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Equestrian jobs - how to have a career with horses

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If you love horses, you’ll be pleased to know that a wide range of equestrian jobs are available, and these can provide a rewarding and long-lived career.

You may already be employed in the farming or animal sector, or from outside with an interest in all things equestrian. Whether you are experienced or are intending to brush up on your skills with an equine course, there is a rewarding and progressive career waiting for you.

What skills do I need to secure an equine job?

You may already have agriculture or animal-based qualifications or experience, so from this basis you will have learnt organisational and management skills.

You can train in all aspects of horsemanship, for example in basic horse care and riding and road safety - see the websites for the British Horse Society and the Association of British Riding Schools for more details.

Besides the basic skills, a love for horses and an ability to ride are essential, but just as important is attention to detail and a thirst for challenge. You won’t mind the dark, early starts and the long days, or being out in all weathers, even in winter.

What kind of roles are available?


Early mornings, late nights and weekends are part and parcel of the groom’s life. But it has its rewards - many positions come with accommodation and some with free livery for your own horse, and the camaraderie of working closely with others who share your passion.

To work as a groom, you may already be an assistant groom, or working in a stables, either paid or as a volunteer. You may also enter this career through an apprenticeship.

A groom’s day-to-day responsibilities include feeding and exercising horses, mucking out stables, cleaning tack, grooming and following any instructions from vets if necessary.

There are many different sectors you could specialise in – showing, polo, carriage driving, racing, hunting, show jumping, dressage, stud work and eventing. In many of these you will have the chance to travel in the UK and abroad.

You can expect to start on a salary of around £12,000 but remember many employers offer accommodation and sometimes food as part of a package. With experience, you can progress to become head groom or yard manager, or if you are based in a racing stables, head lad or head girl or assistant trainer. If you’re working in a stud, you could progress to stud groom, stallion handler or stud manager. These positions will command higher salaries according to skills and experience.

Riding instructor

This is a rewarding career, which will bring you the joy of seeing horses work at their best, and the satisfaction of seeing your students progress.

To start as a riding instructor, you’ll need a good basic education, proven competency in riding and a teaching qualification from the British Horse Society or the Association of British Riding Schools. You can take further specialised qualifications through The Pony Club and the British Driving Society.

Communication is an important skill in this field, and the ability to enthuse students of all ages. As well as teaching people to ride for pleasure, you’ll be helping more advanced riders prepare for competitions, assessing riders working towards qualifications and creating training programmes.

You are likely to start on a salary of around £14,000 to £18,000, with experienced instructors earning £25,000+ with the right qualifications.

With experience you can progress to opening your own riding school or becoming a head or senior instructor or even a competition judge.

Show manager

This career combines your experience with working with horses with using your organisational skills to the maximum – in short, events planning with an equine twist.

To get into this niche role, you may have already volunteered at shows and be familiar with how they operate. A number of equine management courses can also help get you on this pathway. The key skills you’ll also need are project management and the ability to communicate effectively with judges to volunteers to riders and the public.

Your tasks will include booking the event venue and organising everything the show needs to run – the riders, judges and volunteers, prizes and catering – as well as devising the programme for the day and all the advertising around it.

If you’re working in an employed role you can expect to earn around £25,000 but you could earn more if you organise shows on a self-employed basis.

Racehorse trainer

Enjoy the thrill of the race in this exciting and rewarding career where the unexpected is part of your job satisfaction.

This prestigious career path is for those who have perhaps worked their way up from a position as a groom with plenty of experience with horses, and who can show they have fulfilled the conditions for the licence issued by the British Horseracing Authority. These include passing a number of specialist training courses.

You’ll also need strong leadership and organisational skills.

Your work will include managing individual horses’ needs such as training and nutrition, preparing for racing days, including travel, managing staff, liaising with vets and communicating with owners.

Starting out as an assistant trainer, you will be earning around £24,000. As you work your way up to an elite trainer, you could command a salary of £45,000+. You may also be eligible for some of the winnings from races in addition to your salary.

This is an exciting career path and in time you could branch out into other specialisms such as a breeder or someone who instructs trainers.

These are just a few examples of equine jobs in a truly dynamic field where there are many opportunities to progress and diversify.

If you are looking for an equestrian job or searching for the perfect candidate, contact the friendly team at Agricultural Recruitment Specialists for a quality service and a range of vacancies or specialisms to suit you. See www.agrirs.co.uk/contact-us or call our team on 01905 345155.


Association of British Riding Schools: https://www.abrs-info.org/

British Driving Society: http://www.britishdrivingsociety.co.uk/

British Horseracing Authority: https://www.britishhorseracing.com/

British Horse Society: https://www.bhs.org.uk/

British Racing School: https://www.brs.org.uk/

Careers in Racing: https://www.careersinracing.com/apprenticeships/

National Careers Service: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/

The Pony Club: http://www.pcuk.org/