Behind the scenes of Feedlot TECH’s new pen riding course

Livestock_Pen Riding

Six months of collaboration, three lot feeding professionals, two days of filming, one goal; to create a cutting-edge Pen Riding course fit for Australian feedlots.

With the course set to launch in the coming months, Ryan Brown, Group Livestock Manager for Smithfield Cattle Company, shared a sneak peek behind the scenes of one of the most highly anticipated Feedlot TECH courses. 

The course was designed by Ryan, ALFA’s Feedlot Training Project Manager Emily Litzow, and veterinarian Julie Brown, before receiving an expert overview and input from a number of leading feedlot consulting vets. After collaborating since February 2023, the team filmed all content over two days at Smithfield Feedlot in Queensland.

A day in the life of a pen rider

The engaging, interactive course is broken down into a series of modules highlighting exactly what a day in the life of a pen rider looks like and the roles’ importance to feedlot operations. 

“Until now there’s been a definite gap in formal training for pen riding,” Ryan said. 

“We all recognise the labour shortage that we are experiencing and the skills shortage that we’re concerned about in the future, so highlighting the foundations of pen riding is essential.”

Step by step 

Each module within the Pen Riding Fundamentals course begins with a brief discussion where Ryan describes the task ahead, and follows the different stages of pen riding. 

A veterinarian then outlines the animal’s health, discussing the identification and progression of the illness. Similar to all Feedlot TECH courses, the time it takes to complete the module is outlined and each module features an exam at its conclusion. 

Getting it right, every time

While experience is undoubtedly valuable in any role, the Pen Riding Fundamentals course is designed to provide knowledge at any career level. 

“Pen riding is an incredibly detailed task when done well, but what we’re trying to do is simplify it to the point where it makes sense for somebody with no experience,” Ryan explained. 

“It’s quite difficult to talk about things that an experienced person would understand, for example recognising an abnormality in an animal often comes over time and from a solid understanding of a healthy animal.”

“The purpose of the Pen Riding Fundamentals course is to get people into the right place at the right time” Ryan explained, “so in the early stages of their career, they are in a position where they’re able to see the abnormality, even if they’re not recognising exactly what it is.” 

Training, location and delivery method

Soon to be accessible via the feedlot industry’s dedicated careers and training platform, Feedlot TECH, the Pen Riding Fundamentals course includes six modules.


Access to all Feedlot TECH online courses is currently free to all feedlots, employees and industry-associated individuals. 

To access training

Sign in or create an account on the Feedlot TECH Training Hub to access online feedlot-specific skills training. To create an account on the Training Hub, click ‘sign up now’ on the login page, determine a password, confirm your email address and complete the verification form. When prompted, enter your feedlot NFAS or Group Number to ensure fast verification and access to training.