2022 Strategy Review

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) and Aushorse recently released its annual strategy review. This report outlines key initiatives undertaken in 2022 and looks what the organisations will focus on in 2023.

Click here to view the online edition of the publication.

You can also request a complimentary hard copy by emailing member@tbaus.com.

Support For Victorian Breeders Impacted By Flooding

The Victorian flooding events of the past week have been devastating for many in the breeding community and Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) is committed to assisting those who have been impacted.

With the announcement of a flood relief package from the Victorian government in the past few days, we want to ensure all those businesses that are eligible to claim are able to do so.

To assist with this, TBA are working with specialist thoroughbred accounting firm, Stable Financial, to provide a service for those breeders who might need some support lodging their applications for grants. This service will be provided free of charge to breeders.

Those wanting to receive support and guidance on navigating the applications for grants or concessional loans can call 03 9629 3023 and ask to speak to Kim Borzatti or Kate Bartolo.

Alternatively, people can email info@stablefinancial.com.au for support.

TBA chief executive Tom Reilly said: “We all know that filling in forms and dealing with government paperwork can be daunting at the best of times, let alone when you’re trying to deal with the impacts of a natural disaster.

“I’m very grateful to Adam Tims, the principal of Stable Financial and honorary treasurer of TBA and Aushorse, to make his staff available so that people can get some advice on how to lodge an application for a grant or concessional loan.”

The relief package announced includes the following:

For Primary Producers

Primary Producer Flood Clean Up and Relief Grant

  • $10,000 one off payment for direct impact of floods.
  • Covers activities such as the removal/disposal of debris and injured/deceased livestock, replacing or repairing essential equipment, fixing and replacing fencing, buying fodder, water and water storage, salvaging damaged crops, grain or feed, and hiring or purchasing materials to clean up a property or equipment.
  • Additional supporting documentation is required to be submitted with the application, which is submitted through Rural Finance.
  • Click here for more information and guidelines.

Primary Producer Transport Support Program

  • Claim up to 50% of transport costs up to a total of $15,000 for the transport of emergency fodder or stock drinking water, and moving stock to agistment/sale/slaughter due to flooding.
  • To claim this support, you can use the same application form as the Flood Clean Up and Relief Grant.
  • Click here for more information and guidelines.

Primary Producer Concessional Loans

For Businesses (excluding Primary Producers)

Small Business Immediate Flood Relief Program

For Individuals

Disaster Recovery Payment

Disaster Recovery Allowance

TBA is also committed to supporting the mental health needs of those who have gone through the traumatic events of the floods. Our Stud Staff Support Line (1300 822 935) provides free and confidential counselling to all in the industry.

Furthermore, TBA has assisted a number of impacted farms by sending a counsellor to the property to talk to staff. To arrange such a visit, contact Cecelia in the TBA team on +61 411 696 036.

Applications Open For The 2022 Nolan Scholarship

Applications for the 2022 Nolan Scholarship are now open.

The Nolan Scholarship is awarded annually to a graduate of the TBA Fast Track program in memory of the late Basil Nolan Jnr, a highly respected and much loved member of the Australian breeding community.
The successful graduate will travel to Ireland for six months to take part in the Irish National Stud Breeding Course. Pictured is 2021 scholarship recipient, Tess O’Connor, receiving her certificate after successfully completing the course earlier this year.
The scholarship will be awarded to the student who best displays the qualities that Basil Jnr himself was so widely admired for.

The Irish National Stud Breeding Course

The Irish National Stud Course was established in 1971 and is regarded as the best-known equine training program within the thoroughbred industry. Many graduates have gone on to hold prominent positions on farms and within organisations around the world.
Unlike university based programs, the training is mainly of a practical nature and is designed to provide students with a hands-on approach to every aspect of horse breeding. The course is full-time residential and starts mid-January each year and runs for the Northern Hemisphere breeding season.

Learn more about the Irish National Stud here.

