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fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 2, 2010, 12:57 AM
I am looking to broaden my horizons, and would love to secure a position at a quality facility abroad. I'm pretty open as the where I go, but would prefer to go to english speaking countries (UK or AUS/NZ being very high on the list). Anyone have tips on finding a job at a high level yard? I am experienced, have groomed for top dressage and event riders here in the US, am VERY hardworking, unattached and looking to really sink my teeth into an international level place.

I've applied to a couple of places on yardandgroom.com, but I'm concerned about making the right choice. I'd hate to make a big commitment to a place and get there and it's not a good fit! I don't know reputations of riders/yards outside of the states.

KyrieNZ
Oct. 2, 2010, 02:20 AM
I would explain to the prospective employer what your expectations and goals are ie do you want to just groom, or do you want to compete? What are your short term goals, long term goals? etc I think honest communication is the only way.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 2, 2010, 10:55 AM
Thank you for your response! I totally agree, open, honest communication is the only way. What I'm really concerned about it that, here in the US, there are some barns where I know I wouldn't want to work. The jobs sound perfect, but the reputation of the place is that they are not what they portray.

So, unless I get a job working for Carl Hester or Brett Parbery, I'm not sure what yard lives up to the hype. :)

Event4Life
Oct. 2, 2010, 01:25 PM
If you are interested in the UK, try the website www.yardandgroom.co.uk - it does have some stuff further afield as well, but mainly focuses on the UK.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 3, 2010, 11:03 AM
I've definitely had my eye on yardandgroom.com, but I'm wondering about the reputation of some of the stables with jobs posted. I've also never worked abroad (although I did work for an ex-pat Aussie) and don't know the expectation of stables overseas.

Bluey
Oct. 3, 2010, 11:13 AM
You may be interested in reading:

Taking Up The Reins
A Year in Germany with a Dressage Master
by Priscilla Endicott.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 3, 2010, 12:22 PM
Bluey -- I actually have already! :) Very enlightening book...I wish I had the $$$ to do it her way. I'm contacting high level barns, even if there is no advertising of jobs available, cause hey, you never know, right? My only concern about going to Germany or the Netherlands is the language barrier. But I'd learn German for the right position! :lol:

I'm willing to give a year (or more if the right spot came up) to all the grunt work necessary PROVIDED I can get a quality education out of it (and have a place to sleep and some cup o' noodles!) and it lead somewhere. I don't want to fall into something there that is all too common here -- a barn wants free grunt work so they offer "working student" positions and have neither the knowledge nor the desire to teach to a high level.

Coreene
Oct. 3, 2010, 02:08 PM
Do you have a work permit?

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 3, 2010, 02:59 PM
I have a work and holiday visa for Australia, and can get the same for NZ. Not sure what is needed to travel to and work in Germany or Netherlands. I believe it's fairly easy to travel to UK for a short period of time to work. I'd love additional info on the subject!

Coreene
Oct. 3, 2010, 03:03 PM
You cannot work legally in an EU country without an EU passport or work permit. This is why you do see so many "working students," who get room, board and occasionally pocket money.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 3, 2010, 03:21 PM
I'll happily obtain a work permit for a worthwhile position. There are so many people living, working and training in EU from all over the world, how do they do it?

Bluey
Oct. 3, 2010, 05:22 PM
Bluey -- I actually have already! :) Very enlightening book...I wish I had the $$$ to do it her way. I'm contacting high level barns, even if there is no advertising of jobs available, cause hey, you never know, right? My only concern about going to Germany or the Netherlands is the language barrier. But I'd learn German for the right position! :lol:

I'm willing to give a year (or more if the right spot came up) to all the grunt work necessary PROVIDED I can get a quality education out of it (and have a place to sleep and some cup o' noodles!) and it lead somewhere. I don't want to fall into something there that is all too common here -- a barn wants free grunt work so they offer "working student" positions and have neither the knowledge nor the desire to teach to a high level.

You may ought to realize that one year is but a blimp in a professional horseman's education, so it would be hard for some top riding center to take someone on for "just a year", displacing someone that will spend as long as it takes to work there.

