Horse Careers

Horse Careers

Misty Kale

There are many different options to choose from if you are interested in having a career working with horses. We will look at some different equine job opportunities that might just get you excited about working with horses.

1. Equine veterinarians provide preventative health care for horses and treat their injuries. Becoming a licensed equine veterinarian involves a significant educational commitment, but the career has an average salary of $85,000. Board certified practitioners (also known as veterinary specialists) can ear much higher salaries.

2. Equine Veterinary Technicians provide assistance to veterinarians as they complete exams and surgical procedures. Vet techs must complete a two-year degree and pass an exam to become licensed in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technicians earn a median annual wage of $31,800. The top ten percent earn $47,410 or more, while the bottom ten percent earn $21,890 or less. You may earn a higher salary if you get your veterinary technician certification.

3. Riding instructors supervise students and direct them in riding lessons and training sessions. They may also ride the student’s horse to demonstrate proper techniques. Instructors may specialize in a variety of riding disciplines such as hunt seat, saddle seat, dressage, reining, and show jumping. Independent riding instructors typically charge an hourly rate for services but on average earn about $35,00 to $39,000 a year.


4. Farriers are responsible for trimming, maintaining, and balancing equine hooves. Farriers must attend to each equine client about seven times per year on average. 

Farrier Jan using the HOOF-it Blacksmith Hoof Stand

Most farriers are self-employed and can learn the trade via apprenticeship and certification courses. In some cases, the wage gap can be as great as $40,000 for pleasure horses to $200,000 or more for racing and show horses.

5. Mounted police officers use their horses to provide crowd control and deter crime. Mounted officers must first achieve regular police officer status via police academy training (which takes roughly six months) and then spend about three years on the force before becoming eligible to apply for specialty units like the mounted patrol. Police officers earn an average salary of $70,000.

6. Broodmare managers supervise the care of mares and foals. They are responsible for assisting with foaling, teasing mares, and keeping detailed veterinary and production records. The average salary for a broodmare manager is about $40,577.

7. Stallion managers supervise the care and breeding of stallions. They are involved in scheduling breeding shed appointments, supervising daily care, and promoting stallions to the public. The average salary for a stallion manager is $37,000 to $40,000 a year.

8. Jockeys ride racehorses in flat or steeplechase races according to the trainer’s instructions.

Jockeys can ride multiple races each day, as well as working horses in the morning. Earnings vary widely because the jockey earns a percentage of their horse’s winnings in each race, and race purses vary by track and level of competition. However, a good average gauge is that while jockeys only get paid around $100 or so to ride a mount, they collect about 10 percent of the first-place money and 5 percent of the second-, third,- and fourth-place money paid to the owners if the horse finishes.

9. Grooms provide daily care for the horses under their supervision, taking care to notice any changes in a horse’s behavior or body that might signal a need for veterinary care. The estimated average salary to be $19,360 per year.

10. Exercise riders workhorses each morning on the racetrack, following the instructions are given by trainers. Exercise riders are generally a bit taller and heavier than jockeys. Riders are usually paid by the mount, and a full-time exercise rider can earn a salary of $27,000 ($500 to $700 per week).

11. Barn managers supervise the care of the horses in their stable. They may be involved with hands-on horse care, managing employees, and scheduling deliveries of feed and bedding. Barn managers earn an average of $32,000 a year.

12. Bloodstock agents evaluate horses at auction and bid on them on behalf of their clients. They may also arrange the purchase of stallion seasons, proven racehorses, or horses that are privately for sale. Most bloodstock agents are involved in the Thoroughbred industry and earn a commission for their services. New agents can earn about $39,000 per year, while experienced professionals may earn six figures.

13. Equine dental technicians remove sharp points from a horse’s teeth (in a procedure known as “floating” the teeth). Dental care ensures that the horse is able to eat and perform properly. Equine dental techs usually earn a set fee per horse treated, with yearly earnings topping $69,000.

International Association of Equine Dentistry

14. Racehorse trainers condition their equine charges to compete in racing events. They must be well versed in all aspects of horsemanship and pass a licensing exam in each state where they intend to compete. Trainers earn a day rate for the horses under their care plus a percentage of their horses’ winnings. Most trainers earn between $20,000 and $60,000 annually, though top trainers routinely earn six-figure salaries.

15. Horse breeders arrange matings that result in foals of a certain breed or foals that are suited for a specific type of competition. While the salary of a breeder can vary widely based upon what breed they produce and the quality of their breeding stock, according to the BLS, the median annual salary earned by all animal breeders is $39,380.

16. Fish and Game Wardens patrol assigned area to prevent fish and game law violations. Investigate reports of damage to crops or property by wildlife. Compile biological data. The average salary for a Game Warden is $56,000.

These are just some of the amazing equine horse jobs out there that may fit perfectly with what you want to do for a career!