Working with horses would be a dream job for so many people!
Or would it?
There are a lot of horse-related jobs that most people have no idea even exist. I’m not even going to attempt to list them off!
But how do you find these jobs? How’s a girl supposed to find out what kind of jobs people can get with horses? When I was a kid I read as many horse books as I could get my hands on.
These days girls with Internet connections have it so much easier! Do a Google search for horse jobs and there are a million results in less than a second.
WORKING WITH RACEHORSES
When I was younger, my parents took me to Hastings Park in Vancouver for the Thoroughbred horse races.
Wow! Being a jockey would be an excellent job. Getting paid to gallop a horse around a track? Sign me up!
When the Thoroughbred racehorses came out on the track they were accompanied by a horse and rider. Usually a woman riding the buddy horse. They rode in Western saddles and their horses were different breeds and colors. Clearly the buddy horses were not Thoroughbreds.
Hmm, I thought to myself. Could I ride Duchess, my Quarter Horse cross, and do that job? Probably not. Duchess was kind of stubborn and lazy. I wasn’t sure what that job title was called for the ladies riding their horses alongside the Thoroughbreds before the races. Outriders?
Seemed like it would be a cool job for me. I also noticed there were no women jockeys. If I wanted a job riding a horse at the racetrack, I’d have to be one of those outriders.
It really didn’t occur to me that there was a whole crew of people working behind the scenes at the track like grooms, veterinarians, feed store workers, tack store staff, backstretch kitchen workers, track maintenance, security and so much more. Not to mention the people who worked in the administrative building – secretaries, program sellers, the man announcing the races, and more workers than I’ll ever know about.
TRAIL RIDE GUIDE AND DUDE RANCH STAFF
I’ve gone on a few trail rides in my life and there’s someone on staff who rides the lead horse and shows the guests the way.
That would be a cool job too! Getting paid to ride horses in trails and make sure the paying customers don’t get lost.
Trail ride guides are almost synonymous with dude ranch, or guest ranch, staff. Better known as wranglers, cowboys, or cowgirls. Most guests staying at these ranches are interested in horseback riding, and are usually escorted by a ranch hand for guided trail rides. Due to insurance reasons, it’s difficult to find ranches offering unescorted trail rides.
If you’re looking for work on a dude ranch, check ranch websites. Due to the remote locations of these ranches, accommodations are usually included in the job contract. It’s not all riding horses and showing guests around the trails. Especially on smaller dude ranches, staff might be expected to do everything from cleaning the barn, making beds, to serving meals.
There are all kinds of stable jobs, some easier to find than others.
These jobs can be found on private farms, that may or may not be open to the public. This could be anything from someone who needs extra help around their property and with their horses, to someone who has a horse boarding operation or giving riding lessons.
At least once a month I see an ad for help wanted on a horse farm. In addition to horse handling, the job also requires someone who can do maintenance like repairs, painting and lawn mowing. Due to the frequency of this ad constantly reposting, it’s probably safe to assume that this isn’t a good place to work.
Many jobs working with horses are hard work for low pay. Working for horses is not everyone’s dream job.
FUN HORSE JOBS?
Some jobs working with horses are a whole lot more fun than others.
There are lots of people who probably think that any horse job would be a fun job!
Yeah! How could it not?
Wouldn’t a job working as the horse keeper at Graceland be amazing? https://www.equineinfoexchange.com/index.php/recreation-lifestyle/1364-meet-the-former-teacher-who-also-serves-as-graceland-s-long-time-horse-keeper-2
If anyone hears of a live-in caretaker position on a horse farm, let m know! I’m not talking so much about property maintenance or horse care, though one or two horses I can handle. I’m more about keeping an eye on things. Checking hay and water and making sure the horses aren’t injured. Making sure people coming on the property are supposed to be there, that sort of thing.
That would be my kind of a fun job.
I also think being a horse photographer would be a fun job. Catching just the right moment, sometimes to the horror of the rider!
There’s kind of a catch-22 with just about every horse job advertised.
The boss wants applicants with horse experience. They might be willing to train people on how to do the job, but most employers want applicants who have already spent time around horses and know how to handle them.
How do you get horse experience? Hopefully when you were a kid or teenager you took riding lessons or owned a horse. You will know from these experiences if you are comfortable handling horses. And safely handling horses. These are big beasts that weigh upwards of a thousand pounds and often have a different opinion than the handler on what they want to do.
You can also look at volunteering with a therapeutic riding facility or a horse rescue. Coordinators will be happy to train willing participants in cleaning stalls, grooming, tacking up, leading, feeding, and riding.
A LITTLE LIGHT READING
I bought a round up (get it? ha ha!) of horse stories on October 15, 2020, called Horses, Hearts & Havoc. (Disclosure: I’m an Amazon affiliate. If you click the link and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral.)
As I’m reading the first story in the series, Cut and Run, I’m thinking to myself, this story seems kind of familiar.
The story line features a horse-crazy heroine who has read just about every horse book and watched every TV show and movie that features horses. She’s extremely knowledgeable about horses, but has never actually seen one in person. Until her first day working at a dude ranch where she has wrangled (pun intended) a wrangler job. Yeah that’s pretty ballsy pretending to be an experienced horsewoman!
I went back to Amazon and double checked Cut and Run‘s page, and I bought the book on May 17, 2014. Ah ha! Needless to say, I stopped reading Book 1 in the collection.
Getting back to the round-up, Book 2 in the collection I wasn’t planning to read. For the second time around. I’ve read a lot of Bev Pettersen’s novels and I knew I’d read Riding for Redemption years ago.
I bought it on February 15, 2013 to be exact. The interesting thing about this novel is that it features a school where students learn how to be grooms and riders in the horse industry.
Interesting concept that people will pay to learn this stuff. I learned on the job. In the school of hard knocks.
If we’re doing the math correctly, that still leaves me with six novels I haven’t previously read. I’ll read one novel, and then I read a different book. I have a lot of Kindles in my “to be read” library.
There are more horse jobs out there than I could have ever imagined. Oh sure, I knew of some horse careers like a jockey who rides Thoroughbred races. I’ve known for many years that jockeys have agents. Like an actor has an agent who finds him/her jobs, a jockey’s agent find horses for him/her to ride.
But get this. I had no idea there’s a jockey coach, who I suppose gives the jockey tips on how to ride better to win races. I just thought most of that came from experience and advice from other riders and trainers!
Anyway, if you need inspiration click here for over 100 horse-related careers. More than you and I ever knew existed!
HORSE JOBS FOR ME?
I’m sure some of you are wondering why I don’t work a job with horses.
Or have I ever worked a job with horses?
Yes, I have worked horse jobs, and I’m going to write posts and share those experiences.
The reality with many horse jobs is it’s hard work, low pay, getting up early, working long hours, being outside in nasty weather conditions, dealing with unruly horses, and putting up with some really scuzzy human beings.
Now don’t get me wrong. Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life have been in the horse industry. Unfortunately, the scum of the earth is there too.
Wouldn’t a horse job be wonderful?
If you’re young, still in your twenties, energetic, have a strong back, and able to function on little sleep, working a job with horses is a dream come true!
Did you ever have a horse career? Or did you dream of working with horses? Tell us how it went!
This post was published on January 28, 2021.