View Full Version : Anyone know of a working student position on the west coast?

Dec. 20, 2009, 12:55 PM
I decided, after much deliberation, to look for a working student position at an eventing barn for the summer of 2010. However, three months search has yielded me only a few barns that it would be possible to work at, and none have responded back. Because I am only 15 (to turn 16 in July) I have encountered trouble along the lines of age requirement. Does anybody know of a decent barn that would take on a working student of my age on the west coast? I live in Southern Oregon (Not a very prime location for competitive horseback riding) so somwhere in Oregon, Washington, California would be ideal. Surrounding states would be o.k. to, I just can't go running off to Pennsylvania or Virginia or anything of that sort (unfortunatly). Can anybody help me out?

Dec. 20, 2009, 03:27 PM
Do you ride with a trainer? If so, that would be your first step: getting recommendations about whom to ask and if he/she will provide a reference for you. If you are new to eventing, your should probably know that working student positions with respected UL eventers are highly sought-after. You may want to start out by finding a trainer with a good reputation to lesson with and go from there. If you are coachable, have a terrific work ethic, will tirelessly do anything to help out - and will see what needs to be done and do it without needing to be asked, you will gain the trainer's respect and encouragement.

Dec. 21, 2009, 12:42 PM
I do ride with a trainer, and she's been helping me out in every way she can. I definatly am not looking for a position with someone as successful as like Amy Tryon or Gina Miles, who are both pretty close to where I live(That would be overly pretentious due to my age and lack of competition experience in eventing). I just want to find an active competitive barn to work and study at, as I am a bit cut off from that aspect due to where I live.

Dec. 21, 2009, 01:19 PM
Realistically, very few are going to be interested in a W/S position from an unknown outsider for just the summer...especially a 15 year old too young to have a driver's license. California is what they call "unfriendly" to business with excessive regulation, restriction, insurance and licensing requirements. Makes it tough even with adult, year round help.

It is also a long way from major events-as those out there complain about here on COTH. If you want to center on Eventing, other areas of the country offer more barns and more opportunities.

The best way is through personal contact starting with your trainer. You may not realize it but most barns with good reputations get at least a dozen part time or W/S inquiries every week. And cannot help them.

Bit of a reality check, hundreds of kids are asking about these W/S positions all the time. Unless you have an inside line and they know you, you are just one of many, many, many others seeking them.

Successful W/S are usually year round, many are home schooled and almost all of them can drive themselves.

Dec. 21, 2009, 02:50 PM
Oh, for heaven's sake, findeight -- really?? I'm sorry you hate California so much, but none that is true...

There are PLENTY of trainers in my area with young working students. And, if you were to get on the Area site and cold call some of the Event Trainers in CA, you'd probably find that many would welcome help for the summer.

The issue that I see you having tho...is that you do not live local. So, where are you going to live? And, how will you get to and from the barn? And, unfortunately, as a minor there is going to be an issue of "who is responsible" for you in ANY state.

Do you have relatives, or close family friends anywhere in CA who would be willing to support you in this?

Seb :)

Dec. 21, 2009, 03:53 PM
Well I'm a California trainer, who takes WS's, even young ones. We do go to shows, and my WS position offers showing as part of our WS program.

(and BTW, I got a two sentence inquiry about WS positions from someone about two weeks ago, and I tried to respond in the affirmative, but the reply kept bouncing back. If that was you, please just call me. In fact to all prospective WS, if you want to talk to a trainer, and don't get an email response quickly, JUST CALL. I find those who are motivated enough to pick up a phone tend to work out better in the long run).

However, here's what I would see as tricky to navigate based on your situation in comparison to others for my program.

I do have onsite housing available. However, it's pretty basic--a converted camper circa 1980. It's clean, and completely functional, with full bathroom and kitchen facilities, but it's not fancy, and it is very much redneck paradise. ;) There is no TV and no internet access--though if you'd like to put in a dish on your dime, it's OK by me.

I find that often when the prospective WS is fine with the housing, their parents are not. And that's fine, it's the parent's prerogative, but in your situation, if they don't want you to live in my housing, you have no where to live and no way to get to work.

Related to that, is we live out in the country. It can feel a bit isolated here, as you'd be essentially "trapped" on the farm. We or our barn manager can take you to town for grocery trips, or occaisionally, even a day downtown for your day off, but with no transport, you're pretty much stuck here. Some kids are fine with that, and some tire of it quickly and want to go home. In general, kids that have cars and can drive last longer, so that would always be my first choice. Just my experience.

Finally, there's the timing. I get why someone your age needs a summer gig. But there are several problems with that. First is the show schedule. We do Inavale in June (which is in Oregon anyway, so hello long drive) and then we don't event again until August Woodside. We usually do some schooling shows locally and perhaps a rated dressage show, but in California, there isn't much going on in the summers event-competition wise from late June through early August. We've done Rebecca Farms, but I'm not driving two days to ride some babies around at Novice--I need at least two at Preliminary and above to even consider it, and that's not the kind of thing I could promise you. I could tell you that we are planning to go, and then the horses go lame or aren't ready or what have you and then we don't go and you are disappointed.

Finally, related to the above. My first choice will always be someone who can give me a 6 month to a year commitment. Now, depending on what the economy does this year, that may or may not mean I have the space and means to support an additional, summer only working student. In this business, in this economy right now, the summer is an eternity away. If I don't find another WS or I've got a ton of horses come June, summer with you might work great. But if the economy stays crappy, and business is down, well then I may not have any WS's, or may only be able to afford the one who is willing to stay for a year.

I hope this makes sense and helps, and if you'd like to contact me, my phone number is on my website.

Go Fish
Dec. 21, 2009, 04:46 PM
like Amy Tryon or Gina Miles, who are both pretty close to where I live(That would be overly pretentious due to my age and lack of competition experience in eventing).

Well, you'll never know unless you ask, right? ;)

I've met Amy...a nicer person you'll never meet. She came up the hard way and somehow I think she'd be a little more understanding of your situation. Have no idea if she has an opening or not, but I certainly wouldn't write her off just because she's a BNT.

Good luck!

Dec. 26, 2009, 10:17 PM
You never know if you don't ask! Please don't be discouraged or afraid to ask.
As an upper level rider that moved from the east coast to the west, there are PLENTY of opportunities here, even for someone of your age.
At the age of 16 I sent off an email to an Olympic rider I had met twice, enquiring if I could spend 6 weeks during the summer training with them. I flew to the other side of the world by myself to stay with him and his family and work at the barn. I made the most amazing contacts and learned so much. I returned home to carry on my career but it opened the door for me to return to his barn 10yrs later... I will always be grateful to him for giving me a go, that's all it takes.
Please keep sending out those emails, even to the Amy's and Gina's!

Dec. 27, 2009, 01:18 PM
Try Aspen Farm in Yelm Washington
Jon and Susie Elliott

Mtn trails
Dec. 28, 2009, 03:51 PM
Or Meika Decher in Granite Falls, WA. She has a working student now who is more assistant trainer but she does have a full barn and might need extra help over the summer as she competes pretty regularly. Plus she is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.