Equine industry includes the welfare, husbandry, supervision and riding of horses, which means there are opportunities ranging from livery operations to thoroughbred racehorse training. Employers in the industry include: riding schools; livery yards; racing yards; breeders; trainers; and those involved in various other equine-related activities, such as coaches and rehabilitation. Equine encompasses:
- Riding schools and livery yards
- Competition and racing yards
- Working horses
- Clubs and hunts
- Diversified equine activities
- Equine paraprofessionals, such as Equine Dental Technicians, Barefoot Trimmers (i.e. people who trim horses’ hooves that do not have shoes)
- There are 20,700 people working in the industry, in around 3,450 businesses.
- There are approximately 100 barefoot trimmers and 200 equine dental technicians in the UK.
- 80% of businesses employ 5 or less staff, 18% employ between 6-25 staff, and only 2% employing between 26-100 staff.
- 54.5% of proprietors are female and 66.8% of staff are female.
- Proprietors are more commonly aged 45-54 years and staff 20-24 years.
- Volunteers are a significant part of the workforce within the industry.
Jobs in the industry include: apprentice jockey, performance groom, PTT instructor, BHSAI Assistant Instructor, stable person, stallion handler, Coach Level 1 Stud Yard Supervisor, Coach Level 2 Stud-hand, Coach Level 3 Supervised/Assistant Groom, foaling specialist, trek leader, yard manager, horse transporter, yearling manager, jockey
Entry requirements for this industry vary depending on the job role. Some jobs require no formal qualifications. However, relevant qualifications and experience can be an advantage, especially for higher paid job roles. Technical/specialist roles may require specific qualifications and/or experience, but some employers may invest in training a suitable individual. Volunteering or taking seasonal/temporary work can improve employment opportunities. There are good opportunities for those wishing to change career.
Drivers of change in employment are:
- Ongoing animal health and welfare legislation – A new duty of care, together with the consolidation and review of over 20 pieces of animal welfare legislation relating to farmed and non-farmed animals, has affected business performance and professional development.
- Economic factors have had a pronounced effect on the behaviour of pet/animal owners, with many unable to provide quality care.
- Demographic change – The majority of young people who want to work with horses are going to college and, on completion of their courses, have a salary expectancy that is higher than that of a groom/ instructor.
- Trends in competition and sport – There is an increase in involvement in equestrian sport at all levels and also an increase in horse ownership.
- Legislation – Changing legislation affects small businesses, in particular employment legislation and health and safety. This additionally has an effect on the employment of volunteers and young people.
- Climate change is having an effect on the processes and operations of the sector – The industry has a positive input into this agenda with the ability to not only produce non-fossil fuels, but to produce sustainable alternatives.
Due to significant changes in the industry, there is an increasing demand for high skill staff. There is also a lack of teaching staff, especially at PTT (Preliminary Teaching Test) and AI (Assistant Instructor) levels. Health and safety and risk assessment skills are the most important skills requirements. Additional skills needs in the industry include:
- Essential skills (literacy, communication and numeracy)
- Customer relations
- Planning and organisation
- Environmental management
- Business management, business change and financial awareness skills
- Technical/practical (horse management/handling, operating machinery, horse knowledge)
- Leisure skills, such as catering and tourism skills may also be required in the longer-term future
National and regional data:
- South East – There are an estimated 3,550 employees in the regional workforce, in around 600 businesses.
- East of England – There are an estimated 3,250 employees in the regional workforce, in around 450 businesses.
- South West – There are an estimated 2,700 employees in the regional workforce, in around 400 businesses.
- West Midlands – There are an estimated 2,450 employees in the regional workforce, in around 300businesses.
- East Midlands – There are an estimated 1,900 employees in the regional workforce, in around 300 businesses.
- North West – There are an estimated 1,850 employees in the regional workforce, in around 250 businesses.
- Yorkshire and the Humber – There are an estimated 1,550 employees in the regional workforce, in around 300 businesses.
- Scotland – There are an estimated 1,000 employees in the regional workforce, in around 250 businesses.
- London – There are an estimated 1,000 employees in the regional workforce, in around 250 businesses.
- Wales – There are an estimated 550 employees in the regional workforce, in around 150 businesses.
- North East – There are an estimated 500 employees in the regional workforce, in around 100 businesses.
- Northern Ireland – There are an estimated 350 employees in the regional workforce, in around 50 businesses.
Pay scales in this industry are variable, so the following only provides an indication of the annual salary paid to some full-time positions:
- Horse groom – grooms with BHS Stage 3 or a national diploma can earn around £12,500 per year, rising to around £16,000 with experience. Head lads/girls in a racing yard can earn £20,000 plus.
- Horse riding instructor – starting salaries for trainee and assistant instructors can be between £12,000 and £15,000 a year, rising to £25,000 with experience.
- Riding holiday leader – between £12,000 and £17,000 per year, depending on qualifications and experience.
- Riding holiday centre manager – starting salaried on around £15,000 per year, rising to £20,000 plus with experience.
Source: Lantra AACS LMI report 2010