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Atypical
Oct. 27, 2011, 04:07 PM
So, discussion.

I constantly see on this board, young people wanting to get into the horse industry as a career, as a trainer, or barn manager or... whatever. And almost instantly on this board there is an immediate barage of posts, going, "don't bother, it's too hard, horses are a luxury. Go to college, get a 'real' career. Welcome to the real world..." I find this attitude vexing. Presumably, you all saying these things employ trainers, and breeders, and barn managers. Do you find these careers unnecessary, or simply look down on their choices?

So, who all should be entering the horse industry?? The industry NEEDS a steady influx of new, young blood.

I knew what I was doing when I decided I wanted to train for a living. I knew it was never going to be a hugely high paying career. And thanks, I'm not exactly without options. I graduated with a business degree. I did the 'right' thing for a while, had the 'right' jobs, and you know what? I was miserable. I had money for my horses, but no time or energy. Now, I am by no means swimming in money, but I'm smart about my finances. I have insurance, professional and health. I have no problem paying my bills. I have two horses I can comfortably afford. And I LOVE what I do. Yes, I work longer/harder than the average person, but I can't fathom doing anything else.

I'm not saying make horses your career on a whim, know what you're getting into. But it feels like on this board the general consensus is that it's the wrong choice, period.

justathought
Oct. 27, 2011, 04:24 PM
Great post! Thanks

Rel6
Oct. 27, 2011, 04:30 PM
I think the attitude about staying away from the horse industry stems from the people who come on here and post about wanting to enter it.

A lot of young people are ignorant about what is entailed in having a career in horses. They don't realize that the top trainers are few and far between, and that most trainer work long hours for a low salary and may not even get to do that much riding. They don't understand the commitment that BOs make to their businesses and the limits it sets on their lives.

They come onto the board and complain about not having enough money to do the bigeq, about how no one is giving them a chance to prove themselves, or about how their parents won't let them go to more shows. Basically, they come on here sounding very very young. They don't want to go to college and get and education (a few have actually said it would be worthless if they are just going to end up working with horses.) They don't want to have to work hard. Basically, they don't want to do anything that could get them to where they want to go. So I think in those cases, people are right to steer them far far away from the horse industry.

On the other hand, if someone came on the board with a post like this:

Hi, I'm 19 and I'm a freshman in college (business.) I was a working student for a year and a half in between high school and college (riding, grooming, teaching beginner lessons, etc) and I've been riding for 11 years. Never at tops levels, but I've worked with all types of horses and I really want to make my career in the horse industry. I know its hard work and not great pay but I've talked with my trainers about how they went about it. I'm willing to work and ride anything, and I thought maybe you guys would have some good suggestions for me.

I think the reaction would be very different. There is a lot to be said for someone who has put serious thought into a career path, and not just "oh I love horses, I'll do that!"

Crown Royal
Oct. 27, 2011, 04:32 PM
I agree. If you mention wanting to get into the horse industry as your career, this board discourges it. What happens when all the current trainers and barn managers that devote their life to this get too old to do it anymore? Wouldn't it also be wise to give ADVICE to those seeking it instead of shutting them down? At least people ask for advice when trying to get into the horse business. There's my two cents.

tamarak_equestrian
Oct. 27, 2011, 04:43 PM
Great post!

You have to do what you love. I used to be one of the naysayers about young people going into the horse business and I refused to let myself consider it as an option. I went to university and college and tried to find something else I was as passionate about and you know what? I wasted a heck of a lot of money I could have put towards developing a horse business lol. It took me 4 years of post-secondary experience to finally realize that there really wasn't anything else that I would be happy doing every day. I don't think it's going to be easy and I'm not expecting to make a lot of money, but I'm not in it to make money - I'm in it to work with horses, so as long as I can make that keep a roof over my head and food in my fridge, that's enough. And I'm not rushing into it either. I took the time to go see what else was out there, and there wasn't anything else for me. I decided I want to go pro in a few years, but I want to make sure I'm really ready for it so I'm practicing bringing along my own investment ponies and making the contacts now that I'll need later on when I do officially make this my job. I've done hunters my whole life so I'm trying to get some miles in the jumpers. I've started getting involved with the line shows my barn does so I can learn about that. I'm lucky to have a coach who is supportive of me wanting to learn how to do everything on my own, like braiding and clipping and training, who will help me learn to do that stuff even if it means it's one less thing I'm paying her to do. And that's the kind of horse professional I want to be, so I'm learning from the right person.

acoustic
Oct. 27, 2011, 05:09 PM
I always did think that it was strange how many people discourage it.

I knew at about 17 that a career with horses wasn't for me. That doesn't mean that it isn't for someone else. I love horses but I don't love the industry. Some do. Some people will do very well. Yes, the path is generally difficult and quite often people are overworked and underpaid, but money isn't everything. If you really, truly love horses, horse people, and the horse industry, you'll manage. Add some talent, a sensible head on your shoulders, and a little business savvy and you'll do great.

It takes a lot to succeed in the horse industry. It is full of very talented, passionate people (some to the point of c-r-a-z-t), but if someone can't imagine themselves doing anything else, why should they be detered? I'm sure that if they can't succeed, they'll figure it out on their own.

Trixie
Oct. 27, 2011, 05:17 PM
I think folks on this board, for the most part, tell people to be realistic. Some will absolutely tell you not to do it.

I also think people on this board give those that want to enter the horse industry a lot to think about.

I don't think any of that is a bad thing.

Why? Because if you go into it understanding completely why it's so hard and what goes into it, you're much more equipped to handle it from a position that will build success.

However, if you're on here whining about how everyone is TRYING TO CRUSH YOUR DREAMS, frankly, I wouldn't want to work with you in any industry and you certainly wouldn't have success in this one. Similar to those that just want to ride horses all day, because the business is much more than that. And COTH will tell you exactly that.

Hunter/JumperMom
Oct. 27, 2011, 05:41 PM
this is my take, nothing wrong with the horse industry, and I hope my daughter does follow her passion and be in it, whether as a trainer,rider, barn manager, etc! But having that education in anything other will help you - one as a fall back plan, so when your thirty and if things didnt work out you have something else, and also to deal with your growing business. Not having an education past high school can be hard when dealing with clients, kids, adults, etc., etc. If you dont want to go for the 4 year college plan, thats fine, but take some business, marketing and psychology classes so that you can run your business successfully

Atypical
Oct. 27, 2011, 05:50 PM
Okay, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who found it strange. And I can see where are lot of these posters come on sounding very young, but you know what, they are. And there is no faster way to get a teenager to get a teenager angry/belligerent and to shut their ears by just dumping on their plans.

