Careers Involving Horses

People who are interested in working with horses have several different career options available to them. Learn about some of the jobs that involve the animal, as well as each position's education requirements.

Career Options Involving Horses

There are several careers in different job fields that involve horses in some way. Some of these careers use horses to accomplish tasks, while others may involve caring for or interacting with horses. Explore a handful of the available career options that involve horses.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Animal Trainers $27,690 11%
Recreational Therapists $46,410 7%
Animal Scientists $60,330 6%
Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers $66,360 7%
Veterinarians $88,770 18%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Careers Involving Horses

Animal Trainers

Some animal trainers specialize in training horses, while others may work with dogs, marine mammals or other animals. Animal trainers teach these animals to respond to particular hand or voice commands through repetition and practice. They may train horses or other animals for competitions or to perform specific jobs and tasks, such as working as a service animal. Animal trainers need at least a high school diploma, but some may need a bachelor's degree.

Recreational Therapists

Recreational therapists treat patients through a variety of recreational activities, including arts and crafts, dance, aquatics and equestrian therapy. In general, recreational therapists work with disabled, ill or injured individuals and lead them through recreational activities to teach social skills and/or techniques for dealing with various emotional issues, like anxiety and stress. Equestrian therapy uses horses to promote this emotional growth, as horses are able to mirror the rider's emotions and give feedback to the rider. Recreational therapists usually need certification from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) and a bachelor's degree.

Animal Scientists

Animal scientists may choose to specialize in equine science to work primarily with horses. These scientists study the animal genetics, reproduction and development of these animals to help farmers and ranchers better care for and raise the horses. Animal scientists may also investigate ways to lower death rates or improve growth through nutrition, housing, disease management and other factors. These professionals need at least a bachelor's degree, but may have as high as a Doctor of eterinary Medicine degree.

Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers

Although not all farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers work with horses, many of these workers may raise horses for pleasure or to help them perform various tasks on the farm, such as herding. Depending on the type of establishment, these managers may also be responsible for overseeing crop production, purchasing supplies and equipment and managing financial records. They typically play a large role in the selling of their crops, animals or other products and must carefully monitor market conditions. Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers usually learn through work experience, but have at least a high school diploma.


Not all veterinarians treat horses, but some may specialize in treating these larger animals and other livestock. Veterinarians treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries in animals through medication, surgery and other medical techniques. They also advise animal owners on the best care for each animal and must be prepared to euthanize animals if needed. Veterinarians must have a state license after completing 4 years of veterinary school to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

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