Content watched by Skip to Content

26 Equine Careers with Estimated Salaries

Sharing is caring!

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details.

If you’re interested in working with horses professionally, there are a ton of career options to choose from. While many of these don’t technically require a degree from a university, they all require good horse sense – and some require years of hands-on experience.

Here are 26 of the most common careers that work with horses (and some that are more hands-off, but will still get you pretty close to these majestic beasts).

CareerDegree RequiredEstimated Salary
Barn Manager No$32,000
Bloodstock AgentNo $50,000
Broodmare ManagerNo $40,000
Equine Assisted Physical TherapistYes$50,000
Equine Dental TechnicianVaries$30,000
Equine JournalistNo Varies
Equine Massage TherapistNo$25,000
Equine Pharmaceutical RepNoVaries
Equine Photographer NoVaries
Equine VeterinarianYes$70,000
Equine Veterinary TechnicianVaries$34,000
Exercise Rider No $30,000
Farrier No $55,000
Groom No $26,804
Grant WriterNoVaries
Horse BreederNoVaries
Horse Trainer No $43,500
Horse Truck Driver No $40,000
Jockey No $100/race, plus a
percentage of earnings
Livestock Auctioneer No Commission-based
Mounted Police Officer No $70,000
Non-Profit DirectorNoVaries
Professional Rider No $30,000
Riding Instructor No $37,000
Stallion Manager No $40,000
Wild Horse TrainerNoVaries


Happy woman grooming her horse on the ranch

Median Salary: $26,804
Salary Range: $32,000 – $55,000
Education Required: None

One of the easiest ways to get your foot in the door and gain valuable horse experience is by working as a groom. Grooms provide the day-to-day care of horses in a stable.

General responsibilities include feeding, watering, grooming, mucking out stalls and paddocks, turning horses out and bringing them in, and providing general first aid.

In addition, a groom may be responsible for tacking up a horse for a rider as well as cooling the horse down, untacking it, bathing it and applying any post-workout leg care such as ice boots or wraps.

Grooms spend a lot of time with horses on the ground, which means they are often the first to notice health problems or behavioral changes. They may also assist riders during shows and competitions, handle horses during vet or dentist visits, and maintain tack or other barn equipment.

Horse Trainer

A horse trainer with her stallion outdoors in farm

Median Salary: $43,500
Salary Range: $32,000 – $55,000
Education Required: None

Horse trainers prepare their charges for working in different equestrian disciplines. They teach young horses basic ground manners and how to trust humans, or they may teach high-level competition horses polished skills of their chosen sport.

Trainers often double as riding instructors too, instructing riders how to better perform with their horses. Specialized horse trainers may also work for circuses teaching trick horses to perform, or at a racetrack teaching young thoroughbreds how to race.

Horse trainers may also work with horses that have behavioral issues or other special needs (such as wild mustangs or rescued animals). They may also travel and host clinics to teach others how to train their own horses.

Riding Instructor

young woman riding a horse with riding instructor in equestrian center

Average Salary: $37,000

Education Required: None

Riding instructors provide lessons to riders of all levels, and often specialize in a particular discipline or type of rider. They also teach students about proper horse care, good horsemanship, and may also work as grooms or trainers as well.

A riding instructor can work as an independent clinician, traveling around to different cities and giving lessons, or they can work for a dedicated barn lesson program.

They may also work in therapeutic or specialized riding programs, which may require specialized training. (source)

Professional Rider

Dressage rider on horse

Average Salary: $30,000

Education Required: None

Professional riders compete nationally and internationally in a variety of disciplines. They may ride their own horse, their team’s horse, or a private owner’s horse.

Professional riders often travel over long distances and spend weeks away from home. When they aren’t competing, they may train horses for clients, host clinics, or manage barns.

Barn Manager

Horse Barn Animal Sport Paddock Equestrian Ranch Racing Stable

Average Salary: $32,000

Education Required: None

Barn managers oversee all stable operations including the care, feeding, and management of all the equines that reside there. They schedule instructors and lessons, and delegate tasks to grooms.

A barn manager also schedules veterinary, farrier, chiropractic, and dentist visits to serve the horses’ needs. They also handle deliveries of food and bedding, and ensure that the barn stays orderly and in good repair.

A good barn manager needs to be well versed in the needs of all of their equine charges, but they must be skilled at managing people, too. (source)

Equine Veterinarian

Veterinarian during medical care of horses in stables

Average Salary: $70,000

Education Required: Doctorate degree

An equine veterinarian is a medical professional who diagnoses, treats, and cares for horses. They will often travel to your horse’s location perform to basic health exams, give vaccines, and evaluate and treat to an injured or sick horse.

