breeders can now access some of the best stallions in Europe, thanks to AI. An agent acts as a ‘middleman’ between major studs and obreeders, promoting a select number of stallions and facilitating the import of their frozen or chilled semen for insemination. The role entails marketing the stallions and helping breeders make their selection, before ironing out any documentation or shipment problems.

TRAINING: There’s no specific training available, although certain college courses can provide a practical and theoretical basis. An agent is usually self-employed and needs a good eye for conformation and a thorough understanding of breeding and AI – ideally combined with a foreign language and a working knowledge of IT and social media.