Equine Jobs: How to find jobs with horses

The equine industry in the UK has lots of opportunities for those seeking jobs with horses. No matter what your skill level or experience may be, there is something for you.

Equine jobs in the UK can be divided into three main categories: competition, care, and work with horses. Each of these categories has many different options within it.

If you are new to riding and horse care, your best bet is to start by taking some lessons and getting involved in a local pony club or riding club. This will give you the basic skills you need to pursue a career in this field.

Once you have acquired some basic skills, you can move on to more advanced competitions and training. There are many levels of competition, from local shows up to international competitions.

There are also many other careers available in the equine industry that do not involve competition. You could become a professional groom, working with horses every day and caring for their needs. Or you could become a trainer or coach, helping others learn how to ride and care for horses.

jobs with horses - groom

Stable Lad/Lass

A stable lad/lass is responsible for some or even all aspects of the welfare of the stable owner’s horses, the care of the stables themselves, or even both jobs. Their day-to-day jobs may include cleaning stables (mucking-out), feeding, exercising and grooming the horses. It’s a difficult job.

The starting pay is usually low and sometimes requires very early starts and late nights. Some people consider the job dangerous. The truth is every job that requires one to work with large animals can be potentially harmful or even fatal, but others argue that it isn’t half as dangerous as participating in a race.

In large establishments, there may be several lads or lasses under the management of a head groom. The head lad usually has complete responsibility for the horses including, but not limited to, creating training schedules, maintaining proper nutrition of the horses and ensuring the horses are shod, inoculated and given regular veterinary care.

Before applying to become a stable lad, you may want to acquire BHS (British Horse Society) certificates or equivalent, which are offered to any interested in expanding their knowledge of horse care, training and management. Like any other job, prior knowledge of the interested field is a major plus on your resume. Experience aside, a love for horses, hard work and extreme patience is necessary to excel in this particular job.

Once you’ve established yourself in the field and learned how to ride, you can compete in schooling races. These are practice races specifically designed to teach new jockeys how to come out of the gate and race. You gain an exercise license upon successful completion.

Begin competing in small races and remember that the track steward will be watching and judging. They will critique your ability on handling and maintaining horses. After this, you can acquire a jockey’s license from the racetrack and move on to the next step in your career.

This outlines one way to move up in the career, but like most jobs, there’s rarely only one straight line to the top. Have heart and determination; this industry is a tough one, but it can be very rewarding.


Obtaining a career as a horse groom takes experience and extensive knowledge of horses. Working as a groom can provide valuable experience including travel and the excitement of working with magnificent horses.

Accommodation is often included when an applicant is offered a position as a groom. If the groom is living on premises, they might be on call day and night. Grooms are responsible for caring for sick or injured horses in addition to feeding them, keeping them clean and exercising them.

Grooms sometimes work 7 days a week, but many times their work week is shorter, depending on the work environment in which they choose. Horse grooms are the primary caregivers of horses. They feed and maintain horses and they also take care of the stables. Stables must be kept clean to provide the horse with a fresh, comfortable environment.

The job is extremely physical, as it takes stamina to care for and maintain these gentle giants. Although working as a groom is not a particularly lucrative field, the groom is rewarded in other ways by being able to spend time with beloved horses.

To be a horse groom the applicant must love horses and enjoy being around them for extended periods. In addition, the groom must be in good physical shape and enjoy the outdoors. Although there is no formal education required for the position of a horse groomer, you must have experience in caring for horses. To excel in the position of a groom, you must be an expert rider. Your job will include exercising the horses so that you can take them out for walks.

Horse groom opportunities are usually found in rural areas and riding stables. In addition, horse boarding stables and farms often employ grooms. One of the largest employers of grooms is racetracks. These horses need exquisite care and grooming, so opportunities might be plentiful at racetracks.

To get a leg up on a horse groom job, do some volunteer work at a horse stable. You will need to see if horse grooming is right for you. You can inquire about horse grooming courses or programs through local colleges or agriculture programs. Although experience in grooming horses is essential to becoming a groom, you must have a boundless love for horses and enjoy caring for them every day.

