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View Full Version : Working Students What Do You Pay?



SLR
Jan. 13, 2010, 12:55 PM
I would be interested to know what working students pay to be able to work for a BNT. I believe it usually involves horse's board and probably student's housing, but wanted to know what else, and what you get in return for being a working student.

shawneeAcres
Jan. 13, 2010, 01:28 PM
I am not a BNT! But I usually have a working student, especially in summer months. I provide housing (a room) and board, if desired, for one horse (pasture board). The WS gets lessons, showing expenses on any horses I ask them to show paid for, and if they ride a sales horse that sells I pay them a small amount from the sale. Otherwise there is no "pay" per se.

1516
Jan. 13, 2010, 02:26 PM
What is a "BNT"????

AppJumpr08
Jan. 13, 2010, 02:29 PM
Big Name Trainer :)

I paid $20/day at one location - that covered a room for myself and board for one horse. I supplied my own transportation and food. Horse's feed was covered. I got lots of mini lessons whenever BNT and I were riding at the same time. Also scheduled private lessons for myself on occasion, at no cost.

At the second place I was a WS, room and board was provided for both myself and my horse as well as regular lessons.

It really depends on who you want to work for - generally speaking, I'd say that not quite so BNTs will generally be more economical. The first rider I worked for was a world champion and multiple time Olympian. The second has been running Advanced for years, but hasn't been on any teams.

roki143
Jan. 13, 2010, 02:57 PM
I had an awesome working student position... worked for two young, but very good horsewomen, in the heart of eventing country. I got lessons, one horse's board and my room paid for (in addition to trailering to events). I got to sit on alot of amazing horseflesh, audit many lessons, groom at top competitions, and be in the heart of it all. I didn't 'pay' anything, but did have my own transporation and had to pay for my meals and entry fees on my horse (of course).

I ended up doing some odd jobs like riding their client's horses when they were out of town, grooming for a polo player, etc... to help earn some money while I was there.

SLR
Jan. 13, 2010, 04:26 PM
So if I understand correctly, one usually receives board for one horse, room for student and sometime board, and lessons? How many lessons per week? Thanks

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 13, 2010, 05:39 PM
So if I understand correctly, one usually receives board for one horse, room for student and sometime board, and lessons? How many lessons per week? Thanks


Nope. There is no usual. It is whatever the deal is for that trainer. Many will
require you pay board although
often at a discounted rate. If you are interested in being a WS, decide who you want to learn from and ask what their WS entails. You are there to learn from them. Not have them give you some great deal.

AppJumpr08
Jan. 13, 2010, 05:42 PM
Nope. There is no usual. It is whatever the deal is for that trainer. Many will
require you pay board although
often at a discounted rate. If you are interested in being a WS, decide who you want to learn from and ask what their WS entails. You are there to learn from them. Not have them give you some great deal.

:yes::yes::yes:

Timex
Jan. 13, 2010, 05:58 PM
The answer to your question is the ever popular: it depends. Lol. The situation varies from one WS position to another.

Lone
Jan. 13, 2010, 06:34 PM
At the last working student position I did (trainer was well known in our area, but not super famous at all) I got board for my horse, a lesson most days of the week, and a room in the trainer's house.

I was in charge of buying groceries for my breakfast and lunch, but we always had dinner as a 'family'. Whenever we traveled somewhere when my horse was in the trailer, I chipped in on gas

SLR
Jan. 13, 2010, 08:01 PM
Thanks all ,but let me rephrase. In your experience as a working student, what did you pay for and what did you receive in exchange for your work? in terms of lessons, coaching, etc., not intangibles.

UNCeventer
Jan. 14, 2010, 09:45 AM
I have done working student "stints" with a few people. Basically, due to my budget, I could not pay a per day fee, so I worked something out with the trainer to where I got room, board for the horse. I had to pay for horse's feed, and my feed, etc. I got at least one lesson a day- sometimes one on my horse, sometimes it was one on her horse. Sometimes It would be a lesson and then half of one on another. I got lots of saddle time. Normally the trainer did have WS pay about $20 a day, but she knew that it was not an option for me, so we worked it out. Sometimes trainers are willing to help you out if they know the desire to learn and work outweighs the money in the bank.

