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Pataflafla 03-14-2012 10:01 PM

Getting Started with Minimal Experience

I am hoping to find a few people who will help me brainstorm some ideas of how I can work toward a job in the equine industry. It is a dream of mine to be able to work around horses and do a job I love every day, but I have no idea where to start.

I have a unique situation in that I have already attended a four-year university and graduated with a degree in economics. I am currently working in my field of study at a great full-time job. My background with horses is limited due to the fact that neither I nor my family has ever been able to afford one. I am anxious to finally have my own horse, as I know it would give me a huge foot in the door to have that experience, but as a recent graduate, I know I am not yet able to take full financial responsibility for a horse.

I'm looking down the road and would like to find a job that allows me to be around horses but also pays well (minimum $40k to $45k per year). Since I don't have the resources and experience to be a trainer or instructor at this point, that means I'm looking more along the lines of business jobs that are related to the horse industry.

My experience with horses is limited to volunteer work and about a year of dressage riding. I'd be open to working in any industry, but I'm just not sure what types of jobs are out there or where I should be looking. I'm also not sure how to prepare, as I must keep my current job to support myself financially, and that limits my ability to do any additional schooling or other part-time work.

I currently live in Oregon, but I'm open to moving pretty much anywhere after about four more years or so in my current location. My big question is how do I prepare for my dream job in the next four years while I'm working at my current job? Any suggestions, ideas, or personal experience is welcome! Thank you!

Blondehorselover 03-19-2012 04:06 PM

Not sure I will be able to help you much but I just wanted to let you know I'm in a somewhat similar situation. I've never been to college...I'm 22. (didn't know what to go for and didn't want to waste money to just go) so I have a dead end office job that pays ok but I still wouldn't be able to live on my own. I have been around horses for years and have owned 2 horses so far. I don't have a "high end" horse or board at a "high end" stable but I have a horse and that's what matters to me. I was actually accepted to William Woods but there was no way I'd be able to afford it. I also, would need a full time job to support myself in addition to going to school again. I try to volunteer with every horse thing I can. I've read every book/watched every movie imaginable related to horses. I've toyed with several equine related jobs but just an FYI there are NO jobs in the equine industry where you'll be making that much unless you have winning show/race horses or you are in some sort of up top business position. I thought about an equine feed specialist, groom, trainer, and even opening up a program for bullied kids/teens. I would just talk to schools, horse professionals, etc. just to get a feel for what you want to do. You could always do online courses. Sorry I'm not much help but wanted to let you know you're not alone!

heymckate 03-19-2012 04:58 PM

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but finding a job that pays that well in the equine industry will be tough.

If you're wanting a position that is hands-on with horses, then I would suggest literally getting your hands on them right now, even if it means taking riding lessons once per week. Also consider volunteering at a local horse rescue. In this type of instance, experience is your friend.

If you want a job on the business side of things that doesn't involve direct contact with horses, then I would suggest looking into something such as a business office at a race track, business office for a big racing barn or stable, business offices for large tack retailers (Dover Saddlery, State Line Tack, etc.), business offices for tack or riding apparel companies (Ariat, Mountain Horse, Ovation, etc.) or even checking the Bureau of Land Management (

Good luck!

Pataflafla 03-21-2012 12:48 AM

Thanks so much for the responses! Yes, I know that it is hard to find well-paying jobs in the horse industry. At this point I am thinking more about careers that don't involve the direct horse contact, since they are probably more likely to pay better, especially if you don't have the hands-on experience. Thanks for the examples of companies that might hire for those types of positions - that's what I was looking for!

I have done some volunteer work, but believe it or not, it isn't easy to find a rescue that is looking for volunteers in my area. There is one not too far from me, but they have not answered my emails, and I don't have any other contact information.

I do live on my own and cannot afford a horse on top of my other expenses right now, but I am hoping I can find another way to get involved with horses while I am saving to have my own. I have considered lessons or leasing, but the cost of either is still a big chunk out of my monthly paycheck, and putting all my money into that would prevent me from saving to buy my own horse in the future. It's kind of a frustrating situation, but I guess it's good to know that other people can relate!

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