Horse Stable Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Find out what kind of jobs are available at horse stables. Read about job duties and responsibilities, on-the-job training, and how much you can earn in the field. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Jobs Can I Apply for in a Horse Stable?

For almost any career with horses, you'll need to start on the bottom rung of the ladder, which - fortunately - happens to be in the stable. The job on that rung is one that you'll likely perform, to some extent, no matter what other primary equine job you may have. This is the job of the stable hand. No horse business - from ranching to racing - can succeed without good stable hands.

In some cases, the job may be listed as groom/stable hand, or a variation thereof. However, the grooming required of a stable hand isn't the same job performed by a professional groom, who has a few more responsibilities and knowledge requirements, especially regarding horses' health issues. However, as you work as a stable hand, you may receive on-the-job training through an apprenticeship to become a professional groom. Below is important information on jobs in a horse stable.

Degree Required None, though some pursue this job while working towards an undergraduate degree in equine science
Training RequiredOn-the-job training, experience with horses
Key Duties Cleaning stables and equipment; feeding, exercising and caring for horses
Job Growth (2014-2024) -6%* (for all types of agricultural workers)
Median Salary $23,750* (2015, for all types of farmworkers working with farm, ranch and aquacultural animals); $53,774** (2017, for horse riders/exercisers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

You'll clean stables and tack (saddles and stirrups, halters, reins, etc.), as well as feed and provide water to the horses. You'll likely groom and exercise the horses as well as turn them out properly when you can't exercise them.

You'll work outdoors in all kinds of weather. You'll have to climb stairs, ladders, and fences in addition to cleaning unpleasant dirt and lifting heavy objects, such as hay bales. You'll also need to perform basic barn and stable maintenance tasks, such as string-trimming the weeds or sweeping the yard.

What Kind of Training Do I Need?

On-the-job training is commonplace for stable hand jobs. There are no definite qualifications for the job of stable hand, although most employers prefer that you've had some experience around horses. They also want you to have horse riding skills. Additionally, you can enhance your employability by demonstrating proficiency with the essentials of horse care and safety.

You could also work part-time as a stable hand while you earn a degree in equine science. This can qualify you for more advanced jobs in equine care, and it can help you build experience. Among the more advanced jobs include stable manager, ranch manager, pack station manager, guide, guest ranch wrangler, and more.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) suggests that the median hourly wage for farmworkers caring for farm, ranch, and aquacultural animals was $11.42 in May 2015. Expanding that figure to the middle 50% shows a range of $9.39-$14.77.

Salary.com gave a middle salary range of $44,686-$66,430 for a horse rider/exerciser in February 2017. The median salary was $53,774. Some employers will expect you to live onsite and may only pay the lower salaries, but room and board might be included. Riding instruction and free stabling of your horse are also sometimes part of the package.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Farmers and ranchers raise livestock and crops for food, as well as maintain their property and facilities. These people typically have a high school diploma, though formal education through an agriculture degree program may be helpful. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers care for the animals in veterinary offices, laboratories, and the like, feeding, watering, grooming, and tending to the animals' needs to keep them healthy and comfortable. They must have at least a high school diploma for this job.

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