View Full Version : Tips for interviewing for a riding job?

two sticks
Sep. 3, 2009, 12:42 AM
Well it's really more of a "test ride" than an interview. An old trainer of mine put me in touch with a lady (BO/trainer) who is looking for someone to ride her horses as she was recently injured. I think I'm the only person she's talking to right now about it. She wants me to come out friday and ride a few horses to see if it would be a good match. It would be riding 6-10 horses 3 days a week in exchange for free board for my two horses.

Other than clean and neat, any suggestions?

I'm going to wear a nice long sleeve to cover up the half-sleeve tattoo i have (yes GASP- I know), should I wear a polo over the long sleeve or do you think a long sleeve by itself is appropriate? It's a very low-key type barn, the owner breeds and trains and teaches a few lessons but it's definitely not a show barn. I plan on bringing my saddle, helmet, gloves, and small spurs (she asked me to wear or bring small spurs). Anything else?


Sep. 3, 2009, 12:55 AM
wearing a polo over your shirt may make you overheat! it's still pretty warm. you don't want to get tired out too quickly just because you're a little warmer than usual :) do you have a long sleeve polo? anyway, I think a nice plain long sleeve shirt is fine. dark or conservative colors though! have your boots all clean, too. tuck your shirt in, and wear a belt.

Sep. 3, 2009, 01:14 AM
That all sounds good to me! Everything should be neat, clean and polished. I would personally wear a shirt with a collar. If it isn't supposed to be too warm out then a long sleeve with a polo on top would be fine. If you think you'll be too warm then I would recommend investing in one long sleeved polo or rugby shirt type deal.

Good luck!

two sticks
Sep. 3, 2009, 01:19 AM
It has been in the 100's here all week so cooler is definitely better! I have a plain black or navy blue light weight long sleeve, they are nice-looking and conservative (I'm wearing dark charcoal breaches- they are the ones that fit best and don't have stains all over!). The only collared long sleeves I have would be show shirts, and I'm unfortunately not really in the financial position to buy anything new right now, even something cheap :no:, but I will hit the sales racks at target tomorrow and see if I can find something REALLY cheap! So the options for right now are pretty much plain long sleeve, polo over long sleeve, or show shirt. I think a show shirt might be a little too fancy for this particular barn.

Thanks for the suggestions so far!

Sep. 3, 2009, 01:22 AM
Unless the weather changes I'd go with a well fitted and tucked in long sleeve shirt then.

Although, are you sure she would be opposed to the tattoos? Or just playing better safe then sorry? :)

Sep. 3, 2009, 01:29 AM
I would wear one of your show shirts, tucked in with an attractive belt. Make sure everything is polished and tidy, and you should be all set... Good Luck!!

Sep. 3, 2009, 08:12 AM
A 3/4 legnth sleeved polo would look nice. A show shirt may be over doing it a tad.

Sep. 3, 2009, 09:17 AM
Sounds like you have your outfit figured out. Secondly, make a point to be smiley and enjoy the horses. Ask her lots of questions about them, especially if she's going to be available and watching alot. (Since she's injured I suspect she might be.)
Ask what the horse's strenths and weaknesses are, and do your best to make the horses look good. Try not to point out their flaws on the first day. If she asks you what you think needs improvement, give one to two things in an organized answer, and offer a methodical solution. The owners want you to LIKE their horses.

Good luck. BTW: I would wear a button down, or oxford type shirt. Maybe you can borrow one?

Sep. 3, 2009, 09:50 AM
Do you have a Salvation Army or local "thrift store" near you? If you do, check one of them out. You could probably find very nice shirts for $2 or $3.

And I agree, it's always a good idea to be enthusiastic and at least act like you would enjoy the job she is considering you for. So many people forget that these days...... And be on time!!!

Sep. 3, 2009, 10:01 AM
I would NOT wear a show shirt. To me, that's overkill. Show shirts are for shows (only) in my opinion.

Since you want to play on the safe side and wear something long sleeved, I would wear what ever you have that is neat and reasonably conservative, regardless of whether or not it has a collar.

Sep. 3, 2009, 10:12 AM
Be a few minutes early. Arrive ready to ride. Ask questions about what the BO wants done with the horses, etc.