Equa
Jan. 14, 2010, 10:05 AM
Board (private paddock + stable at night)
Stable Cleaned
Feed and supplements
Shoeing
Board for WS
Lessons
Transport to events
$100/week

In return this WS rides at a high level and can value add to horses.
She pays competition entries, and contributes to the household's food supplies. She pays for outside lessons (ie. specialist dressage). Works very hard at events (and also competes herself.)

smokescreen
Jan. 14, 2010, 10:26 AM
I have been a WS for several trainers. Some I need to pay my board but spend most of my WS time in the saddle or working with the horses. Some include board for me and my horse, but I do a lot more work, stall cleaning, tack cleaning, sweeping the barn , then riding. I enjoyed most WS opportunities. One was not so good. I do believe that the more you know/ can do, the more valuable you are. If you are a novice eventer that gets her lessons inconsistently from a local trainer then be prepared to pay to work for a BNT. If you are a serious competitor that works closely with a reputable upper level rider, then a free WS position is more likely to open up to you.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 14, 2010, 10:52 AM
Thanks all ,but let me rephrase. In your experience as a working student, what did you pay for and what did you receive in exchange for your work? in terms of lessons, coaching, etc., not intangibles.


Personally...If this is what you are concerned about with a WS position...don't do it. You will be miserable. Being a WS isn't about getting X in exchange for X. It is about YOU giving and YOU making the effort to learn....it is ALL about the intangibles. You will get out of it what you put into it.

MOST trainers I know dislike WS positions....really dislike them. They would rather have employees that they pay....and clients that pay them...so if you are WS, it is usually because they view this as a way to give back to the sport and give an individual some additional knowledge....and it is often only worth it to them if they get some cheap labor out of it.

If your goal is to improve your riding on your own horse....go get a paying job (waiting tables or what ever) and pay for lessons. If what you want is to learn about what it is like to run a barn, train horses for a living....and learn the "program" of a trainer you respect....then you call that trainer, ask them if they offer any WS positions and what the details are and see if it is something you can do. Don't be concerned with whether their deal is like other deals.....it is the deal that they offer and see if it is something you can afford to do or not.


It is generally more about what YOU have to offer them to give you this opportunity.


If you are a trainer trying to decide what to offer a WS....that is a different question. But again...I don't think I've ever seen two WS positions that were the same (I was one a few times and have known tons of them)....and I don't think I could ever say that there is a typical program. A lot depends on who the trainer is and the individual WS and the skills that they arrive with (whether they are an asset or a PITA).

Blugal
Jan. 14, 2010, 12:57 PM
I cannot stress enough how right bornfreenowexpensive is. She could have taken the words out of my coach's mouth. (Said coach has been more than generous with me even though she strongly disliked even having WS - and it took me a while to go from the OP's point of view, to understanding the BNT's point of view and REALLY seeing what I "got out of being a WS" and what that cost the BNT in terms of time, money and effort.)

IrishWillow
Jan. 14, 2010, 01:02 PM
I think most positions include "working off" your board and lessons. You usually get to do schooling rides on client horses, which can be fun. And lots of odd jobs around the barn. Bigger trainers often offer "bunk style" houses for 3-4 students at a time. You basically get to learn the industry from the inside.

ntoeventing
Jan. 14, 2010, 01:08 PM
I had the best WS opportuinity in the world!!! She taught me SO much!!!

The position included a barn apartment for me, full board for 1 horse and pasture board for my retired horse (including feed), 5 lessons per week and coaching at events.

I was responsible for my own food, I brought my car so I had my own transporation, entry fees at shows, my portion of gas for trailering and working 40+ hours per week in addition to grooming when at shows.

It was hard work, but TOTALLY worth it. I was able to take so many lessons that the improvement came really quick. I was able to audit several lessons and clinics and grooming for her really provided me with an understanding of how things worked on at home can be applied to the shows.

Unfortunaley, I had to return to the real world, and actually work an 8-5 job. These horses are expensive! I would gladly go back for another WS opportunity!!!

One tip: Make sure you check the person out thoroughly before committing to actually living/working with them for an extended time period. See if it's possible for you to come and observe/work for a few days prior to actually moving there. That way, you can get an idea of what your actual role is there, and if you really would be interested in making a commitment. Sometimes people's personality conflicts don't allow them to work together harmoniously.