Scholarship Criteria

  • Applicants must have successfully completed the TBA Fast Track program. This includes graduating with a Certificate III in Horse Breeding from TAFE and having their formal traineeship signed off by their employer. Students who were not eligible for formal traineeships (ie. those based outside NSW) must have completed a minimum 12 months employment with their farm.
  • Prior knowledge and/or industry experience will not be taken into account during the selection process. The scholarship will be awarded based on what the individual has achieved since commencing the Fast Track program and the contribution they have made to their workplace and/or the industry during this time.
  • Although academic ability isn’t the sole focus, applicants will need to have displayed a level of dedication and a positive attitude towards their studies, and have been a courteous member of the classroom during their time on the program.
  • In the workplace they must have consistently demonstrated an excellent work ethic and have been a team player; someone who is kind and supportive and always willing to help others.
  • They must demonstrate a genuine passion for the thoroughbred industry.

The successful applicant will be the person who best fulfills the above criteria and who the interview panel believe will be a great ambassador for the Australian breeding industry and honour Basil Jnr’s legacy.
The following attributes were central to Basil and what he most looked for in staff members of his own:

  • Honesty
  • Enthusiasm
  • Motivation
  • A strong work ethic
  • A passion for learning more on the job

The Application Process

To apply for the Nolan Scholarship, you must complete an online application form.

You are also required to upload a Letter Of Support from your employer and/or an industry referee (someone who currently works in the thoroughbred industry).

The letter should outline why they think you are a deserving recipient of the scholarship with particular focus on your attitude towards learning, contribution to the workplace, your relationships with your peers and colleagues, and your passion for horses.

Only shortlisted applicants will be invited to sit an interview via Zoom, with a panel of TBA representatives and members of the Nolan family. 

Successful Fast Track graduates are eligible to apply for the scholarship at any time. You are not restricted to applying in the year that you graduate and if unsuccessful, you can always reapply the following year. There is no limit on how many years you can apply. 

Click here to begin your application.

Applications for this year’s scholarship close on Monday 10th October at 11.59pm. Those shortlisted will be contacted shortly after to arrange a suitable interview time. 

The successful applicant will need to arrive in Ireland in early January 2023 and remain there until the end of June, when the course finishes.

The full cost of flights and tuition will be covered by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.

This is an incredible opportunity for anyone looking to develop their career in the thoroughbred sector. The Irish National Stud Course is world renowned and many of Australia’s industry leaders are successful graduates of the program. 

For more information, contact Madison Tims at madison@tbaus.com.

Mental Health & Wellbeing Workshops

Throughout August, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) will be hosting a series of mental health awareness and wellbeing workshops.

These free workshops will be presented by Pippa Baker, a qualified mental health educator. The sessions aim to help managers develop the practical skills and knowledge to help enhance the wellbeing and performance of their staff. 

Topics that Pippa will cover include: 

  • What is burnout and how to manage it effectively
  • Positive psychology
  • Feedback strategies
  • What is depression and how do I recognise it?
  • What is anxiety and how do I recognise it?
  • Why is empathy important in the workplace?

Dates and locations for the workshops are as follows: 

  • Victoria – 4th August at the Nagambie Rowing Club 4pm – 6pm (face-to-face delivery).
  • New South Wales – 17th August Scone Equine Research Centre 4pm – 6pm (face-to-face delivery). 
  • Zoom Webinar – 24th August 11am – 1pm (AEST)
  • Zoom Webinar – 29th August 5pm – 7pm (AEST)

To register to attend either a face-to-face workshop or zoom session, simply click on the registration link below and fill our the form:

Register For Workshops

Pippa will also be talking about understanding the Stud Staff Support Line (SSSL): how to use the platform and the benefits of the service. The SSSL was launched by TBA last year and offers free, confidential counselling to anyone working in the breeding industry. 

To access the service, phone 1300 822 935 and let them know you are calling from the Thoroughbred Breeding industry.

To help raise awareness of the SSSL with your staff, we’ve created two posters that you can download and print. We suggest displaying these in common areas around the farm such as staff rooms, accommodation, yearling barns, crushes and the stud office. 

Download Posters

For more information contact TBA’s Education and Projects Manager, Madison Tims, on 0405 535 436 or drop her an email at madison@tbaus.com.

Developing Our Workforce

Over the coming months, TBA will be hosting a series of one day workshops around the country offering stud workers in management roles the opportunity to advance their leadership and communication skills.

