A career in equine rehabilitation requires some postsecondary training; a bachelor's degree in equine science is recommended. Professionals need to know the anatomy of a horse and be aware of different rehabilitative techniques. Those planning to enter this field should develop riding skills and be able to demonstrate experience working with horses.
Equine rehabilitation involves the treatment and care of horses. Some of the knowledge gained in an equine rehabilitation program includes an understanding of horse anatomy, hydrotherapy and manual therapies for horses. For the best employment prospects, students might pursue a bachelor's degree in equine science and an equine rehabilitation certification.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in equine science can be pursued|
|Other Requirements||Certification can be helpful|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||11% for animal care and service workers, 9% for animal care and service workers|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$21,260 for animal care and service workers, $24,360 for veterinary assistants and lab animal caretakers|
Sources: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Equine Rehabilitation Career Information
Equine rehabilitation involves the care and rejuvenation of horses through massage, muscle therapy and treatment. Those who complete a certification or curriculum in this field are qualified to offer equine rehabilitation services on a contractual or full-time basis. Equine rehabilitation may be an appealing career for those who own horses, wish to work with horses on a daily basis or are educated in veterinary science.
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Although certification or degrees are not required in this field of work, many clients with horses prefer their equine rehabilitators to have some kind of credential. In some cases it may just be an equine rehabilitation certification; in others, it may be a 4-year degree in equine science. Equine rehabilitation programs can last anywhere from a week to four years, depending on how in-depth the credential is.
Several trade schools offer seminars and courses on equine rehabilitation. In equine rehabilitation retreats, seminars or workshops, credentials are not typically required; however, those who obtain a formal degree or certification in equine rehabilitation will have better career opportunities in the work force.
Almost all programs, whether short- or long-term, include training on riding fundamentals, pasture management and horse management. More advanced equine rehabilitation programs may cover such topics as neurological and orthopedic manual therapy, modalities used in equine rehabilitation and hydrotherapy. Additionally, students address problem-solving, goal-setting, treatment planning and physical therapy pertaining to equine situations. Depending on whether or not the program is geared toward those who wish to start a rehabilitation company, other topics may include marketing, ethics, business methods and legalities.
Students acquire an understanding of the anatomical differences between humans and horses, knowledge of equine musculoskeletal structures and the ability to recognize common equine injuries and gait abnormalities. In programs with an entrepreneurship component, students also gain an understanding of opening and operating a rehabilitation business. Depending on which career path one chooses to follow, a period of hands-on experience may be required after graduation from an equine rehabilitation program.
The job growth prospects for equine rehabilitation are slightly above average , and projected to be 9-11% throughout 2024. Certification in the field and a bachelor's degree in equine science may be necessary in order to enter this career field. A knowledge of riding, equine anatomy and pasture management are among the topics studied.