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Equine Specialist

Rockford, Illinois 61101
United States
Please to view contact information for this job!
Date Posted: 11/16/2023 | Last Updated: 03/04/2024
Positions Available:
Full Time
Annual Salary Range:
Not Specified
Minimum Education Level:
Four 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 Specialist
Department: Lockwood Park
Status: Full Time
Office Location: Perks Family Equine Center
Reports To: General Manager, Lockwood Park and Trailside Equestrian Center
FLSA Status: 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.

Operational Excellence
Facilitates equine assisted therapeutic program sessions, working in conjunction with the treatment team to ensure the safety and well-being of both horses and participants.
Responsible for overseeing experiential learning activities facilitated within the Equine Center and providing a reasonably safe space for participants, the treatment team including horses.
Works collaboratively with mental health professionals to develop experiential activities to support each participant’s needs.
Keeps up to date records of arena activities, equine/participant interactions and equine observations, and during EAL/EAP sessions.
Responsible for tracking and management of outcomes to be reported to grant agencies.
Responsible for equine selection for programming based on needs of the individual and/or group. Works in conjunction with the mental health professionals to assure appropriate fit for goals/needs of the activities and participants.
Maintain strong working knowledge of the EAGALA team approach to ensure compliance, safety standards and equine welfare.
Works with the General Manager to review and stay up to date on industry standards for best practice programming and facilitation techniques.
Support the facility with preparing for sessions and by caring for the equine.
Consistently evaluate equine behavior to watch for safety concerns both in and out of sessions.
Continually assess equine partners for overall health and wellness and work with equine supervisor to address any concerns or issues that arise.
Develop and implement a system for equine work logs.
Train team members and collaborative agency personnel on proper horse handling techniques.
Maintain complete and up-to-date files of equine partners including but not limited to developing and implementing the following:
o    Equine portfolios for therapeutic horses
o    Record of each horses health, diet and exercise regimen
o    Schooling schedules
o    Tack maintenance logs
o    Policies and procedures 
o    Order supplies and equipment as needed
Supervision of all arena activities/sessions and those in the arena.
Acts as Manager on Duty as needed.
On-call responsibilities on a rotating schedule.

Customer Satisfaction
Provides quality customer service to all patrons, guests, and other District employees.
Ensures a superior customer experience in all interactions through outstanding service capabilities, knowledge, flexibility, and thoroughness.
Quickly and effectively solves customer problems to ensure total satisfaction.

Maintain a working knowledge of department safety procedures.
Attend safety training programs and educational in-service trainings as required
Job Requirements
Bachelors Degree in animal science, equine studies or related field. Minimum 5 years professional experience working with horses. Hold EAGALA Certification as an Equine Specialist or ability to achieve within 6 months of being hired.  3 to 4 years minimum experience in Equine Assisted Activity facilitation.

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:
Work effectively with other District employees, partners, vendors, donors, and volunteers
Ability to professionally network and publicly represent the District
Have a team orientation approach when working with others
Strong horsemanship skills and knowledge of equine health and welfare
Strong understanding of horse behavior and psychology
Experience with training, breeding and care of horses
Proficient in Microsoft and other electronic systems
Ability to travel as needed and maintain a valid driver’s license
Ability to work a varied schedule
Must demonstrate good communication skills including expressive, written, and receptive.
Ability to follow direction from facility management, demonstrating flexibility as a team player. 
Ability to problem solve in a variety of situations. 
Must be certified in First Aid, CPR, and AED equipment. (can be obtained during employment)
Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and function in a high stress environment
Possess strong analytical, problem solving, and decision-making skills and ability to exercise initiative.
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:

Medium work:
Exerting up to 50 pounds of force occasionally
Exerting up to 20 pounds of force frequently
Exerting up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects.
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.
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.
This is a physically active position that involves stamina.

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:

Working indoors and outdoors most of the day. May be exposed to inclement weather conditions. Will work with chemicals occasionally while cleaning. Will experience work pace/pressure and large crowds during events.
Eligible for all Full Time benefits including: Medical, Family Coverage, Dental, Vision, Life, Health Spending Accounts, Flex Spending Accounts, & more.