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How Do Caretakers Enrich Your Stable?

Published: July 12, 2019 9:35 am ET

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National Caretaker Appreciation Day events are coming up the weekend of July 19-21 at racetracks, farms and stables across the country to recognize and show appreciation to some of the hardest working men and women in the sport.

When it comes to a great caretaker, there are many skills and traits that trainers, breeders or anyone running a stable look for. If you were to provide a job posting for a caretaker it might read something like this:

WANTED: A horse-crazy person that has / is the following:

  • Eyes on the back of their head

  • A master of organized chaos

  • A social life only in the barn and at the track

  • Willing to have their patience tested on a regular basis

  • A problem solver: forgot the earplugs? No problem, I have a sponge in the trailer

  • Lack of sleep but has an abundant amount of love and care for their horses

  • Prepared to work outdoors in extreme temperatures and varying weather conditions.

  • Available to work six to seven days a week, anywhere from 40 to 60 hours per week.

  • Available evenings, weekends, and holidays.

  • The skills to balance a harness bag, bucket, cooler, and head poles while steering a race bike through a crowd in the paddock

  • Crazy...about Standardbreds

Does this sound like you or someone you know?

All kidding aside, caretakers are the foundation of the harness racing industry, and without them the sport would not be able to exist in the capacity that it does. Just ask driver Doug McNair.

“They do all the work throughout the mornings and all week long. I just sit behind the horse for 10 minutes once a week," said McNair. “They do all the work: making sure everything is safe, the lines are done up and all that kind of stuff. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have my job.”

Day in and day out, caretakers are there for our horses caring for their basic needs and going the extra mile for their equine companions. Caretakers enhance the harness racing industry as a whole through their work efforts and dedication to the Standardbreds in their care, whether it is at the breeding farm, at the training center or on the racetrack.

“They (caretakers) are the life-blood of the industry. We can’t expect one person to take care of barns and barns and barns of horses. To have people come in and donate their time and their love for horses is something special,” reflected Anthony MacDonald from

Here is the latest video, produced by Standardbred Canada’s summer intern, Christina Gillis, in recognition of caretakers and National Caretaker Appreciation Day events.

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