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KPHorses
Mar. 30, 2012, 06:11 PM
Hi all!
I've been wondering if I am anywhere near qualified to be a working student at a top show barn. My parents just don't have the financial means to support my riding, so if I want to keep riding I need a working student position! Here's just a little about me:
I am a 16 year old, motivated male rider
Have a license
I've ridden for 11 years,
I can ride green, experienced, or difficult horses
I can clean stalls, groom, clean tack, poultice, sweat, wrap, medicate, feed, mix supplements, have knowledge about basic meds and supplements, can set-up at shows, can exercise horses, do most barn maintenance (fix fencing, etc..), bathe horses, can somewhat braid (still working on that), and handle stallions and trouble horses
Competed up through 1.10m, but school 1.20-1.35m at home
Know some very, very basic dressage
I've worked as a groom in a showbarn for 2 years
Good with people
Lastly, I'm willing to work hard!
Please be as honest as you can be, I can take the criticism :)! I really want to make a career out of riding, so please let me know if there is anything that I should learn/improve!
Feel free to PM me too!
Thanks so much!!

Rel6
Mar. 30, 2012, 08:08 PM
Honestly being a working student at a top show barn is very hard, no matter your talent, without some connection to that trainer. There are a ton of talented riders but not that many BNTs. I think you are qualified to be a working student at a competitive barn - it just might not fit your definition of "top" (although it might, people have very different views of what they consider "top barns.")

Hilltopfarmva
Mar. 30, 2012, 08:09 PM
Yes, you are! I've taken on kids with less experience. They don't get as much ride time, but they did learn a lot and got lots of lessons.

Jsalem
Mar. 30, 2012, 08:23 PM
You had me at "clean stalls, clean tack, groom, poultice, sweat...."

JazCreekInc.
Mar. 30, 2012, 08:32 PM
You had me at "clean stalls, clean tack, groom, poultice, sweat...."

Me too! Want to come play with babies in Northern CA? hehe...

In all seriousness, where would you like to work... I may have a few ideas. CA? East? etc...

fish
Mar. 30, 2012, 08:54 PM
Damned straight you're qualified. I got paid positions at top barns with much less in the way of qualifications. Gotta say, though, that one of the most appealing things about you is your humility-- a whole lot more experience/skills than graduates of college "equestrian programs" who seem to think they know it all because they got a degree. If your apparent willingness to follow the program of your chosen BNT comes through-- and you can ride "green, experienced and difficult horses" WELL, the BNT's I know and have worked for would gobble you up... especially if you might be a "working student/talented junior" capable of showing sales horses in the jr. and equitation divisions. At your age, I would hope, though, that any trainer who took you on would also make sure you at least finished your high school degree-- e.g. the BNT I worked for had a teenaged working student living with her and going to high school on an "early dismissal" program-- i.e., she was out of class by noon every day, released to accommodate show schedules, etc.

Good luck in your search.

BeeHoney
Mar. 30, 2012, 09:22 PM
^^ditto

chunky munky
Mar. 30, 2012, 09:36 PM
My dear, there is a line a mile long for you. And at the best barns in the country. When you are willing to work, the best are willing to help you. Apply at the top. You can always go down from there. :-)

Tha Ridge
Mar. 30, 2012, 10:18 PM
Just the fact that you even questioned the fact that you were qualified (rather than just assuming that barns would want you, like so many kids do), hints that you really are qualified. If you do ride at the level you say and can and are willing to do all of the things you say you know how to, you can find somewhere to work. :yes:

HJPony
Mar. 30, 2012, 10:29 PM
There is a trainer out west(the name is escaping me...anyone?!) who offers an internship of sorts to students like you. I do not believe it is a paid position but programs like this lead to bigger opportunities. Your prerequisites are strong and are seemingly more serious than other young posters before you. But, you really have to start *somewhere* and programs such as the suggested are sometimes the way in.

Start networking, finish high school, and if you like school, get a degree in something that interests you. I cannot stress this enough because if you get hurt and do not have the finances to continue in the business... your ships bound to sink. I attend a university with a well known Equine Studies program(although I am a pre-med major) and those girls take classes we would all dream of taking. Most of them are lackadaisical and do not have the resources to make a name of themselves, however.

Tha Ridge
Mar. 30, 2012, 10:35 PM
There is a trainer out west(the name is escaping me...anyone?!) who offers an internship of sorts to students like you. I do not believe it is a paid position but programs like this lead to bigger opportunities. Your prerequisites are strong and are seemingly more serious than other young posters before you. But, you really have to start *somewhere* and programs such as the suggested are sometimes the way in.


Are you thinking of Julie Winkel's program? If so, her program is strange in that it requires the intern to pay her (huh?! :confused:). http://mwstables.com/internship.php

Rel6
Mar. 30, 2012, 10:49 PM
Also OP, you should be very encouraged by very encouraged by the responses you are getting here! Good luck to you :)

fish
Mar. 30, 2012, 10:58 PM
My dear, there is a line a mile long for you. And at the best barns in the country. When you are willing to work, the best are willing to help you. Apply at the top. You can always go down from there. :-)

Yep-- this says so succinctly what I was trying to say. All these things you can do-- and speak English, too, for the opportunity to learn? If you're for real, you're golden.