Equine Sales & Marketing

When talking about some of the job sectors of the equine world that have broad appeal, one would be remiss if they did not mention sales and marketing as a possible entrance. Though most people do not think about sales and marketing when they envision their equine career, there are many opportunities in this particular sector.

Some people choose to take up marketing and sales positions with individual race tracks, while others join on with horse racing associations. Another option is to work in sales and marketing for a company that sells tack items. With so many possibilities, it is no wonder that this is a popular choice for future career endeavours.

For many individuals, the idea is to parlay a type of sports marketing gig into something in the horse industry. Instead of wanting to promote and sell football, these people have a passion for horses, so they sell that. Though you do not need to be some sort of business dynamo to get a start in equine sales and marketing, a business background does not hurt. Many people starting will have university degrees in marketing and they will have at least some experience putting together presentations. For those shooting for larger gigs with big tracks, it might be necessary to pad the resume a bit more than usual.

The requisite skills for this type of position include not only a knowledge of the equine industry but also a knowledge of how to package it well. No matter what type of company you work for, the job will essentially be the same. You will be looking to take your love and interest in horses and sell it to some other person or some other company. This is why a person with strong creative juices to go with their horse love will do well in this sort of field.

Right now, the opportunities in this field are mostly entry-level. For those who are willing to start at the bottom and work their way up the totem pole, this can be a fast-paced and rewarding career path.

Equine Dentist

An excellent career option for anyone who enjoys working with animals and is interested in dentistry is to become an equine dentist. An equine dentist is a professional who takes care of a horse’s teeth and gums. While this is a relatively new field of employment, an equine dentist is quite important because the condition of a horse’s teeth and gums is very important to a horse’s overall health. Previously, veterinarians took care of a horse’s teeth and gums, but many vets now prefer that equine dentists take care of that aspect so the vet can concentrate on the rest of the horse.

To become an equine dentist you will first need to get an education. A few colleges across the country offer programs which will give you the education needed to become an Equine Dental Technician. In these programs, you will learn all about a horse’s teeth and gums, how to identify problems, and how to cure any issues. Since equine dentistry is a field growing in popularity, getting into an equine dentistry program can be quite competitive. Most of these programs require their applicants to have a degree in a medical or science field, experience working with horses, and a few references from veterinarians, professors, or equine dentists.

After finishing school and gaining any necessary equine dentistry license, the next step is to get a job. While in school, you will hopefully have gained an apprenticeship with either an established equine dentistry practice or a horse veterinary practice. Initially working with a practice in which you already have experience may be the best idea because starting your practice comes with a sizable amount of risks and costs.

After working with established practice for a few years, you may be ready to start your practice. To start your practice you will need a reliable client base as well as a lot of equipment. Equipment you need to buy will include forceps, cutters, speculums, restraints, and power equipment. To establish a program you will also need an office, an assistant, and plenty of liability insurance.

HGV Driver

Horses are large, needy animals, so moving them around is much more difficult than many people realize. For that reason, the equine transportation industry is one that’s been steadily expanding over the last few years. There are job opportunities available today in this field for people who have the skills to make it happen. The nice thing is that you can get involved in equine transportation on many different levels, which serves to open up the industry’s doors a little bit more than you might expect.

One of the most popular ways to take on a job in equine transportation is by becoming a driver or a handler. Especially with show horses and racing horses, someone has to move them from location to location. These jobs are typically filled by people who can drive large vehicles and have their license for driving with trailers. That is not the only bit of skill needed, though. Individuals also have to have a working knowledge of how to deal with horses, since they can often act up during transport. People with this combined skill set can do very well in a job that they enjoy greatly.

Other ways to get involved in equine transportation include working for some of the horse trailer companies. Horse owners love their trailers and there is a huge market for this type of thing. Whether you are looking to get involved on the design end or the sales and marketing end, working in equine transportation is pretty easy for those folks who reach out to the trailer manufacturers.

