Horse trainer

A horse trainer


Horse trainers train animals and/or riders for general and specific purposes, including assistance, security, leisure, competition, transportation, obedience and routine handling, entertainment and education, in accordance with national legislation.

The duties of a horse trainer include, but are not limited to:

  • Training horses by introducing them to new equipment such as saddles, bits, and harnesses or helping them improve their performance in equine sports such as racing, jumping, or dressage
  • Working with jockeys to ensure that they are using proper riding technique
  • Diagnosing physical problems with a horse, such as muscle strain or injury, and recommending treatment options
  • Observing horses at the stables where they are kept to identify any health issues or behavioral problems that may require attention
  • Identifying potential problems with a horse’s physical condition in order to prevent accidents or injuries during training or racing
  • Providing instructions to grooms regarding daily care of horses, such as feeding, grooming, and cleaning stalls
  • Providing instruction on proper riding techniques to students, including children and adults
  • Monitoring the weight, diet, exercise routine, and general health of a horse to ensure it remains fit for competition
  • Overseeing the training process and providing feedback to trainers and jockeys about their performance

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to horse trainer:

riding school trainer
equine trainer
horse riding trainer
riding instructor
racehorse trainer
dressage instructor
horse riding instructor
jockey trainer
equestrian centre instructor
horse riding coach
equestrian centre trainer
riding school instructor

Working conditions

Horse trainers typically work long hours, including early mornings, evenings, weekends, and holidays. They work outdoors in all types of weather conditions and are exposed to the risk of being kicked, bitten, or stepped on by horses. They also may be exposed to hazardous chemicals used to clean stables and equipment. Most horse trainers work full time.

Many horse trainers are self-employed and work for several different owners or racing stables.

Minimum qualifications

Most horse trainers start out with a high school diploma. Some may choose to pursue a two-year associate’s degree in equine science or a similar field. These programs teach students about the anatomy, physiology and behavior of horses. They also teach students how to care for and train horses.

Most horse trainers learn the specific skills and techniques they need for their role while on the job. Training for this role typically includes shadowing an experienced trainer for a few weeks. Training often includes learning how to handle the horses, how to care for them and how to train them.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Horse trainer is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Horse trainer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to horse trainer.

dog trainer
animal trainer
animal handler
guide dog instructor
dog breeder

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of horse trainer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of horse trainer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

animal hydrotherapist
animal massage therapist
animal embryo transfer technician
alternative animal therapist
animal artificial insemination technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of horse trainer.

  • Biosecurity related to animals: Awareness of hygiene and bio-security measures when working with animals, including causes, transmission and prevention of diseases and use of policies, materials and equipment.
  • Signs of animal illness: Physical, behavioural and environmental signs of health and ill health in various animals.
  • Animal welfare legislation: The legal boundaries, codes of professional conduct, national and EU regulatory frameworks and legal procedures of working with animals and living organisms, ensuring their welfare and health.
  • Animal welfare: Universally recognized animal welfare needs as applied to species, situation and occupation. These are:
    • need for a suitable environment
    • need for a suitable diet
    • need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
    • need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
    • need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
  • Physiology of animals: The study of the mechanical, physical, bioelectrical and biochemical functioning of animals, their organs and their cells.
  • Horse anatomy: The study of the anatomical structure and parts of a horse and how they interact.
  • Anatomy of animals: The study of animal body parts, their structure and dynamic relationships, on a level as demanded by the specific occupation.
  • Animal behaviour: The natural behavioural patterns of animals, i.e. how normal and abnormal behaviour might be expressed according to species, environment, human-animal interaction and occupation.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of horse trainer.

