This unit of competency supports racetrack supervisors, stewards and other industry personnel in identifying a range of racing animal welfare issues that may be related to track design and condition, and presenting options for improving external conditions.
Competencies attained in this unit apply to the greyhound, harness and thoroughbred codes of the industry. Consequently when performance criteria are applied they will relate to either the greyhound code or harness code or the thoroughbred code and statements of attainment will reflect this distinction.
This unit can be contextualised for other industries while also maintaining the integrity of the unit.
Elements and Performance Criteria
Relate animal physiology to environmental conditions.
1. Animal cooling mechanisms are researched and efficiency is related to ambient temperature and humidity.
2. Influence of other climatic conditions on animal performance is identified.
Relate animal performance to common racing illnesses.
3. Digestive distress is related to track and environmental conditions.
4. Respiratory distress is related to track and environmental conditions.
5. Nervous distress is related to track and environmental conditions.
Relate animal injuries and performance to track design and surfaces.
6. Track camber and tightness of turns are related to performance injuries.
7. Track density and track materials are related to performance injuries.
8. Grading, mowing and watering techniques are related to animal performance.
9. Impact of weather on track surfaces and animal performance is discussed.
Measure factors that may affect animal performance and discuss options for improving performance and safety.
10. Track density and moisture content are measured and results interpreted using standard industry tools .
11. Ambient temperature and humidity are measured and results interpreted using standard industry tools.
12. Track rating is determined using industry standard definitions.
13. Options for improving track conditions for optimal greyhound or horse performance and safety are evaluated.
14. Overall weather conditions are evaluated to determine whether racing can continue.
15. Justification for adjusting or not adjusting track or environmental conditions is presented to stakeholders.
applying OHS and environmental work procedures
assessing an individual animal's general health status
communicating with stewards, racing officials, and licensed and registered personnel using assertive communication techniques to gather, interpret and relay information relating to track and environmental conditions and animal welfare
conducting continuous improvement processes
consulting concisely and effectively with colleagues and team members
evaluating advantages or disadvantages of a variety of potential solutions to problems
identifying racing animal behaviour patterns
operating a range of equipment and technology
reading and interpreting workplace documentation, including rules of racing
relating to people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with varying physical and mental abilities
using measuring devices.
common racing animal behaviour traits
communication procedures, including reporting lines within the workplace and wider racing industry
clinical signs related to gastric, respiratory and nervous conditions in racing animals
clinical signs of lameness in racing animals
factors that affect hydration status of racing animals
hazards and potential hazards in the workplace and risk control procedures
mathematical procedures for estimating, measuring and calculating
OHS and environmental legislative requirements
race meeting protocols and reporting requirements
racing industry animal welfare requirements
rules of racing
track construction and design
track ratings and condition
types of equipment and procedures for their operation and maintenance.
The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.
Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit
The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit and include evidence of the following:
knowledge of requirements, procedures and instructions that are to apply when relating animal welfare to track and environmental conditions
demonstration of determination of track ratings and condition using basic technology
implementation of procedures and timely techniques for the safe, effective and efficient application of judgement and skills associated with identifying a range of animal welfare issues related to race meeting operations and rules of racing
working with others to undertake and complete procedures that meet required outcomes.
Evidence should be collected over a period of time in a range of workplace-relevant contexts and include dealings with an appropriate range of situations.
Context of and specific resources for assessment
Competency must be assessed in a racing workplace that provides access to the required resources. Assessment is to occur under standard and authorised work practices, safety requirements and environmental constraints. It is to comply with relevant regulatory requirements or Australian Standards requirements.
Assessment of the practical components of this unit will be by observation of relevant skills.
The following resources must be available:
industry-supervised access to a range of racetracks, race meetings, trackwork and kennels or stables relevant to the applicable racing code
supervised access to racing or race-retired animals with illnesses and injuries outlined in the range statement
materials and equipment relevant to assessing candidate's ability to relate animal welfare to track and environment conditions, including:
DVDs or videos of animal locomotion
standard industry tools
veterinary reports, scans and x-rays
work instructions and related documentation.
Method of assessment
Assessment methods must satisfy the endorsed Assessment Guidelines of the Racing Training Package.
