Many equine jobs require long hours and physical labor. But if you love horses, you know that working with them is not only a job but a passion. When thinking about a career in horses, your first thought may be a riding or grooming job. But with some advanced schooling or an apprenticeship in one of the careers below, you might work your way up to a six-figure salary.
Equine veterinarians are required to have confidence around large animals and some level of physical strength. Most vets travel to clients' stables, though some work out of clinics. Many specialize in areas such as lameness, reproduction and surgery. A doctor of veterinary medicine (D.V.M.) completes a four-year degree at an accredited veterinary college. The annual salary for veterinarians is $46,610 to $143,660, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Starting a horse business requires much up-front capital and may take years to be profitable. In addition to filing taxes, an equine tax consultant advises his clients on the steps they should take and records they need to keep to insure that the IRS considers their horse ventures business operations and not just hobbies---a critical distinction when deducting expenses. According to 2008 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for tax professionals is $59,430, with high salaries at $102,380.
One of the high-paying equine industry jobs that does not required a college degree is insurance sales. Insurance specialists sell policies on horse liability, mortality, loss of use and health, as well as policies for care, custody and control (CCC) for boarding stables and farms. An insurance professional knows the equine liability laws, which vary from state to state. Insurance agents must be licensed, and some states require agents to pass insurance-related examinations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows insurance agents earning from $26,120 to $113,930 annually.
Lawyers who specialize in equine law handle horse owner liability issues and stallion syndications and negotiate sales and other contracts. They typically litigate civil matters but sometimes defend their clients in criminal cases, such as fraud or theft. Law students must graduate from a four-year law school and pass a state bar exam in order to be licensed. The starting annual salary for an attorney is $45,433, according to Payscale, an online salary data research company. An experienced lawyer can earn $152,437 or more each year.
A racehorse trainer's life is not only about training horses. She must recognize potential and limits in horses' abilities, understand breeding and bloodlines and handle horse health problems. She manages employees, including grooms, exercise riders and jockeys. Employees typically move into trainer jobs by apprenticing with racing stables as assistant trainers. Trainers are licensed by state racing commissions. According to Payscale, racehorse trainers earn between $26,800 and $165,083 per year.