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Careers in the Equine Industry


By Karen Vines Penn State Equine Science online article

So, you want a career in the equine industry....

Many times people looking for career opportunities in this industry automatically begin to think about jobs that have the most direct contact with horses—e.g., veterinarians, trainers, riders. While these are valid careers in the industry, they are only a few in a field with a wide number of extremely varied opportunities.

The goal of this article is to assist you in recognizing the vast array of opportunities that are available so you can begin to consider the possibilities that best fit with your talents and other career objectives. This is in no way intended to be an all-inclusive list nor will it answer all of your questions.

After you have identified some careers that are of interest to you:

  • Spend some time in a career-resource library, online, or visiting with individuals currently involved in your chosen vocation.

  • Identify the educational background that will best help you achieve your career goal. Some positions may require only experience while others may require highly specialized degrees.

  • Look for opportunities to participate in internships or job-shadowing opportunities to gain experience and develop your career network. Internships also allow you to more fully experience your desired career and more accurately determine whether or not it will be something you will enjoy.

  • Determine what the application procedure is to achieve your desired position. In some cases, you may simply complete a job application while other careers may require some form of apprenticeship.

Global Overview (List of Careers) Career opportunities in the equine industry span the globe, providing flexibility of location for those looking for smaller and greater spheres in which to operate. Here we have listed some general areas as well as opportunities at various levels and locations. Use the links for specifics about the listed careers.

  • Agritourism

  • Apparel

  • Associations

  • Bedding

  • Breeding

  • Business Management

  • Communications

  • Education

  • Entertainment

  • Equipment, Supplies & Transportation

  • Event Management

  • Facilities

  • Farm or Ranch Management

  • Farrier

  • Health

  • Horse Sales

  • Legislation and Government

  • Nutrition

  • Real Estate Sales

  • Training

Racing Careers Many careers are associated with the horse racing industry. For the most part, these careers apply to all breeds; however, individuals will generally specialize in their chosen area whether it be Thoroughbred, Standardbred, or Quarter Horse racing. Most states have a state racing commission that oversees all racing within the state with positions similar to the following. Within many of these categories are many jobs. They vary in requirements, access to horses and interaction with the public.

  • State Racing Commission

  • Track Management, Administrative Staff & Wagering Department

  • Marketing Department

  • Culinary Department

  • Track-side

  • Barn Staff

  • Veterinarian Staff

  • Maintenance Department

  • Security Department

  • Jockey Department

Most race tracks have their own human resources departments that advertise positions. It is a good idea to check with the race tracks directly for the positions in which you are interested. Many will list employment announcements and application information on their websites. Here are some tracks you might try, although this is only a partial list.

Quarter Horses



Related News Releases & News Sites:

Therapeutic Riding Careers Another area of the equine industry which is experiencing growing support is therapeutic riding. Therapeutic riding is used to improve the quality of life for individuals with physical or mental disabilities. National certification is available for facilities offering equine facilitated therapy through the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, Inc. (

Therapeutic riding programs often operate with many volunteers. Paid positions are available at some programs. Opportunities range from hourly to salaried positions. Career opportunities at a facility fall under four major areas - Administrative Positions, Facility Management, Instructional Positions and Animal Care Positions. Many times, these positions may be combined so that one person is covering many areas. Some important skills that are needed in the various areas are listed below.

Related Links & Examples:

Job Search Basics Job Search Tips

  • Know Yourself -What are your abilities, likes, dislikes, educational goals, motivating factors and geographical preferences? Do your preferences match the job you want to do? Utilize career counseling services, if these are available to you, to identify job areas where you might have greatest ability.

  • Research Possibilities -Learn all you can by reading books and utilizing online references. Ask questions and learn new skills by volunteering or participating in internships in your desired career area. Internships provide valuable opportunities for you and potential employers to get acquainted and determine whether or not a position “fits.” These are also great ways to supplement formal education, develop your resume and build your list of references.

  • Develop Good Professional Skills -Present yourself well by keeping a positive attitude, open mind and willingness to work hard. -Always be on time and communicate with co-workers and supervisors. -Utilize resources on writing your resume. Many are available in written form as well as on the internet. -Improve your interview skills through practice. Utilize references for tips. Also, ask a friend or mentor to help you stage a mock interview. Make a list of questions you expect a prospective employer might ask so you can answer them. Evaluate the interview and develop a list of ways to improve your next interview. Always represent yourself to your best ability. -Dress appropriately for interview and work situations. -Follow up interactions with potential employers and other kindnesses with written notes of appreciation.

Equine Related Employment Services

Additional Resources

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