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  • EquiStaff
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Equine Trainer

Rockford, Illinois 61101
United States
Please to view contact information for this job!
Date Posted: 11/16/2023 | Last Updated: 11/16/2023
Therapeutic Riding Program, Trainer - General
Positions Available:
Full Time
Annual Salary Range:
Not Specified
Minimum Education Level:
Two Year Degree
Horse Breeds Associated With This Job:
Any Breed
Languages Required:
Any Language
Drivers license required?
Commercial drivers license required?
Own car required?
Pets allowed?
Non-smoker required?
Live on site?
Will pay to relocate?
Height/Weight Specifications
(For riding positions only)
Height:   ft   in
Weight:   lbs
About The Facility
A brand new indoor equine center is currently being constructed at Lockwood Park in Rockford Illinois. The Perks Family Equine Center will contribute to the wellbeing of youth living with mental health issues, social-emotional challenges, and developmental disabilities, as well as cognitive and physical challenges. Qualified community therapists will partner with Lockwood equine professionals to provide services. The center will include:
» Multi-purpose areas for programming designed to prepare participants with transitional activities, sensory tools, and visual cues, which increase appropriate behaviors. 
» The ability to provide year-round programming, regulating environmental factors such as temperature and sounds that significantly impact an individual’s ability to participate.
» Lighting and sound controls to alleviate unwanted sensory stimulation during learning activities.
» Accessible features to provide ample space for activities.
» A designated observation area allowing key individuals to provide emotional support and encouragement to participants with defined boundaries
Job Description
Title: Equine Trainer
Department: Lockwood Park
Status: Full Time
Office Location: Perks Family Equine Center
Reports To: General Manager, Lockwood Park and Trailside Equestrian Center
FLSA Status: Non-Exempt
Application Link:

Position Description
Promotes a therapeutic atmosphere for youth to enjoy and work with horses through safe experiential activities. The Equine Trainer creates an ethical and safe environment for our equine partners to live and work.

Agency Vision: To be the best urban parks and recreation system in North America, as measured by national standards and the citizens we serve.
Agency Mission: The Rockford Park District is in business to “help people enjoy life” by providing a quality park and recreation system.
Vision & Planning System: The District aligns itself and all its resources to achieve its purpose, vision, mission, and priorities. This successfully drives the strategic plan, operational plans, and performance goals.
Policy Management & Operations System: Every team member serves as an active contributor in the development of the team’s operational plan; develops job strategies and plans that support the team’s operational goals; identifies timetables for completion; plans daily work activities in an organized manner ensuring effective utilization of time and resources in the completion of job tasks.
Leadership by Values System: Leadership by Values can only be achieved if all team members believe in and live by these shared values: accountability, integrity, passion, agility, relationship oriented, results driven, service oriented, respectful, and innovative. While all team members share these essential values, our culture is enriched by and welcomes the diverse supporting values of its team members.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Statement: The Rockford Park District is committed and accountable to being a place where everyone is invited and belongs, as demonstrated by being an inviting, equitable, and inclusive environment, respectful of all people, embracing diversity, creating accessibility and valuing all team members, partners and community members for their unique experiences and backgrounds.

Definition: Sustained by long-term, positive, exceptional relationships with stakeholders and team members as our hallmark of success.

Definition: To work together to achieve the mission, vision, and shared values of the Rockford Park District.
Connectedness: Departments are truly interconnected to support the mission and vision of the Rockford Park District.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS include the following. Other duties may be assigned
Leadership by Values
Establish and maintain a high level of citizen confidence and support.
Assist with establishing and maintaining exceptional relationships with internal team members and external stakeholders.
Create a work atmosphere that is safe, healthy, secure, and is conscious of work-life balance as well as the Park District’s goals.
Support and ensure a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging exists in all areas of the Rockford Park District.
Contribute to the success of the organization by following local, state, and federal standards.  Works with teams to engage in industries best practices to continue to develop and keep abreast of industries standards and best practices.

Performance Management/Development
Ensures quality and humane equine and animal care for those participating in operational activities at the Perks Family Equine Center (PFEC).
Upholds quality animal-based programming for the public through sustaining high standards in equine care and training. 

Operational Excellence
Develop and execute individualized schooling and conditioning programs for every horse on the property.  This includes groundwork and mounted work.
Follows horse training procedures to maintain standard equine performance levels necessary to ensure the safety and suitability of horses used in program.
Work with team members and facilitators on learning dispositions of the equine used in Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL).
Responsible for the continued education of team members on equine behavior and psychology.
Address and correct any horse behavior concerns in a timely fashion.
Ensures that each horse is utilized to the optimal level.
Responsible for the quality care of all program horses.
Monitors health and behavior of horses, reporting any concerns regarding health to the General Manager.
Continued evaluation of the effectiveness of the Lockwood Equine Center herd.
Evaluate and recruit conditioning and prospective schooling team members.
Evaluate and acquire new horses for the PFEC. This includes phone interviews with the owner, on-site evaluation, trial period training and evaluation, brand inspection, and ensuring that all necessary paperwork is completed.  
Monitors equine and animal behavior in programs and evaluates readiness to be integrated into programming.
Analyze horse dispositions and anticipate any possible behavioral problems and training accordingly.
Train, desensitize and de-spook new program horse prospects as needed.
Address horse behavior and or health complaints.
Diagnosis of lameness, injury or disease of horses and work with the Equine and Farm Animal Supervisor on scheduling veterinary care.
In coordination with the Equine and Farm Animal Supervisor, evaluate and determine if and when a horse is no longer appropriate for PFEC; and determine the course of action that is in the best interest of the horse and implement that decision.
Transport retiring horses and new horses to and from the property when necessary.
Coordinate, supervise, train, evaluate and recognize any staff and/or schooling team and conditioning team members.
Conduct and lead regular meetings and organize continuing education opportunities for conditioning and schooling team.
Train, coordinate and supervise conditioning and schooling team volunteers.
In conjunction with the Volunteer Coordinator, schedule, and conduct horse handling trainings.
Assist Volunteer Coordinator with developing new trainings, scheduling volunteers, and other various tasks as they relate to equine operations.
Ensures that all work performed is conducted in a safe and timely manner adhering to standards of safety and effective equipment utilization.
Responsible for monitoring appropriate tack fit, need for new or replacement tack, ordering and putting into use.
In coordination with the Equine and Animal Supervisor, ensures all feed, veterinary, farrier, and other required charts, notes, and boards are updated with accurate information at the PFEC.
Communicates with the Equine and Animal Supervisor about needs and concerns related to farrier, veterinary, nutritional, or other aspect of equine care.
Ability to work with the General Manager and assist in numerous projects as assigned, such as the PDRMA audit, volunteer recognition, budgeting, presentations to groups/partners, completing tasks and outcomes as a result of these meetings.
On-call duties for equine emergencies; required to respond to equine emergency or illness and be part of a team rotation for care and monitoring under the vet’s direction.
Prepare horses for riding programming.
Acts as Manager on Duty as needed. 

