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Behind-the-scenes of the Explorer Cadetship Program

The Explorer Cadetship Program provides Queenslanders with a first-hand opportunity to commence their careers in the thoroughbred industry.

Staged in conjunction with the Australian Racing and Equine Academy, the 12-month program offers candidates with a cross-section of educational and practical experiences including placements within racing stables and stud farms.

Olivia Beck, who is now is now working as a stablehand for Gollan Racing, chronicles her time in the Explorer Cadetship Program and what she learnt as part of the in-take.

To learn more about the Explorer Cadetship Program, click here.

How did you first get involved in horses?

When I was eight we visited the property of a family friend who had horses. I was asked if I wanted to ride a Shetland pony fittingly named, Danny Devito. I previously had never had any interest in horses, but I thought why not? I ended up really enjoying it, and after he kicked/bucked twice, I said to myself, ‘Yep, this is my sport.’

How long have you been involved or interested in a career in the racing industry?

In 2016, I bought my first horse, which was an off the track thoroughbred (OTTB). This sparked an interest in his background, where he came from and what kind of life he had lived.


Why did you apply for the Explorer Cadetship Program?

When I saw the ad, I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to see what happens in the industry for myself, and a great learning opportunity for how to better care for my own thoroughbred!

How did you find the three-month 'Boot Camp' at Hawkesbury?

The first word that comes to mind is intense. You learn about a year’s worth of information in those three months but once you make it to the other side you have this awesome sense of accomplishment. I learned so much invaluable information in that time that has been very useful in the time since. 

What did you learn during your time?

We did classes from preparing horses for breeding, first aid, conformation, to rules and regulations of racing, and how to pick a quality race horse. I personally loved our excursions to places like the Hawkesbury track for trials, and the Inglis sales.


Since then, where have you been placed?

My first placement was at Kildalton Park with McEvoy Mitchell Racing in Angaston, South Australia. This was an experience of a lifetime, taking part in the operation of such a prominent trainer. It was fantastic seeing the detail in which each individual horse was treated and trained. Caring for, feeding, saddling, and even swimming the 90-100 horses that were there.

Back in my home state Queensland I am now in a full-time stablehand position at Gollan Racing where I have made some awesome friends (horses and people), and strapped my first races, with a winner in the mix!


What are your goals/plans for the future?

I plan to go to university next year to study a Bachelor of Science, but I hope to major in genetics and come back to the racing industry in a different position. With new research into the Myostatin gene, also known as the ‘Speed Gene’, horses can now be tested for their genetic aptitude to sprinting, mid-distance, or staying.