SLR
Jan. 14, 2010, 01:51 PM
First off let me say the OP doesn't have a point of view. And thanks to everyone who replied with their experience. Working student threads have been done to death. I'm sorry, but I thought my question was a simple one. I get all the great things that one learns, and how taxing it is for the trainer to have one of them around. Just wanted to know monetarily what have you paid to be a working student and in exchange for your work what did you tangibly receive? Just a note, its not for me. I'm an old lady.

Blugal
Jan. 14, 2010, 01:57 PM
Well in that case, I will reply by saying that the specific details are between me & the BNT. Probably the best thing for a potential WS to do would be to call up someone she knows who has been a WS, or even through the YRs program, and ask people personally. She may get answers that are more specific to the area she is looking in or to the people she is considering working for.

flabbergasted
Jan. 14, 2010, 03:55 PM
The exchange of X for Y in the WS context is VERY important. It's fine for everyone to take high minded positions about the intangibles, but WS positions vary greatly from barn to barn, and a young person who doesn't ask this type of question is in danger of being royally screwed. We get a lot out of our WS and it isn't an experience for everyone.

To give you an idea, we offer room and board for the WS (a group house on the property), twice weekly lessons on the WS horse, usually 4 to 6 rides per day on horses in training (type and level of horse dependent entirely on skills of WS, but WS generally work their way up to the upper level horses, at least for trot sets, as their riding skills improve).

In exchange for that, the WS are little more than slaves when they aren't riding. Typical chorses include mucking, turning out, bringing in, feeding, holding for the vet and farrier, cleaning the barn, tacking up horses and cooling out, preparing horse for competition (baths, braiding, etc.), grooming at competitions, foal watch, the list goes on. We have approximately 70 horses and need to use very little in the way of paid labor because the WS work so darn hard.

Every other week they get 1 day off. They are not paid. Their only costs are 1/2 board for their horses, and whatever they incur for their own horses care and career, e.g. vet, farrier, competition fees, extra lessons, etc. They are permitted to compete their own horses if the barn is going and they can fit it in (they usually do bc they all backstop one another). They sometimes compete horses in training, depending on level, experience, etc. - happens fairly often with the horses that are still at the lower levels (thru Prelim).

Many of the WS extend their stays or come back for more later.

There is no question that they get a TON out of the experience, but it wouldn't be fair at all to say that we don't get anything in return, and we actually require all prospects to come and stay and do the work for a week before we extend offers, because it really isn't a job for everyone.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 14, 2010, 04:15 PM
There is no question that they get a TON out of the experience, but it wouldn't be fair at all to say that we don't get anything in return, and we actually require all prospects to come and stay and do the work for a week before we extend offers, because it really isn't a job for everyone.


Just to be clear....I don't think it is wrong AT ALL to ask for the details at a particular farm before going to be a WS. Even better to spend a couple of days at the home farm to get a feel for the place, people and horses before committing.

WS isn't an easy job at most farms....and the WS will work very hard (if they are going to be successful) and even pay to do so at many top barns. The barns/trainers DO get cheap labor from it.....my point was more that it doesn't matter to COMPARE WS positions. The point is whether that trainer or farm is the place you want to work....what is the deal that they offer and you can you afford to do it (time, work etc.)....the deal does need to work for both sides...but I don't think it is wise to think if I do X, I will get Y as a way to really value to position without considering the intangables as part of Y.

Trixie
Jan. 14, 2010, 04:20 PM
I think it's pretty important to ask and a very valid question. Having an idea of what the industry standards are, or at least what deals others are making, prevents a lot of folks from being screwed, even with a better trainer. Particularly in an industry where the labor standards are so bizarre.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 14, 2010, 04:53 PM
I think it's pretty important to ask and a very valid question. Having an idea of what the industry standards are, or at least what deals others are making, prevents a lot of folks from being screwed, even with a better trainer. Particularly in an industry where the labor standards are so bizarre.


Not really...there are NO industry standards for being a WS and that is what many of us said.....it often a more important position for the WS than the farm or trainer offering it. I don't see a lot of competition to get a particular WS....sorry, but if they were that useful, they would be being hired as an employee and paid.

