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ChinUpHeelsDown
Jan. 24, 2012, 04:21 PM
Hey guys, I'm seeking the advice of those who are full time equestrian professionals.

I am currently in high school and I am looking for some guidance as to how I can make my dream of working with horses a reality. For some background, I have been riding for ten-ish years and I am currently leasing a horse. I ride three times a week and take two lessons a week. I am looking to compete in my first event this season, but I've competed in hunter/jumpers in the past. I might inquire about a working student position with my trainer this summer and we'll see how that works out. I'm an honors student and my parents are pushing for me to go to college and are willing to pay my way through. I know that equine degrees aren't really worth the trouble, so I won't be going that route. Will balancing school with training be an issue? Should I just skip college and dive headfirst into riding?

I was wondering what your stories are about how you chose horses as a career and how you got there. I am also looking for advice to shape my career path. I have no misconceptions of what the job will entail. I know it is hard work and I am willing to put in the hours. How to I make connections with future employers? What do I need to do to make this dream a reality?

Thanks in advance :)

SEPowell
Jan. 24, 2012, 04:34 PM
Go to college and in the summer work for pay for an excellent steeplechase trainer and then continue working there for a year after college. Then move back into eventing.

In a good steeplechase barn you'll develop more balance more quickly than you will in any other riding job. You'll also learn excellent horse management skills and be paid for your efforts. And it's fun.

Carried Away
Jan. 24, 2012, 04:35 PM
If your parents are willing to pay for college....do it, even if you don't get an equine degree. It's always smart to have something to fall back on if the riding/training thing doesn't work out. Not trying to be pessimistic, but it's much harder to make a living with horses than you might think.

Go be a working student for as many professionals as you can so you can get real-life experience in the industry, it might help you make an informed decision.

Auburn
Jan. 24, 2012, 04:42 PM
You might be a working student for the summer, then GO To College.

If your folks are willing to put you through college, then please take them up on it. :yes:

I believe that there are about 2% of riders who ever make it to be a BNT or BNR.

What happens if you cannot find a job that provides healthcare? What about retirement? What happens when you get injured (and you will get injured at some point)?

Are you willing to put in your "dues"? When you spend your days cleaning stalls, grooming horses, feeding and turning them in and out, your energy level does not leave much in your gas tank to ride.

I was never sorry that I went to college.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 24, 2012, 04:44 PM
Given what you stated you have done.....go to school.

Honestly...the world out there is so big and horses can always be a part of it.

I went to a 4 year school. I waited tables AND worked in a barn near school riding 5-7 days a week. I had a double major and graduated with honors. NOT everyone can handle that....I did still go out (once a week) but did miss out on some of the social fun of college because of my work load.

I did horses full time for two years. Riding, grooming--working for fox hunters, eventers, and a top show jumper. Only regret I have was not working for a steeplechase trainer (was offered a job with a top one but also offered a job with a top SJ at the same time--and could only do one.) I was able to support myself....but will admit, it isn't something you get "rich" doing. I loved the work most of the time (ok, chipping ice and freezing in the winter wasn't much fun ;) ). But I wasn't able to save...couldn't afford to compete etc.

I learned a ton and do not regret that time. But I did choose to go back and get a law degree....earn my own $$$ and now own my own farm and competition horses. I rode and competed the entire time.

There isn't a right or a wrong way to do things. You are VERY young right now....there are so many things out there and you have so many potential paths that you can not possibly even realize how many options you have right now.

Go to school. Do well in school. Take a lot of different courses--I agree about not getting an equine science degree...but would recommend a good liberal arts degree. Take courses you have never thought of taking before and see what is out there. Keep riding and competing but make sure you experience a lot of other things now while you can before focusing on making a living with horses.

Getting a job in the horse world is not hard at all....making enough $$ to support yourself, your own horses and compete....well that is another story.

FLeventer
Jan. 24, 2012, 04:48 PM
There is a thread in the Hunter Jumper section that gives loads of advice and provides hours of entertainment as well. Also provides you with a model that you should be nothing like, the op.

Its called begging to make something out of myself or something like that.

scubed
Jan. 24, 2012, 04:50 PM
What BFNE said. My experience is fairly similar, although I now board my horses, but ride regularly. I will tell you that as a client, there is some value to me in a trainer who has a college degree and some knowledge/experience outside horses, though it isn't necessarily a deciding factor.

pharmgirl
Jan. 24, 2012, 05:11 PM
Ditto what others said about school. Just also wanted to add that there are many different ways to have a job in the horse world or that involves horses, but not necessarily being a trainer (for example, I work for an animal health organization surrounded by lots of vets, horse people, and sometimes my work is directly related to horses. Other people here have even more involvement with them). This is where college may help you figure things like that out (for example, if you like marketing or PR you could go into being a saddle fitter or something?)