Many equine veterinarians treat other large animals including cows, sheep, goats, llamas, and donkeys. Some specialize in surgery, oncology, or work in a specific industry (racing, farming, or competitions). (source)

Equine Veterinary Technician

Veterinarian with her assistant with a horse on a farm

Average Salary: $34,000

Education Required: Associate degree

An equine veterinary technician assists veterinarians with all of the day-to-day duties required of managing the health of our equine friends – assisting with exams, administering medication, checking vital signs, preparing for surgery, or responding to emergency calls.

Much like a nursing staff in a hospital assists doctors with human care, a vet tech often relays valuable information to a veterinarian who may be seeing other patients.  (source)

Equine Dental Technician

Horse Dental treatment from an equine Dental Technician

Average Salary: $30,000

Education Required: Special certification

An equine dental technician is a horse dentist – they take care of a horses’ teeth. Horses require regular dental care including floating (removing any sharp edges on the teeth) and tartar removal.

Equine dental technicians perform dental exams, treat dental problems, and assist veterinarians with more complicated dental procedures (such as surgery). 


A farrier shoeing a horse, bending down and fitting a new horseshoe to a horse's hoof

Average Salary: $55,000

Education Required: Certifications and/or apprenticeship

Farriers use a variety of tools to trim and shape a horse’s feet. Because horses’ feet are constantly growing, they often require metal shoes and trims every 6-8 weeks.

A farrier who can work with iron and make custom shoes is called a blacksmith. While a degree is not required to be a farrier, there are several certification groups to join and shoeing programs to learn. Most farriers also serve as apprentices to experienced farriers to learn the trade. (source)

Horse Breeder

Young man with a horse is in the hangar

Average Salary: Variable

Education Required: None

Horse breeding programs specialize in producing and selling quality offspring of a specific horse breed (or animals for a specific purpose).

Most people who begin breeding programs already have extensive knowledge of their chosen breed or discipline, and a good understanding of horse reproduction.

Depending on the size of the operation, horse breeders may employ additional staff to handle the specific aspects of breeding including live coverings or artificial insemination.

Grant Writer

Grant Writer working on her project

Average Salary: Variable, Can reach $100k or more depending on performance

Education Required: None

Large non-profits rely heavily on grants and donations to fund their operations, but that money doesn’t just fall from the sky.

A grant writer is usually tasked with finding donors and then writing out grant proposals.

A grant proposal will specify how much money is to be given, over what time frame, and can sometimes be extremely detailed as to where the funds are spent.

Grant proposals are often tailored specifically to each giving organization. Grant writers will often write grants for both government grants as well as private grants.

One wild horse sanctuary in California pays upwards of $70,000 a year salary for their grant writer, as an example. (source)

Broodmare Manager

Broodmare Manager stroking her white horse in stables

Median Salary: $40,000

Education Required: None (but a degree helps)

Broodmare managers oversee the care of breeding mares and their foals. They may assist with vet visits, attend foalings, manage staff, and maintain breeding records.

While many may work in the thoroughbred racing industry (which only allows live covering of mares), others may be skilled in artificial insemination techniques, semen collecting, or embryo transfers. (source)

Stallion Manager

young female and putting bridle on white horse while standing near stalls in stable

Average Salary: $40,000

Education Required: None (but a degree helps)

Like broodmare managers, stallion managers handle the stallions of large-scale breeding programs.

A stallion manager is responsible for the general care of breeding stallions, handling them for live breeding, and collecting semen.

They must also coordinate and communicate well with the broodmare manager and owners. (source)


Young female jockey on horse leaping over hurdle

Average Salary: $100/race, plus a percentage of earnings

Education Required: None

A jockey is a professional racehorse rider – whether the horse is riding on the flat around a track, behind a sulky (harness racing), or over jumps (steeplechasing).

The average jockey weighs between 108 and 118 pounds, and stands between 4’10” and 5’6.” Jockeys often have agents who assist them with securing mounts, negotiating fees, and scheduling interviews.

Becoming a jockey is difficult, particularly because of the strict size requirements. Unlike other riding disciplines, jockeys must keep themselves in peak physical condition at all times. (source) (source)

Exercise Rider

Young woman exercising her horse on a lead rein

Average Salary: $30,000

Education Required: None

Exercise riders ride horses to improve their fitness and conditioning. In the horse racing industry, exercise riders work with thoroughbreds on the track during training and warmups.

They may also ride the “lead pony” that helps teach a thoroughbred how to race properly.

In other disciplines, exercise riders may also warm up competition horses for professional riders. They may also work energetic horses for trainers and lesson programs. In these smaller programs, exercise riders often work as grooms as well.

Mounted Police Officer

Police officer riding a horse in a park on a sunny day

Average Salary: $70,000

Education Required: Police academy training, pre-requisite police service

Mounted police officers serve and protect the public while mounted on horseback. They offer crowd control, patrol off-road areas, work with the public, or ride in parades or other events.

A mounted police officer must first become a regular police officer, and serve for around 3 years before they’re allowed to move to a specialized unit.