These workshops will focus on the following:

  • How to motivate and manage a team
  • Build effective communication skills
  • Develop skills to respond appropriately under pressure
  • Navigate difficult conversations in the workplace

The cost of the training is fully-funded by TBA and the content is primarily designed for team members in middle-management/supervisory roles, however the training is also suitable for aspiring managers. 

The training is delivered by Juliet Robinson from Big Goals. Juliet has over 20 years experience helping leaders and teams perform better and a good understanding of the ag sector.

You can read more about Juliet and her work here.

The first workshop was held in Toowoomba on Wednesday 22nd June, with plenty of positive feedback from those who attended.

Upcoming workshops include:

  • Monday 4th July in Hahndorf, South Australia.
  • Tuesday 12th July in Nagambie, Victoria.
  • Thursday 21st July in Mornington Victoria.
  • Wednesday 27th July in Perth, Western Australia.
  • Friday 29th July, Tasmania (location TBC).

The workshops run from 9am to 5pm with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea provided.

Registration is essential and participants are asked to complete a small amount of pre-course work prior to attending.

For more information and to register for any of the above dates, contact Madison Tims at madison@tbaus.com.

Breeders To Access RIC Loans From July 1st

From July 1st, thoroughbred breeders will have access to the loans offered by the Regional Investment Corporation. Gaining this access was something that Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) had lobbied governments for two years.

The loans are offered at a concessional rate – currently 2.31% – which is likely to remain lower than commercial lenders, as it is calculated on the back of the federal government’s bond rate, rather than that of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

While there are four types of loans available, the three most likely to be accessed by breeders are:

Farm Investment Loan: This is the most popular of the RIC’s loans and is typically used by farmers to refinance existing debt.

Agristarter Loan: Aimed at helping people obtaining their first farm business or buying relatives out of their farm businesses.

Drought Loan: To help farmers recover from drought or prepare for future climactic events.

All three of these loans have a 10 year loan term, with the first five years at interest only. The remaining debt at the end of the loan term can be refinanced with a commercial lender.

While these loans sound very attractive, there are some really important caveats to eligibility. For example, for the Farm Investment Loan a business has to demonstrate they have been adversely impacted by an event outside their control for two in the past five years; this may be drought, floods or disease outbreak.

For many breeders this will be relatively easy to prove given the recent drought, but people applying will need to be able to show this through their financial records.

Another criteria for eligibility is that applicants will be asked to demonstrate they intend to sell their products into supply chains that are mainly interstate or overseas. Again, given the national nature of horse racing, this is something that many breeders will be able to show; for example, NSW breeders selling stock at the Magic Millions interstate, or horses sold at auction being sent to interstate stables.

The feedback TBA has received from other farming groups is that the RIC approval process is slower and more bureaucratic than with a commercial lender, and that the eligibility criteria is strictly enforced. Anecdotally, other agricultural sectors have said the Farm Investment Loan is the most valuable and this is best used when refinancing.

For those considering whether RIC finance might be suitable for their business, TBA strongly encourages reading the loan guidelines (links below):

Farm Investment Loan

Farm investment loan guidelines: loans for farm businesses (ric.gov.au)

Agristarter Loan

AgriStarter Loan – Regional Investment Corporation (ric.gov.au)

Drought Loan

Drought loan guidelines: loans for farm businesses (ric.gov.au)

Those wanting to discuss the RIC Loans further should contact Craig Turner, who is a RIC business development manager and also has an understanding of the thoroughbred industry having been involved in ownership for many years.

However, TBA strongly encourages reading the loan guidelines before reaching out to Craig. He will then be able to provide further guidance on how an application could be progressed and how a farm could demonstrate its eligibility.

Craig can be reached at craig.turner@ric.gov.au or on 0466 515 307.

Supporting Our Staff

Launched at the end of 2021, the Stud Staff Support Line (SSSL) provides free access to a confidential counselling service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The support line is open to anyone working in the breeding sector and to use it all you need to do is dial 1300 822 935 and quote Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.

Appointments can be scheduled at a time of your choosing via phone or in person and immediate support is also available.

