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So You Want to be an Equine Bodyworker?

Ask yourself these questions.

In my mere 10 months of business, I've had quite a few people approach me to ask if they should become an equine bodyworker. I decided to come up with a brief list of questions to ask yourself if you are considering equine bodywork as a career.

1. Am I prepared to have inconsistent income?

-It's common for appointments to be canceled when an unexpected vet bill or other expense comes up.

-It's difficult to predict numbers each month and depending on where you live, business can be up or down with the season.

2. Am I prepared to be a lifelong student?

-Just because you've completed a certification course or a few doesn't mean you are done learning. There are always more clinics or seminars to attend, more information to be learned, absorbed and applied to your practice.

3. Is there a demand in your area or is it saturated?

-Bodywork isn't a service equivalent to being a vet or farrier, where there's more likely to be a fair share of consistent work to go around. Note here: I am speaking with my experience in the Midwest, specifically Iowa.

-I've also noticed that some barns will use MagnaWave or TheraPlate and won't feel the need to have a hands-on equine bodyworker.

4. Are you prepared to put mileage on your car?

-Most equine bodyworkers are mobile, meaning they travel from barn to barn. Sure, mileage is tax deductible, but car repair bills add up quickly.

5. Are you physically up to the task?

-You'll spend most time on your feet and need to be aware of proper body mechanics if you want to minimize wear and tear on your body (think hands, wrists, back, etc). It took time for my forearms and hands to adjust to the work volume I required from them. I’ve found that I am most comfortable if I regularly schedule bodywork appointments for myself.

6. Are you looking for a “quick and easy” way to make money?

-If you said yes, this isn't a good career choice for you. There’s nothing “quick and easy” or cheap about learning and building a name for yourself. Most certification courses available aren’t inexpensive if they are worthwhile. What other expenses should you take into account? You’ll need to establish yourself as a business within your state and consider purchasing liability insurance. There are also advertising and website fees, etc.

7. Are you familiar with your state laws regarding animal bodywork?

-More on that here.

A couple other things to keep in mind: this career doesn't provide benefits or a 401K plan and you'll need to maintain business records for your yearly taxes.

I love what I do. It is so fulfilling to help a horse move and feel better. I love that every horse has something to teach me. And I never get tired of messages from clients that express how thrilled they are to have added bodywork into their horse's wellness routine. This job isn't for you if you want to be rich or you want something "quick and easy" to do, you do it because you love it.

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