You may be surprised at how other experiences change your outlook (or, it may solidify what you originally wanted to do). I originally wanted to be a vet, but then realized I didn't like the owners enough, didn't like the hours, etc, and went and got a Ph.D. Now, I have the money to afford my horse and am not in debt due to school (I got a stipend and courses paid for, as most PhD programs offer), have a great job that I love still dealing with animals, and also a very flexible job that enables me to enjoy my horse time.

gold2012
Jan. 24, 2012, 05:37 PM
There is a thread very similiar to this on the H/J forum, go read it. and then have fun with the responses. This isn't a lifestyle that is easy. I actually sent the OP on that thread an invite to come here, and work, and learn, and train, and I got back a ...."well my parents are probably not going to be okay with me going to Ocala, just for a job". Be the exact opposite of that, and you might get somewhere, but mostly, just go to school. My daughter and I both have college, and it is still hard, better to go for something that you can do, OTHER then horses, and then do it for fun. Keep it fun.

ChinUpHeelsDown
Jan. 24, 2012, 06:31 PM
I think some of you may be misunderstanding me, so I'll clarify. I'm not looking to make it big or go to the Olympics (seems to be what the OP of the other post is looking for). Don't get me wrong, it would be awesome to go to a four star or go to the Olympics, but i'm not delusional and I do not possess the funds to do so. This isn't me asking for advice on how to make it big, I just want to know a good way to go about becoming a trainer or teacher.

So school is a yes, I'm assuming. That's the route I was planning to go. I live in close proximity to a great college that would probably be willing to accept me if I continue to work hard, so I could still probably train on the weekends.

I'm no dummy, I know it'll be hard work. I'm ready to do the grunt work and be the stall mucker for an opportunity to train with a great rider. Manual labor is nothing I'm a stranger to and I'm in good enough physical shape to handle the work load.

I would definitely move out of state or even out of the country for a job that would give me good experience. That sounds like something I would be all over!

Thanks for all the advice, so far! I really appreciate it.

EventingTerry
Jan. 24, 2012, 06:43 PM
You really need to check out this blog post, it will make you chuckle and offer you some insight into what some other young people closer to your age have experienced

http://schrammequestrian.blogspot.com/2011/10/you-want-to-be-professional-what.html

Wordplay1832
Jan. 24, 2012, 06:49 PM
Don't skip out on college-even if you are lucky enough to make riding full time work straight out of school, it still looks better to professional clients that you have the commitment and smarts to get yourself a degree, regardless of what it is in.

College gives you invaluable life experience, connections, and frankly a lot of fun and challenges that can't be had by diving just into the horse world. You will meet people and make friends that do other things besides ride and it's really good to have a diverse group of people that you know and interact with.

While I am not aspiring to ride professionally (though in getting used to my first post college job I sometimes wish I could ride all day instead of sitting at my desk), I wouldn't trade my college experience for anything. And really, I wouldn't get the equine science degree unless you really really want to, because if the riding thing doesn't work (you get hurt, etc) you have something in your background besides horses that could turn itself into a career as well.

I did take my horse to school and continued to ride. I did one event during the year during my time at school, mostly because that's what my parents agreed to in having my horse at school was that I wasn't going to try to compete much except for in the summer, but also in the midwest that let me compete in probably 2/3 of the season anyway. Having my horse at school was an added responsibility but it worked out great for me and kept me way less stressed than most of my friends because I had that outlet and release to go to every day

ChinUpHeelsDown
Jan. 24, 2012, 06:51 PM
You really need to check out this blog post, it will make you chuckle and offer you some insight into what some other young people closer to your age have experienced

http://schrammequestrian.blogspot.com/2011/10/you-want-to-be-professional-what.html

Thanks for sharing! That was a great read and it's given me more helpful insight :)

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 24, 2012, 06:59 PM
I think some of you may be misunderstanding me, so I'll clarify. I'm not looking to make it big or go to the Olympics (seems to be what the OP of the other post is looking for). Don't get me wrong, it would be awesome to go to a four star or go to the Olympics, but i'm not delusional and I do not possess the funds to do so. This isn't me asking for advice on how to make it big, I just want to know a good way to go about becoming a trainer or teacher.

So school is a yes, I'm assuming. That's the route I was planning to go. I live in close proximity to a great college that would probably be willing to accept me if I continue to work hard, so I could still probably train on the weekends.

I'm no dummy, I know it'll be hard work. I'm ready to do the grunt work and be the stall mucker for an opportunity to train with a great rider. Manual labor is nothing I'm a stranger to and I'm in good enough physical shape to handle the work load.