As long as you don't let it go to your head!! After all, the bottom line has got to be having a passion for the work.

chunky munky
Mar. 30, 2012, 11:14 PM
Seriously, send your resume to the best and start with John and Beezie, Mclain, Margie, and just keep moving on the list. They all will want a kid like you.

Muggle Mom
Mar. 30, 2012, 11:22 PM
It sounds like you have a lot more experience and resources than many who inquire. A position with an AA-circuit trainer would probably require you to travel and hotel/food may or may not be covered. Count on being away from home during the school term and how you would handle that. You may be allowed to bring a horse and work off home board, but bringing your horse on-show would probably mean you have stall and splits to pay. Working students on the show circuit often are not allowed their own horse, but have opportunities to catch ride if they are very good. Working students at home often may bring their own horse and work off board.

If the trainer leaves a barn/clients at home, perhaps you can travel sometimes and work with asst. trainer at home the rest of the time. A mixture of both is really good because you learn how both operations work.

I suggest you draw up a resume with references - keep it short but detail your skills and relevant experience. Ask any trainers who you have worked for to recommend you. The horse world is small, and you may be surprised by the connections "lesser trainers" have and will access for you if you're good and they like you.

It's a huge commitment by you and your parents, but it is well worth it if you are serious about a career in horses. GOOD LUCK!

PonyPenny
Mar. 31, 2012, 12:37 AM
Are you thinking of Julie Winkel's program? If so, her program is strange in that it requires the intern to pay her (huh?! :confused:). http://mwstables.com/internship.php

I have always wondered about Julie Winkel's program and if anyone on COTH has done it for the full two years and did it lead to a meaningful position in the industry. Total cost would be $24,000. That is a lot of money to pay to work for someone, even Julie Winkel.

KPHorses
Mar. 31, 2012, 01:04 AM
Seriously, send your resume to the best and start with John and Beezie, Mclain, Margie, and just keep moving on the list. They all will want a kid like you.

Wow, thank you for all your support, encouragement, and positive feedback! This means to world to me. Words can not describe how ecstatic I am right now! :D
If I knew how to quote more than one person, I would quote all of you guys!
Thanks again!

nightsong
Mar. 31, 2012, 03:57 AM
Start networking, finish high school, get a degree in something . I cannot stress this enough because if you get hurt and do not have the finances to continue in the business... your ships bound to sink.

You say you're 16. Are you intending to drop out of high school to ride/ NOT a good idea.

Muggle Mom
Mar. 31, 2012, 08:00 AM
You say you're 16. Are you intending to drop out of high school to ride/ NOT a good idea.

There are so many options now for continuing high school while showing. Talented, motivated riders tend to be smart and manage to get it all done somehow.

EquitationRider
Mar. 31, 2012, 08:29 AM
I am 15 and I have only competed up to 1.05 and I managed to find a working student opportunity! It is not a AA barn but wew do some As throughout the year. Like you I am extremely dedicated. I don't have my own horse but the trainer has practically given me a school horse of hers, whose not really a school horse because he's too hard for beginners to ride. I catch ride, I school ponies, I work clients horses, had the opportunity to show one of the clients horses all year with her paying the bills and I get to do it again this year! But with that I have no life at all! I am at the barn everyday all day, and I am with them at shows all the time, meaning I have to work hard to keep up in school. It's been hard but definitely worth it!
I'm just saying if I can do it, you definitely can!

Hauwse
Mar. 31, 2012, 08:50 AM
Some advice, don't focus on the "top show barns" alone.

Places like JMS are inundated with working student requests. These places are not development stables, and consequently do not have the resources that many think they have to accommodate WS positions. What they need most are grooms that are extremely well versed in horse care and maintenance.

There are a ton of trainers out there that you are likely to never hear of in PH or any other equine publication that are phenomenal at what they do, whether that be development of horses, riders or both.

Consider the fact that the majority of the horses that end up in the hands of BM or MW are identified, and developed long before they ever get to a BM or a MW. These are the sources for the BM's and the MW's and these are the type of barns are the ones best suited to expose a young rider to the horses, training programs, etc. that help produce your BM's

The key factors a trainer is looking for in a working student:

Students who embrace their program. Good trainers already know the zillion ways to skin a cat, they do not need/want a student they have to explain their program to.

Students who understand that the Horse comes first. Trainers want someone who is willing to work hard to that end and stay focused on it.

Students who understand that every time they touch a horse it is opportunity to learn whether standing in a aisle way holding a horse for an hour while it objects to being shod or being asked to ride a unknown quantity down to a 4'6" oxer for the first time in it's life, embracing each the same.

Students who understand that none of the work happens in the limelight, and are content that the horse makes it their regardless of whether you go for the ride or not.

GingerJumper
Mar. 31, 2012, 09:15 AM
You sound like you're in the same boat as me, with pretty much the same experience.

