What Does A Horse Trainer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Horse Trainers

The main responsibility of a horse trainer is to train horses to improve their performance for specific activities or events such as riding or showing. They assess the abilities of horses and correct negative behaviors.

Associate's degree
Interest Match

A horse trainer is an individual that trains horses. They may train horses for riding, racing, showing, or police work.

Most people think of horse trainers as teaching horses how to follow commands. However, this job also requires horse trainers to attend to the needs of the horses that they train. Trainers ensure that the horses are properly fed and cared for.

Horse trainers also tend to specialize in specific equestrian disciplines, such as training horses for rodeos or showjumping.

The path to becoming a horse trainer also varies. Some trainers accept apprenticeships while others may attend college to learn more about horse training.

What they do

The main responsibility of a horse trainer is to train horses to improve their performance for specific activities or events such as riding or showing. They assess the abilities of horses and correct negative behaviors.

Teach Horses to Obey Specific Commands

Horse trainers spend most of their time teaching horses to follow specific commands based on the needs of the owner or the environment where the horse will perform. For example, the commands that are used in horse racing may vary from the commands needed for horse riding.

Common commands include whoa, stand, trot, walk, back, canter, and easy. However, individual owners may also request specific commands. While many horse drivers use “gee” and “haw” for “left” and “right,” you may also use “come” and “get.”

Help Horses Adapt to Saddles and Bridles

When training a young horse, horse trainers may need to get the horse used to wearing a saddle and bridle. This typically starts when the horse is about two years old.

Before horses get used to wearing a saddle, they are more likely to kick, bolt, or refuse commands when carrying a rider. This can make riding the horse dangerous.

Training a horse to wear a saddle can take four to eight weeks. However, it may take several months for the hose to become fully comfortable wearing the saddle and bridle for long rides. This training typically occurs before teaching specific commands or working on behavioral issues.

Pay Attention to the Nutrition and Health of Horses

Horse trainers need to become involved in every aspect of a horse’s life during training. Along with working with the horse throughout the day, the trainer monitors the horse’s nutrition and overall health.

You may need to recommend different food or feeding schedules based on the needs of the horse and their development.

Analyze and Correct Behavioral Problems

When working with horses, you are likely to uncover various behavioral problems that you need to correct. For example, a horse may continuously refuse a specific command. You then need to analyze the cause and find a potential solution.

Horse trainers analyze the disposition of the horse to anticipate potential problems, such as tossing, biting, or kicking. They then provide the necessary training to prevent these behavioral problems from occurring.

Assist in Horse Grooming and Stable Maintenance Tasks

Some stables may require horse trainers to take on additional tasks, such as grooming the horses and cleaning out the stable. This is not a common job requirement for self-employed horse trainers. When working as an independent contractor, you are likely to focus solely on the training and the health of the horse.

What is the job like


You May Get to Work Your Own Hours

Self-employed Horse Trainers get to choose when they want to work and set their own hours.

You Get to Work with Horses

For those that love horses, working as a Horse Trainer can be a fun career.

You May Help Horses Win Competitions or Races

Your training may be the key to helping horses win competitions and races, which is a rewarding experience.

You Get to Spend Time Outdoors

A lot of your horse training work will take place outdoors, allowing you to soak up the sun.


Training Horses Involves a Risk of Injury

When training unbroken horses, you may face the risk of injury due to biting and kicking.

Horse Owners May Occasionally Undo Your Training

Horse owners that do not follow your advice may undo your training and blame you for the lack of positive results.

Where they work

Horse breeders
Rodeo companies

Horse trainers typically work for horse owners. This may include public or private stables, individual horse breeders, large ranches, or rodeo companies. Many horse trainers are also self-employed and offer their services as independent contractors.

How to become one

Step 1: Learn to Ride Horses

Aspiring horse trainers should become more familiar with horses during high school. Learn to ride horses or volunteer at a stable.

Step 2: Earn an Associate’s Degree

Most horse trainers enter this field with an Associate’s degree in Equine Studies or Equine Science.

Step 3: Find an Apprenticeship or Workshop

To develop skills that are specific to horse training, you may need to find an apprenticeship opportunity or a horse training workshop.

Step 4: Look for Work as a Horse Trainer

After completing an apprenticeship or workshop, start looking for work as a horse trainer for stables, ranches, or rodeo companies. As you gain experience, you may eventually choose to become self-employed.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Horse trainers need to have a natural affinity for animals. They should feel comfortable around horses and be able to understand their moods and behaviors. Training horses also requires patience, as it may take weeks to teach a horse a new command or exercise. You should also be able to remain calm when horses fail to obey your commands or exhibit negative behaviors.

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