Home > Caring For Animals > Work With Horses: Becoming a Stablehand

Work With Horses: Becoming a Stablehand

By: Margaret Paxton - Updated: 4 Mar 2018 | comments*Discuss
Work With Horses: Becoming A Stablehand

Becoming a stable hand means more than working with horses; it is a way of life! There are several different disciplines in the horse world; whether your dream is to ride the winning racehorse in the Derby, or lead a pony in your care at its first show, the satisfaction of knowing that your hard work has contributed to that moment is a great feeling.

Are You Up to the Job?

Working with horses is very hard work; tough chores have to be done all year round and in all weathers.

Hours are long and often anti-social. (Horses don't celebrate public holidays!) Fewstable hands manage to maintain a social life because of the hours they work and theassociated low income (they earn from around £7,500.) Their lives revolve around their horses.

It is crucial for a stable hand to be fit and able to cope with the constant, strenuous, physical demands of the job as most working hours consist of pushing wheelbarrows, carrying heavy buckets and other equipment, sweeping, lifting and generally being on their feet and active, all day, every day.

Potentially Dangerous

A stable hand's work can be dangerous, not just because riding is a hazardous sport, but because accidents do happen when handling animals. Horses can bite with one end and kick with the other! Having half a ton of horse standing on your foot is no joke, either.

Find out if the stable you want to work for provides protective clothing as buying your own overalls, gloves, boots and relevant protective headgear can be very expensive. Ask about personal injury and public liability insurance and make sure you know where horse and human first aid is kept and who is qualified to use it.

Beyond the Stable Door

Established stable hands are expected to travel with the horses in their care to events in other counties or even countries. This is good experience but it's not glamorous! While their horses have everything they need in the horsebox or aeroplane, stable hands travel light. (Jewellery and the latest fashions have no place in working with horses and can cause injury.)

Warm, waterproof, lightweight and safe are the designers of a stable hand's wardrobe,and, although they must have high personal standards, they appreciate that their horses are the real stars.

Qualifications are not necessary to begin a career with horses but a genuine interest in their care is important. It is possible to take an apprenticeship, foundation course or NVQ in Horse Care if you decide this career is for you. Adequate training is always provided

Stable hands don't have to be top jockeys to find work they enjoy, but top jockeys will have been stable hands first. They are the backbone of the industry.

Daily Routine

Duties involve a precise routine of mucking out stables and preparing fresh beds for horses in their care, along with sweeping, grooming, feeding, leading, exercising, cleaning tack and other associated equipment and generally keeping everything as it should be.

Daily grooming plays an important role by not only keeping horses looking good and feeling comfortable, but also in strengthening the bond between stable hands and their charges. Stable hands are often first to notice if a horse is unwell or injured because they know the normal behaviour of each animal in their care. They observe the body language of their horses and are aware of useful clues to mood and general well-being so can notify the yard manager of any changes in appearance.


Efficient stable hands always serve meals on time! Feeding horses is quite a science and specific dietary requirements are carefully worked out to suit the temperament, workload, age, size and health of each animal. Because horses have very delicate digestive systems the wrong meal, fed at the wrong time, can cause serious illness.


How to lead horses properly is one of the first major lessons the new stable hand learns. Correct positioning and technique is crucial.

There are occasions when horses need to be trotted up in hand to enable a trainer, farrier, vet, saddler or prospective buyer to assess the horse in motion. Stable hands will learn how to do this safely and correctly while at the same time showing the horses at their best.

Fun and Games

It takes commitment and strength to succeed as a stable hand. For most, working as part of a team of like-minded people is one of the advantages; particularly when they live-in. Depending on the circumstances, some even go on holiday with their horses!


