Career Opportunities within the Equine Industry
Have you ever hoped to pursue a career working with horses?
Well, lucky for you, many opportunities are available in various areas of the industry. These options include those in equine health, sales, insurance, training, supplies, and services. The number of opportunities for possible careers in the equine industry is continually growing. This multi-billion dollar industry has tremendous impacts on the United States economy and the economy worldwide. There are certainly several options available if one wishes to pursue their passion for horses in a way that is ideal for them.
According to the American Horse Council Foundation’s 2017 horse economy study, the industry contributes $122 billion to the U.S. economy each year. This is an estimated contribution of direct effects from goods and services, as well as salaries, wages, and benefits (AHC, 2017). With this, it is important to know that there are 1.74 million people employed within the industry, with 60% of equestrians working in managerial positions. This is more than industries, including radio and television broadcasting and petroleum & coal products manufacturing (AHC, 2017). Also, this study shows approximately 7.25 million horses in the United States. This constitutes horses used for recreation, show horses, race horses, workhorses, and Amish institutionally owned horses (AHC, 2017).
The industry can be viewed as having two main sectors: the hands-on and support sector. Hands-on jobs are exactly that, working hands-on with the horse daily. This includes careers such as veterinarians, farriers, farm managers, trainers, and instructors. Jobs within the support sector support the day-to-day needs of the horse and horse owner. The support sector includes positions such as horse show secretaries, equine photographers, product sales representatives, or equine insurance agents. Both sectors house career paths that are pertinent to the industry, and they all instill positive impacts necessary for continuous industrial prosperity.
Hands-on Careers in the Equine Industry
Diving into the hands-on career pathways, veterinarians are known to be large animal practitioners who specialize in the overall health management of horses.
- Equine veterinarians are licensed animal health professionals qualified to diagnose and treat horses involved in many activities. Farriers are professionals who are highly skilled in equine foot care. Yes, this job is known to be physically demanding; however, it can offer substantial financial benefits and a flexible schedule.
- Farriers utilize various tools/ equipment to trim and shape horses’ feet every five to eight weeks to maintain proper foot and lower limb balance.
- The career of farm managers entails a great deal of responsibility for managing various aspects of equine care and generally supervising employees daily. Managers must carry a robust skill set in multiple aspects of horsemanship, possessing functional knowledge of basic medical treatments, nutritional needs, and behavioral management techniques for their herd.
- Trainers are the individuals responsible for training horses to perform specific tasks in response to the rider’s instruction. Trainers must plan the steps to achieve performance goals to make it a successful and enjoyable process for the horse. Training exercises must be planned and implemented, young or unbroke horses must be broke to their tack and rider, and horses must become desensitized to unfamiliar sounds and sights.
- Contrary to trainers, instructors are responsible for coaching their students in the respective discipline(s) in which they are involved. Instructors must create exercises to assist with performance improvement and overall communication between the horse and rider.
With some similarities and some differences, hands-on jobs are clearly what they state, being hands-on with the horse each day.
Support Careers in the Equine Industry
- To begin, the position of a Horse Show Secretary is found within the support-sector realm of the equine industry. Horse show secretaries are found in every discipline, some focusing on multiple disciplines. They are responsible for taking in entries for competitions and working to keep the show organized and efficiently executed. Secretaries are a pertinent aspect of every show, keeping track of placings and scores, championships, awards, and more. This support sector position allows an individual to be in the presence of the horse and other equine enthusiasts.
- Next, Equine Photographers are nestled within the industry to meet the needs of various enthusiasts. Photographers supply images of horses in different settings for commercial and artistic purposes. These photographs must capture balanced and meaningful images of their subjects. A component of this career is also knowing the various pieces of equipment one might wish to utilize, such as multiple lenses and equipment to accommodate different lighting or weather conditions.
- Moving on, Equine Product Sales Representatives are responsible for marketing equine-related products. This can be a wide range of products, including feed and supplements, tack, trailers, grooming equipment, riding apparel, or pharmaceuticals, to name a few. People in these positions are generally supervised by a sales manager, who oversees all efforts to place products into various retail locations efficiently.
- Another pertinent position within the support sector of the equine industry is Equine Insurance Agents. These people offer and educate on several different insurance policies to protect the horses that their clients own. Policy coverage for these horses can include Care Custody and Control (CCC) liability insurance coverage to farm or barn owners, mortality, significant medical/surgical, surgical only, liability, or loss of use.
Working in the Horse Industry
It is clear that the equine industry has a significant economic impact on the overall United States economy and that copious options for jobs and career paths lie within. Whether you wish to be hands-on or in the support sector of the world, there is likely a job for you that is not too far away. Here is something to remember if you are searching for a job or career change in the industry; it is not just about searching through online platforms and applying for jobs. Sometimes it is all about the right timing and who you know. Don’t stop networking, and you will land your dream job in time.