Careers with Animals: Horse Groomer
If you’ve spent any time at all around stables, you’ll know horses require a lot of care to keep them groomed, healthy and happy. Looking after a horse’s needs can sometimes be a full-time job – and, in fact, it is! Horse groomers or equine grooms are the people who maintain a horse’s nutrition, grooming and overall health. If you love horses, the great outdoors, and working with your hands, this could be the job for you.
First and foremost, a horse groomer should be very comfortable with touching horses and being in their vicinity for extend periods of times. Horse grooming involves a lot of time spent with the horses tending to their needs. Brushing, feeding, watering, tacking, untacking, cleaning the stalls, and exercising the horses is all part of a groomer’s daily routine. Rain, shine, or snow, groomers are expected to perform these tasks. A groomer should also be able to read and understand horse documentation and take care of prescriptions and medications a horse may need at the instruction of a veterinarian.
Groomers also require patience and strong observation skills. Changes in behaviour or signs of physical injury can only be detected through maintaining a strong bond with the horses and a watchful eye.
Qualifications and Apprenticeships
The qualifications needed for grooming can vary and entirely depends on the employer. Some employers won’t require an entry level groomer or an apprentice groomer to have official qualifications. That said, previous experience with horses is almost always a must. Volunteer experience in a stable or barn can help your chances when applying for paid work.
If you are looking to get certifiable experience, look into basic horse care programs at colleges in your area. There are also universities in Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta that offer undergraduate programs in equine studies suitable for those looking for a more technical career in the same field.
Hours and Salary
Horse grooming typically involves early mornings and a 40-hour work week. Entry level groomers will earn minimum wage at first, gradually earning raises as they gain more experience. More experienced groomers will earn a starting rate at anywhere from $15-$20 dollars an hour. Depending on the employer, there may also be benefits provided.