Becoming a stable hand is the best way to start any career with horses. Dedicated,experienced, stable hands are always in demand and get plenty of opportunity to specialise and gain promotion within the industry.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi, I'm 12 years 13 in September) and I'm a very big fan of horses, I understand that I may be a bit too young for a job like this but lessons are fairly expensive for my family to pay for but I still really want to be around horses, if possible, I would really want to be a stable hand and work somewhere around Wellingborough after school from Tuesday to Thursday - as I'm busy on Mondays and Fridays. Also, would I be able to have 1 lesson a week (or every other week) instead of getting paid please? I really hope there is a place I could work as I think that I will be able to manage the wheelbarrows and heavy buckets etc.By the way, I know how to canter and trot but I was not taught how to tack a horse before.Yours sincerely,
V - 4-Mar-18 @ 4:13 PM
Hi I’m 14 (15 in October) I would love to be a stable hand as I want to get out the house more and get more fit but I don’t know if I’m old enough yet and I would mind getting paid as I could but fursuits but I would prefer riding lesson in return as I used to ride a pony as a kid but that was years ago and I would like to get back into it
Hunter - 7-Feb-18 @ 10:01 PM
Hi, I'm 14 years old (15 in June) and I love horses with a passion, it's my dream to work with them and someday have my own horse. Unfortunately, horses and lessons are extremely expensive and I just can't afford them. I am still in school (obviously) but I would love to work with horses (maybe as a stable hand?) after school and/or at the weekends, and (instead of money) I would love riding lessons in return (maybe one lesson a week?) If anyone knows any jobs like this that I could apply for in England/Kent then I would be EXTREMELY happy to know! Thank you!
Jay - 2-Jan-18 @ 1:59 AM
I am 14 years old,I've had experience with riding and caring for horse at a riding school.I have a passion for horses and I would love to work with them.i could work at weekends,because I would need to go school.
Kenzie - 1-Dec-17 @ 11:11 PM
Hi I am 17 years old and my government class is doing a project About an I-Search on Jobs and I chose to be a Stable Hand and I would like to be able to ask a few questions to someone who knows a lot about a Stable Hands job.
ruth - 14-Sep-16 @ 6:46 PM
hey I'm 14 years old looking for a job I can do during weekends or half terms and I think this is the right one for me because I love horses I'm so obsessed with them but my parents don't let me go riding so I cant ride but I would love to do this job and earn my own money.
rebecca - 21-Sep-15 @ 8:51 PM
kezza - 19-Sep-12 @ 10:59 AM
I am a 27-year old man wanting to go to U.K. any time now in order to work with horses. I have read the information on your site with a little help from a friend, as my English is base: in fact, apart from loving horses, another reason why I want to go is that I would like to take this opportunity to improve my English. I have done plenty of horse riding (I started when I was 9) and am experienced in horse training and care. I would be particularly interested in Racing and Race Horses and Stud Farms and Breeding Establishments. I would also like to receive details about the type of accommodation available for either option, and whether there is the possibility of earning a little money. I thank you in advance and look forward to hearing from you. Yours faithfully, Alberto Lumetta
ALBERTO - 7-Aug-12 @ 9:43 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • CareerWithAnimals
    Re: General Work Experience with Animals
    CoralB - Your Question:Hello, I am a 14 year old girl in need of some work experience to work with animals. I am based…
    19 March 2018
  • CoralB
    Re: General Work Experience with Animals
    Hello, i am a 14 year old girl in need of some work experience to work with animals. I am based in Farnsfield, and the…
    19 March 2018
  • Morgie
    Re: Work at Boarding Kennels & Catteries
    I am currently studying at cert II in animal studies and have to complete 80 hours of work placement at a dog…
    7 March 2018
  • Blackbart
    Re: Work as a Flying Groom
    I have absolutely no horse experience and scared to death to fly I would like to try this job to get over my fears and get to know horses…
    19 February 2018
  • Cod123
    Re: Sniffer & Police Dogs at Work
    I have a 1year old springer spaniel. Now unfortunatly due to work commitments and being offered a promotion and splitting up…
    17 February 2018
  • Want 2 help animals
    Re: Run your own Animal Shelter
    I'd love to set up a animal shelter in the UK, animals and their welfare are my passion in life
    12 February 2018
  • CareerWithAnimals
    Re: Assistance Dogs For Extra Support
    Jbill - Your Question:Hi, I’m a (nearly) 12 year old boy. Unlike most children, for the last 4 years I have been thinking of…
    8 February 2018
  • Hunter
    Re: Work With Horses: Becoming a Stablehand
    Hi I’m 14 (15 in October) I would love to be a stable hand as I want to get out the house more and get more fit but…
    7 February 2018
  • Jbill
    Re: Assistance Dogs For Extra Support
    Hi, I’m a (nearly) 12 year old boy. Unlike most children, for the last 4 years I have been thinking of a future career. I…
    7 February 2018
  • Brooklyn
    Re: What You Need to Become a Vet
    Hi , I am in year 8 and am currently trying to decide on my options for GCSE level . I would like to work as a surgical vet when…
    30 January 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the CareerWithAnimals website. Please read our Disclaimer.