How can I make myself more competitive in the job market?
For many of us, a job with horses is a dream! It’s hard to break into this industry, and if you have no other experience than taking a lesson a week on a school horse, you may face some tough competition. How can you set yourself apart?
The first thing to do is have a resume that will stop traffic. You can have experience out the wazoo and references that belong in a museum but if you can’t put it on paper like a pro you are only shooting yourself in the foot. (And yes that means proper grammar and spelling. No texting shorthand.)
You can also learn some things that can “up your cred” and provide some huge boosts. Let’s call it increasing your employability. Start by doing a lot of research into what you want to do, and then learning what that job entails. For a Groom, your job description could be quite extensive and even include things like harrowing the arena and farm maintenance.
Proper lunging skills = more employable.
Here’s a list of some things that you can learn to increase your value to a potential employer:
-Get CPR certified. Most CPR courses also include some first aid for people, a bonus to have.
-Learn how to drive a rig! A truck and horse trailer is standard farm equipment. Your future horse jobs may never require you to drive their rig, or maybe they will. Do the added research in your state to determine if you need to get a special license to pull a trailer over a certain weight (usually 10,000 lbs) or a certain length of truck plus trailer.
-Learn how to drive a tractor, both standard and automatic if you can. Almost every farm on the planet has some sort of vehicle to do chores, knowing your way around basic farm equipment is a bonus.
-Learn how to properly lunge a horse. With control, using correct body language, both with and without tack, side reins, etc. Lungeing is an art, not a way to let a horse “get the bucks out”. Find a reputable trainer to help you hone this skill.
-Get some basic lessons from a farrier on how to pull shoes, rasp feet, and deal with hoof emergencies.
-Learn to handle horses. The lesson horse at your local stable is a sedated teddy bear compared to the racehorse, competitive show jumper, or fit reining horse. Find a trainer that can teach you how to use your body and mind to safely handle these fit athletes.
-Learn to handle stallions. This is a whole other category of horse to handle, especially if you want to work at a breeding farm!
-Know you bandages and how to apply them like you have been doing it since birth. Know how to apply a standing wrap with a quilt and a no-bow, polo wraps, know how to wrap a knee and a hock, too. Veterinarians are often masters of wraps and can help you learn how to safely apply them.
Once you have some added skills - your appeal to future employers will be off the charts!
What ideas do you have?