Over the past few months, TBA has been working hard to build awareness of the SSSL. At the National Broodmare Sale last week, team members handed out cupcakes to all the staff promoting the initiative and thanking them for their hard work. Signage has also been on display at various sales, along with regular advertising in the daily industry publications.

The response to the support line has been overwhelming positive, with good uptake from around the country. However, TBA is eager to see more people make use of this resource. We encourage all farms to include the details of the SSSL in their staff inductions and to promote it within their teams on farm.

To help with this, TBA has created posters that can be displayed in common areas such as the yearling barn, crush, staff accommodation and the stud office.

You can download these by clicking on the images below:

2022 Fast Track Trainees Begin Their Journey

Sixteen new trainees began their Fast Track journey last week with the aim of building successful careers in the industry.

Launched by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) in 2018, the Fast Track program offers passionate horse people a pathway into the breeding sector, as well as the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised formal qualification.

Over the next 12 months, trainees will study for a Certificate III in Horse Breeding, while working full-time for some of the country’s most respected stud farms.

The 2022 crop is made up of trainees from five of the six states with students taking up placements on farms in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland – the widest representation of states since the program’s inception.

Expanding the number of interstate trainees was made possible thanks to funding secured through the AgriFutures Australia Capacity Building Program.

Separate to the Thoroughbred Research and Development Levy, the Capacity Building Program awards grants for projects that specifically focus on helping levied industries develop their skills.

This year’s cohort includes a pilot, a veteran and a childcare worker, all of who were looking for an opportunity to turn their passion for horses into a new career.

Former soldier, Jimmy Clarke, developed an interest in horses while working with them in a veteran therapy program.

“When I was transitioning out of the army, I started working with horses in the program and just really loved it”, says Clarke. 

“From there I spent time with an organisation in the Northern Territory that worked with kids in detention doing equine assisted therapy. I decided I wanted to pursue a career with horses and someone suggested I take a look at Fast Track.

“I thought I had no chance of getting selected because of my limited experience but I got the call up and here I am. I’m really excited to get stuck in and make the most of the opportunity. ”

TBA’s newly appointed Education and Projects Manager, Madison Tims, says Jimmy’s story highlights the important role Fast Track plays in bringing new people into our industry.

“Without pathways like Fast Track, people like Jimmy would be lost to us. You don’t need to have grown up in breeding and racing to succeed. If you’ve got the right attitude and are willing to get in and work hard, you can achieve great things.”

The trainees continue at TAFE in the Scone for the next three weeks before joining their farms to prepare for the breeding season.

Phase Two Of The Post-Mortem Of Late-Term Pregnancy Loss Project Commences

Phase Two of the Post-Mortem Of Late-Term Pregnancy Loss Project is set to commence at the start of June.

This project is funded through the AgriFutures Australia Thoroughbred Horses Program and aims to determine the causes and trends of late-term pregnancy loss in Australia.

The initial phase took place in the Hunter Valley and involved the development of a confidential database, as well as the creation of training manuals to ensure a standardised procedure for conducting foetal post-mortems and the collection of results.

Phase Two will now pilot the most effective way to expand this research nationally. As a result, breeders in New South Wales, Northern Victoria and Southern Queensland will now have access to fully funded foetal post-mortems. However, it is important to note that there is a cap on the number that will be conducted in each state and foetuses must meet specific eligibility criteria.

The veterinary clinics taking part in the pilot are:

  • Scone Equine Hospital (New South Wales)
  • Darling Downs Vet (South-East Queensland)
  • Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital (Northern Victoria)

Each clinic has its own specific procedure for dropping off a foetus but as a general rule you must:

  • Contact the clinic first to make sure they haven’t exceeded their quota for funded post-mortems and that your foetus fits the eligibility criteria.
  • Sign a consent form – a vet will not start a post-mortem without this.
  • Double-bag the foetus using heavy duty garbage bags.
  • Keep foetus at a temperature between 4-10 degrees Celsius. To do this, it is recommended that the double-bagged foetus be placed in a large plastic container or bin with ice beneath it and on top.
  • Deliver the aborted foetus within 24 hours of discovery.

