Marcus Oldham: nurturing the future stars of our industry

By Simon Draycott

The Valley is thrilled to host the Marcus Oldham Race Night on Friday, in what is poised to be another fantastic night of racing.

Since 1962 Marcus Oldham College has built a worldwide reputation in preparing individuals for careers in farming, agribusiness and equine management.

The College, located in Geelong, allows students to get hands on knowledge in their respective field while under the guidance of full-time and guest lecturers who have extensive commercial experience.

Recent graduate Dom Rhoden is just one example of a student who has studied equine management at Marcus Oldham and who has moved on to start his career at the widely respected Rosemont Stud. He loved his time at Marcus Oldham in which he learned everything he needed to start working in the industry.

“Marcus Oldham set me up perfectly,” says Rhoden.

“While studying there I learned a range of important things like nutrition for horses, horse management, handling of yearlings, all your vet work - especially the reproduction system and we touched on a bit of business management and law and finance.

“It gave me an understanding of what I would be doing on a stud farm. You understand you’re not just doing something because someone tells you to, you realise it’s actually helping the horse.”

Having discovered a passion for the horse racing industry in his teenage years, Rhoden let his passion thrive at Marcus Oldham. He did try his hand at university in a civil engineering course, however was always more at home in the familiar surrounds of the smaller College.

“[Marcus Oldham] is totally different to university,” he said.

“There’s 120 students all together at Marcus. I had 25 in my class. You become friendly with the lecturers and I still stay in touch with our two lecturers. They’re always around to help whenever you want.

“It’s very hands on compared to university, which is mainly all theory. At Marcus you learn the theory and then go out in the field and put into practice what you’ve learnt.“

On top of the regular curriculum, Marcus Oldham offers scholarships to travel to different parts of the world and experience work in foreign environments.

Rhoden was lucky enough to receive one of these scholarships and enjoyed a year working in England and Ireland where he learned a great deal.

“What I learnt over there was unbelievable,” he said.

“It was very, very different. You’re breeding a different type of horse over there. They give them as much time as they want, whereas here they try get them going early and as quickly as possible onto the track.”

Through the College, Rhoden was also able to travel around the country and engage with those in the industry.

“I got to travel around to all the Studs in Australia and New Zealand and meet all the people working there, some past students of Marcus Oldham and industry leaders,” he said.

“It’s all such a great experience.”