Are horse careers, like equine massage, a viable living, especially now in this economy? What are some colleges that have good equestrian programs?
Any advice to someone who is deciding on a career path?
I am currently going to school to be a veterinarian technician. It is a growing field, and seems to do well even in this economy. This career does not get the largest salary, but if it is something you love doing it makes up for it. The best part is you can be a technician in a small animal clinic, equine practice, or a zoo.
I am in a 2 year program at a school that is fortunately 16 minutes from my home, so I can stay with my horses.
My friend is going to Stephen's College in Missouri that has a great equine program. I believe she is going to become a riding instructor in their 4 year program.
Farrier school is something that I have looked into before. Again, it is not the highest paying job, but if you plan on owning horses for awhile, this schooling will eventually pay for itself, even if you just trim and shoe your own horses.
Just remember, as a private contractor you have to provide your own insurance. Since you'll be doing what's considered a dangerous line of work, expect the premiums to be fairly high.
You'll have to pay your own earnings taxes, so will need to budget for that during the year. You'll also need to set aside some money for retirement, because not having an employer means no retirement plan.
Plus, if you get sick or injured you don't work, which means no money coming in. You're a private individual, so I don't believe you'd be eligible for unemployment compensation.
Yes, we need farriers, trainers, etc., but the hours are long, the pay is low, and there are no benefits. Those concerns are easy to dismiss when you're 20 y/o, but what happens when you're 50, have no retirement funds, and your body is getting worn out or you're traumatically injured?
It all sounds so fairy-tale to think you're going to be doing something you love, but when you're getting on in years and don't own a home and have no money, that fairy-tale turns into a nightmare. I've seen it happen more than once.
Vets always make me assist. I suppose it's because I will? LOL Even if it's not my horse and I'm at a boarding barn, my main vet often chimes "Laaaaciiiiieeeee! 8D" At another barn I had to help with a crypt gelding. Right in the action, without actually being in the action. I've got a strong stomach though - except when it comes to eyeballs... Other than that? Let's goferit.
I've considered going to school to become a tech, and it'll bring you a better, stabler income than a massage therapist. The equine massage therapists I know use it as a side job, and they have several other jobs outside of that. So take the course for massage therapy, go to school to be a vet tech, then you may be able to use your skills and earn extra money at your job!