  • Treat animals ethically: Carry out activities according to accepted principles of right and wrong, including transparency in work practices and conduct towards clients and their animals.
  • Train horses: Harness, dress and train horses as per the instructions provided. Take into account the age and breed of the horse and the preparation purposes.
  • Design training programmes for individuals and animals: Develop programmes to train humans and animals work together. Set objectives and targets. Evaluate the implementation of the training programme and progress by both the person and animal concerned.
  • Provide an enriching environment for animals: Provide an enriching environment for animals to allow the expression of natural behaviour, and including adjusting environmental conditions, delivering feeding and puzzle exercises, and implementing manipulation, social, and training activities.
  • Provide first aid to animals: Administer emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of the condition, suffering and pain until veterinary assistance can be sought. Basic emergency treatment needs to be done by non-veterinarians prior to first-aid provided by a veterinarian. Non-veterinarians providing emergency treatment are expected to seek treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Manage animal hygiene: Plan and use appropriate hygiene measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure an effective overall hygiene. Maintain and follow hygiene procedures and regulations when working with animals, communicate site hygiene controls and protocols to others. Manage the safe disposal of waste according to destination and local regulations.
  • Implement exercise activities for animals: Provide exercise opportunities that are suitable for respective animals and meet their particular physical requirements.
  • Monitor the welfare of animals: Monitor animals’ physical condition and behaviour and report any concerns or unexpected changes, including signs of health or ill-health, appearance, condition of the animals’ accommodation, intake of food and water and environmental conditions.
  • Assess animal behaviour: Observe and evaluate the behaviour of animals in order to work with them safely and recognise deviations from normal behaviour that signal compromised health and welfare.
  • Provide animal training: Provide training in basic handling, habituation, and obedience to enable the completion of day-to-day tasks while minimising the risks to the animal, the handler, and others.
  • Implement training programmes for animals: Implement training programmes for animals for basic training purposes or to meet specific objectives, following a developed training programme, and reviewing and recording progress against set objectives.
  • Advise on animal welfare: Prepare and provide information to individuals or groups of people on how to promote the health and well-being of animals, and how risks to animal health and welfare may be reduced. Provide recommendations for corrective actions.
  • Train animals and individuals to work together: Train animals and individuals to work together, including the match between individuals and animals, the design of integrated training programmes for people and animals, implementation of integrated training programmes, evaluation of integrated training programmes for people and animals against agreed outcomes and evaluating the compatibility between individuals and animals in relation to physical characteristics.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of horse trainer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of horse trainer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Advise customers on usage of care products for pets: Provide advice on basic care products, such as supplements and vitamins, that can be used on various types of pets.
  • Advise customers on appropriate pet care: Provide information to customers on how to feed and care for pets, appropriate food choices, vaccination needs, etc.
  • Provide nutrition to animals: Provide food and water to animals. This includes preparing food and water for animals and reporting any changes in the animal feeding or drinking habits.
  • Design training programmes for animals: Assess the training needs of the animal and select appropriate methods and activities to meet training objectives.
  • Advise on animal purchase: Advise clients and customers on the purchase of animals.
  • Assess animal’s condition: Inspect the animal for any external signs of parasites, disease or injury. Use this information to determine own actions and report your findings to owners.
  • Assess customers: Quickly compose a picture of a customers’ personal circumstances, needs and preferences.
  • Make decisions regarding the animal’s welfare: Make a choice from several alternative possibilities that promote the animal’s well-being.
  • Design plans to address undesirable behaviour in animals: Gather information about the animal behaviour issues, interpret relevant information about the animal, assess the impact of external factors, and assess husbandry/management practices on the animal to develop a plan which tackles undesirable behaviour.
  • Create animal records: Create animal records according to industry relevant information and using appropriate record keeping systems.
  • Clean stalls: Clean stalls to remove all soiled bedding to prevent moisture and fumes from building up and to cut down on potential parasite problems.
  • Develop an animal handling strategy: Develop plans and strategies to deal with the animal in order to achieve established goals and optimal results.
  • Work with veterinarians: Consult veterinarians and assist them in the examination and nursing of animals.
  • Care for horses: Provide care of horses.
  • Transport horses: Transport horses using safely special vehicles for horse transportation; lead horses to vehicles taking into account the safety of people and horses.
  • Teach young horses: Socialise young horses (cleaning, collaring, bridling, raising feet, etc.), taking into account the safety and welfare of the horse and teacher.

ISCO group and title

5164 – Pet groomers and animal care workers

  1. Horse trainer – ESCO
  2. Horse Trainer Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Featured image: By Carol M. Highsmith – Library of CongressCatalog: download: url:, Public Domain
Last updated on November 27, 2022

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