If you happen to already be a top rider with much experience, then you could be an asset to them and that would make it easier to find a spot.
As a beginner to their system, you really can't expect them to give you the top horses and that level of instruction right off, may not even be what is appropiate for your current riding level.

Any serious job in a stable is about getting the job done first, then any instruction you get is a bonus.
Lessons without work first is what paying clients get.;)

In your shoes, I would be glad that ANYONE wants me, so you could get a foot in that door and then learn like a sponge, along with giving a good account of yourself with all the mundane, everyday work that will come your way.

For you, in hindsight, that year will not be seen as "wasted", no matter where you go.:yes:

Good luck finding that perfect position.:)

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 3, 2010, 05:54 PM
Bluey -- I am not looking to go from 1st level to GP in a year, and I am willing to stay as long as needed or I am able to. I'm NOT thinking I'm going to go and ride their GP horses and not work. Definitely NOT! I've done WS positions here, and I'm not at a point where I need to learn stable management, how to wrap a leg, how to muck, etc. I'd happily take one lesson in the afternoon, with maybe some hacking before/after they ride. But I'm not willing to work for free and not get any education. I've watched the best ride, I've worked in very high level barns and not gotten the level of "student" I was promised.

I'm willing (and able) to be a groom, but I expect to be paid as such. If I'm going to be a working student, I expect to be treated as an apprentice. I'm not willing to do the work of a WS for the privilege of being in a barn. I've done that for 10 years here. What I am willing to do is anything and everything needed in a high level barn in exchange for quality education. I think that is reasonable!

Quest52
Oct. 3, 2010, 06:05 PM
I'm willing (and able) to be a groom, but I expect to be paid as such. If I'm going to be a working student, I expect to be treated as an apprentice. I'm not willing to do the work of a WS for the privilege of being in a barn. I've done that for 10 years here. What I am willing to do is anything and everything needed in a high level barn in exchange for quality education. I think that is reasonable!

Many times however, the quality education happens while on the ground, not while on the horse. I've learned a lot from many trainers while overhearing their lessons while doing my sweeping chores, or hand walking out the last horse. I think it is detrimental to yourself to go into the communication thinking that you are "owed" anything.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 3, 2010, 06:33 PM
That's a bit confusing, because I feel both sides are "owed" something...right? It's suppose to be a symbiotic relationship, the BO/trainer gets quality work (and a LOT of it typically) and I get educated. I'm not saying there isn't benefit from learning on the ground. I, too, have learned much from watching my trainer teach, from watching them ride while picking poo from the arena, etc. BUT, if you want to learn to ride, you need to RIDE! There IS value to just being in a barn, but again, I've done that for 10 years here, and now I'm looking to take my riding to a higher level.

Quest52
Oct. 3, 2010, 06:41 PM
I think this is what others are saying too... you're saying you want to go over there for one year, which is a blip to them. That is a lot of work for them to put into you, without much gain on their part. It is easier for a top trainer in Europe to choose a groom who wants to stay for the long haul and to train them their way for many years. Again, like someone else said, it may be a different story if you were coming in with experience up to the FEI level (which I don't' believe is the case, correct?) But to go over for one year and expect to be taught all that much is just a lot of "give" for that side...

in short... you may find that the other side just really doesn't see it worth the bother, and they would rather choose a student that would maybe want the same thing and stay for longer so they could actually utilize what they teach.

I'm thinking your best bet would be to find someone you think is fair, go into to giving your all and hoping for some "cherry on top" nice rides here and there. Instead of feeling like you're owed lessons.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 3, 2010, 06:50 PM
I've stated I'd be willing to stay longer. I'd be willing to stay permanently if I found the right place. What I can't do is stay permanently working for free, having to pay show fees and farrier/vet on a show horse, etc. I don't have outside financial backing, so I'd need something where I could be self sustaining. And if I am told part of my compensation for working is lessons, I would expect lessons. And while I'm not an FEI level rider, I am a capable, feeling, 2nd level rider who can be an asset to a training program.