Breeders will be provided will a full set of results following the post-mortem. These are expected within five working days, but the EHV PCR will be sent as soon as it’s available, usually within 48 working hours.

For the purpose of the broader research, all details will remain strictly confidential and the data will have no direct link to any horse, farm or breeder; the only people who will have access to the results are the mare owner, the vet who conducted the post-mortem and the lead researcher.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please contact James Murray at TBA on 0407 137 032 or james@aushorse.net.au.

James will be able to provide you with the detailed information specific to your state, including the relevant consent form, eligibility criteria, and transport and drop-off instructions.

You can also access the Frequently Asked Questions for each state via the links below:

NSW Frequently Asked Questions

VIC Frequently Asked Questions

QLD Frequently Asked Questions

2022 Australian Stud & Stable Award Winners Announced

A lifetime’s work in some of Australia’s most famous stables has been recognised and rewarded at the Gold Coast Turf Club on Wednesday evening for the 2022 Stud and Stable Staff Awards presented by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia with the sponsorship support of Racing Queensland, the Australian Turf Club, the Victoria Racing Club, Inglis, Magic Millions, Thoroughbred Industry Careers, Marcus Oldham College and the Melbourne Racing Club and with additional support from Godolphin.

Seven category winners from a record number of nominations for 2022’s Awards were celebrated, recognised and rewarded and one of the army of workers whose devotion and skill keeps racing alive, Reg Fleming was named the overall winner of the Thoroughbred Excellence Award following being awarded the recipient of the Dedication to Racing Award.

Fleming is one of seven winners of the annual Stud and Stable Staff Awards that acknowledge the thousands who operate behind the scenes in Australia’s thoroughbred racing and breeding industry.

Fleming, formerly the long-time Melbourne foreman for legendary trainer Bart Cummings and now filling the same role with Godolphin Australia, he also takes a keen interest in the welfare of retired racehorses, recently becoming the lifetime carer for the former top-class galloper Hartnell.

Other winners to emerge from hundreds of nominations from around the country were Liesl Baumann from Cressfield Stud in NSW who won the SSSA’s Leadership prize and Adam Shankley from Arrowfield Stud, winner of the Horsemanship Award.

On a big night for Arrowfield, Jess Hood made it a double for the Hunter Valley-based farm, taking out the Administration and Ancillary Services category.

In the Dedication to Breeding section, the nod went to Kelly Frost from Godolphin Australia’s Northwood Park farm in Victoria while in the Care and Welfare section, a previous finalist, Fiona McIntyre had her selfless and vital work in re-homing and retraining rewarded with top honours in the Thoroughbred Care and Welfare category.

As well as recognising long-term service, the SSSA also offers a Newcomer Award to those who have been working in the industry for two years or less.

The 2022 Newcomer winner is Sacha Roberts whose move from running a chicken shop to working for Victorian trainer Mick Kent has been a revelation to both her and her boss. The Newcomer winner receives $5,000 and an educational visit to Dubai.

Winners in each category, excluding the Newcomer, receive a cash prize of $10,000 and a trophy with $3,000 to each runner-up and $1,000 to share among workplace colleagues with the Excellence winner receiving a further $5,000.

Congratulations to the following recipients of the 2022 Stud and Stable Staff Awards:

  • Administrative and Ancillary Services Award sponsored by the MRC Foundation – winner: Jess Hood, Arrowfield Stud
  • Dedication to Racing sponsored by the Australian Turf Club – winner: Reg Fleming, Godolphin Australia
  • Dedication to Breeding sponsored by Magic Millions – winner: Kelly Frost, Godolphin Australia
  • Horsemanship Award sponsored by Inglis – winner: Adam Shankley, Arrowfield Stud
  • Leadership Award sponsored by the Victoria Racing Club – winner: Liesl Baumann, Cressfield Stud
  • Thoroughbred Care and Welfare Award sponsored by Racing Queensland – winner: Fiona McIntyre
  • Newcomer Award sponsored by Thoroughbred Industry Careers and Marcus Oldham College – winner: Sacha Roberts, Mick Kent Racing
  • Thoroughbred Excellence Award – winner: Reg Fleming, Godolphin Australia