Equine Breeding Farm Careers
Horse farms may employ a wide variety of breeding industry professionals on a full or part-time basis. Here are some popular breeding related career options for those interested in working on a horse farm:
Horse Farm Manager
Horse farm managers are responsible for all aspects of farm operation including supervising other staff members and ensuring that all horses on the property are receiving proper care. They also make decisions regarding what service providers (veterinarians, farriers, transportation services) the farm will do business with. The horse farm manager provides direction to ensure that the farm runs smoothly.
Broodmare managers oversee the care and management of pregnant mares, young foals, and weanlings. They must have an excellent knowledge of reproductive physiology, foaling, and neonatal foal care. They routinely handle teaser stallions to evaluate which mares are coming into heat and keep careful notes on each mare’s reproductive cycle to ensure that the mare is bred at the optimal time to ensure conception. They are required to be “on call” during the foaling season (January to June) to attend foalings and assist with any difficult births.
Broodmare managers also work closely with many other breeding industry professionals such as veterinarians, foaling attendants, and grooms.
Stallion managers oversee the care and management of breeding stallions. They are responsible for live cover breeding or collection, managing stallion grooms, and overseeing the stallion office staff. They also oversee the arrival and preparation of mares that have come to be bred. They are busiest during the breeding season (January to June) and may have to come back after hours to supervise evening breeding sessions, as some stallions at busy farms breed up to four times per day.
Yearling managers oversee the care of weanlings and yearlings. They are responsible for the health of young horses as they go through an important growth phase, and must be well versed in corrective shoeing methods and nutritional requirements. Yearling managers also may be involved in supervising sales preparation, particularly if they are employed in the Thoroughbred industry.
Stallion Booking Secretary
Stallion booking secretaries are responsible for scheduling breeding appointments for multiple stallions at the farm. They must coordinate with the stallion manager to ensure that stallions are available and healthy so that they can fulfill breeding appointments. Stallion booking secretaries must have excellent organizational and computer skills. Since this is an office based position there is minimal (if any) direct contact with the horses.
Foaling attendants watch broodmares for signs of impending birth and assist them with the foaling process. They must be prepared to deal with problem births and foals requiring immediate medical attention. They also must keep detailed records on each mare so that each individual’s quirks and signs of foaling are noted. This is a seasonal position that usually runs from January to June (many foaling attendants work as grooms or night watchmen during the offseason). Foaling attendants work night shifts since that is the period when the majority of mares prefer to foal.
Grooms are responsible for all aspects of direct care for the horses to which they are assigned. Grooms are involved with feeding, cleaning stalls, grooming, turnout, wrapping legs, and holding horses for the farrier and veterinarian. This is a position that involves a great deal of physical labor, so those pursuing this career path must be able to meet the demands of the job.
Equine veterinarians are not frequently full-time employees of a single farm, though large breeding operations may have a vet on staff. The veterinarian is responsible for all aspects of healthcare, with a particular emphasis on the reproductive care of the broodmares and the neonatal care of the foals. The vet must be on call to deal with any health emergencies as they arise. They tend to be particularly busy during foaling season.