Careers For the Free Spirited
For those who prefer a pasture to a desk and horse neighing to client calls, equine studies can open up viable career alternatives. Many people focus on caring for the health of horses. Among these professionals are veterinarians and veterinary technicians specializing in equine care. Stable managers and others also support horses' health in the form of daily care, including proper feeding and grooming. In addition, you may consider becoming a breeding technician - these professionals schedule, prepare and perform insemination procedures with breeding farms.
Other career options in equine studies include training horses to ride in horse shows, perform in rodeos or appear in filmed entertainment. You could also train individuals to ride horses for sport or pleasure. Some trainers work at horse-riding schools tailored specifically for individuals with special needs as a therapeutic service.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Animal Grooming
- Animal Training
- Equine Studies
Studies From the Stable
While equine studies programs can vary depending on a student's particular area of focus, most feature coursework that covers horse anatomy, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Individuals learn about different health conditions that can affect animals and how to address them. There are also classes on proper technique for riding, handling and training horses - hands-on practice is an important component of most equine studies programs. Many programs also feature classes on the business side of keeping horses, including bookkeeping and other stable management skills.
What coursework you ultimately complete depends on what type of equine studies degree you pursue. Typically, two- and four-year programs are available, with each degree program providing different areas of specialization. Some degrees, for example, provide instruction primarily in breeding and caring for horses as it relates to managing farms. Others focus more on helping students develop horsemanship skills. Most programs, though, feature a blend of care and riding skills.
Those who want to look after the health of horses often earn a bachelor's degree in animal science with an equine concentration before moving on to veterinary school. Two-year veterinary technician programs are also available for those who want to care for horses without such a lengthy education commitment.
Job Prospects and Potential Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for all animal care and service workers were projected to increase 23% between 2010 and 2020. This rate of growth is notably faster than average, mostly due to an increasing pet population and expansion of grooming and veterinary services. However, job opportunities for horse trainers may be limited due to the high cost of equine upkeep.
The BLS reports that animal trainers overall made a median of $25,270 per year. During the same time, veterinary technologists and technicians earned median annual wages of $30,290. Not surprisingly, equine veterinarians tend to see comparatively higher earnings. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, median salaries for equine vets in 2011 came to about $88,000.
Want to learn more about becoming an equine doctor? Don't miss this article about education requirements for horse veterinarians.