I agree that they need to hear how tough it is, but we, as adults, need to do it in a constructive manner. Tell them to talk to their local pros, make a business plan etc. Tell them that getting a business background will be incredibly helpful for their futures in horses. Give them a sense of how long it really takes to build up a good business. I've been in the same town for four years and it's only this past year that I've really made headway and gotten a pretty solid reputation. And tell them to know their niche. I don't make any noise like I'm going to get you to eq finals. I'm best at starting youngsters, getting them into the ring at about the 3' level. The industry has a huge range of professionals and riders. Know what you're best at and can cater to.

HGem
Oct. 27, 2011, 06:11 PM
OP - Rel6 is on the right track. As a college senior (business major), seeking a horse career back in high school, I've posted on many of those topics. I have never said "no, don't do it, you will never make it." I have however, asked the person to really consider the reality of what they are doing. I usually ask if they've done real horse work. Worked 50-60 hours a week? Been up at 5am six-seven days a week. Not been able to go on vacation because of horses. Considered what a lack of a 401k or decent health insurance could look like. If they have - great. But most certainly don't come across as having done all that. One would tell someone considering a career as a lawyer to consider those pros and cons as well.

Anyone who personally asks my opinion - I tell them to go for a business degree of some sort while continuing their equine related persuits. I ask them what happens when they burn out in 15 years. What happens when you fall off and get hurt and can no longer ride? And, have you considered that running a barn is a business? That means that you need to understand business to be successful! A few courses in marketing, accounting, management, economics and finance will certainly NOT make you any worse off in life.

Just my two sense. Everyone's experiences are different, and their opinions are usually shapped around them. I have two friends that persued equine careers. The one is sucessfully running a boarding/training barn (note: her parents own it) - but she also went to college for 2 years for business and does real estate on the side. Mind you, the girls personality lends her to be successful and anything she does! My other friend never went to college, got a WS position at an eventing barn and watched the barn go under. Now she is currently living at home, trying to find working student positions and has no real goal/objective she is working towards.

Lucassb
Oct. 27, 2011, 06:11 PM
I think folks on this board, for the most part, tell people to be realistic. Some will absolutely tell you not to do it.

I also think people on this board give those that want to enter the horse industry a lot to think about.

I don't think any of that is a bad thing.

Why? Because if you go into it understanding completely why it's so hard and what goes into it, you're much more equipped to handle it from a position that will build success.

However, if you're on here whining about how everyone is TRYING TO CRUSH YOUR DREAMS, frankly, I wouldn't want to work with you in any industry and you certainly wouldn't have success in this one. Similar to those that just want to ride horses all day, because the business is much more than that. And COTH will tell you exactly that.

^ This.

So many people love horses and riding and think that being a trainer will allow them to "hang out at the barn all day and get paid for it." (See the DREAMS statements.)

I think that a lot of us know that the great majority of riders - particularly young people who "want to be trainers" - simply do not have the required background and experience for the job. Just because a kid spent a few years being successful in the children's hunters or even the juniors does NOT qualify them to be a professional! And yet often this is the only experience they have to offer. I'm not saying you need to have GP experience to teach and train at any level... but there are a LOT of unqualified professionals out there. In our country, anyone can hang out a shingle, after all. (In this respect I really think that the BHS has a much better approach; at least they offer a program with meaningful certification.)

And let's face it. The reality of this business is that a great majority of those who run barns do not have the type of business that furnishes them with health insurance, a retirement plan etc. Those people are one bad fall away from potentially losing everything they own. A lot of us think this is a fairly precarious way to live, and suggest having a college degree as a fallback plan, if nothing else. Having qualifications that would allow you to make a living if you could no longer handle the physical demands of teaching and training seems prudent to me.

It is also true that a lot of trainers do not bother to acquire basic business skills, and their businesses suffer for it. Someone who rides well does not automatically also have great customer service skills, which are equally necessary to succeed in a business which is a service industry. Again some courses beyond HS in this respect seem like a good idea to me.

Of *course* there are professionals who ARE very good at not only the equine related tasks AND the business and customer service aspects of the business... and they often have good, solid businesses just as the OP does. But even they usually have to depend on remaining healthy enough to continue to ride, teach and train in order for their businesses to continue to thrive.

The situation of a certain BNT I know comes to mind. At one time, she was at the very top of the profession. She ran a very successful barn with many, many winning horses and riders. She is now older, and frankly more frail... and sadly her business is no longer what it once was. She is still absolutely as knowledgeable as ever; her lessons are among the best. But the business has declined and she can no longer keep a staff of pro riders, nor does she have the clientele she used to have. Seeing her at a recent show, struggling to school a difficult horse for a client, it was obvious that she simply *physically* up to the task anymore. She is riding a horse like that now because she HAS to in order to survive. She does not have the funds to retire. And she was one of the very, very best.

hntrjmprpro45
Oct. 27, 2011, 06:13 PM
I got a fair amount of negative feedback when I first went pro. Most of it came from other older pros who felt like I didn't belong in their game and probably a lot of it came from the fact that I struck out on my own so soon rather than working under another trainer. Many flat out said "Our city does NOT need another hunter/jumper barn!". So I spent the first few years working hard to prove myself as a trainer. After having consistent positive feedback from clients and producing some nice riders and horses, the other trainers started to "accept" me and now I am part of the "club".

Looking back, I fully understand why they were skeptical. There are a lot of yahoos out there that have no clue when it comes to horsemanship (in and out of the saddle!). Our industry also has a very high failure rate, especially when talking about owning your own facility. But none of those facts excuse nasty behavior or rude comments. The best way to help our future pros is to be helpful and give them as much good info as possible.

Lostboy
Oct. 27, 2011, 06:15 PM
Young people that I see, who likely will pursue a career in horses, are already working with horses in their free (non school/paying job) time and are competing, riding greenies for a trainer and even already working students or assisting a trainer. They are working long days already, for little or no pay, and are mastering living on a budget,listening to clients and caring for horses. I highly doubt any one of them would even think to post on a BB about whether they should get into the horse industry.. they are already doing it.

So maybe, if you are so unsure that you need to ask ... go to college or find a trade skill/career. If you want to do the thing you love,you'll do it no matter what some strangers say.

findeight
Oct. 27, 2011, 06:20 PM
The ones that get the negative feedback don't come on and ask how to start building a plan that allows them to enter the field on a lower rung and advance it to a career though.

They come on with the old my parents won't pay, won't buy this or that and they don't understand I am going to work with horses all my life. I just recently advised one poster NOT to ever say not no how not no way. But to sit down and start working up a plan.

