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Horse Rehabilitation Therapist: Salary Info and Job Duties

Learn about the education and preparation paths to become a horse rehabilitation therapist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensure requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

Horse rehabilitation therapists are animal health care professionals who treat horses with physical or emotional injuries using many techniques, including ice or massage therapy. Due to the different positions they can occupy, a horse rehabilitation therapist may earn a mean salary ranging from $33,280 to $99,000 a year.

Essential Information

Horse rehabilitation therapists are required to have a calm, kind and compassionate nature in order to deal with physically and emotionally injured horses. People come to this career with backgrounds as veterinary technicians, veterinarians, physical therapist assistants and physical therapists; education requirements and salaries for these careers vary widely. Learn what horse rehabilitation therapy entails and what compensation potential applicants can expect.

Career Titles Veterinarian Physical Therapist Veterinary Technologist and Technician Physical Therapist Assistant
Required Education Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Doctor of Physical Therapy 2-year postsecondary program Associate's degree
Other Requirements State license State license Pass Veterinary Technician National Examination in most states Licensure or certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 9%* 34%* 19%* 41%*
Average Annual Salary (2015) $99,000* $85,790* $33,280* $55,250*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career and Salary Info for Horse Rehabilitation Therapists

In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that veterinarians earned an average annual salary of $99,000, and physical therapists earned $85,790. Both of these careers require years of postgraduate schooling. Physical therapist assistants and veterinary technicians, however, can receive training at the undergraduate level. In 2015, veterinary technologists and technicians made an average annual salary of $33,280, while physical therapy assistants made $55,250 (www.bls.gov).

Job Duties

The process of rehabilitating horses that have experienced injury may involve heat or ice therapy as well as ultrasound or massage therapy. Horses may also benefit from drug therapy, which is given by injection. Horse rehabilitation therapists are sometimes given full care of the horse, which means they even have to decide what form of nutrition will best aid the horse's recovery.

It is the job of the horse rehabilitation therapist to consult with other equine specialists and veterinarians to determine if the injured horse needs dental care, physical activity, immunizations or shoeing. The horse may even need the services of a chiropractor to bring it back to health. The horse rehabilitation therapist is responsible for developing a treatment plan for the horse's recovery.

If a horse is in need of immediate first aid assistance, the horse rehabilitation therapist is equipped to administer it. Horse rehabilitation therapists may treat horse injuries with joint mobilization or stretching therapies. Other treatment options include laser therapy or acupuncture.

When exercising the horse, therapists may perform balancing exercises or line work, depending on the needs of the horse. Line work helps re-teach horses how to properly stop and turn. They may also hand-walk the horse. This involves walking the horse on a flat area, unless it is determined that hilly areas will help with the horse's recovery. Such hand-walking exercises re-strengthen the horse's muscles.

Horse rehabilitation therapy is a growing field and includes veterinarians and veterinarian technicians as well as physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. Jobs are expected to grow between 9 and 41% during the 2014-2024 decade.


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