Get to know your equine trainer: Christine Meunier
You will be hard pressed to find someone who loves talking all things horses more than GOTAFE equine trainer Christine. Find out how a career in the equine industry could take you on adventures around the world.
Our equine trainer Christine was advised by her careers teacher in high school there was no future working with horses and boy did she prove them wrong!
A Diploma of Horse Breeding at GOTAFE opened a world of opportunities in Ireland, France and South Africa. Christine went on to not only educate students at GOTAFE, but she has also authored a series of books reaching avid readers in the UK and US.
Christine shares all the exciting things to be learned in her course and provides some helpful advice for people considering a career in the equine industry.
Tell us about yourself
I moved to Wangaratta from Melbourne to study Horse Breeding at GOTAFE back in 2003-2004. After completing the Diploma of Horse Breeding, one of the placements GOTAFE provided to me gained me full time work as a stud hand on a thoroughbred stud in Euroa – I loved it! It was such a great industry and so much variety.
I also spent some time studying in Ireland at the Irish National Stud and came back to Australia where I continued working with stud horses. Between all the work I was already doing, I found time to create a blog that focused on horse careers and opportunities in the equine sector around the world.
Whilst working as a stud hand in Euroa I got an unexpected call from the horse studies coordinator at Box Hill TAFE. She kept on finding my blog when she was researching topics for her horse breeding students and asked if I would consider teaching. I believed it was a prank at first, “what an unusual call!” I thought to myself. But I pursued my TAE and started casual teaching at Box Hill. It eventually led to GOTAFE looking for a trainer for equine courses and I was available, I’ve been fortunate enough to work a lot closer to home and teach students who are as passionate about the equine sector as I am.
What is something unique students get to learn about in your course?
Choosing just one is hard! I love the physiology side of things, the fact that a mare produces antibodies specific to her environment to protect the foal before it can build up its own immunity is pretty amazing and unique.
What are some of the highlights of your teaching career at GOTAFE?
Helping students understand concepts taught across our different courses relating to horse health, nutrition and physiology. I also love getting to go out into the industry and seeing the gorgeous properties and facilities of horse studs that have staff enrol into the horse breeding traineeship so they can gain a qualification whilst they work. And each year there are a couple of students who teach me about a new concept or product I hadn’t known was on offer in the equine industry!
What have been some challenges?
Ensuring all students can engage in their studies and stay on track, especially with recent lockdowns and a lack of access to facilities at their school such as a laptop and internet.
What do you believe makes a great GOTAFE trainer?
One who is passionate about their teaching area, as well as being driven to help students and at times able to think outside the box. Being organised and able to meet deadlines is important, too!
What advice do you have for someone considering a career working in the equine industry?
Go for it! There are opportunities that can take you all around the world. If you work on a large property you gain access to so many different horses and build up your confidence quickly, and if you find work at a smaller place it helps you to develop your skills across all areas of your learning.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I have worked as a stud hand, foaling attendant, equine trainer, stable hand, author and horse-riding instructor – all thanks to horses! They have enabled me to visit Ireland, South Africa, France and even work interstate in NSW and Victoria and my books are read by many young horse fans in the UK and USA!
What’s a fun fact about horses?
Horses can’t breathe through their mouth – nostrils are important!