Additionally, many individuals work in equine transportation for horse shows themselves. When people want to sell their horses at the sale, lots of things have to be set up to make sure that the horses get to the sale in good form and are given to the new owner in good form. Driving horses to and from sales can be a good way to earn money while doing something meaningful.

The horse world right now is full of opportunities, and this figures to continue as long as people are racing and showing their prized animals.

Equine Vet

Of the many different jobs dealing with horses, few are as challenging as being an equine vet. Though the job is certainly challenging, it is also the most rewarding of positions, as equine vets get to take care of horses and save lives in many instances. The basic job description all depends upon where you are working, but many of the duties will be the same. For those vets employed by a large stable, the idea will be to work daily with horses, ensuring that they have the correct shots, the correct diet and that they are healthy overall. When something happens, it will be the vet’s job to fix it or to decide on the horse’s future.

Other equine vets work in an emergency capacity, where they are only doing more difficult, involved surgeries. In many cases, these people will specialize in doing leg and foot surgeries, as this is the most common type of injury for horses out there. This is a more skilled type of vet position, so it requires more training. The pay is higher to compensate for the difficulty and the high-pressure nature of the job itself.

As far as qualifications are concerned, individuals have to complete a program at a certified veterinary school to work as an equine vet. These schools can be hard to get into and they can be difficult to complete. As with most industries where the barrier to entry is quite high, the rewards of getting into the field are great. From both a quality of life and monetary standpoint, equine vets do very well. You will probably have to work for a few years under another vet before you can do out on your own and find work, but this should be a good learning experience for many.

In this day and age, professions with a high barrier to entry and a high degree of skill required are thriving. People still need equine vets for their horses, so those who can complete the difficult programs are having no trouble finding work and advancing through their careers.

Farm Estate Manager

Some jobs are quite rewarding in terms of both compensation and quality of work. Especially within the equine industry, there are quite a few positions that fit this bill. With that in mind, becoming a farm estate manager is something that many people want to do, but few can pull off. It is a job that requires a lot, but people who have the right mindset, experience, and skill set can enjoy it. A farm estate manager will be in charge of a large or small horse farm, overseeing the day-to-day operations and keeping the business portion of the farm in line.

Because these positions are very hands-on, they require a person with a vast knowledge of horses and the business side of the industry. A typical day might include tending to the health of horses, making decisions on when a horse will train, and calling in a vet to look at a horse for various problems. It is a position that requires a great deal of responsibility, so it makes sense that people don’t just get handed jobs of this nature right off the bat.

To become a farm estate manager, you have to have worked under one or you have to have some sort of relationship with the farm owner. There needs to be a huge amount of trust in your relationship with the farm owner, so you will have to be the type of person that is reliable and trustworthy.

One thing to note for individuals looking to get involved in this is that farm estate manager positions do not come available very often. These jobs are usually held for a long time, as individuals seem to enjoy the responsibilities and requirements of the job. For those people who are serious about taking this on as a perspective profession, it makes a lot of sense to start out working on a horse farm. Learning the ropes can make all the difference and give you a chance to land one of these competitive jobs when one comes open.


The farrier is one of the most vital resources for the average horse owner. The job of a farrier requires the utmost responsibility and dedication, as it is quite an important and physically demanding job. Becoming a farrier requires physical strength, certification and training with job-specific tools. It may prove to be a rewarding job with a significant amount of job security, but being a farrier is certainly not for everyone.

Quite simply, the farrier is in charge of the general upkeep and health of the horse’s feet. While this may seem mundane or over-specific, it is vital to the well-being of the horse. The farrier must deal with the horseshoes and trimming of the horse’s feet, as well as giving the horse a stable routine for their feet. This all requires much experience and training with blacksmith tools that are the industry standard for dealing with horseshoes.

