HORSE enthusiasts from around the State have spent a week at Taree TAFE campus, as part of the practical requirements for their online equine courses.
Students travelled from all over NSW, as far south as Cooma, as far west as Walgett and far north as the Queensland border.
Their ages and skill levels were varied with Certificate 1 students right through to diplomas and ranging in age from 15 to 60.
There were up to 26 students on site throughout the week, performing tasks such as gearing horses up for work, lungeing, clipping, riding, transporting, basic farriery, dental care and first aid.
"The Taree TAFE equine centre facilities provide an excellent backdrop and learning facility for those students attending. The facility is its own working equine centre with eight resident horses," explained equine teacher, Linda Molloy.
The horses are handled and trained by Taree TAFE's onsite equine technical officer, Adora Roberts-Taylor, who also assisted students throughout the week.
Taree TAFE campus is the only one in NSW to have an equine facility of this calibre with facilities including stables and an arena, along with all of the standard items found in a similar industry establishment.
All tasks completed are part of industry requirements and prepare students to enter the industry or further their career paths if they are already in industry.
"Safety is paramount and we consider ourselves as leading the industry in many aspects of work health and safety," Linda said.
"By coming and working at the facility it ensures our students go into the industry aware of and implementing best practice work health safety procedures.
"Animal welfare relevant to horse welfare is also right up there on the agenda in all of our courses," Linda added.
All of the equine teaching staff at Taree TAFE are highly qualified with many of them having their own, fully operational equine enterprises, with years of experience to pass on to the students.
During the week students not only learnt from their teachers but they also got to work with veterinary officers and equine dentists.
The equine course enables students to enter a range of jobs in the industry including strapper, stud hand, stud groom, head groom, stud administration, foaling attendant, stable foreman/supervisor, stable/stud manager, bloodstock agent, trainer, coach, nutritionist, consultant along with roles associated with subsidiary businesses including - commercial transporter or assistant, retail, education and more.
The week long workshop was also a great way for students to network and interact with their teachers and fellow students in what is otherwise a virtual equine world.