Don't be surprised if your horse-crazy youngster decides to pursue a career in horses. With the current explosion of the horse industry, more and more young people are finding job opportunities doing what they love most. You can help by educating yourself about the opportunities available and encouraging your youngster to explore them.
As in human medicine, extensive time in school is required to become a veterinarian. While in school, some people begin to hone in on a specialty that attracts them most — surgery, therapeutics, or research, for example.
Pets, including horses, are a vital part of the economy in the United States and developed nations around the world. Most horse veterinarians are on the road a lot doing farm calls, so you need to like to drive, find your way through country towns and roads, and improvise with whatever kind of facility you find at the end of the road. Time spent traveling on the job means you have less time to spend with your own horses at home, so that's something to consider when investigating this career path.
The veterinary technician is a vital asset at an animal hospital of any kind. Vet techs in equine practices may find themselves doing anything from cleaning stalls to taking temperatures to regularly checking in-house patients for vital signs. Some vet techs go on the road with vets and help prepare vaccines, restrain horses while care is being administered, and so forth. The academic requirements for a veterinary technician typically involve a two-year vocational program.
The equine dentist is becoming a more common member of the horse care team. In choosing this career path, you will spend a lot of time with your hands in horses' mouths, working with power tools. Unless you can get yourself a few customers who have large facilities with lots of horses, you will need to travel around the countryside to visit your clients.
The horse's foot is fascinating, and its well-being is vital to the overall health and serviceability of the horse. The tools needed for farrier work are fairly simple, the work is varied, and you get to be your own boss. Like the country vet, you have to travel around the countryside and deal with whatever barn setups you encounter. The farrier also often works in conjunction with the veterinarian on foot issues that involve disease and injury. The area of foot care is changing drastically, with new techniques and shoes made of new materials, and the need for people in this area of equine specialty is increasing.
What's the difference between a farrier and a blacksmith?
A farrier is a blacksmith who does horseshoeing for a living but doesn't necessarily do other types of iron work. While a blacksmith make may horseshoes, he is also skilled at making other things with iron.
The constant bending over in farrier work can be hard on the body. If all horses were easy to handle, stood perfectly still, and held their own weight up while the farrier worked on a foot, it might be less of a backbreaking job. But those kinds of horses are more the rarity than the norm. As with any horserelated activity, the possibility of injury from kicks is quite real, perhaps even more so for a farrier dealing with an uncooperative or frightened horse.
If you become an expert in a particular discipline, a career as a riding instructor may be just right. Good riders are always trying to improve their skills. You don't have to have competed in the Olympics to help people be better riders.
Many people figure out how much time per week they can spend teaching riding and fill in the slots as customers come along. Most people who take lessons, especially beginners, expect to ride school horses. Therefore, if you give group lessons, you need to have enough horses to go around. That certainly adds to the expense of this kind of business.
If you become an excellent rider and you like working with young horses, perhaps you would like to make a living at starting horses under saddle. This is one of the hardest and most dangerous ways to make a living with horses — but it's also one of the most rewarding. If you become very good at it, your services will be in great demand.
Today, more owners want to be involved in their horse's training. They are not as willing to just send their horse away for three months and not care what you are doing with it. They want to observe and understand the process of educating a horse to riding. This is a good thing. In watching the process, the owner can become a better-educated rider and ultimately be able to handle her horse more effectively.
Involvement in horse breeding can be approached in two ways: You can be a veterinarian who specializes in reproduction, or you can learn a lot about genetics and breed, raise, and sell your own horses.
What does LFG stand for?
LFG means live foal guaranteed and is what you should expect to have to offer if you offer stallion services. Mares are receptive to a stallion for limited periods of time. If the mare aborts the foal, the mare owner will expect to rebreed at no additional stud fee.
Breeding and selling horses can be a complex undertaking, and because of the considerable expenses involved, most people don't make a lot of money from it. Typically, you choose a breed, maybe two, to specialize in. You need to learn a lot about equine genetics to be able to choose the best pairings of stallions and mares. Color tends to sell in the horse world, and there are specific genetic patterns that make it more likely that you will get palominos, buckskins, or Paints. However, luck of the draw always figures prominently.
To have a breeding program, you will probably keep a stallion on the premises. Handling a stallion requires considerable skill and knowledge and is not something a novice can undertake safely. You can, however, carry out a breeding program without a stallion and simply own mares that are artificially inseminated.
Having horses for sale is almost like retail sales — the more you have for people to look at, the more likely they will find one they want. When breeding, you should know how to market young horses. Otherwise, if they have to be broke to ride before they are sold, plan to feed them and have them around for a while — as long as three to four years.
Making a living wage from a career riding horses is a bit of a pipe dream for most. A few people manage to do it, but it is not for the faint of heart. The bills are big — you need high-quality horses, tack, a trailer, and so forth. Travel expenses are extensive, and entry fees to events can add up fast. Purses in the horse world are smaller than in other sports, such as golf and tennis. But if you are extremely competitive and successful, the effort can bring you a good living later on, when you translate your fame and reputation into a career in instruction or training.