When unrealistic expectations are in those posts, reality does come up-as it should. And everybody needs a plan B. There are alot more unemployed in the horse business these days. Numbers are down across the board, breeding, shows, at the track. Staff has been reduced accordingly...3 long time barns near me have closed in the past year putting some folks right out on the street. The 2 local race tracks have cut their meets to almost nothing and still can't fill a card-that's put alot of assistant trainers and barn help out with the show barn staff.

mvp
Oct. 27, 2011, 06:21 PM
So, who all should be entering the horse industry?? The industry NEEDS a steady influx of new, young blood.


I'm in it to work with horses, so as long as I can make that keep a roof over my head and food in my fridge, that's enough.

I like the idea, but I'll be a nay-sayer based on these ideas extracted from otherwise thoughtful posts.

I *know* the industry needs a next generation. What I have seen creeping in, however, is a group of people hanging out their shingles without a depth of experience. You can, perhaps, make a great living buying/training/selling/teaching the "Zero to 3." But if you didn't do more, how can you teach more? How can you know what the bigger jumps (and more importantly, the high quality flat work needed for those) is like if you weren't taught? The same thing can be said for Dressage World, of course.

IME, it takes an *enormous* amount of money to get to the horses (and people) that can do enough to teach you all that. Sometimes I think of a successful junior career as the college- and graduate school tuition paid by parents who are making up good horse trainers.

I don't like it. But then, again, when I want to hire a pro, I really need someone who knows all that. So, sadly, I think the people who will become great trainers have all of the "usual ingredients" of any great professional plus a lot of money put in somewhere.

And to completely rain on this parade, I think you are wrong, tamarck_equestrian. Breaking even at the end of each month isn't breaking even. It's not putting money away that you'll need in the future. Horse trainers aren't the only folks who can be accused of this: Those who bought too much on credit, can, too. IMO, the sane trainers are the ones who have another source of income planned for themselves, in the works or inherited. That can be the real estate investment of the farm, a business that turns into buying and selling, or doing clinics and making DVDS as Monty Roberts and Par Parelli showed everyone how to do.

Atypical
Oct. 27, 2011, 07:51 PM
MVP - In some ways I absolutely agree with you. You do need a higher level of education to teach above the 3' level. But not all riders strive to jump over 3'. And not all BNT, who jump the bigger jumps, want to be bothered, or take the risk, or specialize in babies. And what's wrong with making a really good living at that level?

For the record, I have experience above the 3' level. But frankly, I lack the desire to go to a steady stream of 'A' shows where those levels fill, because frankly, on our local circuit, they don't. But on a opportunity cost/time/ want scale it's not worth it to me. If I have a client that feels ready to go beyond, I will steer them toward a professional that will suit their needs better. I dare say 'most' trainers do not cater to 'all' levels of clientele.

I also don't think that keeping a roof over my head is enough. Like I said, I've spent 4 years getting to a point where my business is self sustaining. And I still keep my second job, just in case. I also have a 401k, comprehensive health insurance, and put money away every month into savings.

I know of one BNT in our area, good stable, does the Prixs, that will NOT sit on a baby. He has neither the interest or desire to do it. He is also not willing to take the risk, which I totally understand, since the majority of his business caters to a different section of the industry. As such, I have gotten a few young horses from his barns to start under saddle, till they're safe and sane enough in his mind for him to take farther.

I also work for a Dressage trainer in our area, successful, competes I1 or higher. But she has little experience with babies. As such, I am riding her 3 year old. My point is only that there are many facets of the industry that need to be filled.

Nor do I think that 'keeping a roof over my head' is a desireable way to live. I have spent 4 years building my business to the point where it is self sustaining, but I still keep my 2nd job (with shorter hours of course) just in case. I also have a 401k, comprehensive health insurance and put money away into savings every month.

Trixie
Oct. 27, 2011, 08:02 PM
I also don't think that keeping a roof over my head is enough. Like I said, I've spent 4 years getting to a point where my business is self sustaining. And I still keep my second job, just in case. I also have a 401k, comprehensive health insurance, and put money away every month into savings.

If more people came on here and this:

"I want to have a career as a horse trainer. I have found a health care plan that offers catastrophic coverage at a bare minimum and I have set aside some money for my deductible. I have been a working student for XYZ years and I plan to take that expertise and apply it to my own business, for which I have made a comprehensive, conservative business plan with budget that plans for slow months, bad weather, and injury. I have saved up startup capital, an emergency fund and a backup plan in place for if I get hurt. I plan to put away XYZ% a month for retirement."

I would say ABSOLUTELY GO FOR IT and wish you the best of luck.

Unfortunately, that is NOT what we usually hear.

Cacique
Oct. 27, 2011, 08:30 PM
I haven't read through this whole thread, but it would seem that what happens is usually the people who come onto an online bb and post (often with weird grammar and sounding very immature) get shut down and should get shut down.
Does anyone really want to see more of those scary trainers with kids with too short boots, slick saddles, and half starved quarter horses jumping around and around in every 2' division the shows offer and complaining about losing? Honestly, the vast majority of people who come on here and say "help me I want to be a trainer" are not the kind of people who have what it takes.
I don't know if I could/would be a trainer, but I am confident that I could go about doing it right. Wether or not I could be successful would be based on my talent in the saddle, but not my work-ethic, direction, or understanding of the industry. I have already been a working student in two different upper-level east coast barns. I see what those "top" trainers' lives involve, and what they do so very right.
Beyond that, I don't yet have the experience to train horses or riders, but I know that. When I was younger I was on here asking what to do, but now I've taken those intermediary steps and wouldn't need to ask "how do I break into the industry," I already have the resume to send out. Rather, I might ask "what are you looking for in a young pro?" "what are you looking for in your next trainer? your next barn?".
I am not, to clarify, saying that I am ready to be a pro. I'm just saying that asking the question is a sign that someone is not ready. If they are 20 and still asking the question, they have some growing up to do and a business the horse business this probably isn't for them.

mvp
Oct. 27, 2011, 09:59 PM
The situation of a certain BNT I know comes to mind. At one time, she was at the very top of the profession. She ran a very successful barn with many, many winning horses and riders. She is now older, and frankly more frail... and sadly her business is no longer what it once was. She is still absolutely as knowledgeable as ever; her lessons are among the best. But the business has declined and she can no longer keep a staff of pro riders, nor does she have the clientele she used to have. Seeing her at a recent show, struggling to school a difficult horse for a client, it was obvious that she simply *physically* up to the task anymore. She is riding a horse like that now because she HAS to in order to survive. She does not have the funds to retire. And she was one of the very, very best.

Ooh, I have seen that, too. I really like taking lessons from these old birds. But it's sad to watch them "keep on keeping on" when you value the skills and old skool approach they have while knowing that they can't fill a barn with clients. Talking to a couple of them, it becomes clear that they suffer from the same thing as many people in any career: Things change over a 30-40 year time span! What made their skills and kind of program sought after early on isn't what works now.



