Working with horses is, most often, about the love of it. Those of us willing to dedicate our careers to the wonderful animals aren’t necessarily in it for the money.
But what does it take to support yourself while working with horses? How difficult is it to work in the equestrian industry?

A few points always come up:

  • Working with horses requires long hours.
  • Working with horses can be hard work.

But anybody who is passionate about horse work knows this. In fact, it’s part of the reason the equestrian industry is so attractive. Spending all day throwing yourself whole-heartedly into good, hard work is a great thing to do.

So let’s look at some of the different professions, how they make their money, how they’re involved with horses and what it takes to get there.

Farrier –

A farrier, as most of you will know, shoes horses. This can be a lot of work and can be quite difficult, but if you are confident you can build up a solid client base after you’ve become qualified, it can be a very solid profession.
Income: Average $42K per year. Range from 30K to 68K.
Professional eventer

Professional Eventer –

Trying to make a living off prize money is very, very difficult, particularly for those in Australia. The Adelaide International is the biggest of such events, and has a total prize pool of only $120,000 (spread across all events).
To double the difficulty of making money this way, transporting, training and keeping horses costs a lot of money. Eventing is usually supported by teaching classes, training horses or other side professions.
Income: Some events in America (such as the Kentucky events) can earn an eventer 70 – 80,000. But that’s for first place.

Jockey –

The prize money for horse racing is a lot richer – and the industry is much healthier in Australia. The Melbourne cup is not only a popular Australian event, but is large by world standards.
An important thing to remember is that winnings are split up between a lot of people, including investors, and the jockey may only be paid an agreed wage.
Income: Winning the Melbourne cup earns $3.6 million.
Horse Trainer

Trainer –

Trainers prepare horses for events. Respected trainers have usually proven themselves with a strong performance record.
Income: Approximately $43,000 per year.
Equine VBet

Equine Veterinarian –

Equestrian vets are specialized and go through large amount of study and qualification. Because of this, they can earn relatively high salaries but require at least 4 years of study.
Income: Average $62K up to $89K per year for senior vets.
Mounted Police

Mounted police officer –

Mounted police officer positions are relatively limited but offer a very stable way for people to move into a profession that involved working with horses very closely.
A mounted police officer has a primary horse for which they are responsible, but also does general stable maintenance work as well. Being in the police force, it can involve relatively interesting and intense work, as well as allowing opportunities to meet new people and expand your life experience.

Income: During training, you’ll receive an income of $45K, which then goes up to $62K.
Equine Dentist

Equine Dentist –

Similar to a vet, this requires about 4 years of study and involves specialising to horse dentistry after a broader study of veterinarian science.

Income: $42K per year.