Experience some of the best horsemanship Australia has to offer with this fun-packed week of both theoretical and practical based learning. Horse-breaking, polo, the thoroughbred industry, groom skills, therapy work and much more. You’ll feel totally prepared to jump straight into a job thanks to the expert guidance from our instructors.

Duration: 3 months. Up to 12 months support.
Dates: See BOOK NOW
Arrival: Friday
Eligibility: From reciprocal countries eligible for a 417 or 462 visa. Driving licence required. Horse ability: upper intermediate to advanced preferable.
Age: 18-30 (Canadians 35)


  • A pre-arranged paid position at a top horse stud or farm for 3-6 months
  • Expert, custom-made horsemanship workshops including polo, breaking and handling thoroughbred youngsters
  • Country and beach rides with stunning views across mountains, gorges, Surfer’s Paradise and the ocean beyond
  • Develop and broaden your equine skills, gain unique work experience and good references
  • A 2 hour surf or stand up paddle board lesson and a brumby-based evening at a famous ‘outback show’


You’ll begin your adventure with three days at the famous Surfer’s Paradise beach on Queensland’s stunning Gold Coast. Once you’ve explored the coast and all the activities included, head up into the refreshing mountains to get stuck into some real horse work. Uncover trade secrets that will set you ahead of the game in the Australian polo, thoroughbred and horse-breaking industry. You’ll also gain a totally unique and eclectic mix of experience through learning a diverse range of horsemanship skills. You’ll ride against a backdrop of breath-taking scenery, right up on top of the National Park plateau, and fulfill a life long fantasy of galloping in the surf on one of the Gold Coast’s finest beaches.

This programme comes with a paid job in the Australian equine industry. Following the training you’ll be assisted in getting from door to door, complete with all the necessary admin and paperwork to set you up. You’ll work on studs in industries such as polo, racing and equine sports from between 3-6 months. Food and accommodation is also included so you’ll have a fantastic opportunity to save money.

What will I be doing?

You’ll receive a detailed schedule of jam-packed horse activities once you apply.

Spend a few days on Australia’s most famous beach where the sun shines on average for 300 days a year

  • The Gold Coast offers the very best of Australia’s white sandy beaches, surf, restaurants, bars, theme parks and much more
  • Surfer’s Paradise is the hub for all things backpacker, so once you’ve shaken off the jet lag, you’re free to explore
  • There are a few typical Aussie must-dos included in this programme – a surf or stand up paddle board lesson is one of them
  • You’ll also enjoy dinner and a show at Australia’s much-loved brumby themed ‘Outback Spectacular

Training with Australian stock horses

  • This is the real highlight of this programme. You’ll be coached by some of Australia’s best horseman out there
  • Your trainers have vast experience in polo, cattle mustering, horse breaking, natural horsemanship, equine therapy and thoroughbred breeding – to name a few
  • The induction is specially designed to give you broad experience, and to make sure you feel fully prepped for work

You’ll be taking part in a range of horse related theoretical and practical activities which could include: 

  • Instruction on breaking, handling and working with young horses from your horse trainer
  • An introduction to life at a real breeding and racing thoroughbred stud
  • Have a go at polo and what it takes to be a polo groom
  • Natural horsemanship skills and horse training
  • Horse welfare including farrier work and administering medication
  • The use of Australian stock horses and their equipment
  • Safety guidance and handy tips
  • An equine (Bowen) therapy clinic
  • Leading several horses from horseback
  • Horse riding in the beautiful National Park with stunning views of the Hinze Dam, rainforest and out to the Gold Coast skyline
  • Half day at the beach, galloping through the surf

Onward to your job and beyond

  • Once you’ve completed the week you’ll be dropped back on the Gold Coast for one final night before travelling to your job with professional horses and riders
  • Your paperwork including a bank account, tax file number, medicare and SIM card will be organised for you
  • All your travel will be booked and you’ll be given a leaving pack with all you need to know about what happens next
  • You can work with your employer from between 3-6 months
  • You’re then free to do whatever you like with your savings for the rest of your working holiday visa
  • You can expect to be paid the award wage with food and accommodation included
  • Most people find they have enough to live off and some extra cash for travel


