I’m often asked how someone can become a Groom and break into the horse business. Lots of different ways to do that! I’m also asked what sorts of things you can use your grooming experiences to spring board into. I have done both - gotten into grooming, and also left grooming to work on other things. And by other things I mean this thing that you are reading now.
Some ideas of how you can use your grooming experiences to your advantage:
You could work as a farrier’s apprentice, learning the trade to eventually become a farrier yourself. With your hoof packing experience, you already have a head start.
Veterinary technician school or even vet school could be in your future! There’s not doubt that your time as a Groom will give you ample experience with illnesses, lamenesses, and accidents.
Vet Techs Rock!
Could you move into the position of instructor, assistant, or barn manager? Sometimes the Groom positions have some cushy perks - lessons, hacking, mentorship. Take advantage of learning from everyone around you.
The retail industry surrounding horses is huge! Tack shops, feed stores, specialty clothing businesses all have opportunities for the horse lover.
Horse show management. Perhaps you have reached a point where it sounds awesome to organize and plan large events? Show management may be for you! Think of the size of the white board you could create....
Farrier work is part art, part science!
New Products! Do you have an idea for a revolutionary new product? Now’s the time to see what you can do with it. Run with your idea, and then send me a sample.
Hay Broker - Another great opportunity to work with people and use amazing organizational skills. This also may involve some serious machinery, which would be pretty awesome, too!
Blanket repair and care/laundry service - This is a small business idea that can service your community. If you are handy with a sewing machine it may work! And for the most part, no ironing involved.
Leather care and repair - Broken tack, snapped leather, busted zippers. Repairing is more cost effective than buying new - take advantage of that!
Braiding- If you have wicked braiding skills, you could branch out and work the big show circuits. Work weird hours, travel, and meet other amazing horse folks!
Night watch- Not all shows have a night watch service, so the market is there. Get prepared to stay up all night, but know that you will give all Grooms and riders at the show valuable piece of mind!
Horse hauling- Working for a shipper can be rewarding, especially if you love to travel. Your horse handling skills will come in handy, too.
Flying Groom- Some shippers also operate their own planes - and have Grooms dedicated to horse care on board. Lots of chewing gum is your friend.
Non-profit sector - Now is the time to get involved with a rescue or a therapeutic riding program. Give back as you work with horses!
Saddle fitter- Most saddle fitters are independent, so you may have some amazing job flexibility. It’s a skill highly in demand!
Nutritionist- If going back to school is your dream, then equine nutrition could be your degree path! You will have lots of options after graduation, including working for yourself, a university, or even a feed company.
Sales representative- Would you like to travel and represent the horse industry? Work for a clothing company, a tack company, a feed company, you name it.
How have you used your time as a Groom to further your career in the horse industry?