Free Hot Walker Training Course to Be Offered at Colonial Downs July 6-8

The Virginia Horse Benevolent and Protection Association (VHBPA) announced they will be sponsoring two valuable training sessions at Colonial Downs Racetrack this summer.

The first, a hot walker training program, is a three-day course designed for individuals with little or no experience handling horses. Formally called the “Introduction to Grooming 99 Program”, it is a 16-hour short course that prepares new workers for entry level jobs in racing, such as a hot walker or a new groom.  This training will be held July 6-8 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.  Tuition will be waived.

Trainers receive advice from an equine vet at one of last year’s educational sessions in the Horsemen’s building.

For the most part, the job of a hot walker is to cool out horses after their morning exercise gallop on the track. Cooling out means walking a horse on a lead rope around the barn or in an open area for about 10 to 15 minutes. A hot walker generally works from 6-10 AM and tends to some 800-plus horses on the Colonial Downs backstretch. It is an ideal job for local high school students.

Groom Elite 101 Training program was developed to train the existing backstretch workforce and make them better horsemen and employees. Taught in both English and Spanish, this course teaches skills and knowledge through “hands on” interactive techniques. Neither formal education nor literacy are required for grooms to enjoy, learn and be certified in the Groom Elite program.

Coursework will start July 21-22 and will be held every Thursday and Friday for four weeks from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm (July 28-29, August 4-5, August 11-12, and August 18-19).  Tuition will be waived.

Tuition has been waived for both of the 2022 educational sessions.

Please sign up for the following Information Session if you are interested in learning more about the summer training offerings:

**Tuesday June 14, 2022 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Click here to join the meeting

Register here: 

Sign up for the program here: Colonial Downs Groom Elite Sign Up (

All training will be in person at Colonial Downs Racetrack. Prospective attendees can also stop by the Horsemens building any time after June 21st to get more details and register. It is located at 10700 Horsemen’s Road in New Kent.