Top 10 Career Options for Horse Lovers

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We know that choosing a career is no walk in the park. It can be a confusing, frustrating and time-consuming process – more so when you simply have no idea what you want to do.

Having said that, many career coaches and counsellors will tell you that you should select a career that aligns well with your interests, whatever they are, whether it’s working with children, drinking coffee or playing with cats.

But if you’re more of a horse lover and have a passion for all things equine, you might want to take a look at these 10 career options for some inspiration.

10. Horse groom

What they do: Horse grooms, also known as stable hands, are responsible for providing daily care and maintenance for horses. Their work typically involves cleaning stables (mucking-out), as well as feeding, exercising and grooming horses. They can be employed in a private residence or professional horse training facilities.

What they earn: Horse grooms who are just starting in their career typically make £10,000 a year. With experience, they can start earning anywhere between £12,000 and £16,000. Although salaries can be low and can expect to work all hours of the day, some employers will provide you with additional benefits like meals, accommodation and free stabling for your own horse.

How to become one: Although there aren’t any entry requirements for this profession, experience of working with horses can be incredibly useful. You might also consider completing a course in horse care or a relevant apprenticeship.

9. Farrier

What they do: Farriers are responsible for the trimming, shoeing, health and overall wellbeing of horses’ feet. They might also work with vets and equine hospitals to provide corrective shoeing and surgical farriery.

What they earn: The starting salary for farriers is £16,000. Experienced farriers rake in between £20,000 and £25,000 annually, while those in more senior positions can make up to £30,000.

How to become one: You’ll need to complete an advanced level apprenticeship with an approved training farrier (ATF). You can also enter the profession by training with the British Army. After completing training, you need to register with the Farriers’ Registration Council (FRC).

8. Horse riding instructor

What they do: The main duties of a horse riding instructor are helping students of different ages, riding ability and experience learn and master specialised riding skills. Their work may also involve teaching assistant instructors and supervising work in stables.

What they earn: Starting salaries for this profession range between £14,000 and £18,000 per year, although you can earn £19,000 to £25,000 with experience. As a self-employed instructor, your earnings will depend on what you charge.

How to become one: You should be an excellent rider and have a teaching qualification from the British Horse Society (BHS) or the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS). You’ll also need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

7. Equine veterinary nurse

What they do: Equine veterinary nurses work alongside vets to provide care and treatment to horses. Their work typically involves preparing horses for surgery, assisting a veterinary surgeon in theatre, carrying out diagnostic tests, dressing wounds and administering medication under veterinary supervision.

What they earn: The starting salary for all veterinary nurses in the UK ranges between £18,000 and £20,000. With experience, they can start earning £21,000 to £24,000, but it can rise as high as £26,000.

How to become one: There are two main routes to entering this profession. The first is completing the Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing qualification. The second is undertaking a foundation degree (FdSc) in Equine Veterinary Nursing Science, which typically lasts three years.

6. Jockey

What they do: Jockeys ride horses in racing events and for exercise. They are employed by racehorse owners and are responsible for the maintenance of all riding equipment, including saddles, helmets, boots and elastic girths.

What they earn: Jockeys are generally contracted by horse owners and trainers to race their horses. They typically receive a riding fee for this, which varies from contract to contract, as well as a percentage of the prize money. Having said that, you can expect to earn about £20,000 a year.

How to become one: Completing an apprenticeship and getting a license to race is essential to enter this profession. Note that each racing school has its own course eligibility requirements, so make sure you familiarise yourself with these before applying.

5. Mounted police officer

What they do: Mounted police officers work as part of the emergency services. Their responsibilities include safeguarding the community, acting as a barrier to potentially threatening behaviour, patrolling, and ensuring the general care and grooming of their horse.

What they earn: The average annual starting salary for all police officers ranges between £20,000 and £23,000. With experience, you can earn £38,000 to £43,000. It’s important to note that salaries vary between local police forces.

How to become one: You’ll first need to become a normal police officer and will be able to specialise in a specific area of the police force after three years.

4. Racehorse trainer

What they do: Racehorse trainers do exactly what it says on the tin: they train horses for horseracing. Their duties include exercising and feeding horses, ensuring they receive veterinary attention, as well as managing staff (for example, scheduling farrier visits).

What they earn: Assistant trainers generally earn between £15,000 and £24,000 a year. With experience, they can make as much as £25,000 to £40,000, while elite trainers can command salaries of up to £45,000 a year – or more.

How to become one: You’ll need to obtain a trainer’s license from the British Horseracing Authority to pursue this career.

3. Horse breeder

What they do: Horse breeders raise and sell horses for racing, shows and pleasure riding. Their duties include managing the nutrition of stallions and mares, keeping records and generally ensuring animal welfare.

What they earn: A horse breeder’s salary is based on the type of horses they breed, the quality of their breeding stock, as well as their reputation in the industry. In the US, the median annual wage for all animal breeders is $35,690 (£27,570).

How to become one: Horse breeders don’t have any formal educational requirements. However, an extensive knowledge of the specific breed of horse is useful, while an understanding of legislation regarding breeding practices is essential.

2. Equine veterinarian

What they do: Equine veterinarians are specialists in the wellbeing and care of horses. Their work typically involves diagnosing and treating patients, carrying out emergency and out-of-hours visits, performing operations and carrying out inspections. They may also treat and work with other animals, though this depends on the practice they’re employed at.

What they earn: The annual average starting salary for all veterinarians is £30,000. Experienced vets can earn anywhere between £35,000 and £44,000 a year, while those in senior positions can command salaries of £50,000 and more.

How to become one: You’ll need to complete a general veterinary degree at an approved Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) university, which can last five to six years, after which you can specialise in equine medicine.

1. Equine dental technician

What they do: Equine dental technicians – or EDTs, for short – specialise in the health and wellbeing of a horse’s teeth. Their work involves filing, rasping and removing teeth, as well as ageing horses and working alongside equine vets.

What they earn: As an equine dental technician, you can expect to earn as much as £34,000 a year.

How to become one: You’ll need to complete an apprenticeship with a British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and British Veterinary Dental Association (BVDA)-qualified EDT or veterinary surgeon. Once you’ve qualified, you’ll then need to register with the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians.

Have any of these equine careers piqued your interest? Join the conversation down below and let us know!


Salary information has been obtained from various online governmental and independent sources, both in and outside the UK, including the National Careers Service, the British Horse Society (BHS), the British Veterinary Dental Association (BVDA), The Spectator and O*NET OnLine. Where salaries are based on foreign data, currency conversions have been carried out using the appropriate exchange rates on 8 June 2017 through

This article was originally published in November 2014.