  • You’ll transfer from Brisbane airport to Surfer’s Paradise and spend 3 nights in a comfortable little hostel right on the beach. Dorm rooms sleep a maximum of 4 people
  • Services include free breakfast, tea and coffee, WiFi, TV and a pool. Take advantage of organised budget activities, budget night’s out and budget food. There is also a hostel bar
  • You’ll be driven into the lush Gold Coast hinterland where you’ll be staying in a wonderful rainforest eco lodge for 4 nights. This is a few kilometres from your training base on the National Park plateau
  • On Friday you will transfer back to the Gold Coast for one final night at the beach hostel
  • With a diverse range of employers, accommodation at your job can vary. You are most likely to be living in shared accommodation with other grooms.  You’ll be given more details of your unique placement before you depart for Australia


  • Free hostel and eco lodge breakfasts for the full 8 days
  • 3 course steak dinner at the ‘Outback Spectacular’ show (vegetarian options available)
  • Lunch on the coast on Monday
  • 4 Lunches at the training facility or local restaurants
  • 4 Dinners at the training facility or local restaurants
  • Snacks, tea and coffee throughout your stay
  • At your job – food is included as part of your wage or you will be given a budget or higher wage to compensate for this

What do I need to know regarding Covid-19?

We have been working closely with our partner organisations to ensure that you travel with the utmost confidence and peace of mind. Follow the links below to learn more about how to do this:

Want to combine some city work too?

Fancy experiencing a bit of city life/beach life as well on your gap year ?

We also offer a fantastic work and travel programme in Sydney where you can live and work as a local in industries such as hospitality, retail or admin. You can also opt to work in an around Melbourne, or further afield.

Ask the team for further information about combining these two programmes.

Travel arrangements

Airport: Brisbane (BNE)
Arrival day: Friday before 3pm
Transfer details: When you arrive at the airport you will be given a shuttle voucher for a bus to transport you to Surfer’s Paradise
Departure day: Leave for the coast Friday afternoon, and spend one more night in Surfer’s Paradise. Travel to your job on Saturday morning

Supporting You

Since moving back from Australia in 2016, Georgie has been running our Australian and New Zealand work programmes here at Oyster. She is also our marketing and creative manager. As a dual national and founder of the horsemanship programme, you’ll benefit from her extensive knowledge as she’ll be your contact both pre-departure and on the ground during the course.

You’ll be trained by polo player and horse-breaker Beau. Beau is a 3rd generation horseman who comes from a long line of Australian cattle stockmen and polo players. Beau breaks, trains and re-educates thoroughbreds, polo ponies and jumpers. Beau is also a qualified Equine EMRT Bowen Therapist Practitioner.


  • Access to your own personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the program and manage your booking
  • Dedicated contact time with an experienced destination manager to discuss the project, answer any of your questions and for us to find out more about you
  • Help and advice from our UK office before arrival and whilst you are away
  • In-country support
  • Pre-departure information covering medical, safety and project advice
  • Gold level, 24/7 Pharos crisis management and incident support cover
  • Financial protection: ATOL (if we book your flights); IPP (if we don’t book your flights)
  • Thorough orientation on arrival
  • Accommodation (see the ‘accommodation’ section above for details)
  • Advice on visa requirements
  • Oyster plants a tree in Africa with TreeAid to help reduce the impact of global carbon emissions
  • Food (see above in the ‘food’ section)
  • Pre-departure job matching service and confirmation of job
  • A suggested packing list
  • Airport transfer to Surfers’ Paradise
  • Meet and greet and full briefing on your first night
  • An orientation setting up your bank account, tax file number, medicare and free SIM card
  • Half a day beginners surf or stand up paddle board lesson
  • A three course dinner and transfers to the ‘Outback Spectacular’ show
  • Friendly hostel staff with a tour desk to advise on local trips
  • Free facilities on the coast including breakfast, tea and coffee, luggage storage, WiFi, discount meals and organised events
  • Transfer to the rainforest lodge accommodation
  • Complimentary equine gifts including hat, t-shirt and water bottle
  • An exclusive custom-made horse experience week taught by expert horsemen
  • Riding helmets provided
  • Course notes and completion certificate
  • WiFi throughout
  • Free SIM card
  • Departure pack
  • Travel to job booked for you
  • A job in the horse industry
  • Support for up to 12 months

