AgriFutures Fast Track Program: A career where no day (or horse) is the same for Audrey Keck

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Two years after finishing school, Audrey was working as a barista and looking for career options outside of the 9-to-5 grind when she came across the Fast Track program on Facebook which sparked her interest.

Developed by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, the Fast Track program is a 12-month course aimed at anyone with an interest in horses, no matter their experience. It provides participants with the practical skills and knowledge to develop a fulfilling career in thoroughbred breeding through formal study and a full-time traineeship on a stud farm.

“I had no prior education around horses but I had done agriculture at school,” Audrey said. “I knew I wanted to do something with animals for a long time and I thought Fast Track would be an interesting option. I owned horses as a hobby so I was confident that I would enjoy that pathway.”

AgriFutures Australia is supporting the Fast Track program to address the current workforce shortage in the thoroughbred breeding industry and to help the industry thrive into the future.

Exploring diverse career options in thoroughbred breeding

As part of the Program, Audrey completed two sets of formal learning blocks in Scone, New South Wales and obtained a TAFE Certificate III in Horse Breeding.

In between these blocks Audrey completed a practical placement at Swettenham Stud in Nagambie, Victoria, allowing her to build on her passion for horses and develop valuable skills and knowledge – from basic handling of horses to more advanced farrier skills and leading horses for yearling sales. As the Program aims to produce well-rounded, capable individuals who can become productive members of the industry, Audrey also completed training on safely operating quad bikes, side by side utility vehicles, horse floats and defensive driving as well as first aid before joining Swettenham Stud.

Audrey has enjoyed the chance to meet new people in the industry, as the Program connects participants with leaders in the thoroughbred breeding industry by organising field trips to stud farms, speaker presentations and social events.

“I’ve made a lot of connections from the FastTrack Program and activities. Gaining the knowledge prior to going to the stud meant that it wasn’t as much of a jump into a new career as it would have been if I didn’t do the course,” Audrey said.

The diversity of tasks at Swettenham Stud was a highlight for Audrey. She worked through the peak of the breeding season which spanned from September to December, which involved regularly checking and treating the mares and foals, before transitioning to weaning and preparing for yearling sales in the new year.

“I love that not every day is the same when working with horses. There are so many different tasks and things to do which is what makes this job so enjoyable for me,” she said.

“I like providing care for the horses and seeing them grow from young foals into yearlings. I also love how different they can be – not one horse that you handle will be the same and I love that some are more challenging than others.”
Audrey plans to stay in the industry and continue exploring the range of career options available in thoroughbred breeding at Swettenham Stud, with a particular interest in foaling, handling young horses and yearling sales. She is also keen to work nationally and overseas if the opportunity arises.

“Thoroughbred breeding is diverse and there are a lot of opportunities and amazing people to work with. It’s a great job for someone who is not only passionate about horses but loves learning and working hands-on, or for someone who gets bored in a 9-to-5 job,” she said.

“If you’re thinking about applying for FastTrack, give it a go. I honestly didn’t think I’d get into the program knowing how many people would apply, and I did end up being able to pursue that career. So just give it a chance and see where you end up.”

Keep up to date with the latest research, events and program activities subscribe to AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horse Program here To read more about the Fast Track program visit

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