I would definitely move out of state or even out of the country for a job that would give me good experience. That sounds like something I would be all over!

Thanks for all the advice, so far! I really appreciate it.

You become a good teacher and trainer by being a good student.

You start by getting your education...but keep riding. Work every job you can...WATCH every lesson you can...every clinic (every level...even the beginners...in fact you can often learn the most watching the lowest levels). READ as much as you can...and think about it.

Then you work hard...you find the jobs you can do but you keep your eyes open. You learn from everyone...and you be OPEN to learn. Don't ever think you know it all.

Starting when I was 10...I worked any job I could find. At your age...I hot walked polo ponies, rode re-hab horses (did the walking and trotting legging them back up)....I muck stalls on the weekend...held horses for vets/farries. Learned how to braid...pull a mane. Volunteered to groom at any shows I could until I was good enough that people wanted to pay me.

The BIGGEST mistake I see in the current younger generations...is expecting to get paid---their expectations are not in line with the reality of what they are worth. Only when you have skills....should you expect to be paid and even then, if a job is giving you enough other benefits and opportunities...it may still be worth doing even if you are not paid what you are worth.

You put yourself out there....work hard...and doors will open. You meet people.....and create opportunities.

I rode all through school... I had friends who were good riders training with BNTs and I went with them to their lessons to learn (by watching). When I groomed, I watched warm-ups...walked courses...and listened.

You learn all the time....and now, when I am going to lessons to ride with my BNT....I take along that kid or YR in the barn who wants to learn.

If you want to learn to train and be a teacher....you watch and listen to the best teachers you can.

You can also teach and train without it being your only source of income. I know many people who do/did that ....even competing at a high level while working. That is what I meant...you have a lot of choices. I would suspect that you just need to become a more experienced rider. Then teach summer camp to beginners one summer...or up down lessons on the weekend when you are in school. Learn about training a green horse....train some green horses.

You may need to start by working a "normal" job and teach, train and learn during your off time. If you get really good...you build a business big enough to become your full time job.

Or you may find you have more passions in your life besides just horses. Nothing wrong with also loving your "normal" job that pays the bills ;)

There are a lot of different ways to get there.

deltawave
Jan. 24, 2012, 07:03 PM
I'm an honors student and my parents are pushing for me to go to college and are willing to pay my way through

Count your lucky stars that you have parents who have the means and the willingness to finance your education. Then take them up on it, with the gratitude such a gesture deserves, and do a bloody good job. More importantly, get your education and devote yourself to it. Learning to think critically, to discipline oneself, to be exposed to the great thinkers and the rigors of academia is NEVER a bad choice. NEVER. Especially if one can have this experience subsidized! :)

I worked 20-30 hours per week in college because my parents weren't able to do this for me, and still found time to have horses in my life, although not full time. Horses aren't going anywhere. You can ride in the summers, during breaks, and if you're the beneficiary of free tuition you won't have to work that much so you can become an indispensable helper to some lucky trainer near the college or university of your choice.

Are you sure that being a "trainer or teacher" is the only way to go? How about being a veterinarian, an expert in reproductive biology, a therapeutic riding expert, a farm manager, executive, or tutor to kids on the show circuit? There are PLENTY of ways to make a living around horses, without being a trainer or rider. :)

ChinUpHeelsDown
Jan. 24, 2012, 07:28 PM
Are you sure that being a "trainer or teacher" is the only way to go? How about being a veterinarian, an expert in reproductive biology, a therapeutic riding expert, a farm manager, executive, or tutor to kids on the show circuit? There are PLENTY of ways to make a living around horses, without being a trainer or rider. :)

I thought about vet school long and hard. One of my closest friends is in vet school right now and it is just not for me :eek: haha. Training and teaching are just what's on my mind at the moment. When I get more experience and train with different people and work different jobs, I'll be able to make a decision on what exactly I want to do with horses.

yellowbritches
Jan. 24, 2012, 08:52 PM
Another option to look into is getting a year's deferment and being a working student. You will get a VERY good idea as to the life of a full time equine professional (and then some). If you survive that, and still think you can handle it, do what bfne suggests. Get a degree...it won't hurt, and it will certainly help (coming from someone who does NOT have one, and tends to feel that college is not for everyone. I HATED being a traditional student and could not bare spending 4 more years as one...and I was actually a very GOOD student).