On your return:

  • References (on request)

Not Included

  • Flights – as an ATOL bonded company, Oyster can book flights for you
  • You need a valid passport that meets the requirements of the country you will be travelling to
  • Insurance (covering your time with Oyster and any planned independent travel)
  • Any costs associated with changing your return flight date if you need to
  • Independent travel costs
  • Home country travel costs
  • Spending money for additional trips, food and entertainment
  • Cost of your Working Holiday Visa. You must be eligible for a Working Holiday visa 417 or Work and Holiday visa 462 (aged between 18-30 and a permitted nationality for the visa. See here for work visa eligibility criteria)
  • Access to approximately $1200 Australian dollars (£600-700) when you arrive (we recommend you have extra emergency funds) – this is for travel costs, work clothes and food and tourist activities on the coast
  • Cost of travel from to the job (within the budget above approximately $200-$300 or £100 – £150)
  • Living and travel costs if you decide to stay in Australia following your job placement

Project story

In 2009 Georgie moved to Australia on a working holiday visa. She now has dual nationality and 6 years management experience in the Australian, rural tourism industry. She continues to support Australian programmes as well as many other international projects, through her work as an Oyster agent since 2016. Having had a passion for horses her entire life, she has always wanted to set up a programme of her own to help other international riders fulfill the dream of working with horses Australia.

Although riding classically from a young age, for the past 10 years it’s mainly be Australian stock style. Georgie was involved with horses for the most part in Australia. From teaching stock riding to beginners, working on a polocrosse training and breeding stud, to mustering cattle on horses and working with cattle in the yards. She is also a qualified equine therapist.

More Information

Please find latest updates for travel requirements to Australia here (UK citizens)


Above all this is a programme for those who have  paid or unpaid experience with horses (upper intermediate to advanced is preferable). The point of the programme is to offer you a chance to earn money abroad and to expand your experience by taking home new equine skills.

To qualify for application:

  • You must be aged between 18-30 and eligible for an Australian Working Holiday Visa 417 or Work and Holiday Visa 462 (includes UK, USA, Canada and most of Europe)
  • You must have a very good level of English and be able to communicate clearly
  • You must have a driving licence from your own country (if you are eligible in all other aspects then you may be considered by some employers – it is definitely worth enquiring)
  • You must be able to provide a good equine engineered CV on application for the team to assess and present to potential employers
  • References are encouraged
  • You will need to provide photographs and/or film clips of yourself riding
  • Weight and fitness levels are considered before acceptance on to the programme

Following your horsemanship preparation week, you will be working as a groom on an elite equine stud. The sort of work available is on top thoroughbred studs or with well known polo players. These quality establishments are pre-organised and you will have lots of information about what the job entails pre-departure.

You’ll have the chance to experience a new way of working with horses no matter what industry you work in or what sort of work that you have done before. As a horse-person you will be aware of all the physical jobs and hours that come with paid horse work, and it is important to know that we cannot not guarantee riding will be part of the paid package.

It is likely that if you are working in any one field, there will be cross-overs into others, and you will get to brush shoulders with many different contacts in the equine world. 

  • You need to apply at least 2 months before you go, but we recommend booking at least 4 – 6 months in advance of departure
  • Work visas can take anything from between 1 and 8 weeks so it is best to start the process as soon as you can
  • We have set weeks and limited numbers so please enquire as soon as you can

This is unique if you’re looking for programs for horses or with horse association. Not only will you be training horses yourself and learning equine behaviour, you’ll be working for top horse owners and some of the best performance horses in the industry. Have fun with horsemanship, riding and handling for the maximum experience.

Australia is best known for its hot, dry climate. However it can also get very wet and cold. Inland areas are often chilly in the winter at night, even if day time temperatures rise. It’s best to bring layers and be prepared for the changes. Whenever you are going, make sure to pack for rain and cooler temperatures.