MVP - In some ways I absolutely agree with you. You do need a higher level of education to teach above the 3' level. But not all riders strive to jump over 3'. And not all BNT, who jump the bigger jumps, want to be bothered, or take the risk, or specialize in babies. And what's wrong with making a really good living at that level?

For the record, I have experience above the 3' level. But frankly, I lack the desire to go to a steady stream of 'A' shows where those levels fill, because frankly, on our local circuit, they don't. But on a opportunity cost/time/ want scale it's not worth it to me. If I have a client that feels ready to go beyond, I will steer them toward a professional that will suit their needs better. I dare say 'most' trainers do not cater to 'all' levels of clientele.

I also don't think that keeping a roof over my head is enough. Like I said, I've spent 4 years getting to a point where my business is self sustaining. And I still keep my second job, just in case. I also have a 401k, comprehensive health insurance, and put money away every month into savings.

I know of one BNT in our area, good stable, does the Prixs, that will NOT sit on a baby. He has neither the interest or desire to do it. He is also not willing to take the risk, which I totally understand, since the majority of his business caters to a different section of the industry. As such, I have gotten a few young horses from his barns to start under saddle, till they're safe and sane enough in his mind for him to take farther.

I also work for a Dressage trainer in our area, successful, competes I1 or higher. But she has little experience with babies. As such, I am riding her 3 year old. My point is only that there are many facets of the industry that need to be filled.

Nor do I think that 'keeping a roof over my head' is a desireable way to live. I have spent 4 years building my business to the point where it is self sustaining, but I still keep my 2nd job (with shorter hours of course) just in case. I also have a 401k, comprehensive health insurance and put money away into savings every month.

You bring up some great points. The only one I disagree with is the implied idea that you can Rock It as a pro who only did, say, the AA hunters so long as you have a 2'6" barn. These divisions/horses/students are the modern cash cow for H/J trainers. I think this will continue for a long, long time.

But my experience (especially of late) has taught me that people who only jump 3' really don't know what they are missing in terms of the deep flatwork foundation for doing much more...or, for that matter, doing the best job for their 2'6" horses. I do dressage-based flatwork better than many professionals who make up 3' horses. I made up my own one of these and pros consider him a broke, easy ride.

I'm working for a dressage trainer for the first time since high school, and I'll tell you what, I have a think or two to learn. Comparing her horses to my really, really broke one, I can see some big holes in his training that I created/didn't fix... because I didn't know they were there and his little job didn't force me to find them. D'oh!

The division you identify-- trainers who do "civilized horses" to showing ones vs. young horse-starters-- is big and real in the US. Sadly, its your white collar job that makes you *able* to afford the risk that comes with riding the babies. I'm not sure trainers see it this way, but they do know that there isn't nearly enough money in the colt-staring end of things.

A helpful thread to read in conjunction with this one is in Off Course about "Where will the horse industry be in 3 years."

smokygirl
Oct. 27, 2011, 10:04 PM
I don't want to discourage people from it..

But I think a lot don't have a back up plan.

And there is someone being paid less than a trainer.. And that is the injured trainer who has no other skills.

justathought
Oct. 27, 2011, 11:15 PM
If more people came on here and this:

"I want to have a career as a horse trainer. I have found a health care plan that offers catastrophic coverage at a bare minimum and I have set aside some money for my deductible. I have been a working student for XYZ years and I plan to take that expertise and apply it to my own business, for which I have made a comprehensive, conservative business plan with budget that plans for slow months, bad weather, and injury. I have saved up startup capital, an emergency fund and a backup plan in place for if I get hurt. I plan to put away XYZ% a month for retirement."

I would say ABSOLUTELY GO FOR IT and wish you the best of luck.

Unfortunately, that is NOT what we usually hear.

What you say makes a lot of sense .... and I absolutely agree that some of the things are essential - a strong background as a working student with an outstanding trainer, health insurance, and a business plan and some ability money wise to begin. But if every person with a dream had to have everything in your post in place, well a lot of very successful businesses inside and outside of the horse business would never have started. Part of being an entreprenuer is moving forward with a plan even when one does not have all the resources in place ... it is often living on the edge... having two jobs.... finding assistance and resources in places that other people do not -

Few new businesses start with a total safety net -- and many fail... But all new businesses start with risks - assuming that the key pieces are in place - the knowledge, the plan, and the passion --- then the value of outside input is in managing the risks ... nothing worthwhile is risk free

Muggle Mom
Oct. 27, 2011, 11:20 PM
I am so glad to see this thread! DD has worked toward a serious career in horses since her sophomore year in high school. She has worked as a working student for three different trainers in six years. Each position has provided her an in-depth education in her chosen profession. She has been clear from the start what she's wanted to do with her life and she is still just as passionate and committed. I have supported her horse education with the same enthusiasm and encouragement as I would if she were at Harvard.

She is ready to be a barn manager, teach lessons, or support a BNT. She also knows how to budget and promote a business from working with those who are already successful in the horse industry. It will still be years before she will be ready to set up her own business, but she knows what it will take and she and I are excited for her future.

We've always been realistic and we cynically joke that DD is one bad fall away from a career change. God forbid, but if that happens, she will have to reassess her life's ambitions and prepare herself for a new profession. What better foundation could she have than the self-discipline, perseverance, flexibility, management and communication skills developed through working with horses, trainers, and clients?

Roxy SM
Oct. 27, 2011, 11:24 PM
I am surprised no one has mentioned yet how the best trainers/riders are not always the ones who are the most successful. I know of more than a few trainers who make a very good living (more than many ammies who can afford to ride and show a horse or two) despite the fact that their level of sophistication as a rider and trainer (of both riders and horses) is extremely low. Some ride but not very well, others do not ride at all. What they do extremely well, however, is schmooze their clients. They tell the parents how wonderful their children are, and these parents (who know nothing about horses so can't see that the trainer hasn't a clue, but love to hear how talented their children are) fork over the big bucks. I'm talking six figures for pony hunters. These trainers rake in huge commissions and show bills because of their ability to smooth talk.

There are some great riders out there who learned from the best and would do a wonderful job riding and teaching, but they don't have that "car salesman" personality so they do not attract as many customers. Of course, some may eventually get enough clients if they can get to the shows and show off their skills, but in order to do that they need the money to get themselves out there on capable horses, and then they have to hope the potential customers are knowledgeable enough to see that they are more skilled than the schmoozer.

