Pictured Stuart Crawford (trainer), J J Slevin (jockey) and CAFRE Level 2 Equine Apprentice, Jack Johnson with Dorking Cock, a 10-year-old gelding by Winged Love, winner of the Bar One Racing Handicap Hurdle at Navan on 19th November 2023.
The Level 2 and Level 3 Equine Apprenticeship in the Equine Industry programmes, delivered by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), welcomed a new intake of budding equine enthusiasts in October 2023.
Face to face training takes place in short blocks, periodically throughout the year, at CAFRE’s Enniskillen Campus and through weekly, online teaching sessions.
Apprentices combine classroom theory, knowledge, and riding with practical skills gained whilst working in the equine industry. Students study towards their British Horse Society Stage 2 and Stage 3 exams.
CAFRE’s Equine Apprenticeship Programmes are an excellent way to gain industry recognised and relevant qualifications whilst developing skills, experience, and an income in the workplace.
Areas that apprentices will study include caring for horses, grooming, tack and equipment, feeding and watering horses, monitoring and maintaining health and safety, monitoring the health and well-being of horses, plaiting and trimming, preparing for and exercising horses and equine anatomy. Non-riding options are available as an alternative to the riding route.
Jack Johnston, a 16-year-old from Larne is enrolled on the Level 2 Apprenticeship in the Equine Industry. Jack is employed with Crawford Brothers Racing at Newlands Farm near Larne in County Antrim.
When did you start riding?
I started riding in July 2022 at Laurel View Equestrian Centre in Templepatrick, Co. Antrim. I then started working for Stuart Crawford in September 2023. It was one of the other staff members that suggested I look at CAFRE, and so I decided to enrol!
What are your future goals?
I would like to get my Jockey Licence and I am working towards my BHS Stage 2 exams as part of my apprenticeship. I am also considering achieving the Level 3 Equine Apprenticeship Programme too.
What is your favourite thing about working at Crawford Brothers Racing?
It is such a friendly atmosphere on the yard. The entire team is so hard working and we are all trying to achieve the same thing, which is to get the best out of all the horses, making sure they are happy and healthy. I also love going to the race days to watch the horses that I have ridden throughout the week.
What do you like about the course at CAFRE?
I like that I am developing a broader knowledge about all aspects of the horse itself and then that I am able to apply that to my work.
Describe your daily work routine...
I arrive at the yard shortly after 7am and start my day by checking and feeding the horses. I put the horses on to the walker and then muck out up to ten stables.
My morning duties involve grooming, tacking-up and riding out – I would ride up to six lots a day. Warm up consists of walk, trot and canter work in the arena and then we head to the gallop. After their exercise, each horse is washed off and put on the walker to cool down and dry off.
In the afternoons I check the horses and skip out stables and brush the walker, feed the horses and tidy up the yard before I finish for the day. My days are busy but I get a real sense of satisfaction from my work.
If you are interested in enrolling on an Equine Apprenticeship Programme or if you are an employer interested in offering an Apprenticeship position within your business, further information can be obtained by contacting Jenny Richardson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org