The skills and education required of a horse industry professional are as varied as the positions themselves. One common link is a background in horse husbandry and a passion for horses, but no formal education is required with the exception of careers in equestrian education. Even so, enrolling in a certificate, two-year or four-year degree program is beneficial for those seeking networking and connections, an important aspect of the industry. Another benefit of a degree or certificate in equine science is the solid foundation in horse care and training learned by all students. Equestrian degrees also expose students to a wide range of disciplines and career fields within the industry of which they may have otherwise been unaware.
Whether possessing a degree or coming into the industry with no certifications, potential equestrians must undergo anywhere from two to four years of apprenticeship with an established equine professional. Usually, equestrians start out grooming horses or cleaning stalls at a facility that focuses on their selected area of interest, whether it be dressage, horse racing or a western style discipline. From there, apprentices graduate to positions as assistant trainers, associate riding instructors or assistant barn managers.
Even if seeking a position as a professor at a university or junior college, candidates must endure several years of on the job experience in a working barn or stable. In addition, they must complete a four-year degree in a related area of study. Relevant degrees include Equine Science, Equine Business Administration and Equestrian Management. Many colleges and universities require additional teaching certifications or advanced degrees.