by Paola Mangone
Horses always have been an essential part of our economy. Back in the old times they were the major mode of transportation and also did most of the heavy work. But even though the majority of today’s horses are associated with breeding and sport instead of used in agricultural or forestry businesses, we still should not underestimate their continuing importance to our economy. Of the approximately 60 million horses worldwide, about 1 million are located in Germany. And those horses need feed, veterinary care, farrier services, trucks and trailers, pay for boarding, equipment and tack. Other horse related income is generated from horse shows, racing, breed fees and competitive horse events.
Horses create jobs – at least in Germany
So it should come as no surprise that, according to a scientific study, three to four horses create one job. Thus we come to a total of 300.000 jobs in sports, hobby, as well as in breeding and maintenance. Over 10.000 firms in Germany earn their income within the horse industry (source: FN). Those are numbers that should be taken seriously. Even more so if we take into account that the German horse industry has an annual turnover of more than five billion euros.
To work with horses one has to be clear about one thing, namely that it will never be a clear defined nine to five job. No matter if you work as a rider, a ranch manager or as a groom. It requires a lot of passion and even more perseverence. If you have that, then you will find multiple possibilities to get a foot into the door of the industry. Not only small stables, but also the big names are desperately looking for qualified staff. Websites such as pferdejob.de (only in German) or yardandgroom.com (a very good international website) give you a good overview about the different jobs offered. Of course there are also a lot of other websites, quite a few of them specializing on a certain country, but I think that the ones named earlier are a good starting point.
Student jobs with horses
It is notable that we do not only find the classical job offers, but also quite a few positions in the tourism sector. Would you like to work as a guide in Denmark and go horse riding with the guests? Or have you maybe always dreamt of going to Tanzania? All that is possible! Mostly those more “exotic” jobs do not include a lot of payment, but they normally offer free board and lodging and sometimes even pocket money. In general this is completely negotiable and depends on the skills of the applicant and the size and income of the stable of course. Nearly the same goes for the numerous “working student” positions offered in the United States or elsewhere. Even to go abroad as an Au Pair is not that unusual as a lot of young couples with children seek somebody to help them with both kids and horses. There seem to be a few agencies trying to help you find the right thing, but I have yet to find one that appears professional.
But the truth is that in times of the internet it is not really necessary to have an agency. Most stables have a website where you can start your research, and after that just try to gather as many informations as you can. See if you can maybe find any references. Do they compete in dressage or jumping? Or do they have a successful horse breeding business? As long as you are rather new into the business, it is maybe a good idea to stick to the big names as you run a lower risk of falling on your face. Later on you will be able to judge for yourself which place might be the best for you. And don’t underestimate the personal contact. In our modern times it should be no problem to talk on the phone or on skype. Just make sure you think in advance about what exactly you expect from your job and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Links to find jobs in the horse business: