Equine Behavior & Training Specialist

Summary:

If you are a well-rounded equine trainer with a strong understanding of the four quadrants of operant conditioning and/or if you have a desire to deepen your practical knowledge around operant conditioning; you have a mind for data and science; a heart for horses with a broad range of challenging and interesting behaviors or issues; strong interpersonal communication skills; the ability to work in both a team environment and independently with a high degree of integrity and accountability; read on.

The Equine Behavior and Training (EBT) Specialist is a member of the ASPCA’s Equine Welfare department and plays a vital role developing and applying clear and replicable rehabilitation, training/re-training, and behavioral modification protocols for the more challenging equines entering shelters/rescues.

The EBT Specialist will work out of the ASPCA Equine Transition and Adoption Center (ETAC), located in Oklahoma. ETAC is an open-admission facility based on a “Do, Learn, Share” model to create solutions that enable the equine sheltering field to increase their capacity and adoptions, particularly of the equine population considered “more difficult to adopt.”

The EBT Specialist is responsible for initial evaluations and behavioral assessments; planning and executing training and support strategy; and determining and collecting relevant data on equines in the program.

The successful EBT Specialist will have a love of and knack for connecting with adopters, will be a great teacher (of humans and equines!), and will excel in sharing learnings and philosophical motivations with the ASPCA’s equine sheltering partners. The EBT Specialist will assist the Adoption and Marketing Specialist in matching equines with prospective adopters and will provide post-adoption support as needed.

The ASPCA’s Equine Welfare department has an ambitious strategic plan aimed at assuring all equines have good welfare, in line with the ASPCA’s 2030 goal to end the euthanasia of dogs, cats, and equines, except when it is the most humane and responsible option. One of the ways we aim to achieve this goal is by increasing the access horse owners have to safety net care, including relinquishing their horses for safe rehoming and accessing veterinary and end-of-life care. Another way is by working with our network of ASPCA Right Horse Partners to continuously develop, improve and share best practices that allow the equine sheltering field to support and adopt out more equines, reducing cruelty and suffering.

This position is based in El Reno, OK. This is not a remote position and requires the candidate to be on-site at our physical facility full-time.

Responsibilities:

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Training and Assessment (60%)

  • Establish daily, weekly, and monthly goals for each equine in the program with a philosophy that aims at a 90-day length of stay; share goals with supervisor and other ETAC members.
  • Develop, apply, evaluate, and continually modify training plans for equines entering the program
  • Consistently enhance equines’ marketability by increasing basic handling skills, riding skills when appropriate, and adding new or unique skills that interest a wide variety of adopters, based on the equine’s individual characteristics
  • Continuously improve objective, standardized intake processes, and evaluation protocols, and apply those processes with equines entering ETAC
  • Develop a sustainable and replicable network of community trainers and supporters to operate as an extension of our on-site work, working with selected equines on their rehoming journey, and building lasting connections that directly involve equine industry professionals in the transition and adoption process for the benefit of horses at shelters.
  • Continuously develop skills to creatively address new behavior challenges by implementing new techniques, applying research, and collaborating with outside trainers/sources to add skills to the training toolbox
  • Recommends novel enrichment methods and consults with the team on environmental needs for equines in our care
  • Assist in handling horses for vet procedures, farrier care, and routine management and husbandry as needed
  • Recognize and communicate to the Senior Director when equines need additional medical or husbandry attention

Documentation, Data Tracking and Sharing (25%)

  • Document daily progress for each horse in the program, using Air Table.
  • Collect videos of training sessions, determine relevant content, and develop a library documenting progress and challenges, to be used for further development and refinement of training and research
  • Interpret and highlight important data and metrics to track progress and provide a snapshot for stakeholders
  • Collaborate with national ASPCA Right Horse Partners to develop, improve, and support training efforts, continue education and assist in program development and training as needed
  • Communicate with team about training progress, modifications to training plans, and advise about pathway planning, including providing outcome recommendations.
  • Share video, photos, and insight with the Adoption and Marketing Specialist so that equines are accurately represented for adoption
  • As protocols are developed, train in-house staff/volunteers, national responders, and other ASPCA Staff on techniques

Engaging with Adopters and Providing Post Adoption Support (15%)

  • Participate in matchmaking sessions with potential adopters when necessary
  • Share training and husbandry plans with an eye toward the nuanced needs of adopted equines
  • Support adopters by communicating their new equine’s behavior/training plan; set-up feedback, coaching, and follow-up training sessions if needed

Exemplifies the ASPCA’s Core Values:

  • Has Commitment and dedication to improving the lives of animals
  • Demonstrates Ownership and feels responsible for outcomes
  • Believes in Team – that we are stronger together
  • Seeks to Elevate others and reimagine what is possible.
  • Focuses on Impact, specifically making change for animals

Education and Experience:

  • High school diploma required
  • Undergraduate degree or equivalent experience focusing on equine sciences, animal/equine behavior and learning, or similar required
  • Strong equine training and riding skills, and hands-on experience training equines of all types and ages, including starting horses under saddle
  • Experience and comfort working with equines who are unstarted, feral, unhandled, aggressive, or have other challenging behaviors; and an ability to motivate and influence positive outcomes
  • Experience in a wide variety of equine disciplines and training methods, including but not limited to “natural horsemanship” techniques and the integration of R+ (positive reinforcement) training.

Qualifications:

  • In-depth knowledge regarding equine behavior and motivation
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Strong time management, organizational, and planning skills
  • Public speaking, teaching/instruction, and facilitation skills; familiarity with adult learning principles a plus along with experience presenting information to diverse groups
  • Process-oriented mindset with comfort asking questions for clarity and critically thinking through tasks
  • Comfort in an ambiguous, fast-paced environment
  • Ability to work independently and in collaborative team environments
  • Computer proficiency, including Microsoft Office, Excel, Box, Airtable, and similar
  • Must be able to safely tow, at minimum, a 4-horse bumper pull trailer
  • Must be able to lift and carry up to 60 pounds, crouch, kneel, jump, and be comfortable standing/walking between 5-8 hours per day
  • Comfort recording selected work into data platforms for knowledge base and program development. 
  • Must provide a valid driver’s license upon hire and pass a motor vehicle history check demonstrating a safe driving history.  As part of the driving requirements of this role, must also pass a Department of Transportation Medical Exam.
  • Ability and willingness to travel up to 15% of the time as needed (Please note, travel may include deployment to cases to advise and handle animals who are part of natural disasters or criminal investigations)

Compensation and Benefits:

Starting pay for the successful applicant will depend on a variety of factors, including but not limited to education, training, experience, location, business needs, internal equity, market demands or budgeted amount for the role. The target hiring range is for new hire offers only, and staff compensation may increase beyond the maximum hiring range based on performance over time. The maximum of the hiring range is reserved for candidates with the highest qualifications and relevant experience. The expected hiring salary range for this role is set forth below and may be modified in the future. 

The target hiring range for this role is $71,000 - $76,000.

For more information on our benefits offerings, visit our website

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    Qualifications:

    See above for qualifications details.

      

    Language:

    English (Required)

    Education and Work Experience:

    High School Diploma (Required)

      

    Applicants that are residents of Colorado: Per CO Senate Bill 23-058, we cannot generally request or require any age-related information (i.e., age, DOB, attendance or graduation dates from an educational institution) on an initial employment application; this includes any age-related inquiries in the initial interview. We are permitted to require/request additional application materials; if those materials contain any age-related information, an applicant may redact the information before submitting an initial employment application.

    Our EEO Policy:

    The ASPCA is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, age, marital or domestic partner status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws, regulations or ordinances.

    Applicants with disabilities may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act and certain state or local laws.  A reasonable accommodation is a change in the ASPCA’s standard application process, which will ensure an equal employment opportunity without imposing undue hardship on the ASPCA.  Please inform the ASPCA’s People Team if you need an accommodation in order to complete any forms or to otherwise participate in the application process.

    Individuals seeking employment are considered without regards to race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, age, marital or domestic partner status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, military or veteran status,  or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws, regulations or ordinances.

    ASPCA is an Equal Opportunity Employer (M/F/D/V).

    Please don’t forget to attach your resume to complete your application.

    About Us:
    The ASPCA was founded in 1866 on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment by humans and must be protected under the law. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation with more than two million supporters nationwide, the ASPCA is committed to preventing cruelty to dogs, cats, equines, and farm animals throughout the United States.

    The ASPCA is headquartered in New York City, where we maintain a full-service animal hospital, spay/neuter clinic, mobile spay/neuter and primary pet care clinics, a rehabilitation center for canine victims of cruelty, kitten nursery, adoption center, and two community veterinary centers.

    The ASPCA also operates programs and services that extend nationwide. We assist animals in need through on-the-ground disaster and cruelty interventions, behavioral rehabilitation, animal placement, legal and legislative advocacy, and the advancement of the sheltering and veterinary community through research, training, and resources.

    At the ASPCA, we are committed to fostering a collaborative and compassionate culture and we welcome all voices to contribute to our lifesaving mission. Our staff represent a vast array of backgrounds and diversity dimensions, bringing with them valuable experiences and perspectives. They join the ASPCA to learn, grow, and continually do their best work on behalf of animals. We are inspired by our staff, partners, and the communities we support across the country who work to improve animal lives. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the ASPCA because it elevates our organizational culture, aligns with our Core Values, and enables us to move further and faster toward the ASPCA’s vision – that all animals live good lives; valued by society, protected by its laws, and free from cruelty, pain and suffering.

    Applicants that are residents of Colorado: Per CO Senate Bill 23-058, we cannot generally request or require any age-related information (i.e., age, DOB, attendance or graduation dates from an educational institution) on an initial employment application; this includes any age-related inquiries in the initial interview. We are permitted to require/request additional application materials; if those materials contain any age-related information, an applicant may redact the information before submitting an initial employment application.