Neely
Oct. 27, 2011, 11:41 PM
I have not read every response, so I might be repeating, but people who want to get into horses professionally need to know what they are getting into. There are so many hard working passionate people out there who have tried and given up. Not because they weren't good and didn't want to work, but it's just not a forgiving business. Hard work, long hours, low pay and no benefits are only part of it. Some people do break through and catch a break, but being good isn't enough. You need to be good and work hard and find yourself in front of the right people. Or you need someone to help you start up. Or you need to be willing to always be working for someone else. It's a tough, expensive world to get into and to stay in and make money, and the percentage of those who do it that live the life that appears to be glamorous is very small. It isn't about looking down on anyone who chose that, but one does need to be prepared to make a lot of sacrifices to do it. Putting all your eggs in that basket is very risky. I would reccomend to anyone that they go to college and have something to fall back on. It's sad, but the truth is few people actually make a living and profit in the horses. By profit I mean pay bills, have a comfortable life and have something to retire on in the end.

tamarak_equestrian
Oct. 28, 2011, 02:33 AM
And to completely rain on this parade, I think you are wrong, tamarck_equestrian. Breaking even at the end of each month isn't breaking even. It's not putting money away that you'll need in the future. Horse trainers aren't the only folks who can be accused of this: Those who bought too much on credit, can, too. IMO, the sane trainers are the ones who have another source of income planned for themselves, in the works or inherited. That can be the real estate investment of the farm, a business that turns into buying and selling, or doing clinics and making DVDS as Monty Roberts and Par Parelli showed everyone how to do.
It's ok, no rain on my parade. I wasn't specific enough and that line came across sort of in the 'idealistic dreamland vision' way, my bad.

I guess I over-simplified too much with that particular statement. I wasn't expecting it to be taken literally. I guess it's easy to forget that people on the internet don't actually know you personally lol. I'm a perfectionist who is constantly budgeting - I even have a budget app on my phone so I can keep my budget up to date on the go. I never spend money I don't have, I never charge anything to my credit cards that I'm not 100% sure I can pay off by the end of the month, and that part of my post definitely didn't speak to my financially responsible side.

I definitely don't mean I'm ok with holding my breath every month wondering if I have enough to pay my bills; I meant that I don't care if I have a huge business or a fancy car or a really nice house or money for luxuries. I can deal with living on a strict budget as long as I'm happy doing what I'm doing.

And of course that budget has to include savings. I consider profit to be the money you make after you've paid for everything, including the money you commit to putting away every month (which I already do). To me, saving isn't optional - I consider it a bill I have to pay. And at the end of every month, any extra money that isn't part of my budget for the next month also gets swept into the savings account.

And I definitely don't mean breaking even is all I aspire to do, but at this point I'm just starting out and still in the planning stages, so that's my first goal - to no longer need my family's financial support in any aspect of horse life.

I feel like a lot of young people who want to go into the industry have tunnel vision and don't consider all the steps between "I want to be a trainer" and "I'm a top A circuit pro" (and by no means do I claim to be an expert on all those steps). I meant that I know this kind of business can take a long time to grow and it's not going to profitable overnight. And if I never make it to the 'top A circuit pro selling 6 figure horses' level, that's okay, because it's not the idea of horse shopping in Europe and taking horses to shows like WEF and Devon that makes me happy, it's getting to work with horses every day. If I'm a B level barn, that's okay. If I'm a schooling barn, that's okay too. I don't mean success isn't important, I mean the "level" of success isn't important to me.

The trainer I'm with now doesn't make a ton of money and works harder than anyone else I've ever known - I even joke sometimes that she must never sleep - but I don't think she'd trade it for anything. And I look up to her a lot, so if that's the kind of trainer I turn out to be, I would be perfectly happy with that. I respect her far more than the top A circuit pros I've ridden with and she's impressed me far more than they ever did.

I already have a post-secondary diploma, have taken equine business courses online, and before I take over the training/selling business (it's actually my mom's grassroots business that I'm supposed to one day take over), I intend to go back to university and finish my undergrad degree. I know I need to have backup plans and alternate ways to make money in case something happens and I can't ride anymore or suffer some huge disaster that wipes out my business.

I'm not looking to start full-time tomorrow, I'm looking to take the reins, so to speak, in about 5 years. I think I've done enough research to have a realistic idea of what it will really be like (I even spent time in the US being mentored by a trainer there who has a business exactly like the one I'd like to have) and to be sure this is what I want, but I know I have a lot more work to do before I'm ready to make a go of it alone.

And I just spend a ridiculously long time re-reading and editing this to try and make sure everything is worded properly this time, but I'm sure I've missed something :lol:.

magnolia73
Oct. 28, 2011, 08:02 AM
We all need a back up plan. Professions often become obselete. Flexibility, adaptability and tenacity*** are the skills we need the most. You know, a fall may not end a career if you can teach. (**notably- ya don't get those at college- though horses can give yo uthat in shovel fulls!)

Sometimes its the silly pipe dream that pays the bills and keeps ya happy. I know a woman laid off from development that has a petsitting business that gives her an income that well, could support an A circuit horse.... Really? Walking dogs?She grew it and her passion made her the best service in town.

Hauwse
Oct. 28, 2011, 10:30 AM
I think, simply, there is are a lot of negative comments geared toward those wanting careers in the hunter/jumper industry for no other reason then it is tough.

The industry is physically, mentally, financially demanding and can be all consuming. Frequently there is little in the way of reward outside of working with horses; which can vary by great degree's.

Simply not everyone who has desire is capable of developing or sustaining a career in the industry.

What satisfies one today may not in the future. It is one thing to be a single person who is happy getting by, so to speak, but what about in the future; marriage, children, tuition, just feeding the crumb crushers, will it be enough when your life evolves?

On the other hand there are many people who are deeply involved in the industry yet do not take horses on as a career, take an alternative route that affords them the opportunity to be involved, sometimes to a greater extent than those who are professionally involved, and frequently for them the life reward is much, much greater.

The industry asks a lot from a professional. You could be a great rider, a great developer, a great trainer, and you could be blessed with a world beating GP horse, and chances are you could not even begin to afford to show the horse, and by extension, own the horse.

My life experience made me a total "do what you love..." believer, and I certainly endorse that philosophy, but "love" in this context is a very fluid concept, and is bound to evolve, and consequently I would encourage anyone who has the desire to chase their dreams, but caution them to the realities.

Trixie
Oct. 28, 2011, 10:41 AM
But if every person with a dream had to have everything in your post in place, well a lot of very successful businesses inside and outside of the horse business would never have started. Part of being an entreprenuer is moving forward with a plan even when one does not have all the resources in place ... it is often living on the edge... having two jobs.... finding assistance and resources in places that other people do not -

Few new businesses start with a total safety net -- and many fail... But all new businesses start with risks - assuming that the key pieces are in place - the knowledge, the plan, and the passion --- then the value of outside input is in managing the risks ... nothing worthwhile is risk free

It would help for most of these riders if they'd at least acknowledge the importance of those things and consider them. You may "love horses" but there comes a point in life where living in someone's gardening shed/hayloft/your boss's spare bedroom gets a twee bit old. Yes, these would be actual accomodations that friends of mine have lived in in the horse industry.

