What Does a Horse Harness Maker Do?

 A Horse Harness Maker (219D) manufactures, rebuilds and repairs a wide variety of harnesses, saddles, saddle trees, and other associated tack for equestrian disciplines.         

Job -Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • stitching and cutting heavy leather by hand using needle and thread or with a stitching machine
  • assembling and constructing materials
  • reading and interpreting job specifications, sketches and technical drawings
  • acquiring a good working knowledge of horse anatomy
  • diagnosing, fixing or replacing broken parts
  • trim, slick, rub, crease, punch holes and bevel edges
  • dyeing or burnishing edges
  • cutting and stamping decorative designs into the surface of leather
  • applying paint and liquid dressing to produce a glossy finish using a brush or sponge
  • applying basic welding procedures
  • communicating effectively with customers, co-workers and supervisors
  • working alone or as a member of a team to get the job done

Additional information on training standards for this particular trades in the Service sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/Horse-Harness-Maker-219D-EN-TS3.pdf

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

To become a Horse Harness Maker, you must complete Grade 12 or equivalent, preferably with courses in Mathematics, Science and English, and complete an apprenticeship of 6,000-8,000 hours, a combination of on-the-job and in-school training. The in-school component is comprised of 2 blocks of in-school courses: Level 1 and Level 2 (both are 10 weeks long). This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the (OCTAA) Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

Horse Harness Makers should have good hand strength to succeed in this field. This is a Voluntary trade and therefore does not require an apprenticeship though many employers require it. To achieve success in this trade you should be willing to update your skills with the newest techniques.

What’s Your Future as a Horse Harness Maker?

Horse Harness Makers generally work a 40-hour week, sometimes in industrial/manufacturing plants. Some are self-employed and successfully run equestrian businesses. Employers who hire Horse Harness Makers include:

  • Harness Making companies
  • Saddler companies
  • Race Tracks and large horse barn facilities
  • Boarding Facilities

.Wage Rate

  • Apprentices generally earn less than Journey people, however as your skill and expertise increase, so does your wage
  • Fully qualified Horse Harness Makers can earn in the range of $10 - $26 per hour depending on the size of the shop they work for and if they are self-employed 
  • Potential exists for overtime during busy times


Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Horse Harness Maker for You?

Do you have good manual dexterity, an eye for detail, and enjoy working with your hands in creative ways?

Yes      No

Do you have the physical strength to manipulate heavy leather?

Yes      No

Are you familiar, and would you enjoy working with, horses and the equestrian disciplines?

Yes      No

Do you like to work with power and hand tools?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy learning about and applying new techniques on an ongoing basis?

Yes      No

Can you work independently or as a member of a team to get the job done?

Yes      No

Are you willing to work overtime or on weekends if necessary?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Horse Harness Maker may be for you!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Horse Groomer
  • Native Clothing and Crafts Artisan
  • Welder
  • Saddler


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