I was only going to spend one year abroad to learn a new language and improve my riding skills. This is now 20 years ago and today I’m working at the Horse Competence Center Germany (HCCG). Here I’m responsible for the English Equine Management course „Equine Management Certificate”.
I’m originally from Denmark and there everyone is told from an early age, how important it is to learn different languages and get to know new cultures. For me personally, the horses were always the most important. Twenty years ago, horses and horseback riding were a synonym for Germany. That’s why I decided to go there for a year (to improve my German language, of course …).
By now, I have been living with and making a living of horses for twenty years, with some little detours. It began in an international top-stable, followed by an apprenticeship as a riding instructor (Pferdewirtin Schwerpunkt Reiten). At the same time I also had my own sponsor. Together with the horses I have been to several different continents and because of them I was able to pay for my studies. I even got the chance to participate, though not as a competitor, at the Olympic Games 2008 in Hong Kong. Once there, I stayed for almost four years, working for the biggest horse racing club in the world, the Hong Kong Jockey Club (which has a turnover of more than 13 billion a year).
So, here are my five reasons, why the way of life I chose for myself is the best in the world. If your family or friends ever tell you that it is not possible to make a living from horses or horseback riding, here’s something to make them change their minds!
There are no limits
You will find a job always and everywhere in the world, if you are experienced with horses. No matter if you can ride, want to teach, are able to manage a stable or if you have experience in horse breeding, employers are searching for horse people all over the world. Where I work now, not a day goes by without at least one request coming in for equestrian staff from abroad. Especially European horse professionals (still) have an excellent reputation.
How else would I ever have experienced so many adventures? One time getting stuck with a horse in Rio de Janeiro (the airline forgot the container in Frankfurt), another time going for a ride with Chinese people (chaos inevitable), yet another time experiencing a foal birth (incredibly beautiful) …
It’s not a life for fainthearted people, but it sure cannot be replaced by a bank job. It feels good to be able to say: “I don’t regret a thing”.
Finding friends for life (definitely important!)
When I’m in Canada, I know where to sleep. A friend of mine lives there. And in the US as well. And in China. And in South Africa. And in Norway. And, and, and.
Networking is invaluable. Facebook is all well and good. But getting to know someone face-to-face, work together, live together, these are relationships that will last forever. That’s how you learn new things, how you make friends, how you build your future. If you want to live and make a living with horses, this is the most important thing. No matter what you are planning on doing.
Getting to know cultures and languages
Now a few lines regarding personality development: Somebody once said, you first have to become someone, before you can become something. In horse barns it is often a motley bunch. There might be the (not very accurate) “Cloggie” from Holland, the Spaniard (who is always late) or the Chinese guy (who always follows the rules, no matter what is happening). In this environment you learn how to handle different personalities, you learn to listen and you learn to assess someone’s (and your own) strengths and weaknesses and also to value them. How many management-classes would your boss have to take, until he can do all of the above?! And, besides, we also learn all this from the horses …
Surprise! Yes, it is possible to make money with horse knowledge. And not solely as a top-rider or horse trainer. But with sales and distribution. With research. With import and export. By breeding. With marketing. As a riding instructor. Within the field of horse health. Or with stable management. You name it!
My friend in Hong Kong runs two equestrian riding schools, where she trains the grooms as well as her riding students. She earns more money than my boss here in Germany and pays, moreover, only 16% taxes.
So – give me one reason not to work with horses!
Sure – you have to prepare yourself well for this – apprenticeship, university degree or advanced trainings – there’s no getting around it. But the ones who makes the effort will be able to make a good living and has the most beautiful job in the world.
In the meantime I have had two children and I work for a company called Horse Competence Center Germany (short: HCCG). I’m dedicated to helping young people and career changers to gain ground in the equestrian world. Together with the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück, the HCCG and the National German Equestrian Federation, I have developed a preparation-course for people who want to work with horses abroad. All workshops are given in English. If you want to learn more, you can find all the information on www.hccg.de.
Should you have any further questions or ideas respectively the Equine Management Certificate, you can always call me or write to me – you will reach me under +49 5401-88 13 224 or via email email@example.com – I’d be happy to hear from you!