How Much Do Horse Trainers Make?

No one can give you a definitive answer to the question of how much do horse trainers make. In fact, their salary directly depends on their experience, competence, and even the region where they live.

Plus, some top professionals will earn more when their runners are highly successful. One thing is for sure. Most racehorse trainers need to rely on different revenue to make enough money for a living.

Horse Trainers

Horse Trainers

Horse trainers are experts who teach horses to different disciplines. They take care of each animals’ physical needs and prepare them for riding.

Most trainers perform under-saddle training or groundwork, evaluate horses, and clean stalls, round pens, and pastures. Most owners require trainers with at least a high school diploma and some experience in horse training and caring.

Horse trainer national average salary in 2012

Time Salary
Per hour $18
Per week $713
Per month $3,091
Per year $37,096

Some can even look for employees who agree to live on the farm and take care of animals 24/7. On average, their salary is not pretty high, but these people can earn from additional activities.

The Average US Horse Trainer Salary

According to statistics, the average annual horse trainer salary in the US is $37,096 in 2021. That means these experts earn approximately $17.83 an hour, $713 a week, or only $3,091 a month.

Horse trainer national average salary

Earners Hourly Weekly Monthly Annually
Top earners $26 $1,057 $4,583 $55,000
75th Percentile $18 $721 $3,125 $37,500
Average $18 $713 $3,091 $37,096
25th Percentile $12 $490 $2,125 $25,500

Most horse trainer salaries currently range from only $17,000 to $37,500 a year. Only top US experts make $55,000+ annually.

However, the situation is not that simple since horse trainers rarely live only on a salary. Since these payments are not exceptionally high, they often look for increased opportunities based on their experience, skill levels, and location.

Ways for Racehorse Trainers to Make Money

Ways for Racehorse Trainers to Make Money

Purse percentages

Besides their salary, horse trainers receive some money when their horses win the first, second, or third place in races. Such purse earning is a significant percentage of the total trainer’s income.

That is a reason for a big difference in their salaries. Top-notch experts can make the big bucks ranging from a few hundred thousand to more than a million dollars when horses they train compete well in prestigious races.

Day rate

Horse trainers charge wages for horses kept in their stall. However, this rate includes stall bedding and equipment, food, grooming, and exercise rider. Those who train riders will earn additional money for their effort.

Horse trainer salary

Hourly Weekly Monthly Annually % of jobs
$8.41 to $11.54 $337 to $462 $1,458 to $2,000 $17,500 to $23,999 20%
$11.54 to $14.66 $462 to $587 $2,000 to $2,542 $24,000 to $30,499 30%
$14.66 to $17.79 $587 to $712 $2,542 to $3,083 $30,500 to $36,999 26%
$17.79 to $20.91 $712 to $837 $3,083 to $3,625 $37,000 to $43,499 9%
$20.91 to $24.04 $837 to $962 $3,625 to $4,167 $43,500 to $49,999 5%
$24.04 to $27.16 $962 to $1,087 $4,167 to $4,708 $50,000 to $56,499 2%
$27.16 to $30.29 $1,087 to $1,212 $4,708 to $5,250 $56,500 to $62,999 1%
$30.29 to $33.41 $1,212 to $1,337 $5,250 to $5,792 $63,000 to $69,499 1%
$33.41 to $36.54 $1,337 to $1,462 $5,792 to $6,333 $69,500 to $75,999 1%
$36.54 to $39.66 $1,462 to $1,587 $6,333 to $6,875 $76,000 to $82,499 0%
$39.66 to $42.79 $1,587 to $1,712 $6,875 to $7,417 $82,500 to $89,000 0%

Breeding rights

The owners of winning colts offer trainers lifetime breeding rights. It is annual free breeding for the mare of their choice. These breeding rights can be valuable, depending on the stallion fees.

Bloodstock agent

When trainers work as agents, they broker the transaction and represent a client at sales or bid in the sale pavilion. In such a case, they receive a commission that is traditionally 5% of the purchase price.

Horse trainer national average salary by year

Year Salary
2012 $27,300
2013 $26,900
2014 $26,300
2015 $25,600
2016 $25,600
2017 $26,100
2018 $26,900
2019 $28,000
2020 $29,200
2021 $29,700

Running their own horses

Some trainers have their own horses and keep all of the earnings except for the jockey fees. The owner/trainer combination is quite common, particularly in lower-level races.

Running a horse training center

You can find trainers that exclusively operate training centers and earn decent money after building up a reputation.

Running a rehabilitation facility for racehorses

Sometimes injured racehorses need to rest in a stall for months. Many horse trainers take care of such a horse during the recovery period and earn a lot of money that way.

Thoroughbred Trainers Income

Thoroughbred Trainers Income

In most cases, thoroughbred trainers are not on someone’s payroll, and their income will depend on horses’ winnings. Since they are independent contractors who directly cooperate with horse owners, their salaries significantly vary, depending on a few factors.

Trainer fees

Thoroughbred trainers specialized in racing earn more money than those who prepare show horses. They charge day rates of approximately $65 to $100 for training purebred racehorses and receive a percentage of an animal’s earnings.

In other words, an average thoroughbred racehorse trainer can earn monthly at least $2,550 per horse. Since they usually train ten horses on average, you can quickly calculate the final number.

Keep in mind that each trainer needs to pay exercise riders and grooms to work with the horses. Plus, some money goes for feed, necessary equipment, and stall bedding.

On average, costs per horse is in the range of $1,950 per month, so its salary is only $600 per horse. It is not so much, isn’t it?

Horse trainer average salary by state

State Hourly rate Average salary
Hawaii $27.56 $57,319
New York $22.60 $47,014
Ohio $22.26 $46,309
Kentucky $20.64 $42,940
South Carolina $20.54 $42,714
Louisiana $19.81 $41,202
South Dakota $19.70 $40,984
Alaska $16.70 $34,744
West Virginia $16.48 $34,275
New Jersey $15.93 $33,132
Maine $15.67 $32,586
North Dakota $15.59 $32,418
Florida $15.55 $32,350
California $15.01 $31,217
Illinois $14.96 $31,126
Missouri $14.71 $30,593
Montana $14.67 $30,517
Nebraska $14.47 $30,098
Mississippi $14.46 $30,077
Iowa $14.42 $29,993
Virginia $14.28 $29,705
Rhode Island $14.26 $29,661
Wisconsin $14.15 $29,440
Connecticut $14.07 $29,269
Kansas $13.79 $28,676
Indiana $13.73 $28,551
Pennsylvania $13.71 $28,524
Massachusetts $13.68 $28,452
Colorado $13.17 $27,392
Texas $13.16 $27,365
Arizona $13.05 $27,147
Delaware $12.96 $26,965
New Hampshire $12.61 $26,238
Oregon $12.46 $25,914
Arkansas $12.22 $25,409
New Mexico $12.17 $25,311
Maryland $12.14 $25,242
Washington DC $11.86 $24,662
Michigan $11.33 $23,564
Utah $11.24 $23,375
Washington $11.15 $23,194
Vermont $10.97 $22,817
Minnesota $10.85 $22,567
North Carolina $10.68 $22,218
Tennessee $10.02 $20,834
Georgia $9.97 $20,733
Alabama $9.85 $20,488
Oklahoma $9.81 $20,411
Idaho $9.12 $18,978
Nevada $8.44 $17,548
Wyoming $8.19 $17,025

Winnings

Thoroughbred trainers typically get 10% of the purse when their horses win races or come as second or third. For instance, the trainer will get $3,000 when a purse is $30,000. Some successful trainers can earn approximately $10,000 per month that way.

Best Paying Horse Trainer Jobs by Cities

As with many other jobs, the horse trainers’ salaries significantly vary depending on the city where they work. The best options are cities like San Mateo and Santa Monica in California and Boston in Massachusetts.

Horse trainer national average salary by city

City Hourly Weekly Monthly Annually
San Mateo, CA $21.37 $855 $3,704 $44,447
Boston, MA $21.03 $841 $3,645 $43,743
Santa Monica, CA $20.76 $830 $3,598 $43,175
Renton, WA $20.69 $828 $3,586 $43,034
Berkeley, CA $20.60 $824 $3,571 $42,848
Daly City, CA $20.54 $822 $3,561 $42,727
Lowell, MA $20.36 $814 $3,529 $42,352
Richmond, CA $20.10 $804 $3,483 $41,800
Newark, NJ $20.04 $802 $3,474 $41,691
Springfield, MA $19.91 $796 $3,451 $41,410

The horse trainers’ payment in San Mateo is 19.8% above the national average of $37,096, while their colleagues in Santa Monica beat the national average by 16.4%. Unfortunately, only a few companies in San Mateo currently hire for this job type, so the competition is exceptionally high.

Best Paying Horse Trainer Jobs in the US

Unlike most horse trainers, some experts are highly paid for their effort. For instance, those who work for some companies are paid far more per year than standard horse trainers. The top five are:

  • International horse
  • Horse association
  • Spirit horse
  • Horse farms
  • Wild horses

Best Paying Horse Trainer Jobs in the US

Work with Hourly Weekly Monthly Annually
International horse $28.28 $1,131 $4,902 $58,819
Spirit horse $27.96 $1,119 $4,847 $58,167
Horse association $27.87 $1,115 $4,831 $57,970
Wild horses $27.80 $1,112 $4,819 $57,825
Horse farms $27.75 $1,110 $4,811 $57,727

In most cases, these top-notch trainers are paid at least 55% to 60% more than the average horse trainers related to the state average.

Summary

Being a horse trainer is not an easy job. These people work hard for hours, but they are usually not paid enough for all the effort. Their level of required education and experience vary significantly and directly impact the annual salary.

However, most of these experts do their job for love and passion for horses even though they don’t earn much money. They have the privilege to train these magnificent animals and also travel a lot to attend horse races and shows.

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