Landing Horse Industry JobsBy Jeffrey Rolo
In our article titled Horse Jobs: The Unflinching Reality we took a look at some of the less glamorous aspects of horse industry jobs… the harder realities we face once the dream of working with horses all day long has been achieved. If you're one of the few and the proud that loves horses more than money, doesn't mind working up a sweat, have no problems with getting your hands dirty, and understand that it's not always one of the "safest" jobs in the world then congratulations… you're ready to find a job in the equine industry.
It doesn't matter if you're looking for skilled positions such as horse trainer jobs or if you're looking to get into more entry-level positions such as mucking stalls and grooming horses; the underlying realities and way of life are fairly similar.
Since the aforementioned article covered the "bad news" about the industry, let's redirect our focus and cover the good news: getting a horse industry job is actually very easy if you are willing to relocate! Though truth be told, unless you live in a city, chances are fairly good that you'll be able to find local stables seeking out help – at least on a part-time basis.
One of the reasons for the seemingly endless amount of open horse jobs is that turnover can be significant in this industry. There are some exceptions to the rule, but for the most part stables have a somewhat difficult time keeping hardworking individuals for the long term. But since you've already determined that you're one of the rare souls that embrace the disadvantages of horse jobs, their hardship is your gain. If you really want a horse job, chances are very good you'll get just that.
Another spot of good news: the horse industry is still very open to intern positions and promotions within the ranks. Decades ago employees in most industries could start as a janitor and rise the ranks and eventually become a manager; companies invested in loyal employees and allowed them to learn the ropes on the job. That's no longer true today. In the corporate world personal talent is steadily becoming less important than college degrees and prior experience. Although such degrees aren't worth the paper they are printed on in many cases, if you don't have a solid college education and/or previous experiences, good luck getting a prestigious position.
When it comes to the horse industry, even the ritziest horse stables are willing to hire fresh newcomers with no experience. If you have a passion to work hard and learn while on the job, many, if not most, stables will gladly give you a shot.
If you love horses and would eventually love to train them but fear that a stable wouldn't hire you as a horse trainer, chances are you're right… to a degree. Most stables would want a horse trainer to have actual experience, but that doesn't mean you can't get your foot in the door and start as a horse groomer and all-around handyman. Yes, it's mundane work, but at the same time you can gain a wealth of horse experience and it's quite likely that management and/or the horse trainers would let you learn the tricks of the trade over time. Before you know it, that horse trainer position you desperately wanted might fall into your hands.
Often horse ranching jobs and/or jobs at the more prestigious stables will offer accommodations as part of the package. It's not uncommon to find small apartments or dwellings on bigger farms, so if you are concerned about reallocating for a horse job then consider seeking a job that requires and/or includes living accommodations as part of the job package. You won't find this on smaller stables, but it's pretty common on large ones.
If you're on the search for a horse industry job I would recommend a couple paths:
- Seek out the owners of local stables and ask them if they have any work for you. They may not have any positions immediately available, but you'd be surprised at just how many will be in need of part-time or full-time right there on the spot. And if they don't require any help, they may know another stable that does. The horse industry tends to be very close-knit and references aren't uncommon.
- Scan horse magazine advertisements since often help wanted ads are printed in them. This is particularly true for regional horse tabloids and magazines as opposed to national ones.
- Locate quality horse industry job databases over the Internet. Some sites may require a subscription to access the job postings, and others may be ghost towns since it's easy to put up a site but difficult to gain users… but some very good resources can be found. I won't list all the available sites in this article, but one that has a nice design and quantity of free, no hassle listings is http://www.yardandgroom.com. I am not affiliated with that site in any way, so this isn't a personal endorsement – just a suggestion as a potential good source. To find other such sites just type something like "horse jobs" into a search engine.
With a bit of initiative the odds are heavily in your favor in landing horse industry jobs, but before rushing out to claim one do some deep soul searching and make sure it's really something you'll want to do long-term. Jobs that are easily had are often freely available for a reason: they require specific people with specific passions.