Horse Breeder: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 19, 2019

Horse breeders nurture equines to become healthy adults, typically choosing ones with suitable qualities. It may be for personal use or they may sell the horses to people for various uses, which influence breeding decisions. A degree in animal science can be beneficial, but is not required.

Essential Information

Horse breeders raise and sell horses for racing, performance and recreational use. They select horses with desirable characteristics and oversee breeding procedures. The completion of an animal science bachelor's degree program can provide the educational foundation for breeding horses.

Required Education No formal education requirements; bachelor's degree in animal science may be beneficial
Other Requirements Access to resources required to keep and care for horses
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 2.9% for all animal breeders
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $37,060 for all animal breeders

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Horse Breeder

Horse breeders evaluate animals, direct breeding procedures, and oversee the general care of horses. They combine scientific knowledge and experience to eliminate unwanted traits while retaining desirable characteristics in offspring. Desirable qualities can vary by intended use of the animal. Recreational riding generally only requires a horse with a calm, quiet demeanor, while horses for performance and racing must meet exacting physical standards.

These equine professionals might also have administrative responsibilities, including record keeping, marketing, and sales. They can also coordinate and manage the work of other professionals, such as animal handlers, veterinarians, artificial insemination technicians, and geneticists.

Duties of a Horse Breeder

The process of selecting mares and stallions to breed begins with researching pedigrees, genealogical records that include physical characteristics of an animal's ancestors. They also research health histories of animals to increase chances of reproduction and avoid inherited conditions, such as hemophilia and hip dysplasia. A breeder might contract the services of bloodstock agents, who specialize in pedigree information and evaluation.

Horse breeders consult with or employ other animal science professionals to determine when a mare is ready for insemination. Breeders carefully manage the nutrition of stallions and mares and must consider behavior and age when deciding to use artificial insemination or more natural mating techniques.

Aside from reproduction, breeders are responsible for the day-to-day care of horses and their offspring, including feeding, exercise, and vaccinations. They keep pedigree and health records for their own animals and treat minor illnesses and injuries.

Requirements to Become a Horse Breeder

There are no strict education requirements to become a breeder. Individuals can learn the scientific concepts and techniques involved in breeding by completing an animal science bachelor's degree program. Relevant coursework includes animal nutrition, genetics, husbandry, and horse management.

Purchasing and caring for horses requires a considerable financial investment. In addition to the horse, breeders must be able to provide a stable and related facilities, transportation, food, and other workers.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

In May 2018, the BLS reported that workers in the 90th percentile or higher earned $67,180 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $25,220 or less per year. The BLS also predicted that the employment of all animal breeders would increase slower than average from 2018 to 2028.

People who breed horses supervise basic care to ensure proper development and production of offspring with the desired characteristics, reviewing pedigree charts to find the horse that meets their requirements. Formal education isn't mandatory, just the ability to manage horses, maintain their welfare, understand the principles of breeding and keep records. This can be an expensive business, with declining job growth expectations and salaries that are not high.

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