Australia is larger than Europe and thus the climate can vary dramatically depending on where you are. Spring is September to November, summer is December to February, autumn lasts from March to May and winter begins in June and lasts through August.

Typically the northern parts of Australia are warmer and tropical all year round because these regions are closer to the equator. In the north, there tends to be two seasons; wet (summer) and dry (winter). Southern Queensland experiences what’s known as subtropical, with a combination of wet and dry but also following the general rule of four seasons. Sydney and the rest of New South Wales are fairly mild in the winter with minimum temperatures often staying above 10°C. The summers are beautiful but can often reach scorching temperatures.

You should be warned that there are some instances where Australia may become very cold during the winter, especially at the higher elevations in Tasmania and Victoria, snow may be abundant and temperatures are below freezing. It is much more seasonal down south so wrap up in winter! In saying that, Melbourne is known as the city with four seasons in one day and has experienced some of the hottest days in Australia on record.

The weather dictates a lot of the what happens in rural Australia and everybody is always talking about it. You may find yourself getting hooked on following weather forecasts such as BOM (Bureau of Meteorology).

When you arrive at Brisbane Airport you will catch the private shuttle bus to your backpacker hostel on Surfer’s Paradise, the journey takes about an hour. 

We suggest you arrive on a Friday before 3pm as there is a welcome orientation in the evening. You will receive detailed information about this.

Early Arrival

It is advisable to catch the same flight as the rest of the group in order to arrive together.  However, participants will be coming from several different airports so this is not essential. 

If you choose to arrive a few days early, this is no problem. We can still issue you a bus ticket from the airport, but only for this journey. In this instance, you will need to book extra nights at the hostel yourself. If you are staying in alternative accommodation, please make your way to the hostel on Friday afternoon for check in. 

Horse country is Australia wide, however there are a lot of horse studs located in northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland. This is mostly likely where the location for your job will be – our horsemanship course is located in the heart of this.



You can expect to start on the minimum wage. Under the terms of the Fair Work Act, those aged 18 may be paid only 80% of the adult wage, and those aged 19 may be paid 90% of the adult wage.

The national minimum wage is currently $20.33 per hour or $772.60 per 38 hour week (before tax), with reductions for tax and keep. That would mean taking home around 300- 350 AUD a week. (June 2021).

Most of our employers pay a minimum of 350 AUD after tax, with free food and accommodation. With expenses, this is much higher than average.

Pay rates and workplace conditions are set by Australian law. All people working in Australia, including those from overseas have rights and protections at work. These cannot be taken away by contracts or agreements. If you have questions about your pay and conditions while in Australia, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free help. You can also contact the Fair Work Ombudsman by phone within Australia on 13 13 94 (Translating and Interpreting Service 13 14 50).

To be able to qualify for a 417 or 462 work visa, you must be between the ages of 18 and 30, and hold a passport from one of the eligible countries stated by the Australian Embassy. 

It is important that your level of English is sufficient to be able to operate safely with horses. When working, it is vital that you understand verbal instructions to ensure that you and others are safe.

  • There are always things to do with horses in your free time
  • You’ll meet other grooms and be able to socialise at local events and in the small towns
  • There is always a local pub
  • Head to the coast for the weekends or enjoy the many national parks on offer
  • Post job placement, you’ll have the whole of Australia to explore and travel


Yes! We’d love for you to enjoy the horsemanship course with your friend. We will do everything we can to obtain a job for you and your friend(s) together, but you may have to be more flexible with job offers.

This course has limited spaces with between 6-8 equine elite on each. We want to focus on giving you the best experience through small groups. It is important you are provided with lots of knowledge for our employers who expect a high standard.

The courses run throughout the year but ensure that you book early to get a place as numbers are limited fill up fast.

You should visit your doctor or travel nurse to find out what vaccinations you will need. Typically you will need your routine travel vaccinations to be in date and it is essential that your tetanus is up to date. Australia does not require any additional vaccinations to Europe.

This will vary depending on the exact location of your job but there will always be medical facilities in a town or city near by. The studs that you will be working on will have procedures for emergencies. It is possible to get an air ambulance to remote locations.

