Horse Jobs: What Equine Careers Are Out There For You?

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    I know that a career in the equestrian industry seems far fetched. You might be thinking how horse jobs are few and far between. Or how you’ll never find a job quickly enough or that will pay the bills.

    You might also be thinking that only the rich can make something of themselves in equine careers. After all, they are the ones who can buy the award winning horses, breed expensive studs and buy all the lands and equipment needed to run a horse business.

    equine jobs

    It turns out, however, that there are more equestrian careers than you might think.

    There are even large equine centres that will let you start as a stable-hand-type learner/intern on a low salary with the promise of promotions and career tracking with the company if you prove willing to learn and hard working.

    Do you have the instincts for an equestrian career?

    If you love horses and you’ve been thinking about this type of career, then you need to ask yourself a few questions:

    • Would you prefer to live in the city or the country?
    • Do you like to learn by doing or learn in a classroom setting?
    • Do you hate getting dirty?
    • How do you feel about physical labour?

    If you’re going to work with horses, you’re likely to be mostly living in the country. If the big city life is for you, you should probably steer clear of a career with horses. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t ride!

    If you prefer learning in the classroom, this type of education is rare in the horse world. Most things are done on the job and through relationships with other people in the horse industry. There are very few university or college courses on equine business and they may not guarantee you a job. The exceptions to this would be a preliminary degree in business or in veterinary medicine.

    If you hate getting dirty, imagine mucking out stalls, getting horses in the field on a muddy day, or grooming a muddy or dusty horse. It’s difficult to avoid these things in the horse world, especially when you’re just starting out in the industry.

    Just like getting dirty, physical labour is a must with horses. Hauling hay, horse feed, equipment, tack, and water is all part of life with horses! This is good for your health and physique though!

    Horse Jobs: What Equine Careers Are Out There For You? 1

    If you have indeed got the instincts, then you could be a good fit for a horse job. The following are the BASICS about different horse jobs that exist and a quick overview on what they entail and how to get involved in them.

    Management Equestrian Jobs


    Horse Breeder

    What you need:

    • Connections
    • Facilities or access to facilities
    • Horses to breed (especially stallions)
    • Capital to invest
    • Knowledge about equine genetics and what makes good composition
    • Understanding of horse reproduction
    • Knowledge about birthing, bringing up and selling foals

    Where to start: Get a starting job at a stable that breeds horses specifically to sell, perhaps working as a stable hand.

    Stallion Manager

    What you need:

    • Connections
    • Facilities or access to facilities
    • Stallion(s)
    • Knowledge about equine genetics and what makes good composition
    • Understanding of horse reproduction

    Where to start: Get a starting job at a stable that offers stud services, perhaps as a stable hand.

    Broodmare Manager

    What you need:

    • Connections
    • Facilities or access to facilities
    • Mares (one is usually not enough to do this as a career. You don’t want to over-breed unless she is of exceptional lineage)
    • Knowledge about equine genetics and what makes good composition
    • Understanding of horse reproduction
    • Knowledge about birthing, bringing up and selling foals

    Where to start: Get a starting job at a stable that breeds mares (i.e. as a stable hand).

    Horse Jobs: What Equine Careers Are Out There For You? 3

    Yearling Manager

    What you need:

    • Connections
    • Facilities or access to facilities
    • A source of yearlings
    • Knowledge about equine genetics and what makes good composition
    • Knowledge about bringing up and selling foals

    Where to start: Get a starting job at a stable that sells yearlings (i.e. stable hand).

    Boarding Manager

    What you need:

    • Connections
    • Facilities of the size that you would like to board

    Where to start: Get a starting job taking care of horses and start saving for facilities!

    Athletic Equestrian Jobs


    Horse Jockey

    What you need:

    • Training
    • Connections
    • Small stature and weight
    • Strength to steer a 1500 pound horse
    • Courageous (moving at 40 miles per hour with no brakes or windshield)
    • Competitive
    • Ability to work under HIGH pressure

    Where to start: Begin by riding, or working at a racetrack/thoroughbred training facility.

    Horse Jobs: What Equine Careers Are Out There For You? 5

    Harness Racer

    What you need:

    • Training
    • Connections
    • Athletic
    • Quick reflexes
    • Strength to steer a 1500 pound horse
    • Courageous (moving at 35 miles per hour with no brakes or windshield)
    • Competitive

    Where to start: Begin by apprenticing or working under a harness race trainer.

    horse jobs


    Medical & Healthcare Equestrian Jobs


    Equine Veterinarian

    What you need:

    • Doctors of Medicine Degree plus a speciality degree (minimum of 8 years in the U.S.A)
    • Complete North American Veterinary Licensing Exam
    • Student loan of $150,000+US
    • Ability to remain calm and organized under pressure
    • Excellent communication skills to communicate with owners and trainers

    Where to start: Begin by applying yourself academically.

    horse jobs

    Farrier

    What you need:

    • Optional farrier certification available through farrier associations
    • Commuter vehicle
    • Blacksmithing knowledge
    • Equine science knowledge
    • Business knowledge (often self employed)

    Where to start: Spending some time with horses, and perhaps grooming them to determine how comfortable you are around their feet!

    Horse Dentition Specialist

    What you need:

    • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree plus a speciality dentist degree (minimum of 8 years)
    • Complete North American Veterinary Licensing Exam
    • Student loan of $150,000+US
    • Excellent communication skills to communicate with trainers and owners
    • Academic/Intellectual

    Where to start: Begin by applying yourself academically.

    Horse Physical Therapist

    What you need:

    • Undergraduate degree in animal or equine science
    • Neuromuscular exercise training
    • Therapeutic ultrasound
    • Hot and cold manual therapies
    • Electrical stimulation
    • Familiarity with horses from a both a medical and riding standpoint
    • Ability to communicate the animals’ needs effectively to owners

    Where to start: Begin by applying yourself academically.

    what are the Best Horse Books Ever, the Rider's List

    Other Equestrian Jobs


    Groomer/Horse Caretaker

    What you need:

    • Good communication skills (must relay all information to the trainer)
    • Understanding of horse anatomy
    • Familiarity with horse tack
    • Good at following instructions
    • Commuter vehicle
    • Ability to work under pressure
    • Patience/care

    Where to start: Begin by taking a groomers course and working as a stable hand.

    First groom your horse

    Stable Hand Content

    What you need:

    • Ability to sustain cold/wet weather conditions
    • Ability to lift heavy objects
    • Knowledge on horse care
    • Knowledge on horse anatomy
    • Ability to line in/commute

    Where to start: Begin by getting a job, or apprenticing at a stable.

    Horse Trainer

    What you need:

    • Degree in equine science or equine studies
    • Extensive knowledge on all aspects of horses
    • Apprenticeship under a Certified Horse Trainer
    • Extensive knowledge on all aspects of horses
    • Business skills

    Where to start: Begin by apprenticing, or leasing/owning a horse of your own which you can train.

    Horse Rehabilitation

    What you need:

    • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree
    • Steady hand
    • Ability to calm animals (and owners!) with high stress levels
    • Strength to exercise on a number of levels, hand walking, line work, balance exercises and under saddle immediate first aid & health concerns

    Where to start: Begin by applying yourself academically.

    Horse Jobs: What Equine Careers Are Out There For You? 9

    Horse Behavioral Specialist

    What you need:

    • Master’s or doctorate, with an emphasis in ethology
    • Certification by an organization with high standards—such as the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, the Animal Behavior Society, and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
    • Many years of experience working closely with horses
    • Conduct low-stress methods of training
    • Thorough understanding of horse behaviour

    Where to start: Begin by applying yourself academically, and intend on studying a horse for many years.

    Riding Instructor

    What you need:

    • The American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA) Certification
    • Thorough understanding of horses
    • Expertise in riding and grooming horses
    • Ability to clearly and concisely impart knowledge to others
    • An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in equine studies can provide valuable, in-depth knowledge of horses and horsemanship techniques

    Where to start: Begin by taking riding lessons.

    Conclusion


    There are tons of horse jobs to choose from. Some you can start in right away whereas others you have to work your way up to because of the need for knowledge, resources and/or connections. But careers in the horse industry are definitely possible for anyone!

    If you’re looking for some inspiration, I know that I often find mine in horse books. I have a list of my favourites you can read here!

    For the dreamers out there, I found this awesome video from New Zealand – Windsor Park Farm: 

    If you’re unattached and willing to re-locate (or are from New Zealand), this might be something to consider!

    Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions! I would also love to hear your stories about how you got started in your horse jobs, if you would like to share.

    Martina


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