Most working student positions aren't long term. Most people burn out, go broke, or get hired as an asst trainer/instructor. So the argument that it's not worth it for "just a year" doesn't hold much water with me. Most of the WS positions I've seen advertised in Europe ask for a minimum of a 3 month stay, so I was thinking a year would show the commitment I have.

Have any of the posters who responded ever done what I am looking to do? Anyone worked in a barn abroad?

Bluey
Oct. 3, 2010, 07:47 PM
I've stated I'd be willing to stay longer. I'd be willing to stay permanently if I found the right place. What I can't do is stay permanently working for free, having to pay show fees and farrier/vet on a show horse, etc. I don't have outside financial backing, so I'd need something where I could be self sustaining. And if I am told part of my compensation for working is lessons, I would expect lessons. And while I'm not an FEI level rider, I am a capable, feeling, 2nd level rider who can be an asset to a training program.

Most working student positions aren't long term. Most people burn out, go broke, or get hired as an asst trainer/instructor. So the argument that it's not worth it for "just a year" doesn't hold much water with me. Most of the WS positions I've seen advertised in Europe ask for a minimum of a 3 month stay, so I was thinking a year would show the commitment I have.

Have any of the posters who responded ever done what I am looking to do? Anyone worked in a barn abroad?

Things may have changed, but I don't know anyone going like you intend to go that has a horse they are paying for anything.
You are working for basic pay and you won't have money or time to own any horses and you really don't want to.
The experience will give you a real chance to learn to ride and that is on the backs of many, many different horses, some better than others and each one will teach you so much, with the help of the resident trainers.

I don't think you quite realize that it is a job position, you don't get to have perks or will have time or money for owning horses too.

If that is what you want, then you need to go as a horse owner, not a groom.

Then, maybe I am wrong?:confused:

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 3, 2010, 08:05 PM
The horse was only brought into the equation in regards to staying permanently. I don't plan on bringing a horse, or buying a horse unless there is a permanent situation. My reason for saying that was because I got the impression from previous posts that I should take any job, work my butt off for free with no expectation of lessons or riding above a walk, and stay for 5 years while supporting myself independently. And be grateful that I get to muck in a German/Dutch stable instead of here.

I am looking to ride LOTS of different horses, from babies on up. My fear is I won't get to ride at all, which according to previous posts, is accurate. Been there, done that. I've ridden GP horses for BNT, hacking them or warming up/cooling out, I've show groomed for 4* event riders...what I want is to take my "gap year" and break the 2nd level ceiling.

Equibrit
Oct. 3, 2010, 08:35 PM
I'll happily obtain a work permit for a worthwhile position.

Unfortunately,it just isn't that easy. Your expectations are pretty unreal - they will expect you to WORK and do as you're told; concepts not that familiar to the average American dilettante.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 3, 2010, 08:43 PM
There are generally "gap year" visas that allow you to work casually while you are travelling. Some countries are easier than others, especially if you enter with a "trainee" visa and you are of a certain age.

Coreene
Oct. 3, 2010, 11:49 PM
I hate to burst your balloon, but they do not give work permits to be a groom in Holland. You want to learn, you go as a working student and, except for occasional pocket money, you pay your own way. They give you room and board, which is your "pay." They are doing you a favor, not the other way around. There is nothing you can do for them that a Dutch groom can't do.

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 4, 2010, 12:44 AM
Except for the minor fact that they would have to PAY actual money to the Dutch grooms.

And my balloon was burst long ago. Without your help. I'm just a realist, and would probably not go to Holland, due to the fact I do not have financial backing, and couldn't afford it. Holland is not the only place in the world you can go to learn dressage.

Coreene
Oct. 4, 2010, 01:25 AM
Well you were the one who brought up Dutch and German barns. Yes, grooms there are paid, but grooms are not hired for a short period of time. I do hope you can find a situation that works for you, because working aborad - no matter what the gig - is an experience that you will learn so much from and will never forget. Sometimes you can get a situation with an American rider living abroad or staying overseas for a year, so that is worth looking into.