Be sure you understand what being a full time equine professional means. Most kids think it is all fluff and glory, but it is not a profession for the faint of heart! I manage a VERY busy boarding operation. I have a love/hate relationship with my job (I really do love it, but there are days where it feels like complete drudgery). I work 6 days a week, 10-12 hours a day (not including night check, which my employers are wonderful enough to help with). I am very lucky to have a VERY nice job with very good compensation and decent pay (my horse and I both have very nice housing :yes:, among other things). I am lucky to have a job where I am encouraged to compete (this is a new job for me, and one of the selling points for me, I think, was that I am an experienced and avid competitor). I LOVE the horses (I am so happy I can still say that as I enter my 10th year as a full time professional), and most of the time I adore my clients. But it is HARD WORK, and very, very demanding. I am exhausted at the end of the day, and I am usually so tired, my pay check sits in my wallet for 4 or 5 days before I get up the energy to go to the bank! (Very good for my bank account, though, since I'm also too tired to go anywhere and spend it!). But I love it, and it makes me happy.

Doing a year as a working student is a good way to get a handle on what a life in the horse business entails. I strongly urge you to go AWAY. Go somewhere where you will not have family support easily accessible, so you get a very good idea what doing this full time really means. It is a rewarding and often very fun job, but it is exhausting, as well, and can be very, very mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. It isn't for everyone, and it isn't how you'll get rich. But, if you truly enjoy it, it can be a great way to spend your life. :yes:

runNjump86
Jan. 24, 2012, 09:17 PM
OP, I know exactly how you feel.

When I was in your shoes at that time period in my life, I wanted nothing more to go S. IL Univ and get my BS in Equine Science. I ended up not, for several reasons, and often I wonder how my life would have turned out otherwise. Sometimes I regret it, but only for a milisecond because by attending a different college, I met my DH, some awesome friends, and gained a WORLD of experience managing a barn while in school.

I let horses outweigh school, and because of that I am STILL working on my BA, something I should have finished three years ago. I took a semester off here, there, and once an entire year, and found it harder and harder to go back. Go to college, and find a working student position during the summer. Find a college with an equestrian team so you can gain very valuable (IMO) show experience that is completely different than anything you've competed in before. I helped start my school's team, but because I took a semester off I never got the chance to compete, but did attend shows as an aid.

I've learned the hard way that a degree is an expensive piece of paper that makes your life hell for a few years, but essentially is required to get any decent paying job. I am trying to break into the professional equestrian world, and it is HARD, even when you have 10+ (or 18+) years under your belt. There is always someone better than you, and you have to realize that. And its okay! That means you have someone to look up to!!

Get your degree, and work hard at it so you don't have to go longer than necessary. Find working student jobs, volunteer at a therapeutic riding facility, anything to gain experience. Major in something that could benefit you in the future, even if you do go pro. Think, financing, or business management.

Best of luck to you! But please, get your degree. I wasted a lot of time and money (loans, parents money, and my own) by not finishing in a timely manner, and there would have been more opportunities for me if I had. If you have a working student opportunity in another state, go for it! Go after everything you can...just get that damn paper!

RTF
Jan. 24, 2012, 09:20 PM
Go to college. I wish I would have, and I am a pro at the bottom level. I love teaching though, and greatly enjoy the luxury of my own farm and students.

If I could do it over...I would ride more horses, good and bad. I rode plenty of problem horses....but I would have found a way to get on good and great ones too. You learn from them all. LEARN how to properly groundwork and start them, from trailer loading to clipping...to backing to hacking. Get as many as possible under your belt. The first 2 years can make or break a horse, learn how to do it well!

Get a program together from start to finish. Knowing how to take a youngster to a medium level is better than knowing how to get a medium level horse to an upper level. The whole process makes more sense when you know how to get there from the start. Many more people will seek your advice that need basic help over upper level help. I have had to, " find the joy" in my starter students....as there are many more of them that my upper level ones.

Take any opp. in the horse business as a learning experience. I rode polo ponies, eventers, greenies, problem horses, and had standardbreds....I learned from everyone of them. I worked for the best, and even if it is how to rake a dirt lot well, someday if you have your own place, it teaches you how to take care of it. I do not have an employee at my farm. I cannot afford one. Its all me, everyday. I groom, I muck stalls, I ride, I teach....I would love to have a higher paying job with less hours and more benefits. Sometimes my horse sits while I ride someone elses. I am also my own boss, and have found happiness in a life pursuit. I found an area I am useful in and I am fullfilling it.

I also have a family. I would never give up my family for my business and farm. The horses are my passion, but I try to keep it in balance with my life. Good Luck, and work hard!

AusEventer
Jan. 24, 2012, 09:27 PM
Definitely go to college and further your education first.

When I was straight out of school I really wanted to forge a career in horses. Went to an Equine College, did a year out working at different horse places - then after finishing my studies there, realised 'good' horse jobs are hard to find...and that I really didn't want to work with other people's horses, as it left no time for my own!