Of course it's not risk free - nothing is, especially horses. But setting yourself up with a foundation to be successful is a lot smarter than whining that it's your DREAM TO WORK WITH HORSES.

Also? No one says that this has to be an all or nothing proposition. You can work elsewhere and have your life together and train on the side. Amy Tryon did it for years - she didn't quit her "day" job until it was viable for her to do so - which was when she was already competing at a very high level. Suggesting that people have a backup plan and enough startup capital that they won't need to declare bankruptcy if it doesn't go perfectly or if they get hurt is hardly cruel or mean, just practical. If those suggestions are so discouraging, I would question whether or not that person should be starting a business in the first place.

shiningwizard255
Oct. 28, 2011, 10:43 AM
I'm all for anyone following their dreams and doing what they love but if your dream isn't something that's easy to find a job in or in a big demand I think being realistic about your dreams is important too and I would be inclined to point that out to a young person. Fact of life is you do still have to eat and need somewhere to sleep. If that means a job you hate until you get your break, well that's what it means. But don't let that discourage you or give up on what you ultimately want to be doing, either - just keep working toward the goal of getting there and don't let anything derail your plans.

For example, I don't want a career in horses but I want to write fiction for a living. ATM I am working FT in government, PT in a store and hating every minute of both jobs. But it's what I have to do ATM. I just keep looking at what I am doing now as a step down the path to getting to my goal of writing professionally.

justathought
Oct. 29, 2011, 01:16 AM
It would help for most of these riders if they'd at least acknowledge the importance of those things and consider them. You may "love horses" but there comes a point in life where living in someone's gardening shed/hayloft/your boss's spare bedroom gets a twee bit old. Yes, these would be actual accomodations that friends of mine have lived in in the horse industry.

Of course it's not risk free - nothing is, especially horses. But setting yourself up with a foundation to be successful is a lot smarter than whining that it's your DREAM TO WORK WITH HORSES.

Also? No one says that this has to be an all or nothing proposition. You can work elsewhere and have your life together and train on the side. Amy Tryon did it for years - she didn't quit her "day" job until it was viable for her to do so - which was when she was already competing at a very high level. Suggesting that people have a backup plan and enough startup capital that they won't need to declare bankruptcy if it doesn't go perfectly or if they get hurt is hardly cruel or mean, just practical. If those suggestions are so discouraging, I would question whether or not that person should be starting a business in the first place.

Actually I don't think we disagree too much.... planning is essential... having some capital is crucial.... enough that bankruptcy won't happen ---- that one I don't know, enough capital to fund your startup absolutely and a plan to get out if things don't work yes...

And if planning for uncertainty is too intimidating or discouraging, then I agree that the business shouldn't be started.... BUT new businesses by and large live on the edge scambling for the money to get through the next month - that is a normal part of most small business startups - being prepared for that, being able to live with it, having a plan if things fall apart is good businesses - never take the chance because one doesn;t have the financial costs covered for the next 12 - 18 months ahead of time would mean a lot of things never get off the ground.

Some may fail - and it may be that failure and the learning that comes from it that makes the next attempt sucessful ... on the other hand, some people die waiting to assemble all the pieces necessary to try to follow their passion - not sure that is a good decision either...

helent623
Oct. 29, 2011, 10:17 AM
I am currently a young professional. Every trainer I talked to growing up was very clear that being a trainer is a tough life. Long hours, crazy people, high risk, low pay, etc. I was told, "Don't do it. Go to school. Get a normal hob so you can afford to have horses as a hobby." Despite everyone (including my parents) telling me no, I still found the prospect of cleaning stalls every day more livable than sitting in a lab all day (I'm a biology major).

I have known several other working students who didn't grow up with everyone telling them how much it sucks and how you shouldn't do it. Those were the ones who packed up after several months to live at home and go back to school. Some of these people were even equine science graduates who were told in school that they could learn everything they needed to be successful in the horse industry in a classroom. I kid you not.

Just my 2 cents and experiences.

HGem
Oct. 29, 2011, 11:21 AM
We've always been realistic and we cynically joke that DD is one bad fall away from a career change. God forbid, but if that happens, she will have to reassess her life's ambitions and prepare herself for a new profession. What better foundation could she have than the self-discipline, perseverance, flexibility, management and communication skills developed through working with horses, trainers, and clients?

An education would be a much more solid foundation. While everyone who goes to school does not exibit those skills you have to look at it flip side. If something were to happen to a horse trainer and they had to get a job outside the horse industry most employeers are not going to see "mucking stalls and training horses" as a viable experience for most decent paying jobs. Same goes for an Equine degree. While one of those people may be better in real life, to a potential employer, someone with a BA in Management is going to look a whole lot better on paper. Most non-horsey people don't understand all the stuff that actually goes into the horse industry. Just saying.

Trakehner
Oct. 29, 2011, 02:48 PM
Why negative? First off, I don't think it's being negative to tell the truth and what reality is in any profession or "passion".

Injuries, lack of retirement/insurance/unemployment etc. aren't important to a 25 year old...when they're 40+, they become a bigger concern.

Why fewer guys in the general horse professions than women? Guys don't have a spouse paying for their "passion" the way a lot of professional horse women do (or, they have a family they have to support and don't have the luxury of a job without the basic support needed.

One big consideration for todays younger riders interested in becoming riding professionals...they aren't professionals. Many are spoiled with an inflated idea of their skills. Riders who never did horses from soup to nuts, not pony clubbers learning all the facets of horse keeping. No depth or breadth of horse experience. Ask the young rider about bits/tack/training/saddle fitting/feeding etc....you'll get a blank look. They want to start as the big trainer, they deserve it! They think they're way better riders than they really are...they're a legend in their own minds.

Where I board, there's a young blond thing, thinks she's amazingly cute and is a very mediocre rider. The barn owner had to request she get horses and help out the barn trainer. She deigned to walk out the get horses, moved the dirt around on the horse (she even left burrs in the horses forelocks) and did it with a sour attitude...she wants to ride, not help. This attitude I've found in almost all the young pro-wanna-be's I run across. They just aren't that special or talented except in their own minds.