Guess I'm just a little sick of a lot of the "what's in it for me" and entitlement attitude that many up and coming riders seem to have (and actually see it outside of the horse world too)......and that comes out a bit in questions like this to me. That way of thinking doesn't usually make for a successful career in any field.

ETA: It may not have at all been what was intended by the OP but that is more my reaction to they way the question was phrased.....I should learn not to open these threads! I'm starting to sound like an old person (well I sort of am)....and I really do know quiet of several young riders that have really impressed me with their work ethic and attitude...but also meet a bunch that don't!

Trixie
Jan. 14, 2010, 05:31 PM
I really just don't see it as a "what's in it for me" sort of question. It's a question about industry standards, and since there apparently aren't any, it's absolutely wise to have an idea of what's expected of others who have entered into a similar position.

Of course you'll need to discuss with the individual trainer what they expect from you and decide. However, knowing what others are doing and what else is out there is just research on the field.

I would ask what to expect when entering a class, internship, or other professional training. It's called "being prepared."

pattnic
Jan. 14, 2010, 06:29 PM
SLR, I think part of the reason you are not getting the answers you want is because you did not specify which type of working student: the type who pays to be a working student, or the type who gets paid.

eventingismylife
Jan. 14, 2010, 07:11 PM
I was a working student for a very well known local trainer that had worked for many UL riders such as Jil Walton. What I got for doing chores (mucking, moving horses, feeding both in am and pm), and odd jobs in the morning-sometimes in the afternoon as well (and days off). I also gave a few lessons, tacked and helped younger riders learn how to be around horses, groom, pick out feet, etc. I also schooled and hacked lesson horses to keep them tuned up and give them more advanced things to do. I also hacked and schooled her horses, sale horses, rode a horse for an owner that needed to tune him up to sell, a clients pony and rode my horse. I also assisted in training younger horses as well, lunging my trainer with them, etc. I also held horses for the farrier, vet, and chiropractor. I also bathed and help prep things and horses for shows too. For all of this I got the following:
room and board for myself
boarding for my horse
free trailering
food, but I also bought some of my own
lessons
transportation for myself because my car was in the shop
I still had to pay for:
shoeing
chiropractor (horse)
vet
show fees
feed
supplements
outside lessons
cross country fees to places we trailered to
It was all very much worth it and I plan to go back as soon as I get another horse.

AppJumpr08
Jan. 15, 2010, 12:36 AM
SLR, I think part of the reason you are not getting the answers you want is because you did not specify which type of working student: the type who pays to be a working student, or the type who gets paid.


I actually worked an easier schedule at the farm that I didn't pay to be at, and got free board for my horse, a room for myself, and got treated like a family member - all meals provided. I also got regular lessons, and one day a week off. I was one of three or four regular employees for a 20 stall barn, and the work load was steady, but not too hard. I cleaned stalls and hacked/schooled horses. Provided my own transportation to events if there wasn't room on my trainer's trailer, but if there was, I shipped with her and wasn't charged.

The farm that I paid to be at ($20 per day, which was half of the daily stall board) I got board for my horse, and a room for myself. I provided all my own food, my own transportation (including to and from events and schooling trips, and often I had other horses on my trailer besides my own...). I worked from 7am until at least 4pm with a very very short lunch break, if I got any break at all. On the weekend we were in the barn until 10 or 11 on friday night, and up at 3 or 4 on Saturday and sunday Am. I once braided 24 horses in a two day period. I cleaned stalls, did trot sets, schooled horses, cleaned tack, clipped, pulled manes, tacked up and cooled down, did (horse) laundry, groomed at events, etc. No regular days off. Perhaps a trip on Sunday afternoon to the Grand Prix at HITS on weekends when we didn't have an event. I got to ride amazing upper level horses, had lessons with some of the best riders in the world, and ended up grooming at FoxHall and Rolex.

And you know what? As much as I loved the "easier" job, I'd go back to the one I just mentioned in a heartbeat. I have never been challenged like that, or learned so much. I came out of it with more knowledge and confidence than I ever imagined possible, and even though I worked like a dog and paid for the pleasure of doing so, it was one of the best experiences of my life. And if all I'd done is focused on what I was "getting" for the money I was paying every day, I would've missed out on a tremendous amount.