The equine industry is filled with a variety of interesting positions dealing with horses and their care. If horses have always been a passion of yours, you may want to consider a job in an industry that has been described as both exciting and rewarding.
Skills and Qualifications Needed
First and foremost, one of the most important qualifications needed for working in the horse industry is having a love and understanding for these fascinating animals along with a great interest in their care and well being.
In addition to being good with horses in general, you will also want to be comfortable working and interacting with other people as well.
The ability to ride a basic course and be in good physical condition with the stamina to work long hours in various weather conditions are some other skills and qualifications needed to thrive depending on the specific aspect of the equine industry.
Getting your hands dirty will more than likely be a part of the equation at some point or another as hands-on training is an integral part of pursuing an education related to horses. Nearly everyone gets their start helping to muck out at least a few stalls regardless of the type of equine career they are pursuing.
When not working and learning out in the stables, related courses including those in bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs from colleges and universities may entail learning equine life sciences and equine management.
Equine Career Choices
There are many diverse jobs and career choices related to horses or the equine industry in a wide variety of sectors.
Horse trainers and riding instructors are popular choices to consider and if you are interested in racing and have the excellent skills needed, work to become a jockey or start out as an exercise rider. Exercise riders work closely with both jockeys and horse trainers while playing an important role teaching horses the proper ways to run, walk, gallop, and respond to commands.
If you don’t have the talent needed but still want to work close to the action, choose racetrack management or a member of the racetrack’s staff.
Naturally horses need quality medical care. Veterinarian, veterinarian assistant, or technician are all ideal career choices for those interested in equine health care.
Horses will also always need grooms or stable hands, barn foremen, farriers or blacksmiths, and breeders. New positions are being created in the equine industry including feed specialists, who specialize in horse nutrition, and massage therapists who work directly with the horses performing animal therapy.
There are also a number of jobs that may not include hands-on work but will still give you the opportunity to work in the equine industry. For example, numerous businesses and companies cater to horses in some capacity or another whether it is making saddles or printing racing forms.
Where to Find a Job
As is the case with many types of careers, networking and word of mouth are some of the most effective means of securing a job in the equine industry. Interacting with as many like minded people as possible has the potential to open many doors you may not have even knew existed.
Spend time at horse shows, talking to breeders, visiting the race track, and offer to volunteer at your local 4-H club or horse group for invaluable experience.
There are online resources to take advantage of and you may find job openings in equine magazines and newsletters. Also visit local feed stores and tack shops with bulletin boards featuring job listings and potential leads.
Make a few cold calls or pay a visit to the local barns, riding schools, stables, and veterinarians to inquire about open positions. Check online or use the Yellow Pages for a list of the closest prospects.
If you aren’t able to find a full time position you may want to take on a few part time jobs or do seasonal work to gain experience. You may also want to consider doing an internship while taking courses or cleaning out stalls in exchange for your horse’s room and board.
Being flexible and persistent will definitely help you to realize your dream of working in the equine industry.