So, sometimes it can be a kindness to let these darlings see a bit of reality, with their attitudes and limited experience and talent, it'll be a slow starvation and a lot of miserable people dealing with todays princesses.

mpsbarnmanager
Oct. 29, 2011, 03:26 PM
I am a young person in the horse industry. I started out at age 20, I am 25 now. Let me preface this by saying that I had a lot of help and a lot of things fell into place for me. I am also a dental assistant and have been doing that for 5 years as well. There was a time I was working 3 or 4 days a week 8-5 there and boarding 8 horses. Now I work 2 afternoons a week, 1-5. I have health insurance through that job but after my baby is born, (in about 2 weeks!) I will be on my husband's insurance only.


I had been doing co-op boarding, was very into our 4H group's hippology team, read all the time, had my own horse since age 12 and did most of her care at most of the barns we boarded at. I was always learning anywhere I could. My parents made me start paying my own board when I graduated high school at age 17. I had paid my own show fees and farrier bills since I was 14 by cleaning my farrier's house (he rented from my parents) :) I had moved into an 8 stall co-op barn that my aunt owned (she is not a horse person). I actually designed this barn at about age 15 because my dad built it for her and he asked me to lay it out and tell them what they should have. A few months after moving in, aunt decided the co-op was not working out anymore (too many complaints coming her way about boarder issues) and she wanted one person to handle everything. Essentially she wanted one rent check for all 8 stalls and someone else to take the risks.

My dad really encouraged me to go for it. He was always very supportive. We sat down and I made a business plan. I went to the bank with my business plan and applied for a $1500 loan to get started. They approved me but when I told my dad they wanted 17% he loaned it to me himself and I paid him 5% instead.

I went into this business knowing what it took to be a BM. I was confident I could handle the responsibility, had the knowledge of horse care, illness, lameness, etc... I knew I would be there 8 days a week 365 days a year. I was ok with that. I went onto it thinking I would rent the barn for a few years and see if I still wanted to keep doing it. I also kept my day job just in case. I had a fairly easy time keeping the barn full and had a stash in the bank for when a horse (or 6 as was the case once) moved out and I did well there. There were some people who were very skeptical about my age and it was a deal breaker for a few older folks. Most raised their eyebrows at me but let me show them around and asked my questions and realized I knew my stuff.

FF to two years ago. My dad, supportive as ever, decided to buy land behind his house and build a barn there for us. My mom was terrified of the investment. The land had a house on it that my Dad and DH and I remodeled and bought from him. Then the barn construction began. A 20 stall barn, with all the bells and whistles. He got rent money and I got more horses to board. We were building it ourselves until he had a sudden and unexpected heart attack April 2010. Now my mom is in charge of getting the barn construction done and things are not going well. We have 9 horses in the barn now because it is only half done. Thank God I still have my Dental assisting job. Now that we have moved I have the same amount of horses I did at the other barn, and when and if it gets done I will have 20 horses.

Now that I am "at home" I am offering beginner and intermediate lessons. I have no desire to be a BNT, and I tell anyone that asks what my riding and training experience is because I do not want to misrepresent myself. I have no delusions I will make money giving lessons and have no grand plans to do anything beyond a few lessons for boarders a week.

I have one mare in training and if I can keep one or two horses in training that is all I want to do.

I know everyone says boarding is not a moneymaker but for me it is profitable.

If I had not had my dad to encourage and help me along the way, I would have either never started or gone under in the beginning. They did not give me handouts but they did give me help and encouragement. I totally understand and agree that a whining teenager should be given a dose of reality. But there is a difference between the ignorance of a kid whining that no one will give them a break and a real desire to make it in this business. So I can see both sides. I am glad I still have my day job. Even if the hours are minimal, I have 5 years of experience doing it so I feel it would be easier to get hired elsewhere if I did need to go back to it full time, especially since there would be no gaps of not having a "real job".

If someone has options, funding, a good business plan, common sense, people skills and a back up plan, do it. But a lot of times it does not come together so easily, with no one to help you.

mpsbarnmanager
Oct. 29, 2011, 03:41 PM
Injuries, lack of retirement/insurance/unemployment etc. aren't important to a 25 year old...
Not true for me. :)

Why fewer guys in the general horse professions than women? Guys don't have a spouse paying for their "passion" the way a lot of professional horse women do (or, they have a family they have to support and don't have the luxury of a job without the basic support needed.

Not true for me :) My DH, now and before he was my DH, has never sunk a dime into my business. Right now, I pay most of our bills. :) But I see your point.

Ask the young rider about bits/tack/training/saddle fitting/feeding etc....you'll get a blank look. They want to start as the big trainer, they deserve it! They think they're way better riders than they really are...they're a legend in their own minds.

Sadly, that is probably true for some, even a lot of kids/teens, but that was never me either. :)


So, sometimes it can be a kindness to let these darlings see a bit of reality, with their attitudes and limited experience and talent,

Agree.

blackcat95
Oct. 30, 2011, 11:21 AM
This is a really interesting thread!

I'm 17 (so make of this what you will), and at one point I thought I wanted to be a horse professional, especially as I started moving up the levels and riding more horses. I've basically helped my trainer run her barn, doing everything from the stalls to staying up with colicing horses to being there when the farrier comes to helping her back babies. I've gone with her to evaluate sale horses, hopped on the crazy ones, taught lessons. I truly thought that I wanted to go into the horse business, up until last year when I took a really bad fall (ended up in the ER) that absolutely shattered my confidence with horses. It took me more than six months to work my way back to even cantering and jumping small x-rails without having a panic attack, and a full year and a half with a dead broke bombproof horse to work back to jumping full courses, and another six months after that to work to being able to ride other horses and deal with the ones that weren't bombproof. That was really a wake up call for me.

I still love horses, I still enjoy working with them, and I absolutely love teaching lessons, but I can't say I want to be in a business where it seems that I can't handle the bumps mentally. If I could, I'd definitely take a job of some kind teaching the "little kid" lessons or as a BM, but not as a full time trainer. I had a long talk with my mom and my trainer about this, and we all came to the conclusion that the professional horse world is not for me. :) Especially now that I'm starting to look at colleges and careers, it was really nice to be able to have that frank conversation about my experiences with my trainer and to talk through options.

So to anyone who's thinking about the professional world: talk to your trainer/ mentor/ BM/ anyone who could give you insight! Really evaluate yourself and your goals: can you deal with any horse that comes your way? Where are the holes in your training? Do you have a back up plan? Do you really accept and know all the responsibilities and roles of being a professional?

findeight
Oct. 30, 2011, 12:56 PM
She is ready to be a barn manager, teach lessons, or support a BNT. She also knows how to budget and promote a business from working with those who are already successful in the horse industry.


And, you know, if young people came on here and listed those qualifications? We'd help them, heck, maybe even hire them.

But they don't. We get...
..."I want a career riding horses and work with horses the rest of my life. I can ride anything, even Ponies. My parents do not support me. How can I get a riding job...".