Megaladon
Oct. 4, 2010, 09:34 AM
My advice would be to get into barns over here in the US that host/have stallion testings. You will be able to work with people from abroad for a good duration of time and then the oppurtunities will be there. Places that have keurings, which are a very busy time, would also be a good place to start.

The only thing is if you are going for dressage training barns, it's a bit unlikely they will have conacts with New Zealand or Australia, not that it's impossible, but most dressage barns have European relationships/connections. You may have to learn some German afterall!! :lol:

Good luck!

luchiamae
Oct. 6, 2010, 10:07 PM
Your whole attitude is wrong to be a working student for starters -


Lesson Number 1: They don't owe YOU anything. Nothing, zip, nada.


You work hard, you get small bits of help and if your very lucky you get a ride. That is the life of a working student. If you want to be more you need to spend the money training yourself, getting a good horse and competing.

Polydor
Oct. 7, 2010, 04:32 AM
Going to throw my two cents in.

If you find job prior to travelling to a country overseas, ask for a trail run of "x" amount of days/weeks/month to see if the job fits. Hopefully this way if they are totally creeps or just doesn't work for you then you can leave easly enough.

Visa: try to have one that allows for legal work or working student but don't have it tied to that particular employer ( specailly if you haven't actually met them!) That way you can leave if need be!

Ask for references .. not sure about this one but they might have names of other past working students that you could talk too. Also websites then at least you can see the place.

Ask on here... never know what people might know.

Good luck! Working overseas can be an amazing experience if you land with the right spot! Learn something about yourself too!

P.

Thomas_1
Oct. 7, 2010, 04:47 AM
This might help:

http://www.careergrooms.com/workuk.shtml

Tiki
Oct. 7, 2010, 08:37 AM
I believe that it takes 3 years in Germany to get your bereiter certification. You sound extremely defensive to anyone here who is trying to help you, yet you really, in spite of what you are saying, is to go to Germany, muck a couple of stalls a day and ride upper level horses. Good luck! :lol:

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 7, 2010, 10:13 AM
Who said anything about getting a bereiter certificate? And I am not being defensive, simply stating what I am and am not willing to do. I'm not an 18 year old kid with no experience looking to ride these people's GP horses in exchange for nothing. I've said this many times in followup posts.

Luchiamae -- your attitude is, IMO, one of the major downfalls of the US horse industry. What you are describing is slavery. Work (and an educated worker for that matter, as I have stated I've been a WS for UL/BNT here for 10 years) for no education or $$ is slavery. That attitude is what allows barn owners and trainers to feel entitled to use and abuse their staff. They DO owe you something. If they aren't going to pay you, then they owe you their time/experience. If slavery is what it takes to be a WS in Europe, I'm not interested. That's all I'm saying.

Have any of you who are responding (with a few exceptions, you know who you are) been a working student? Groom? Barn Manager? Ridden above 2nd level?

So, thanks but no thanks...I think I'll just stay here.

Thomas_1
Oct. 7, 2010, 11:55 AM
Have any of you who are responding (with a few exceptions, you know who you are) been a working student? Groom? Barn Manager? Ridden above 2nd level?

Yes.

darkbay
Oct. 7, 2010, 12:27 PM
You work hard, you get small bits of help and if your very lucky you get a ride. That is the life of a working student. If you want to be more you need to spend the money training yourself, getting a good horse and competing.

I was a working student for an UL dressage rider for about 18 months. I absolutely agree with fizzy that what you describe above is a slave not a student. The trainers should be teaching the student about all aspects of horse care, coaching and riding. This is not happening and I see a lot of young people working very hard for years, only to find they have not been sufficiently prepared for a career.

I am shocked at the people here jumping all over the OP. We should be encouraging people who are willing to work hard and learn. That's what I got from the OP.

Quest52
Oct. 7, 2010, 01:20 PM
Have any of you who are responding (with a few exceptions, you know who you are) been a working student? Groom? Barn Manager? Ridden above 2nd level?



yes.