My trainer (who was a working student at an A/AA show barn before college and all that) has told me I should be able to get a position pretty much anywhere I want, so I think you'd be the same case. I think a big thing to a lot of trainers looking for WSs is that they want to learn and work, and not think too highly of themselves to do so.

I really enjoyed being a working student in the past (locally) so I'm even more excited for when I graduate and actually go somewhere to be a working student.

Have you checked out yardandgroom.com? They've got a lot of ads for people looking for a WS.

Good luck to you!

AlyssaSpellman
Mar. 31, 2012, 01:56 PM
Have you checked out yardandgroom.com? They've got a lot of ads for people looking for a WS.

I second checking yard and groom when you start looking. There are some that sound like AMAZING opportunities not with BNT's, but those that seem like they produce those kinds of horses and riders that BNT's end up with. There are tons in Florida if you're looking to travel that I'd apply for in a heartbeat. The only qualification I don't meet with most of them is that I don't have a drivers license: You can't get your permit until you're 16 in NY. :sadsmile:

Good luck!

Tha Ridge
Mar. 31, 2012, 02:01 PM
I have always wondered about Julie Winkel's program and if anyone on COTH has done it for the full two years and did it lead to a meaningful position in the industry. Total cost would be $24,000. That is a lot of money to pay to work for someone, even Julie Winkel.

Not to mention that that $24k doesn't include living expenses... :no: Unpaid internships are bad enough, much less one that has you PAYING the employer.

PonyPenny
Mar. 31, 2012, 09:39 PM
Not to mention that that $24k doesn't include living expenses... :no: Unpaid internships are bad enough, much less one that has you PAYING the employer.

That does not even sound legal. I have never heard of a intern paying a employer. I would think that would violate some labor laws. She also requires you to register as a professional with USEF. If you are paying her to intern with her, how does that make you a professional. I am so confused.

LovesHorses
Mar. 31, 2012, 09:52 PM
It is like tuition. Genius. I see it as like going to college for these kids. I see them at the shows, they do everything, even show.

Tha Ridge
Mar. 31, 2012, 09:53 PM
It is like tuition. Genius. I see it as like going to college for these kids. I see them at the shows, they do everything, even show.

And that's great. But don't call it an internship.

PonyPenny
Apr. 1, 2012, 01:45 AM
It is like tuition. Genius. I see it as like going to college for these kids. I see them at the shows, they do everything, even show.

Well Genius if it is like tuition then why does she call it a internship? You don't have to be snarky. The Department of Labor has strict rules about internship programs and this program does not meet the definition of a internship. It is fine that it is a tuition program, but she needs to call it that.

I am curious if anyone has found the program worthwhile. Nothing wrong with asking for information. There seems to be many young people looking for working student programs and I have never heard of one where you had to pay to work.

LovesHorses
Apr. 1, 2012, 02:01 AM
Check out the Maplewood Facebook page. Looks like all those in the program just got to spend a few weeks working for other BNTs including Mindy Darst, Geoff Teall, Louise Serio, Scott Stewart and Stacia Madden. Some went to WEF. Another spent time in Mexico course designing with Linda Allen. Maybe intern isn't the right word, but seems like money well spent!

Chall
Apr. 1, 2012, 12:01 PM
Ponypenny, I think lovehorses meant the trainer was a genius for getting students to pay her. Genius was referring to trainers salesmanship I think, not you ;)

Seal Harbor
Apr. 1, 2012, 12:26 PM
When one is paying to go to college, there are times when one gets to participate in an unpaid internship, in college, while paying a great deal more money. Julie is not their employer per say anymore than the "insert expert of choice here" is the employer of their unpaid intern.

I don't get why people are having a difficult time wrapping the minds around this. Those equine programs at colleges are nearly the same, except they cost a great deal more. Julie has contacts in the business to assist one in getting a job when they feel they are ready. Those colleges that have equine degrees can't offer anything like that. Plus they are getting a reputation of turning out people who are clueless yet paid a ton of money for a piece of paper.

How do you learn to run a barn without doing it, foal out mares, collect stallions, teach, show, train, all without doing it? Those in the college programs are paying a great deal more to WORK at the school barn, teaching, training, showing, managing the barn, collecting stallions, foaling out mares. Sounds the same to me! Except if you are in Julie's program, you get a lot more exposure to a lot more professionals that have successful programs and she can help you with contacts when you are ready for a paying position.

Trixie
Apr. 1, 2012, 12:38 PM
Right, but those that go to college walk out with a bachelor's degree, which, even if it is in something like equine science, actually counts for something outside the horse world.

Doing a working student or an internship position simply doesn't do that.

PonyPenny
Apr. 1, 2012, 07:36 PM
Ponypenny, I think lovehorses meant the trainer was a genius for getting students to pay her. Genius was referring to trainers salesmanship I think, not you ;)

Well I might of took that wrong. I was just amazed that someone would charge for a internship. If it is a horsemanship, barn management and breeding training program, then it should be called that. I was just curious if the program was beneficial and did it lead to actual employment in the industry, not just contacts. So many young people are looking for working student type opportunities and feedback from these types of programs would be beneficial. Julie Winkel's program is unique.