The hospital closest to the training facility is 30 minutes drive.

You should expect to leave the Gold Coast on Saturday and arrive at your job over the weekend to start on Monday morning.

Most jobs last for about 3 months, sometimes longer. It is possible to work for one employer for up to 6 months on a working holiday visa.

It is likely you will meet lots of people in the equine world and subsequent jobs could follow if you want to continue working throughout your visa.

You will have extensive information on your job offer before you depart for Australia. We want to manage your expectations before you arrive so that you know exactly what you are going to be doing. In unique circumstances, it may be possible to find you another job, but you must be prepared to wait at your own expense for us to find you something suitable.

If you walk out on the job then it is unlikely that you will be offered another. Communication is key and if you aren’t getting on well with your job you must let the team know in order to help you.

Some equine studs are able to offer this option but it is not guaranteed.

It is essential that you have a full driving licence to be able to work in rural Australia.  The ability to drive a manual vehicle not only makes you more employable, it also means you are much safer to work.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • The majority of the jobs on offer are on properties that can only be reached by car. Employers will always require their workers to drive somewhere, be it in or around the property.  A major job role for our workers is transporting horses or people to games, races or events
  • Holding a driving licence means that you have reached a certain level of comprehension of how cars and gears work. Knowledge of using gears is important when driving four wheeler quad bikes or tractors – this may be required at your job. These are not skills that we expect you to have before you arrive but knowledge of gears is important
  • Safety, safety, safety. Using machinery and driving when you do not have a licence is dangerous. We do not want you or the employers to be put in compromising situations


The Aussies love their meat. Expect fairly simple meals that will fill you well for all the hard work you will be doing. There is usually a beer to accompany most of what you eat! Other than that, you will find all the typical western foods with a few extras thrown in such as vegemite and milo!

In saying this, there are plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options available, and places on the coast are very accommodating with dietary requirements. In many cases you will be cooking for yourself in groom’s accommodation so you will be able to eat exactly what you like.

It is usually limited in rural areas but WiFi is accessible in most places.

Eastern Australia is 10 hours ahead of GMT (GMT +10) but if your job is located slightly further afield then this might vary

Providing you follow all instructions given by your employer, you should feel secure working in Australia as you would be at home. Probably more so.

Whilst Australia is developed country, it is important however, as in any big city, to be aware of your surroundings, keep your belongings in sight and keep your wits about you. Crime levels in Australia are low.

Australian electrical appliances operate on 240v at 50hz but the socket outlets are not compatible with the other countries’ plugs. This means you will need a specific Australian adapter.

This paid work abroad programme aims to help you hit the ground running once you arrive in Australia. It therefore involves support and advice, rather than supervision. You will have a lot of interaction with our local rep (Georgie) during the first week or so. When you get to your job, you will probably feel able to do most things independently or with the help of your employer. However, you will still be able to to call on us at any time for support.

Oyster has responsibility for your safety on all activities directly organised by us. However, during your free time, and after the first week of intensive support, we will not be in control of your activities and you will need to take responsibility for making safe decisions. We will provide plenty of guidance about this. We will also be able to provide help in an emergency for up to 12 months.

If you’re planning to be in Sydney for a bit and looking to take part in some real Aussie activities, join our surfari weekend which departs every weekend from central Sydney excluding the winter months of June – August. The super surf team will look after you as one of the family, and you’ll make lots of friends with other young international travellers. You can plan your surf weekend around your work and travels.

The surf development programme is also available all year round.

Take a Gap Year in Australia to one of the most popular destinations in the world for work and travel. Some of the greatest attractions for people wanting to work there include that the English language is spoken, the laid back culture is very appealing, the weather is great and there is a variety of work on offer.

This Gap Year Program gives you the opportunity to embrace life down-under, safe in the knowledge that you have support and a group of young like-minded people around you.

Travelling in Australia is safe and easy and by obtaining an Australian working holiday visa, you can get a paid job to keep the cost of living down. Start by getting a job in Australia on this gap year program to kick start your Aussie Adventure.

Got a question or want to chat to Project Manager Georgie who has first-hand experience of the project? Call +44 1892 771 977or email: – [email protected].

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