The mounted unit requires rigorous training and has fierce competition for entry. (source)

Equine Journalist

Woman journalist working on her report

Average Salary: Varies

Education Required: None

While writers spend their time penning pithy quotes on a variety of topics, the equestrian industry is enormous. There are always opportunities to write about horses, from racing and competition coverage to writing articles about local farm events.

You could also write a book, become a blogger (like me!) or anything else you may dream up!

Equine Photographer

Photographer with telephoto lens on the ground taking photo of a foal

Average Salary: Varies

Education Required: None

If you’re handy with a camera and interested in making a career out of photography, there are a ton of ways to use a camera to get involved with horses.

Professional photographers are needed to provide commercial print work for horse related products, sales photos for breeders, and even for casual backyard photoshoots.

You’ll need a working knowledge of camera equipment, a good artistic eye, and the ability to get your equine subjects to look their best.

Equine Massage Therapist

woman massaging white horse

Average Salary: $25,000

Education Required: Training and certification

An equine massage therapist analyzes a horse’s body condition and applies massage techniques to relieve tension, promote circulation, and improve the horse’s overall health.

Using massage therapy on a horse works much in the same way as it does for humans – it helps them relieve stress, improve performance, and can help with recovery. (source)

Horse Truck Driver

truck driver looking through window from the vehicle

Average Salary: $40,000

Education Required: CDL License

Did you know that horses can be considered freight? Many truckers spend their days out on the road, but there are truck driver positions available with horse shipping companies.

Horse shippers transport horses across the country from buyers to sellers, bring horses to and from competitions, and transport rescued animals to new homes. 

Equine Assisted Physical Therapist

Woman horse owner putting bandage on animal leg to prevent injury

Average Salary: $50,000

Education Required: Masters or Doctorate, certifications

Physical therapists are health professionals that specialize in using movement to treat chronic conditions or injuries.

They prescribe exercise and provide hands-on care to their patients, and many use horses in their programs.

Equine-assisted therapy is used in specific cases for people with mobility issues, but can also be used as part of other therapeutic treatment plans as well. (source)

Bloodstock Agent

talking on the phone with a customer about the detail

Average Salary: $50,000

Education Required: None

A bloodstock agent buys and sells racehorses horses on behalf of a third party and they receive a commission on the sale.

They must have specific knowledge of breed pedigrees and horse breeding and represent their client’s interest at sales and auctions.

They must also be able to asses a horse’s value for sales or insurance purposes, and may travel extensively.

Livestock Auctioneer

rancher in plaid shirt touching brown horse in corral on farm

Average Salary: Commission-based

Education Required: None

If public speaking and sales are more interesting to you, consider becoming an auctioneer. A livestock auctioneer stands at the auction block and calls for bids on horses up for sale.

They need to be able to pay attention for subtle bid cues from participants in the audience, which can be as slight as a head not or flick of the wrist. Auctioneers need to be sharp, focused, and stay calm under pressure in a chaotic environment.

Equine Pharmaceuticals

Syringe with vaccine in hand held by a vet and a horse in stable

Average Salary: Varies

Education Required: Varies

Horses are often prescribed supplements and medicine to support their individual health needs. In the laboratory, scientists prepare and create these supplements for use in stables across the country.

Pharmaceutical sales representatives contact veterinarians and sell them on the features and benefits of their particular products.

Wild Horse Trainer

Horse trainer gently stroking horse's head

Average Salary: Varies, some easily earn $80k a year or more

Education Required: None

Did you know that there are horse trainers who specialize in halter starting wild mustangs? While the actual level of training varies from trainer to trainer, at a minimum these trainers teach a horse to be haltered, lead, load into a trailer and pick up their feet.

Various organizations pay for this type of training but, the largest is the Mustang Heritage Foundation via their Trainer Incentive Program. Through this program, approved, experienced horse trainers can receive funding for each wild horse they tame and place into an adoptive home.

Trainers can choose to do one at a time, or, over time work their way up to being able to do more.

Non-Profit Director

Average Salary: Varies, Can surpass 6 figures for large operations

Education Requirement: None

When most people think of a non-profit, they often mistakenly assume that no salaries are being paid. That absolutely is not the case.

In fact, non-profits, by law, are allowed to fairly compensate anyone who performs work for the organization. Now, that does mean that unlike a private company, they can’t arbitrarily decide to pay a director 1 million dollars a year.

The salary paid must be in line and reasonable based on the amount of work being performed. Organizations with high salaries must be able to justify them in an audit or risk penalties and even possibly losing their status.

Now, it’s perfectly normal for those that operate small non-profits to not draw a salary, especially when it’s more of a hobby.

Once a non-profit scales to where it requires the full time attention for one or more people, seeing a salary on the tax return isn’t something that is unusual.

If you want to learn more about non-profits, check out my article on how to choose what non-profit horse rescue to donate to.