I then went on to do a Science degree (Agriculture based) and have been employed in this field for the past 8 years. I now have my own acreage, a small team of event horses, have competed up to 1* level (after 20 years of riding/training) and am now FINALLY in the process of training to be a riding coach/trainer with a view to setting up my own business. I teach at Pony Club for fun and really enjoy it - this is what prompted me to explore this as a career.

Initially I hope to teach part time and then if successful, will go full time. I think in the early days when testing the water, having the back up of a 'bread and butter' job is important.

I'm really happy now with my career direction and excited about the future. One of my big goals has always been to work for myself from home and it is now so close to being reality. I have also used all of my college education - so my parent's contribution has not been wasted by any stretch! I enjoy competing, but realistically can see I am not likely to be an Olympic contender...that's ok! I just want to do something I enjoy doing. To me, teaching riding (even to beginners) would not be a 'job' because it is something I am passionate about. :)

JackieBlue
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:03 PM
There is a thread very similiar to this on the H/J forum, go read it. and then have fun with the responses. This isn't a lifestyle that is easy. I actually sent the OP on that thread an invite to come here, and work, and learn, and train, and I got back a ...."well my parents are probably not going to be okay with me going to Ocala, just for a job". Be the exact opposite of that, and you might get somewhere, but mostly, just go to school. My daughter and I both have college, and it is still hard, better to go for something that you can do, OTHER then horses, and then do it for fun. Keep it fun.

Wow, Gold, that was extremely generous of you. :yes: Is it ironic or just plain sad that the OP started a thread "begging" for a break into the horse show world and when offered just that by a caring COTH member she turns it down? :no:
Sadly, I think I'm reading some of xemilyx in this OP's writing style and story. I do hope she gets the answers she needs even if she doesn't get the ones she wants.

TheHorseProblem
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:30 PM
Sadly, I think I'm reading some of xemilyx in this OP's writing style and story. I do hope she gets the answers she needs even if she doesn't get the ones she wants.

I don't see it. I think she deserves the benefit of the doubt.


Given what you stated you have done.....go to school.

Honestly...the world out there is so big and horses can always be a part of it.

I went to a 4 year school. I waited tables AND worked in a barn near school riding 5-7 days a week. I had a double major and graduated with honors. NOT everyone can handle that....I did still go out (once a week) but did miss out on some of the social fun of college because of my work load.

I did horses full time for two years. Riding, grooming--working for fox hunters, eventers, and a top show jumper. Only regret I have was not working for a steeplechase trainer (was offered a job with a top one but also offered a job with a top SJ at the same time--and could only do one.) I was able to support myself....but will admit, it isn't something you get "rich" doing. I loved the work most of the time (ok, chipping ice and freezing in the winter wasn't much fun ;) ). But I wasn't able to save...couldn't afford to compete etc.

I learned a ton and do not regret that time. But I did choose to go back and get a law degree....earn my own $$$ and now own my own farm and competition horses. I rode and competed the entire time.

There isn't a right or a wrong way to do things. You are VERY young right now....there are so many things out there and you have so many potential paths that you can not possibly even realize how many options you have right now.

Go to school. Do well in school. Take a lot of different courses--I agree about not getting an equine science degree...but would recommend a good liberal arts degree. Take courses you have never thought of taking before and see what is out there. Keep riding and competing but make sure you experience a lot of other things now while you can before focusing on making a living with horses.

Getting a job in the horse world is not hard at all....making enough $$ to support yourself, your own horses and compete....well that is another story.

Agree.

ChinUpHeelsDown
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:33 PM
Sadly, I think I'm reading some of xemilyx in this OP's writing style and story. I do hope she gets the answers she needs even if she doesn't get the ones she wants.

Sorry, I don't quite understand you... Are you insinuating that I am the other poster in the H/J forum? I can't tell :confused:
If you are, I can assure you I'm not, hahaha. :lol:

Cinnabon2004
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:46 PM
If your parents are willing to pay for college....do it, even if you don't get an equine degree. It's always smart to have something to fall back on if the riding/training thing doesn't work out. Not trying to be pessimistic, but it's much harder to make a living with horses than you might think.


Ditto. The great thing about horses is that you can do it at any age; it's not something you have to be a pro at by 25 :)

ChinUpHeelsDown
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:50 PM
I just read the other post and apparently some people think that I am the other poster. Well, I'm not and I can't put it in plainer terms than that. I should have checked the other forums to see if there were any similar posts I could have read instead of just creating this one, that's my fault.

I do appreciate the advice given so far, though. You guys are helping me out a lot.