The farrier must be able to deal with different horse temperaments, as some horses are less receptive to farriers than others. They must be able to become easily familiar with the horse’s movements, as a big part of their job deals with encouraging natural foot movement in the horse. It also helps a farrier in having people skills, as they will have to deal directly with owners, barn managers, and trainers in matters involving the horses in question.

As long as horses will need their hooves tended to, there will be a job for aspiring farriers. The different prerequisites for becoming a farrier are different from country to country, but it is safe to assume that any farrier job will require some type of certification and training. The more knowledge of the anatomy of the horse, the better.

There are some resources for aspiring farriers, including the World Farriers Association online and the European Federation of Farriers Associations. You can find plenty more of information about becoming a farrier through these resources and others that you may discover on your own. Remember that becoming a farrier can be difficult. Your problem-solving skill, attention to minutia, and experience are what will get you placed in the field.

Horse Breeder

The life of a horse breeder can be very exciting and rewarding. Whether you choose to be a horse breeder at your facility or manage a breeding program at a well-known farm, you will need experience that you have acquired from growing up with horses as a child to getting a bachelor of science in equine studies. A combination of both hands-on experience and book knowledge will be beneficial to your quest.

If you decide to start your own breeding business, you probably have firsthand experience and knowledge, plus a love for horses to start with. No matter where your knowledge comes from, the best way to start is to apply for a paid apprentice position at a breeding farm. Even if your goal is to have your breeding facility, take the time to learn from others.

Spending a couple of breeding seasons at a farm can teach you the fundamentals of the care of the mares, their cycling patterns, types of breeding coverage, the foaling process and the weaning process. These are all important aspects of being a horse breeder that you will need to know. An apprenticeship will allow you the opportunity to learn firsthand from the experts and experience every aspect of what is involved in being a horse breeder.

Working for an established breeding farm will help you decide if you would like to start your breeding farm or if you would get as much pleasure working for someone else. Having a career as a horse breeder can lead to various other job advancements such as farm manager, breeding manager, foal marketing and stallion promotion. The options are endless and can develop into a fulfilling career.

Owning and operating a breeding farm will require an investment, starting with a horse barn that can accommodate foaling out mares, adequate pastures for mares and foals, and the knowledge you have gained through acquired experience. A career as a horse breeder will require a lot of hard work and dedication. There are large breeding farms nationwide that offer great job opportunities just waiting for you.


Becoming a jockey can be one of the most interesting and rewarding jobs out there today, though the barrier to entry is somewhat high. Though many individuals recognize jockeys that they see on television, the actual process of moving up the ladder in the industry is more difficult than it looks. Jockeys can start in several roles, but the entry-level typically includes more than just riding. Jockeys will be responsible for caring for the horses in some capacity and they can also add some manual labour to their plate, as well. Jockeys ride in smaller races at the beginning and depending upon their skill level, they might be able to move up to something better.

Becoming a jockey requires some things that are not attainable through practice. Individuals have to meet certain height and weight requirements, though these can vary depending upon where you take a job. It is typically thought that the smaller the jockey is, the better off he is. As far as skills are concerned, jockeys have to be proficient in competitive riding, which requires one to understand how to handle horses and the dynamics of competitive races. Experience with and around horses is required, and prospective jockeys have to have a love affair with the horse industry if they are going to make it.

Being a jockey is a job that’s based a lot on performance. Those who want to move up, need to be successful in their races at lower levels and they also need to know how to please horse owners. It’s always been an industry that’s somewhat difficult to break into since jockeys tend to hang around for a long time and job openings are somewhat scarce. Still, the best way to break into the world of jockeying is to take up a preliminary job at a stable with a horse owner. From there, one can show that he has the requisite skills to handle the horses, which can be the opening that you need. Once you have that opening, skill and performance do the rest.

Riding Instructor

Though the economic downturn has hurt people who work in so-called discretionary industries, there is still a market for a good horse riding instructor with the right experience and qualifications. For those looking to become a horse riding instructor, it is important to note that there are a few different ways to get involved. Some individuals get involved in the profession on an individual basis, as they take on private clients and advertise for themselves. Though this can be somewhat difficult to begin with, it can be lucrative for those with the right skill set and the ability to market their services. Others sign on with a barn to do the same thing.

