It may seem odd to consider a career with horses if you don’t actually ride yourself but the equestrian world includes thousands who love working with horses but don’t actually ride. If you would like to devote your working life, start a business, or simply change career later in life to one that involves horses but you’re not bothered about the riding aspect then this list of equine jobs for non-riders might give you some inspiration.
Equine Jobs – 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 opt for positions with individual stables, studs, or 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, or some other essential equestrian supplies. With so many possibilities, it is a popular choice for driven sales personnel.
A passion for horses is an obvious prerequisite. Though you do not need to be some sort of business dynamo to get a started in equine sales and marketing, a business background does not hurt. Many people starting out will have university degrees in marketing and they will have at least some experience putting together presentations.
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 own love and interest in horses, and build relationships with prospective clients using this common ground. This is why people who are extrovert and gregarious do well in this sort of field.
For those 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 Jobs – Tack Shop Sales Assistant
For those who are keenly interested in horses and meeting people then working in a tack shop is an option. A tack shop is often more than just a place where equestrian items are sold. It can also be a place where people come together to enjoy something for which they share a common interest.
Tack shop sales assistants will be expected to handle many different duties. As well as dealing with customers, replenishing and pricing stock, dealing with deliveries, they may also be expected to come up with imaginative ways in which to promote certain brands and items, in different seasons.
It goes without saying that 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, it is absolutely imperative that individuals are confident in the subject.
Additionally, some basic people skills are required. Working as a tack shop sales assistant requires the ability to discern what people need, but also introduce them to things they may not have considered. This is something that does not come naturally to many individuals, but it is a skill that develops with experience.
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 an entry level job, as it is typically used to transition into other areas within the horse industry. Any experience working with horses that might have established some knowledge of equestrian products will be a definite advantage for the day of the interview.
Equine Jobs – Farrier
Being a farrier is a physically demanding career and it comes with a lot of responsibility. As well as physical strength you’ll also need training and certification in skills that are particular and unique to this job. It can be a very rewarding career with a significant amount of job security once you’ve built up a list of regular clients, but being a farrier is certainly not for everyone.
The farrier is there to provide care and maintenance of the horse’s feet. It goes without saying that healthy feet are absolutely essential for the well-being of any four-legged animal.
The farrier replaces worn out horseshoes, trims horse’s feet, and gives the owner advice and recommendations for stable routine for their horse’s feet. All this requires training and experience with the blacksmith’s tools that are the industry standard, and some of which haven’t changed for centuries.
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 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.
Equine Jobs – Farm Estate Manager
Within the equine industry, there are all kinds of jobs that are both rewarding mentally, as well as financially. Becoming a farm, or estate, manager is one such job. It’s an attractive prospect to many, but not everyone is suited for this role.
The role requires a wide range of skills that can only be acquired with time and experience. A farm estate manager will be in charge of properties of any size, overseeing the day to day operations, while keeping in mind the business and financial aspects.
It’s a very hands-on job so it requires a person with knowledge of the business side of the industry, as well as experience working with horses.
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 in order to become a farm estate manager, you will experience working as an assistant manager.
The farm owner will place a great deal of trust in you to manage the farm efficiently and honestly, so business acumen and integrity are essential. It’s not a role that appears frequently in the situations vacant columns, because farm estate managers tend to hold on to their jobs for many years. However, as will all roles of this type, working in the industry and becoming an invaluable asset to your employer will increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time.
Equine Jobs – Equine Vet
Of the many different jobs dealing with horses, few are as challenging as being an equine vet. That being said, it is also one of the most rewarding positions, as equine vets get to take care of horses, and save lives in many instances.
There will be variations, due to regional and breed differences, but generally speaking it’s the same job wherever you’re based in the world. For those vets employed by a large stable, the idea will be to work on a daily basis with horses, ensuring that they have the appropriate medicines, the correct diet, and that they are generally healthy.
As well as more mundane aspects of horse health and welfare, the equine vet will have to cope with emergency situations from time to time. These can be very stressful for the vet and the owner, as well as for the horse!
Some vets may choose to specialise in a particular field of equine medicine or surgery. Obviously there is a high demand for skills associated with leg injuries e.g. flank, fetlock, and forearm. Remuneration is commensurate with skills and experience.
As far as qualifications are concerned, individuals have to complete studies at a certified veterinary school and pass the mandatory exams. These courses are popular so demand is high. Just as with human anatomy, the study of equine medicine is very demanding, so focused dedication for several years is required.
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.
Professions with a high bar to entry and which require a high degree of skill, are thriving. A buoyant equestrian industry will require a proportional number of equine vets, so those who can complete their studies are having no trouble finding work, and advancing through their careers.
Equine Jobs – Equine Dentist
An excellent career option for anyone who enjoys working with animals and who is interested in dentistry, is to become an equine dentist. An equine dentist, or dental technician, is someone who takes care of horses’ oral health. This is a relatively new field of employment, compared to that of an equine vet or farrier, for example.
The condition of a horse’s teeth and gums are important indicators of a horse’s overall health. Previously, veterinarians took care of a horse’s oral health, but many vets now prefer that equine dentists specialise in this aspect, so the vet can concentrate on the rest of the horse.
A few colleges or other institutions across the country, offer courses in equine dentistry. You could train up to the standard required of a dental technician, but to become and equine dentist, the bar is much higher.
Equine dentistry is a field that is growing in popularity, so getting a place on courses can be quite competitive. The prerequisites often include a degree in a medical or science field, experience working with horses, and a few references from veterinarians, professors, or existing equine dentists.
Assuming you have completed an apprenticeship with either an established equine dentistry practice, or with a horse veterinary practice, then you might consider setting up your own practice. However, if you intend to do this then you’ll need some business skills. The medical qualifications alone are not sufficient to be a success as a self employed equine dentist.
To start you own practice you will need an established client base, reliable transport, and all the standard equipment and licences. This equipment will include forceps, cutters, speculums, restraints, and power equipment. You will also need an office, even if it’s just a spare room at home, and all the mandatory liability insurances.
Equine Jobs – Transportation
Moving and transporting large, sensitive, and valuable animals is a specialised task. For these reasons, the equine transportation industry is another one that remains in demand in proportion to the size of the general equestrian industry.
Entry level jobs are available for those without an HGV (heavy goods vehicle) licence. There are many types of non-HGV horse transport vehicles, as well as trailers for conventional vehicles.
Drivers need to be confident in reversing trailers, often in unfamiliar surroundings and in close proximity to other vehicles and people. Practice makes perfect, so if you have access to a trailer and a yard then learn the ropes until you’ve developed that confidence.
Most people start with a job in equine transportation by becoming a driver who is also a handler. Many owners prefer to drive themselves, but others outsource the task to transportation firms.
Sooner, rather than later, you’ll need to obtain an HGV licence. And of course, you’ll need to be comfortable around horses, and be adept at loading and unloading animals of various sizes and temperaments, at different locations.
Other ways to get involved in equine transportation include working for one of the companies in a sales, marketing or administration capacity. Vehicle outfitting, maintenance, design, and building, for horsebox and trailer manufacturers is another option.
Transportation is required to and from; stables, stud farms, auctions, shows, country fairs, races, and other locations. The hours are often long, with overnight stays. International horse transportation may also be part of your job as your career progresses.