ExtravagentEventer
Jan. 25, 2012, 09:19 AM
Love Bornfreenowexpensive advice! Much wisdom in those words.


If you really want to try the professional world I would defer college for a year and try out a working student gig. I had similiar aspirations when I was your age. Did the WS life for 1.5 years (right out of HS). Worked my butt off, learned a lot, sat on nice horses etc etc. But in the long run I knew I should get a college degree. The professional life of a trainer is a hard one especially when you are starting out.
Best bet is to try out the working student life and see how it progresses from there. My aspirations changed as I got older. Student loans to pay...horses to feed etc etc. So I went the route of a business professional.
Definately go to college...especially if parents are paying for it! I paid/still paying for it on my own. I worked FT and rode horses while going to college FT and did an intern stint in a CPA firm. I swear it was harder than being a WS!
But no matter your goals just keep them insight and work your butt off for them. Good luck!

moonriverfarm
Jan. 25, 2012, 11:10 AM
xemilyx and the op are one in the same. Funny how things like that can be checked, thanks to technology!

ChinUpHeelsDown
Jan. 25, 2012, 11:12 AM
xemilyx and the op are one in the same. Funny how things like that can be checked, thanks to technology!

Please enlighten me on how you came to that conclusion.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 25, 2012, 11:29 AM
Personally....I don't really care if the OPs are the same.


Anyway....read this over my morning coffee and thought of this thread.

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/country-view/equestrian-post/nicola_getting_a_huge_buzz_ahead_of_leading_way_fo r_olympics_challenge_1_4171796

Even with all her riding accomplishments....she still got her education before really focusing on her "horse" career.

College is absoultely NOT for everyone. You do have to know yourself. But for most people, if you have an opportunity such as this OP with parents willing to support you...it is an opportunity not to miss.

I'm not keen on taking too much of a break before college because it does get harder to go back and as you get older...you become older than most of your classmates which can make things not as much fun or harder to relate (at least this was the experience of a few people I know).

I DO think it is wise to take a break after college before doing any graduate work (although perhaps take entrance exams while you are still in school--most are good for a couple of years). Also...travel...live in another part of the country or even the world if you can. JUMP at those opportunities.

ChinUpHeelsDown
Jan. 25, 2012, 11:49 AM
Personally....I don't really care if the OPs are the same.


Anyway....read this over my morning coffee and thought of this thread.

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/country-view/equestrian-post/nicola_getting_a_huge_buzz_ahead_of_leading_way_fo r_olympics_challenge_1_4171796

Even with all her riding accomplishments....she still got her education before really focusing on her "horse" career.

College is absoultely NOT for everyone. You do have to know yourself. But for most people, if you have an opportunity such as this OP with parents willing to support you...it is an opportunity not to miss.

I'm not keen on taking too much of a break before college because it does get harder to go back and as you get older...you become older than most of your classmates which can make things not as much fun or harder to relate (at least this was the experience of a few people I know).

I DO think it is wise to take a break after college before doing any graduate work (although perhaps take entrance exams while you are still in school--most are good for a couple of years). Also...travel...live in another part of the country or even the world if you can. JUMP at those opportunities.

As of right now that is my plan. Go to college and then I'll pursue a WS position afterwards. I'm not keen on taking a break before college and I have definitely decided to go to college. I've always wanted to live in Spain, too. Maybe I can chase that dream, as well. :D

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 25, 2012, 11:56 AM
I've always wanted to live in Spain, too. Maybe I can chase that dream, as well. :D


Definitely do it. A lot of colleges have study abroad programs.....that can be a great way to go live and study somewhere like Spain---and travel more while you are there!

Good luck!

PhoenixFarm
Jan. 25, 2012, 05:53 PM
You want stories? Here's mine.

I was typical barn rat/horse crazy kid--started working in the barn when I was 13. By the time I was 16 I was largely supporting my horse habit, parents helping where they could, etc. etc. I groomed, taught, rode the toughies, mucked--you name it, I did it. I have raked more driveways and scrubbed more water buckets than you can possibly imagine. :winkgrin:

Not going to college was not an option in my family, but I did defer enrollment for 18 months. If I'm honest, my nefarious plan was to prove that I could have a career in horses, and not go to college. But life is what happens when you are making other plans.

I had a good job, riding and teaching, had a few horses in training with me specifically, working at a few farms, etc. I was making a good living, though I was living at home, but was paying all my bills but food and rent (and yes, as an adult, that but makes me LOL, but at the age of 18, it didn't seem like that big of a deal. :lol:) .

Then one day a big, rank, WB gelding with a history of flipping over that wasn't shared with me, flipped over on me and fractured my spine. Thankfully, there was no paralysis, and after several month of lying around, I made a full-ish recovery.