To work as a riding instructor, one has to have advanced knowledge of how to handle horses, in addition to the ability to teach. It requires both of these things, since simply understanding how to ride is not enough. Individuals have to be good enough at their craft to be able to instruct others in a manner that is clear and reasonable. For those who work as instructors for a barn, there will be some training involved. Individuals who offer instruction on a private basis train themselves.

In terms of experience, it depends upon the opportunity that you are targeting. For those looking to instruct at an upper-end academy, years of experience are likely necessary. For those who want to start out teaching on their own, very little experience is necessary. You have to start somewhere, so people with the ability to instruct can make a place for themselves within the industry if they are good enough. It also depends upon what type of instruction you are looking to provide. Some instructors specialize in jumping, while others will train individuals for the show. Others still will train jockeys for racing.

The industry right now is one where people who want to make it have to make a name for themselves. Those who can work hard and establish credibility have a chance to come out well in the profession.

Tack Shop Sales Assistant

For those folks who love to be around horses and horse lovers, few jobs come close to being as good as working in a tack shop. A tack shop is a place where horseback riding items are sold, but it’s much more than that. Typically, it can be a place where people come together to enjoy something that they share a common interest. With that being said, folks working as tack shop sales assistants will handle many different duties. That person might be charged with dealing with customers, handling merchandise, and coming up with creative ways to highlight the shop’s best items.

In general, there are some basic skills needed for this type of position. You have to have both a knowledge of horses and a desire to put that knowledge to work. Since the majority of the time spent at work is going to be spent talking about horses, individuals must be comfortable with this. Additionally, some basic people skills are required. Working as a tack shop sales assistant requires the ability to actively talk people into purchasing different items. This is something that does not come naturally to many individuals, so this would be a tough job for them to handle.

Experience in retail is a plus, but there are ways to get into this business without having that type of experience. A tack shop sales assistant position is something of a break-in job, as it is typically used to transition into other areas within the horse industry. Any experience working with horses that might give a person further knowledge of different products will be a definite plus when trying to get hired for one of these positions.

Right now, some retail jobs are seeing a slowdown, so it can be difficult to land one of these positions. Certain shops are still hiring, though, so people with the right qualifications and attitude will have a chance to get their start. It’s a good place to get your feet wet and earn some respect while adding experience to a resume.

Horse Rider – Dressage

Dressage is a specific type of equestrian showmanship where a controlled horse will respond quickly and smoothly to commands given subtly. At the basic level, the horse must show a particularly relaxed carriage, response to the bit and obedience at a walk and trot. At the highest levels, dressage becomes what is often called “horse ballet.” It not only is a method of riding and instruction, but is characterized by the use of warmblood horses, where riders dress in a prescribed, formal manner, use a specific saddle (similar to English), and hold themselves in a certain seat.

Equestrians with a background in English riding may have an advantage at the beginning levels because of similarities in style. However, anyone with an understanding of horses, and some natural ability in riding should be able to adapt and learn dressage. Most professional dressage riders begin working as grooms. In the UK, there is an apprenticeship scheme to provide structured training for hopeful dressage riders. Riders are accepted as positions become available.

To become a professional full-time rider is a challenge. At the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, one new pupil is taken each year, and the fastest rise from beginner to Chief Rider was 20 years. It is more likely that a dressage rider may find part-time employment at a large stable where additional skills such as horse training, instruction of riders, and showing of horses for sale will be incorporated into the responsibilities. Positions may include room and board, flex time, and benefits. Experience in other styles of riding such as hunting and jumping is a great advantage.

To obtain employment as a dressage rider, even in a part-time capacity, usually a minimum Third Level experience is required. To reach this level, a rider can begin at local competition levels, or take advantage of training clinics. A beginner might offer to work at a horse barn in exchange for dressage lessons.

