Do you want a stable horse care job? Besides the obvious pun, jobs with horses are becoming more and more popular as our equine friends are being themselves taken in by people. Whether you want to train a horse, care for a horse, care for the barn, or maybe even help heal them, there are a few things you should learn before checking out the job market.
As you may have by now realized, most of the jobs involving horses don’t require any formal education on the subject, although, of course, some knowledge is needed. No matter how much you love petting your online horse, the real thing is very, very different.
So, first of all, you need to gain some experience with horses. Go do that, and then come back to this article.
Now that you’ve mustered some of the skills needed to train horses, it’s good to know that there are many complicated tasks involved in taking care of a horse. These can be easily divided into three different jobs. Although in many cases the task of the various jobs intertwine, some do require more skill, so if you have a barn, don’t just settle for the cheap solution of hiring multiple grooms. Remember that you probably need at least one of the valuable positions below.
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This is the lowest level of the horse care jobs. Although it’s at the first step of the equine industry, one cannot have a barn without grooms. If you feel that grooming is a bit complicated, or have never done it before, the best way to go about your training is seeking apprenticeship from someone you encounter, be it a groom, or any other of the jobs below.
Horse grooming is a job one can easily learn. It doesn’t involve much but the basic daily care that a horse needs. Grooms need to take care of the stalls in the barn, clean out the waste, and make sure that the horses under their care are receiving the food they need (something to be established with a vet, or an animal nutritionist).
But where’s the actual working with the horse? Well, don’t worry! Grooms also have to groom the horses, clean their hair, inspect their teeth, and inspect their hooves and scrape out the dirt and rocks. We actually have an article on horse hoof care that you might just want to check out here. Besides these basic tasks, horse grooms also need to check for any injuries and offer first aid to the horses. Those of you who also know how to ride a horse can receive salary bonuses to warm-up the horse before it’s ridden.
Horse grooms can receive decent pay: up to $15 per hour, and $24,000 per year. However, these are the average highs, so for an entry level job, don’t expect to receive that much.
This is one of the easier jobs in a farm, but it nonetheless requires excellent people skills. It’s one of the positions that grooms strive for and can actually achieve, provided they perform their tasks well. To be able to be a barn manager, however, groom need to gain a bit more advanced knowledge.
The perfect barn manager knows everything from basic treatments of various medical problems, basic nutritional needs of horses in general, as well as a few behavioral managing techniques, which can be learned either from a veterinarian, an animal nutritionist, and a horse trainer.
Barn managers need to help their grooms take care of the horses and supervise everything that happens in a barn. In this sense, the managers are not necessarily below vets and trainers in the equine job hierarchy, but must be considered as being on equal level. A barn manager needs to schedule everything from vet appointments, to training sessions, and how much a single horse is ridden per day. For this, the manager depends on invaluable info from all staff involved. The manager also is responsible for buying the things needed for the barn, and must ensure pay for all the employees by working directly with the owner.
Barn managers don’t need college diplomas, but one would be extremely helpful to be able to pass the groom level quickly.
The salary of barn managers varies very much, depending on the specific tasks that the barn man needs to complete. Normal wages for barn managers are between $30,000 and $40,000 per year.
Okay, now that we’ve covered the easy jobs, it’s time for the most difficult of them all. To be a horse trainer, one needs to have exceptional equine behavioral knowledge. Horse trainers have to develop an extremely personal relationship with the horse they are caring for. This makes this job one of the toughest horse care jobs, with a high risk factor, as even trainers can misread horses, leading to nasty accidents.
Trainers need be extremely versatile. A skilled trainer must know how to ride many types of horses. Horses need to be trained from a young age, so be ready for stubbornness. Trainers need to teach them how to halter, how to stand for grooming, how to accept handling. After all this is done, the horse also needs to be trained how to be ridden.
Consider that once a horse has been badly trained, the process of retraining it is all the more tedious. Sometimes, horse owners may hire you to do this, so be prepared.
There are not definite ways to become a trainer. Some say that attending animal behavioral courses in college can be one path. Others maintain that the best path is to climb up the hierarchy and eventually learn enough about horses to be able to train them. So, maybe the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Our advice is to train yourself with the horses, but college education in the field is also important, so if you don’t want to go to college, at least pick up books on the subject of equine behavior and study them on your own.
Trainers can be by far the best paid employees of the barn, but it all varies very much depending on skill. Some trainers earn over $53,000 per year. Others have as low as $20,000. But the bottom line is that the better you are at any of these horse care jobs, the more likely it is that you will have bigger pay.
Horse care careers are extremely attractive to everyone who loves horses, but always remember that they actually involve substantial work. All three jobs here involve 6 day workweeks, with the necessity of working on holidays, and around the clock availability on emergencies.
Are you convinced to take up horsemanship? It really is a lovely field. Remember to check our other guides to better your knowledge of horses.