I had a lot of time to think during those months, and I went to school that fall.

I worked with horses all the way through school, sometimes my own, sometimes other people's. I even relocated to the East Coast with some friends during that time to further my equine education and experience . . . but I kept plugging away through school, and eventually got my degree.

I spent several years after college riding as an amateur, working a variety of real world jobs. When I got downsized from an internet company in 2002, I found myself back working as the manager for a fairly BNT. Office work, but also some riding, teaching, showing horses for sale, etc.

At the ripe old age of 33, I moved back to my childhood area, and opened my own barn. Just like I dreamed about when I was 16. But it is a much different proposition as an adult. Because of my real world expereince, I have a different perspective on my clients, my business, and even my riding and training than I did as a kid. And honestly, without some freelance work and savings from our "old life" to pad the bottom line, I don't know we would have survived the financial meltdown, which conveniently occurred just as our business was getting off the ground.

I am now, GRATEFUL for that nappy SOB who broke my back. My degree has given me the freedom to do what I want, INCLUDING, being a horse professional.

This is a hard life, and I won’t lie, there are days I wish I had the comfort and security of a muggle job, and only my own horses to fuss over. But most of the time, I have a great life, great horses, great students and clients.

But truly, go to school. Get a butt busting WS gig every summer, and find part time work wherever your college is. Then, when you are done with school, make the call as to which direction you want to go.

Good luck.

runNjump86
Jan. 25, 2012, 09:14 PM
College is absoultely NOT for everyone. You do have to know yourself. But for most people, if you have an opportunity such as this OP with parents willing to support you...it is an opportunity not to miss.

You are so right. I wish I would have taken a year or two BEFORE college to get a working student position. But honestly I didn't have the guts at the time to move out of state, and I was 18 and "totally in love". Puke.

College overall was not and still is not for me. I hated every minute of it, except for a handful of classes. I can name my favorite courses/professors on one hand, and there are times I question why I spent the money to get that stupid piece of paper. However, pretty much every job requires that piece of paper now, so at least I have it.

I found online classes to be my saving grace. I could still ride, work on the farm, and get my homework done at 1am when I was truly awake and functioning, vs. being at class at 9am and falling asleep at 9:06am because I was bored.

OP - Either way, get your degree. Whether you take 6 months, a year, or two years before you go, or whether you go immediately after high school, get the degree. I highly recommend a community college to get the basics out of the way. Cheaper, sometimes easier, and over half of my favorite courses and one of my favorite professors were at a CC. I remember more from those courses than most of the ones I took at an actual university!

skydy
Jan. 25, 2012, 09:54 PM
This seems to me to be an odd situation.

Granted, I am not a veteran of internet BBs, however this young person has posted under several different names on different threads (which I have read) asking for the same information and advice and in other threads contradicting herself and seeming less than truthful.
We have all been (or are now) young, and sometimes silly, but this behavior seems to me to be really strange..

I hope the good people of this board can help you OP but you must be honest with them.
You will find that honesty is very important if you want to be a happy person.If you are honest with yourself and others it is much easier and less stressful to get along in life.
Try not to worry that people will judge you harshly if you are honest with them, good people (the kind you want to know) will not.

Duckz
Jan. 26, 2012, 06:15 AM
I don't have a dog in this fight, but how can you tell that they're the same person? The OP's username and the one on the h/j board are registered under two different email accounts. I can't find another way to verify identity. Besides, the OP's tone and style seem completely different from the xemilyx.

atheventer85
Jan. 26, 2012, 07:17 AM
Go to school. Get a degree, it doesn't matter what it's in, that piece of paper is all that matters. You MUST have a plan to fall back on... the horse world is a cruel place, and will throw you on your ass quicker than you'll ever know. I did 2 1/2 years of college, dropped out to ride for a living, ended up grooming for 2 big riders at once, commuting between Aiken and Ocala, and living in a horse trailer- not what I ever imagined. I was miserable, broke, and uneducated. I went back to school, groomed on the weekends and during the summers, graduated, worked for 10 years still riding at the 3* level, and have since quit my corporate job to ride as a pro. You're in no rush, don't rush life.

moonriverfarm
Jan. 27, 2012, 12:00 PM
Same poster, people.

Nike
Jan. 27, 2012, 04:16 PM
Definitely go to college, but like others said defer to become a working student. Every summer go to the same barn or others to gain references. Intern for someone EVERY chance you get. Every barn has something else to offer. Even if you aren't majoring in anything equine related, what about business/entreupenership(sp?) and you could minor in equine management or something.