If I were hiring someone to do this job, in addition to riding/horsemanship/safety skills I would be concerned about whether or not they were going to show up and do the job each day (dependability), and whether or not they were willing to listen to direction. Personally I wouldn't care in the least about the tattoo as long as you behaved professionally and were dressed neatly.

Sep. 3, 2009, 10:16 AM
Target, Wal Mart, Kohls and similar stores have polos for, like, $10.

As an older Adult, I'd appreciate it if you told me about that tatoo and I didn't find out about it from some kid boarder or one of their parents. I might prefer you covered it up ALL the time at the barn...or I might not mind at all. But TELL her about it and offer to always keep it covered if that is what she would like you to do.

IMO it's not that big a deal BUT....tell her up front. Offer to keep it covered if she prefers.

Also, very important you get something in writing about what is covered in "board", like grain and how much and how much hay, stall or pipe corral.

You say 6 to 10 rides a day 3 times a week? That's 18 to 30 rides a week? What happens if you rain out for a week if there is no indoor (and it can get that wet out there)? You know with that many rides you are coming off, what happens if you get hurt and miss a week? And what about insurance?

It's smart to tactfully bring up these questions if you are offered the position to avoid this thing falling apart on you and you getting a board bill because you fell short on the rides for some reason.

Movin Artfully
Sep. 3, 2009, 12:38 PM
Aside from what to wear...:confused:

Best tip you can get is: ask the woman how she wants each horse ridden. Ask her what she thinks of each horse. Ask her about the horse's training thus far. Ask her about specific quirks. Better yet, ask her what her goals are for each horse.

Also, 10 horses/day is a lot. I would expect you to be in phenomenal shape/condition.

Sep. 3, 2009, 01:21 PM
Also, 10 horses/day is a lot. I would expect you to be in phenomenal shape/condition.

Yeah...are you in school? Is there a minimum number of rides you have to put in to get the free board? I'm thinking that getting even 3 rides in after school and before dark if nobody helps you tack up and cool down is going to be tough-even with lights. And 10 will sure eat a whole day, a long day.

I ask this because, over the years, I have seen similar arrangements fall apart more often then not. Usually the rider is not able to fulfill the comittment because of school, work, weather or illness and gets socked with a board bill for the difference. Sometimes the BO/owner/trainer is unrealistic about time needed for the greener stuff and the rider just runs out of daylight and or time. Or the BO is crazy.

Work it out ahead of time. Know what you are getting into once the glow of getting rides wears off and the reality of HAVING to ride all of them sets in. Extra rides are fun...when you don't HAVE to ride them.

And when will you ride your own?

two sticks
Sep. 3, 2009, 02:03 PM
Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions so far!
I'm not sure how to quote multiple people but I wanted to address a few things.

klmck63- I'm not sure if she would be opposed to the tattoos or not (it's flowers and a hummingbird, so it's not like it's flames and gang symbols or anything) however I figured I should be on the safe side as she is an older adult. It's also better for the tattoo to remain protect from the sun to prevent fading and discoloration.

findeight- I will definitely try and find a way to tactful mention the tattoo and see what she says, that is a great idea, thanks. I am in school (college) but I have my schedule worked out where I only go 2 days a week, and I graduate at the end of october. As for my horses, one actually left for a trial this morning and will *hopefully* be sold. The other is just coming 4 and pretty immature, he's had about 20 rides at this point and will probably get lunged/ridden/turned out and maybe ridden 2x week. She has offered to lunge/get him out the days I'm not there, especially if my other horse gets sold and I only have one to board. I will definitely ask about the specific "requirements" to earn the free board and try and get something in writing before my horse moves. I currently have my own health insurance.

Movin Artfully- I'm riding a few friends horses at the barn I'm at, so I usually ride 4-5 a day, I'm in decent shape. I left my last working student position a few months ago and I was riding 8-10 a day so I know it won't take me too long to get back into shape and also that I can handle the work load. I think she will be helping me to tack and untack which should make everything go a little faster. I did tell her that I'm a little bit out of shape right now and it might take me a little bit to get back in shape, which she said was not a problem.

Thanks for the great suggestions, I will make a point to be smiley and enthusiastic and ask lots of questions about the horses. I think 10 is a high estimate and it will be closer to 6-8 per day.

Sep. 3, 2009, 02:33 PM
Good luck!

Keep us posted on how it goes!