Any activities which give a person more dressage experience can help him or her advance. These will certainly include showing and might include coaching, or judging. Dedication and persistence will be required to become a professional dressage rider.

Horse Rider – Eventing

Eventing is a horse sport that was made extremely popular by the British. The sport has even become so popular that it’s become an Olympic event. Eventing was originally derived from the training of horses in the cavalry. Much of the sport consists of training horses to perform certain tasks like dressage, showjumping and cross-country. There are two kinds of eventing. There is one-day eventing and three-day eventing. Three-day eventing is primarily the type used at the Olympics.

There is a considerable amount of training that someone needs to get involved with to compete in eventing. The first thing you need to do is get in touch with a local horse farm or pony club. If you have never ridden a horse before then you are going to need to get some lessons under your belt beforehand.

Most riders get started at a very early age. Some riders are even competing in their teens. Once you begin the process, you will be given a ranking level. These levels go from D, D1, D2, D3, C, C1, C2, C3, and so forth to A. An A-level ranking is the best. Most people start around the C level and work their way up to the B levels. Once you reach the high Cs or the lower Bs, you will start your competition training.

Most people will not be able to afford to buy a horse so it’s recommended that you use a horse from a pony club or a riding club. After you get some lessons under your belt and you are sure that you are going to be riding for a long time, you should look into buying your horse.

Taking up eventing is a great way for a child or an adult to learn about horse care and riding, but it’s not for everybody. When you talk about competition, there can be a lot of politics and overwhelming expectations from coaches and clubs. Only invest in this sport if you are sure it’s something that you will be doing for a long time, as it can be extremely expensive.

Horse Rider – Showjumping

Do you want to become a professional show jumper? You might wonder how to get the job. What skills would you need? What kind of a career would you have?

You would have to start small. You would have to enter local competitions. You would enter numerous jumping competitions. You would enter the A competitions, which are more complicated, more advanced, and more expensive.

You would enter state shows. You would be entering competitions that are more advanced, more complicated, and more expensive than previously. You will then find that international competitions are more expensive, advanced, and complicated. There are also USA competitions. You will have a chance to be a teacher.

To become a show jumper you will need to be a skilled rider. You will have to jump over hurdles and obstacles. You will need to be prepared for your horse to need two to three years to learn to step over different obstacles going at different paces. As time passes, the height of the obstacles will be increased. More elements will be added. Your horse will need to learn to jump over water and two jumps that are only one to two feet apart.

To become a show jumper, you should look for a riding barn that is associated with a recognized horse show. You then need to join the events open to you. You will also need a professional coach. The horses you use will have to be able to participate in such rigorous activity. It will be many years before you can become a professional horse jumper.

The horse you use will have to have good bone structure, be fit, have an even temperament, and be intelligent. Coaches and trainers have to travel the world to find suitable horses, and they can be expensive. Such horses usually are two-years-old and 18 to 20 hands high.

Many in the industry say it is possible to do something, including making a living as a horse jumper if you work hard enough, but it is easier to spend money on your horse than making a living off him.

In Summary

The equestrian industry encompasses a wide range of equine careers and opportunities, from racing and competition to veterinary care and animal rescue. There are many avenues for the relevant training and furthering one’s career in the equine world, and the industry is full of passionate, dedicated people who love horses.

One can become a horse trainer with relevant experience and training, or become a riding instructor with experience working with both adults and children. There are also many animal rescue centres that need help caring for horses, and those with veterinary experience can find work as an equine veterinarian. Horse racing is a major part of the equine world, and those interested in pursuing a career in this field can attend a racing school for proper training.

If one wants to own their own business, there are many options available for horse boarding and care. For those with a more caring nature there are opportunities as a registered veterinary nurse or as an equine physiotherapist.

Finally, the equine industry is always in need of good equine photographers to capture the beauty and majesty of these animals. You may start as a yard groom but who knows where it might lead.

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