Working Horse Trainer Career Profile

Do you want to work as a horse trainer?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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18 June 2023


What is a working horse trainer?

A person who trains working horses to become accustomed to humans and carry out easy tasks when commanded to do so. Training is also given to help rectify behavioral issues.

horse 1

Working horses are seen as:

  • Normal riding horses
  • Farm horses used to pull heavy equipment

Other kinds of Horse Trainers

Trainers of horses used in specific jobs, such as racing, rodeo and mounted police service are discussed separately. Follow the links if you are interested in one of them:

Career Categories

The Horse Trainer career can be found within the following OZT career categories:

  • Animal Care
  • Business
  • Farming & Livestock Management


Horses were domesticated by humans more than 5000 years ago


Global estimate at 60 million, of which most are used for basic riding and farming work

What does a Horse Trainer do?

Groups of animals a Horse Trainer works with

Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

What does a Horse Trainer focus on?

Working horse trainers work with horses to make them accustomed to being handled by humans, either for riding, or labour. They also help the riders to learn new riding techniques and basic horse handling.

With who does a Horse Trainer work?

Besides working with all of the animals, Horse Trainers will need to interact with other people while doing their daily tasks. The people might include fellow staff members (if they are employed by a large training or horse riding business) or the public.

Fellow staff might include:

  • Supervisors/Managers
  • Operational staff, such as Human Resources, Finance and Maintenance
  • Stable Hands

What are the daily tasks of a Horse Trainer?

  • train horses to get used to equipment used to ride them (saddles, bridles etc)
  • train the horses in the specific tasks required, such as running, walking or pulling objects
  • monitor the horses to ensure they learn effectively
  • ensure the safety of the horses while training
  • communicate with horse owners
  • work with veterinarians in case of health problems
  • run their own businesses, if required

Work Environment of a Horse Trainer

Where does a Horse Trainer work?

Environment –

Horse trainers mainly work outdoors, and in most cases at stables.

Places of Employment –

​They are employed by stables, horse riding schools, and government. They may also decide to start their own businesses.

What is the average annual salary of a Horse Trainer?

The average yearly salary of trainers is US$30,000.

Can Working Horse Trainers be Promoted?

Advancement in the field typically depends on work experience. First year practitioners often begin on a part-time basis, fitting their training commitments around other work demands. Junior trainers can be promoted to managerial levels. The levels of each promotion might differ from organization to organization, but generally are the following:

Intern > Junior Trainer > Senior Trainer > Supervisor

What kind of difficulties can a Horse Trainer face?

​Animal training careers often experience difficulties associated with aggressive or frightened animals that may bite, kick or scratch, causing injuries. You may also be required to work irregular hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Trainers need to travel a lot to get to the different stables.

​Future Growth and Possibilities

The prospects of future growth in the horse training industry is stable, but doesn’t grow as fast as other animal careers. Horse trainers have tough competition to find employment.

Availability of Jobs


Which Skills are required by a Horse Trainer?

The skills required for a career as a horse trainer can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills

Career Skills

  • Basic horse handling and care techniques
  • Basic instructing techniques
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Basic computer literacy
Career Skills

Which Subjects must I have at School to help prepare for this career?

These subjects are the ones recognized around the world. The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become a Horse Trainer?

Minimum Requirements

The minimum requirements to get started with training careers is a High School Certificate, but the best have furthered their studies with a College Diploma, or excellent Short Courses.

Study Focus

Major –

A Diploma with a focus in Equine studies, animal behaviour or even zoology

Short Courses –

Courses related to subjects covering animal physiology or a closely related area is preferred.

Study Duration

The duration of most Degrees are between 3 and 4 years full time. The duration of short courses differ, but can range from a few days to a few months.

​Possible Career Preparation Paths

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternative(s):

Stepping Stone Career

Being a horse trainer can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc). You can begin as an intern after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.

Some of the possible paths:

Training and Apprenticeship

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal caregiver careers, most of the skills you will need will be acquired through on-the-job training. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions (or junior positions) require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Mentorship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior person or expert. The more hands on careers, such as animal training might require mentors.

Join the Horse Trainers Group iin the OZT Community to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of the people entering the career

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.

Learn more about requirements by joining the OZT Community.

Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal training and business.

Do you want to Contribute?

Do you have information that you would like to contribute to this career?

My Story




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Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a horse trainer.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

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