Even though you aren't interested in the Olympics or that level of riding, above all treat everyone like a sponsor. Be polite and use courtesy everytime you talk to someone. That will make people want to help you succeed. Other horse people may ask you to ride their horse, and you honestly need to know how to not say no. That can open up a lot of opportunities.

Study some of the greatest riders and trainers; look at their biographies, how they ran their business and how they got to where they are. If someone comes from a totally different world then you, you can still learn something. Read everyday on your material, your knowledge is always growing, yet has to be your foundation. Above all, never stop trying. :)

skydy
Jan. 27, 2012, 10:34 PM
Nike, you sound a lot like the OP here and on your OTTB thread as well.
I apologise, if I am becoming paranoid trying to keep up with the multiple personalities on the previous threads..
How about it moonriverfarm, should I see a physician?

Nike
Jan. 28, 2012, 02:54 PM
No, I was just trying to help someone out. I am not sure what that has to do with my OTTB thread, but if we sound similar, I guarantee that is not true. :confused:

Nike
Jan. 28, 2012, 02:57 PM
But I do see how we kind of sound similar, with the structure of the paragraphs. I guess it's coincidence, because I joined before I even read that thread.

SomethingChronic
Jan. 29, 2012, 04:37 AM
Houseguest??

ill start the popcorn.

The Centaurian
Jan. 29, 2012, 09:07 AM
The thing about starting a business, ANY business, is that you cant expect to turn a profit until your 4th year, and even then, especially in the horse business, don't expect the money to be anything you could live on! Unless you have a "real job," a trust fund, or a spouse with a regular paycheck while you're building your business, you may find yourself bankrupt. That's where college comes in!

betonbill
Jan. 29, 2012, 12:44 PM
In some ways it probably doesn't matter if this OP is the same as the H/J OP, because at least in this thread she sounds much more receptive to all of the good advice that is being given. There is a wealth of life experience on this forum. Read and learn.

Hawks Nest
Jan. 29, 2012, 01:05 PM
I am actually in a similar situation. I graduate from high school this year, I have applied to college which my parents have agreed to pay for, in fact I already have my first college acceptance (!!!) and I need to finish a scholarship app as well.

That being said, I also have managed to work horses in my busy HS life (private school... no extra time) and I fully intend to keep working it into my life. The plan for me is to deffer, take a gap year working as a working student or other sort of position that lets me ride. Where I go does not matter (there is a place in Argentina I am interested in but I am also trying to find somewhere in germany since I speak the language).

My advice would be to do the same thing. In college minor in business, or something similar as it can help you when you are starting your own. I plan to major in chem or astro physics (yes, call me crazy) but I am going to ride at school as well, either with the school's program (my top choice has a really nice facility and a great riding program in general) or outside of school depending on my own horse situation.

Moderator 1
Feb. 1, 2012, 09:30 AM
Just a heads up that we haven't found any overlaps amongst the recent young rider posters posting on the various forums...unless we missed checking some of them! ;)

We did have an issue of that kind a few months ago, but had a word with the poster and don't think she's involved in any of these threads.

Thanks!
Mod 1

JumpItHighPie
Feb. 1, 2012, 09:54 AM
I took a year off between HS and college. By luck my family was moving to Fla that year and so I took a working student position at the barn where I was boarding. It gave me a great eye opener to the rated circuit of the h/j world. Otherwise it was nothing new I had experienced growing up and working around the farms I boarded at in younger years.

I am an equine major. I support the degree wholeheartedly. I would recommend a dual major, or taking a minor in business or some other generic degree. The business minor would help (although nearly any fool can get a small business going now-a-days) and as already mentioned it WILL look good to prospective employers.

Now being 10 years post-college I can tell you undeniably that having that major did more good than what the nay-sayers will boast. I have had employers hire me specifically for my degree. In short, a working student position WILL NOT hold up to a professional education at the top equine schools. I understand that each year there is another school popping up with an equine major. So you need to do your research. The better institutes demand internships and externships every year of your schooling. They also have an application process to the program. They do not allow any old Joe who just decided he thinks horses are purdy to come join the program. This is a win/win for you. Now you are getting the working student position as well as the specified education of the equine science/study program. Again there is a difference. Equine Sci vs Equine Studies. Do you research. These schools pay very good money to promote some seriously talented trainers and educators to teach you. The issue with coming up through the ranks in a working student position is that you are only going to be educated under the pretense of that specific individuals program. Going to an educational institute teamed with externships gives you a MUCH broader and in depth experience.

I think going the equine major route will much better prepare you for business ownership down the line. So many working student positions just turn into a groom. Which is fine if you are OK working for an employer the rest of your life. Personally being my own boss has always been my goal. Consequently, I do feel a working student position may offer more time in the saddle post-grad, but that's generally speaking.