Customer Satisfaction
Provides quality customer service to all patrons, guests, volunteers, and other District employees.
Represent Lockwood Park in a positive and professional manner.
Support and promote the mission, value and goals of Lockwood Park.
Promote and support an effective team environment, including adherence to ethical communication practices with staff, participants, volunteers, and community members.

Responsive to the needs of the department by accepting additional responsibility or assisting others.
Willing to adjust work schedule to accommodate changing priorities.
Assists with coordinating animals for EAL/EAP activities, PFEC lessons and/or special events as assigned. 

Maintains a working knowledge of department safety procedures. Attend safety training programs and educational in-service trainings as required.
Attend continuing education and certifications as deemed necessary.
Attend and participate in all staff meetings.
Adhere to all policies and procedures as stated in the Rockford Park District Handbook and PFEC standard operating procedures.
Maintain the health and training records for all Equine Center horses.
Job Requirements
Associates degree in Equine, Agriculture Education, or related field, plus three to five years professional experience in equine barn management or equivalent equine medical experience. A background in natural horsemanship, equine training and conditioning required.  Experience working with budgets is a plus.

Critical Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions:
Professional experience in mounted and unmounted equine training, conditioning, and behavior management.
Extensive experience with and training using the principles of natural horsemanship.
Experience utilizing a round pen for training work with equine.  
Experience with Equine Assisted Activities.
Knowledge of Agricultural Practices and general stable management .
Experience and awareness of all safety concepts.
Extensive training, understanding, and experience in horsemanship techniques.
Extensive animal and horse care experience.
Knowledge of supervisory skills and techniques.
Experience with operating farm equipment.
Ability to maintain a positive teaching relationship with all types of staff, volunteers and students.
Knowledge of Rockford Park District policies and safety standards.
Excellent Customer Service.
Must be a team player.
Ability to travel as needed and maintain a valid driver’s license.

Physical Requirements
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions:
Heavy work:
Exerting up to 100 pounds of force occasionally
Exerting up to 50 pounds of force frequently
Exerting up to 20 pounds of force constantly to move objects.
Mounted Riding: Must be able to ride consistently for several hours a day daily.
Ability to stand and work with large animals exerting excessive amounts of force.
Climbing:  Ascending or descending ladders, stairs, scaffolding, ramps, poles, and like using feet and legs and/or hands and arms.  Body agility is emphasized.  This factor is important if the amount and kind of climbing required exceeds that required for ordinary locomotion.
Balancing:  Maintaining body equilibrium to prevent falling when walking, standing, or crouching on narrow, slippery, or erratically moving surfaces.  This factor is important if the amount and kind of balancing exceeds that needed for ordinary locomotion and maintenance of body equilibrium.
Stooping:  Bending body downward and forward by bending spine at the waist.  This factor is important if it occurs to a considerable degree and requires full use of the lower extremities and back muscles.
Kneeling:  Bending the body downward and forward by bending legs and spine.
Crouching:  Bending the body downward and forward by bending legs and spine.
Crawling:  Moving about on hands and knees or hands and feet.
Reaching:  Extending hand(s) and arm(s) in any direction.
Standing:  Particularly for sustained periods of time.
Walking:  Moving about on foot to accomplish tasks, particularly for long distances.
Pushing:  Using upper extremities to exert force in order to draw, drag, haul, or tug objects in a sustained motion.
Lifting:  Raising objects from a lower to higher position or moving objects horizontally from position to position.  This factor is important if it occurs to a considerable degree and requires substantial use of the upper extremities and back muscles.
Fingering:  Picking, pinching, typing, or otherwise working primarily with fingers rather than with the whole hand or arm as in handling.
Grasping:  Applying pressure to an object with the fingers and palms.
Feeling:  Perceiving attributes of objects, such as size, shape, temperature, or texture by touching with skin, particularly that of fingertips.
Talking:  Expressing or exchanging ideas by means of the spoken word.  Those activities in which workers must convey detailed or important spoken instructions to other workers accurately, loudly, or quickly.
Repetitive motions:  Substantial movements (motions) of the wrists, hands, and/or fingers.

Work Environment
The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions:
Significant environmental factors are applicable to this position including dust, extreme heat or cold conditions. Inherent risk involved with equine activities.
Eligible for all Full Time benefits including: Medical, Family Coverage, Dental, Vision, Life, Health Spending Accounts, Flex Spending Accounts, & more.