Tiki
Oct. 7, 2010, 01:40 PM
Originally Posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy http://chronofhorse.com/forum/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?p=5143137#post5143137)

Have any of you who are responding (with a few exceptions, you know who you are) been a working student? Groom? Barn Manager? Ridden above 2nd level?Yes.

AnotherRound
Oct. 7, 2010, 02:23 PM
My, Thomas, I had fun at that site.

Here ya go, OP:

http://www.careergrooms.com/cgi-bin/zyview/D=jobs/V=popwin/R=CJ1351

good luck.

Personally, I think you're going to be too critical and too quick to feel slighted to work out in this environment, but if you can let go of your expectations and take advantage of every tiny little thing you can get out of these experiences, you'll learn. By expecting to be taught, per se, you're setting yourself up for dissapointment. I would think there will be lessons, but you really need to broaden your definition of where your lessons come from. My education in horses, while nothing compared to many here, has been so incredibly advanced and influenced by watching, learning, and experiencing. Actuall one on one lessons are important but not the end all and be all of where and how to get trained. If you don't learn from every corner of your world, you're missing out on alot. Its just the sense one gets from reading your tone and defensiveness, which wasn't only in response to the posts folks made, its in your first post, too, so I think you are probably setting yourself up to feel slighted in this job, sort of like you did in this thread. Do you see what I mean?

Bluey
Oct. 7, 2010, 04:24 PM
You may read more about this here:

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=275882

Gil's Girl
Oct. 7, 2010, 07:25 PM
I just wanted to say good luck, and not to suggest it isn't a great idea, I think it is and want to do it again somewhere much better, but I took a job in Ireland this winter that I planned, researched and checked into inside and out - a respected name, talked tons with the owner, corresponded with previous employees also from the states, everything. It was perfect.

I have worked as a working student and paid groom/rider a lot. I am not only not a spoiled american, I have always worked to ride, have seen horses kept bare bones simply and extremely luxuriously, and have travelled throughout Europe and the world extensively.

I stayed ONE day at the place. I arrived, saw the facilities and the horses, and worst of all, the facilities for me, and knew it would not work - I worked one day, to make sure - I was already sure - but it was 100% misrepresented, unprofessional, and most importantly, poorly run.

So after feeling horrific about it, jetlagged, and completely broke, I left, and proceeded to be helped by people that have convinced me that the Irish are perhaps the nicest and hospitiable people in the world.

So I think my point in all this rambling is, now after this, I would NEVER take a position that wasn't found through my trainer, someone I know, somewhere I've been, which is difficult, but you can never research anywhere enough - people gushed over this place. It was about a step from being shut down by animal welfare. And the worst part is I'm sure they just thought I was the american princess, and don't get why it was so horrific.

And also, if a place isn't right for you, don't stick it out unless you are spoiled and know you need to push yourself - if you know you work hard, are professional and have simple needs, and still things are awful, don't stay. I can work like a dog anywhere, but I don't want to do it where I know things are being done lazily and wrongly.

So on that dampening note, good luck! There are wonderful places and people out there, but make sure you have someone you know that recommends them, or have some sort of back up plan!

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 7, 2010, 08:38 PM
Being realistic is not being defensive. Disagreeing is not being defensive. Thank you those of you who posted their experiences, helpful websites and contacted me privately.

Gil's Girl
Oct. 7, 2010, 08:53 PM
I wanted to post again bc I hadn't read all the other posts before - hard work is what gets you ahead, 100%, but you are supposed to be respected for it, not treated like a slave.

There are working student positions where the trainer respects you, values you and has the time and energy to want to impart their knowledge as they go about the day - I've been in at least 2 situations like this, and worked incredibly hard, and was not only valued for it, but constantly thanked, praised and given useful criticisms about every aspect of my job. This was at top facilities with top people. My main trainer I worked with was convinced I didn't eat often enough and would send me to lunch when I wasn't hungry. Another trainer I begged rides from as a very rusty re-rider flatting horses, took the time to give me several lessons a day, and thanked me everytime I got off her horses, which was almost embarrassing for me - I kept saying "no, thank you, really!"