Riders are a dime a dozen, even good ones. My barn gets tons of inquries from those wanting a riding position but has plenty of riders, so do all the other barns.

People who can actually function as an employee and realize they HAVE to function as an employee to get started are far more valuable then just another rider.

Some of the younger folk who ask about this need to print that quote and put it where they can see and remind them where that particular career ladder starts.

BeeHoney
Oct. 30, 2011, 01:30 PM
I think that a lot of young people who want to get into the industry professionally want to for the wrong reasons.

Wrong reason #1: I love to ride. Being a trainer is most often and most importantly about making OTHER PEOPLE successful in their riding, not yourself. Your riding, your showing, and your success is in most cases very secondary. Unless you start your life as a trainer with a trust fund or a very rich spouse, you aren't going to have money for your own nice horses, your own continuing riding education, or for your own show career. Yes, you might get lucky and have a client who wants you to show a horse for them, but in most instances the goal is a quick sale and your glory doesn't enter into it.

Wrong reason #2: I love horses. This is a tough one. Because of the financial limitations of being a horse professional, I've seen many horse professionals in tough spots with regard to their own animals. For example, not having the money to retire deserving older horses, or needing to overly medicate school horses so they can continue to tote clients around at home or at shows. When you rely on an animal's performance for your livelihood, it can change things. Horse professionals often have less flexibility--they HAVE to be businesslike about how they treat/care for their animals or they won't survive financially. Also, owners typically want results and sometimes horse professionals have to choose between doing what is best for a horse vs. keeping a good client who's monthly payment keeps them afloat.

The professionals that seem to do the best, IME, are the ones that start out with some financial resources at their disposal--a family farm that is already paid for, super supportive parents who are willing to support an adult offspring, a spouse who works a job with good pay and benefits, a trust fund, etc. These professionals have the flexibility and financial security to continue to work on their own riding, take good care of their horses, and be somewhat selective about clients.

Also, I really don't know too many jobs that are hands on working with horses that provide much of a basic respectable living, meaning that pay for a decent housing situation, food, transportation, health insurance, and some minimal retirement/emergency savings. How could anyone ever with a straight face recommend a career path like that to anyone?

Muggle Mom
Oct. 30, 2011, 09:16 PM
An education would be a much more solid foundation. While everyone who goes to school does not exibit those skills you have to look at it flip side. If something were to happen to a horse trainer and they had to get a job outside the horse industry most employeers are not going to see "mucking stalls and training horses" as a viable experience for most decent paying jobs. Same goes for an Equine degree. While one of those people may be better in real life, to a potential employer, someone with a BA in Management is going to look a whole lot better on paper. Most non-horsey people don't understand all the stuff that actually goes into the horse industry. Just saying.

What I've implored DD to do is to keep all doors open. She was an excellent student in high school and has about two years of college credit in general studies courses. She was in an equine studies program and realized that she could get a much better equine education as a working student with a good trainer, so she left school to do just that.

I guess my point is that trainers at all levels and barn managers have to start somewhere and if a young person is passionate and dedicated to a horse career, they should pursue it. If it doesn't work out, college is still there. A young person who has given it his/her all and seriously worked as a working student for several years with good trainers is a survivor. They have to be tough, and smart, and realistic after that experience. They will either be able to remain in the industry and make a living (everyone's definition of successful is subjective) or they will get out and college will be there.

People change careers all the time. Why discourage passionate young people who want to pursue their dream? Why make it an all or nothing proposition? A good living in the horse industry is possible for those who are realistic, smart and tough. They may not own their own business. They may work their whole career for other people (most of us do). They may never appear on the pages of COTH. It is up to them how to define career satisfaction.

If a career in horses doesn't work out, it's not the end of the road to a happy life. There are a lot more loans/grants now for older adult students; schedules are a lot more flexible, allowing students to work full-time and carry a full class load; there are on-line classes, etc.

It's a matter of living lean, planning ahead, and sacrificing an awful lot - more than many/most young people are willing to do. But if a young adult has been so advised and is still hungry to try, I think he/she should be encouraged to do so and supported as much as possible. If it doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world. The experience is an education in itself, one that highlights strengths and weaknesses and can inform and enrich the next stage in life.

Roxy SM
Oct. 30, 2011, 10:31 PM
People change careers all the time. .

I just wanted to say that I am constantly amazed at how true this is I talk to people that are in their 50s and 60s and am shocked at how many different kinds of jobs they've had. I don't mean little entry level or minimum wage type jobs either, but rather ones that make serious money! I listen to all they've gotten to experience in their lives and I can only hope I will have such an adventure. It definitely gives me hope that it will not be the end of the world if what I choose to do as a career at the beginning ends up not being what I want to do forever.

Libby416
Oct. 31, 2011, 06:49 PM
Just read this whole thread, and wanted to add my experiences and opinions. When I was in high school, all I ever wanted to do was go into the horse industry. I was in a pre-vet program in HS, and was also a working student at my barn. I rode greenies, schoolies, and basically anything my trainer told me to get on. I fed horses, was there for farrier and vet visits, and taught up-down lessons.

But I am not unrealistic.

After being a working student, and having all the experiences I've had, the most I really want to do in the horse industry is be a BM. I am a nervous rider by nature, and as a previous poster touched on, I do not have the mentality to be able to fall off a greenie, and get back on cool as a cucumber. I am able to remain calm and collected in medical emergencies, but I lack the motivation to go through vet school. I also do not have the support from my parents to peruse a career in the horse industry, and as I've learned, to make it in the horse world you need to have money to begin with.

And now that I've been trying, and failing, to find boarding in the lovely town of Gainesville, its nagging me that hey, maybe this is where my niche could be. But I digress...

So my plan now is to go to law school. I truly believe at some point in my life, I will own a beautiful barn, and have boarders, just I know its not going to magically be plopped down in front of me, at least not without any work first.

HGem
Oct. 31, 2011, 08:51 PM
What I've implored DD to do is to keep all doors open. She was an excellent student in high school and has about two years of college credit in general studies courses. She was in an equine studies program and realized that she could get a much better equine education as a working student with a good trainer, so she left school to do just that.....

The post you quoted me on in this post simply stated that an education is a much more solid foundation for someone then a string of working student positions and riding horses. Sure the second is a firm foundation in the horse world, but thats it. An education will get you much further in all other areas, therefore making it more solid over all.

Please refer to my first post, and most of the other responses on here. It is not that we try to deter people from persuing their passion - we simply want to make sure they understand what they are getting into (just like any other industry would be treated). It sounds like your DD does understand and is willing to put forth the effort. To her - most of us would tip our hats and wish her the best of luck! Heck, if able, we would even help her out. :yes: