There are many who have turned their passion into a brilliant career at Arrowfield Stud – and now it’s your turn.
Coming to work at Arrowfield, whether it’s for a summer, a few years, or your entire working life, is often a critical stepping stone to an exciting and fulfilling career in Australia’s Thoroughbred industry. The diverse paths followed and forged by Arrowfielders past and present are useful guides for young people wanting to make a career out of their passion for horses:
The Stallion Handler
Mitchell Ralph arrived as a super enthusiastic, slightly ‘rough around the edges’ boy from Morrinsville, New Zealand, with the work ethic and full-immersion background of a family of farmers, horse breeders and trainers. Mitchell’s high level equine skills soon earned him a place on the Arrowfield stallion team and he became a familiar figure at stallion parades, video and photo shoots, and at yearling sales. But that was just the start of Mitch’s career with Arrowfield: earlier this year he took up an exciting role with Arrowfield’s Bloodstock and Sales team.
The Arrowfield Legends
Jess Hood and Adam Shankley have both celebrated their 20-year anniversaries at Arrowfield and were very popular recipients of the 2022 Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards for Horsemanship and Administrative Services.
A grandfather who liked to punt was Adam’s only family link with racing, but his natural empathy with horses was evident early in life. It led him to work first with yearlings, then racehorses and, two years after he arrived at Arrowfield in 2001, he was entrusted with accompanying leading sire Hussonet to the United States.
After eight years as Stallion Manager, Adam took up a valuable utility role, sharing his knowledge with younger staff while handling broodmares, stallions, weanlings and yearlings. In 2022 he took on a fresh challenge as Arrowfield’s Assistant Operations Manager, ensuring all farm activities are carried out safely and efficiently.
Jess grew up in rural Victoria and began riding at the age of three. Formal training at Marcus Oldham College was followed by a decade of stud and yearling work before moving to Arrowfield in 1999, where she was soon given the role of Yearling Manager. Ten years’ managing staff and horses in the yearling barn, and dealing with buyers at sales gave Jess a strong base of knowledge and experience for her 2010 move to Arrowfield’s Office Administration team. She now processes all essential paperwork and is the first point of contact for job applicants, staff support and most visitors to the farm.
The Mover and Shaker
Vicky Leonard hails from the small New Zealand city of Timaru and grew up horse-mad, thinking she would become an equine vet.
After completing a degree in zoology at Otago University and working with leading studs in the uni holidays, she changed tack, eventually winning a place on the prestigious two-year Godolphin Flying Start Management Training Program. Vicky graduated at the head of her class and in 2011 made a beeline for Arrowfield where she took up the Marketing Manager’s role, creating a series of campaigns and initiatives that raised the global profile of the stud’s brand.
With the support and mentorship of John Messara AM, Chair of the Arrowfield Group, Vicky added an MBA to her qualifications and in 2018 founded her own marketing business Kick Collective, as well as the successful industry publication TDN Australia & NZ. In 2022 she launched KickUp to counter false claims made about horse racing.
Arrowfield offers a wide range of roles for different aptitudes and skill levels, with newcomers always welcome to join us as general stud or stable hands and learn the basics of working with Thoroughbred horses under the supervision of our senior staff and managers.
Breeding and Sales Seasons
The breeding season runs from August to November:
- Most foals are born August to November
- Stallions begin serving mares 1st September
- Shuttle stallions depart in early December
The main sales season runs from January to June and includes:
- Magic Millions Gold Coast – January
- Inglis Classic, Sydney – February
- Inglis Easter, Sydney – April
- Magic Millions National, Gold Coast – May/June
The breeding and sales seasons are excellent opportunities to work at Arrowfield with our broodmare, foal, and yearling teams, and to kick-start or turbocharge your brilliant career in the Thoroughbred Industry.
If you’re keen to get your career on track, visit Arrowfield Stud or call +61 2 6545 3999.