Typical duties for most equestrians are divided into four main areas: the training of horses for competition, the daily management of a stable or other equine facility, the training of beginner to advanced students in equitation and general riding, and the education of future equestrians in two-year or four-year degree programs. Responsibilities and required skills vary widely depending on the position.
Horse trainers are responsible for working with client's horses and developing a program that will allow the horses to perform to their potential in the competition arena. Trainers work outside most of the day, or in an indoor arena. They ride horses with a goal of increased responsiveness, suppleness, collection and physical fitness. Trainers also interact with clients and network in order to expand their customer base.
Barn managers, also known as stable managers, are responsible for managing the daily healthcare and nutrition of a large group of horses. In addition, most barn managers take over financial management of the facility in which they work, order feed and supplies, and handle employment for the barn or stable. Most responsibilities are delegated to employees, but it is not unusual for barn managers to clean stalls or groom if needed.
Riding instructors work with clients to improve equitation, also known as riding ability. They spend long hours outdoors or, more rarely, in an indoor riding arena. Hours can be irregular and riding instructors often travel to the client's barn to give lessons. In addition to teaching students the principles of riding, instructors usually ride in competition in order to establish a larger client base and interact with the equine community.
Equestrian educators, instructors or professors work in accredited degree and certificate programs to educate college students pursuing a career in the horse industry. They have all the responsibilities of a traditional professor, including creating course syllabi and lecturing classes, in addition to teaching riding instruction and preparing horses for class work. Equine educators usually benefit from a more structured schedule than other concentrations in the industry. They also spend a greater amount of time indoors, grading papers and attending meetings.