Other situations might be for less experienced people who need to "pay their dues" and will do anything to get more time around horses, but I don't think they should be taken as the norm. The best people I've worked with have always understood that respect works both ways. Best of luck!

luchiamae
Oct. 7, 2010, 09:40 PM
Fizzyfuzzybuzzy – You asked for opinions, from real people, who have done the hard work and basically slaved (your own words) to get the opportunities you think you SO deserve. The reality is there are hundreds of others who WILL work as hard as they possibly can to get what you think you are owed. That is the reason we have “working slaves” as you like to refer to them, is because there are people who are willing to work their butts off just for the opportunity to do so. The thing is, people that need working students, don’t have time to do the jobs that students do themselves, which in turn means their lacking time to begin with – how are they supposed to fit a non-paying customer into a day already filled with paying clientele? I have worked for a lot of people that haven’t given back to the workers as they should, but at the end of the day, you are still gaining experience from handling their horses etc. I don’t know, to me it seems like the work is worth the experience you gain – you just have to have the right attitude about it all.

Please don’t try to attack me about my attitude to Working Students, I have been there, done it and loved every moment of it. And I am not from the US so I cannot be considered apart of the “major downfall of the US horse industry”. But thank you anyway for saying that myself/my attitude is one of the contributors to it – I had no idea I was so important.
The values of hard work, preservation and determination are now instilled in me and the things I learnt with the people I worked for are now daily parts of my life. I worked HARD...and I mean really hard.
As AnotherRound said, the best lessons are not taught on horseback. You will learn so much from listening to other people talk when your instructor does their test, your instructor venting to the horse after the round, you will learn the values of a “Business Mannerism”. There is so much more to horses then ACTUAL horses.

I can only say from my experience that the hours are long, the work hard and the thanks very few but I wouldn’t be half as experienced as I am today without them. I have handled atrociously behaved stallions, ridden babies and nearly been killed, jumped some wonderful horses and seen how the very top Show Jumpers train their horses. I have developed my own opinions and now I do my horses with many different methods combined from my working student experience into my own style. This goes from riding to handling, breeding to training.
To me, it doesn’t/didn’t bother me that I was hardly ever thanked or rewarded, because I got to see another side to the Horse World and I LEARNT how to be successful with things that you don’t see at shows. Shows are for showing off, at home you see it all and I mean EVERYTHING.
I am forever thankful to the people that took me in and I could never repay them enough.

I’m sorry, I can’t help that I’m a working slave and loved it :winkgrin:

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Oct. 7, 2010, 11:04 PM
I'm sorry you felt attacked, but so did I. And I HAVE the experience you speak of. If you read my follow up posts, I have 10 years of working in barns. I understand all you say. I too, have handled poorly behaved stallions, ridden the green beans that have no balance and want to fall down on you, worked until I literally could not stand. I've GOT the barn experience. In order to ride the upper levels, you have to ride, and ride A LOT. The world is full of arm chair quarterbacks and "those who can do, teach" types. I don't want to be one of them. So I already have the the experience to be put on a nice horse. I've earned it, with my blood, sweat and tears, and I'm not willing to take 3 steps back.

Polydor
Oct. 7, 2010, 11:14 PM
Yes .. to your question of those who are grooms, barn manager... I'm currently the yearling manager at a stud farm.

But to your current post above.

I find that you are going to have to take at least a step or two back and work your way up to sitting on those amazing horses. Its the way it is in the equine world. Got to pay your dues at each place before moving up the ranks. Specially if your moving overseas. This may only a short time to show the bosses how good you are and how good you said you were , but be prepared to start a few steps back.

Thats is why i decided to stay in Oz so i can get more manager experience at the farm before moving back home so i at least i can say i have managed for a couple years. Yes the next job i will be back mucking out for a little while but hopefully i can start more as an assistant manager and move up to manager quickly.

Good luck finding a suitable position.

P.