The suggested strategies for the assessment of this unit are:
written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
observed, documented and firsthand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks.
Evidence is required to be demonstrated over a period of time, therefore where performance is not directly observed any evidence should be authenticated by supervisors or other appropriate persons.
This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role.
Guidance information for assessment
Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).
The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording in the performance criteria is detailed below.
The range statement provides details of how this competency can be used in the workplaces of the racing industry to relate animal welfare to track and environmental conditions. Workplaces include greyhound kennels, harness and thoroughbred stables as well as greyhound, harness and thoroughbred racecourses, training tracks, administration buildings and public areas.
Aspects of animal cooling mechanisms that may affect performance include:
care of animals at race meetings, including:
allowing access to water before racing and after travelling long distances or sweating heavily
ensuring animal has access to water after racing
ensuring animal is hosed repeatedly after racing, and scraping or towelling after each hosing
allowing animal to stand in breezy, shaded area
greyhounds are unable to sweat, cooling is by way of evaporation of moisture from the lungs and air passages
horses cool by sweating unless suffering anhidrosis
increases in humidity reduce evaporation effect and reduce ability of animal to maintain appropriate body temperature
increased muscle breakdown caused by heat stress resulting in myoglobinuria and/or severe body breakdown
loss of water from animal's body by evaporation in effort to maintain body temperature results in dehydration
monitoring of hydration level at race meetings following travelling, excitability, heavy sweating and access to water prior to racing
overheating may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke
temperature data logging systems
warm down, cool off, fitness level, rectal temperature and water cooling points, including:
Climatic conditions may include:
cold and fog
prevailing air pollution level, which may exacerbate climatic conditions
wind and wind chill.
Digestive distress may include:
conditions that may result in suboptimal racing performance, including:
Respiratory distress may be evidenced by:
bleeding or exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPD)
chronic coughing or pharyngeal lymphoid hyperplasia (PLH)
heart rate before and after race
inflammatory airway disease (IAD)
upper respiratory inflammation
reactive airway disease (RAD)
recovery time after exercise
respiration rate and aerobic performance
thumps or synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF).
Nervous distress may be indicated by:
diarrhoea, possibly due to gastrointestinal disturbances associated with travel to race meeting
exertional rabdomyolisis (tying up)
twitching or kicking.
Impact from track camber and tightness of turns on performance injuries may include:
bone and soft tissue injuries, including:
strained fetlock joints
suspensory and check ligament
greyhound or horse reaction to different surfaces, cambers, inclines, turns or slopes
harness camber compared to thoroughbred camber
turn radius, camber and speed entering the turn.
Impact from track density and track materials on performance injuries may include:
hard surfaces near chutes and crossing may cause more severe injuries
impact caused by turf roots of kikuyu and cool season grass
track density based on:
track drainage and irrigation
underlying track geology
track materials, including:
range of surfaces for different training regimes and workloads
thatch and mowing height.
Grading, mowing and watering techniques relate to animal performance by:
excessive grading in wet or heavy conditions may impact on animal's exercise intensity
lack of watering causing dusty conditions may cause respiratory distress
track condition and rating (e.g. fast, good, dead, slow or heavy going) may exacerbate animal's existing injury and relate directly to new injuries
uneven track marks due to rushed grading may cause impact on animal's action
uneven dragging may cause 'false footing'
uneven rolling may cause 'bridging', resulting in 'false footing'.
Standard industry tools may include:
wind speed measurement.
Considerations when evaluating options for improving track conditions may include:
achievable and realistic actions on a given race day
long-term renovation of track
short-term management of track.
Track conditions for optimal greyhound or horse performance are defined as:
industry-agreed track conditions to suit majority of starters, not an individual greyhound's or horse's preferred conditions.
Weather conditions evaluation as set down in:
guidelines for racing animal welfare
rules of racing.
Areas to be considered when presenting justification for adjusting or not adjusting track or environmental conditions will include:
image of racing
options that are feasible or not feasible within time available, budget or resource constraints
options that provide the opportunity to improve potential performance or increase or decrease risk of illness or injury.
Greyhound, harness and thoroughbred racing codes
This unit contains employability skills.
Refer to Unit Descriptor