There are of course people like you describe .... Ultimately they don't make it because they do not have what it takes.
Originally Posted by marianne
I too am a employer ... And yes, i expect people to prove their worth. I also believe in paying them for the value they initially bring to the table .... It's a simple measure of respect.
Unpaid internships and apprenticeships have a place in the educational world ... And often students receive college credit for them, which is a form of payment.
The real world answer is that we cannot legally bind anyone to employment ... Slavery was abolished a long time ago. People stay in jobs where they are treated with respect and valued. Employers keep people who perform and care.
Good work relationships are mutual .... Always have been always will be.....
Originally Posted by juststartingout
I guess we just have different perspectives on this particular point. WS in my experience are more akin to unpaid interns in the corporate world. They are a PITA....and take much more time out of your day then value they bring for the work that they do. The WS does get value out of similar to a degree in educational world....it adds to their resume and gives them a potential source of references for paid positions.
I know many BNT that do not have them because they are more work than they are worth.
Yes they muck stalls....but the paid stall mucker doesn't take any time to teach, and often does the job faster and better. When I was a paid show groom who also rode the baby horses for a BNT.....I would school the horses under his watchful eyes. He rarely....and I mean rarely...said more than 2 words to me when I rode with him. Typically he would just point at the jumps. Why...because he wasn't there to teach me. I was paid to do my job. I did learn...but the expectations were very different. We had other grooms who wanted to ride but he wouldn't allow them because they didn't have the skills he wanted. He wasn't running a WS program....and if you rode and jumped with him, you earned that right by already having the skills to be hired. Not learning on the job.
That is the key...expectations for both the WS and employer are different than the relationship between a paid employee and employer.
I tend to agree with most of the riders that I know....they do NOT find WS terribly helpful and often they are more of a PITA. They would rather hire a good groom and pay them for their work. Most who offer WS positions do so because they want to actually help the next generation....NOT because it is a form a cheap labor.
Sorry, i dont seem to be able to reply with quote, so i just wanted to address the WS Value.
Like i said we run a working student program at our barn. I actually took to heart some of the problems people posted here about these type of positions and went to the barn owners and changed the program. Did it work, absolutely not. The problems we addressed were, (and these are just a few), students not getting enough lessons, students working too long hours, students only getting the crap jobs and not allowed to do the fun stuff.
This is what we offer, bring your own horse, or one will be supplied,(not a lesson horse, an allready winning show horse), car and gas for that car, a two bedroom apartment in town, (older apartment, but clean with all amenities. Riding 6 days a week, in which a least 4 are actuall lessons.Trailering and coaching fees at shows, covered. Lunch hour and two breaks per day. Student needs to bring food money and spending money, with a 6 month commitment and if they like the job, and want to stay they will be offered a full time paid postion.
So far out of 10 people, 1 has worked out. Problems we had with students were varied and this is where the Student value comes in. So for instance we had a young lad that came, that was over weight, i understand, i also have a weight problem, we talked about this and the BO's were willing to give him a chance. First day all he had to do was help turn horses in and out, water indoor stalls, and groom two horses. That day they ended at 2:, because we all were going to a fund raiser. He called his mother to come get him because it was to much work. Out lay for this student, was furniture for his room and a larger horse that he could ride. All this for half a days work. One girl didnt stay because she said there was too much riding, and her body couldn't take it. She was given as her own horse, an easy going couch, that was well trained and not one problem to ride... something like a dream horse to learn on. Constant reminders, about things. When they go bring horses in all they have to do is glance at the water tub and tell the BO it needs filling, NO they don't have to fill it, they just have to say something... trust me they can't even do that. Lets talk about stall cleaning, our stalls are easy, horses spend most of the day outside, BO's help with this, there is no point to the WS cleaning the stalls as you have to go back and redo them. Where is the vallue in that? So we change and say no stall cleaning, can you groom, really its not that hard to groom a horse. Again why bother as apparently that is to much work also. I could go on and on, they all say the same thing its their passion, and they want to work in the horse industry. No basically they want to sit in a chair and play on their I-phones. There is no value in their work at all for the first three months. I seem to find its a general attitude, its not that they cant do the work, its they dont feel they should have to. Most come with the attitude they are better and know more than the barn owners. Its funny really.
Look, no one is saying its a walk in the park. Its tough, really tough in the winter with all the snow, but is that not what being in the horse industry is. Its a life style, its not for everyone, and I am sure even the barn owners feel like its to much sometimes. It is what it is, and unless you are independantly wealthy, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up.
The one girl that has stayed. What a lovely girl. She is a gem. Is she perfect of course not, but damn her parents did a good job raising her. She brought her horse, and its a bit of a problem, but she is greatfull for the help she is getting, plus all the other really nice show horses she gets to ride. If her horse doesn't work out for the show season, I will make sure she has a nice one to show. She came prepared with money in the bank, and a plan. She knew up front what she wanted to get out of the program, and is taking every opportunity she can that is given to her. I commend her for being that forward thinking. Her parents are very supportive, and realize they never could have afforded to give this girl a chance. They all understand, they never would have been able to board at a place like ours. I really enjoy having this girl around, and I noticed the boarders took up a collection for christmas for her. They also seem to be happy she is here.
I always see people post about how unfair it is they cant afford a really nice horse, and only rich people buy their way into the showing world. Really, it doesn't matter, because even if you offer these kids a really nice show horse, and a way to get where they want to go, its still not enough. Its the whole entitled attitude. My final thought on this whole thing is this. The horse industry really isn't any different than other industries. I am in the electronics world, and trust me you don't start at the top with the great accounts, because all the senior sales people have those accounts. You start at the bottom and work your way up. Doesn't matter if you have a university degree or not, you still start at the bottom. Hard work and dedication are in the end, what gets you to the top of my field. Just the same as any other kinds of work.
We are kind of done with all the WS positions, if someone comes along we will give them a chance, but it will no longer be about bringing along the next generation of horsemen.
bornfreenowexpensive and texan -- spent a bit of time considering not responding.... and then I could not help it.
First -- I am NOT discussing Boyd's position -- I have no information with which to do so.
Second -- having been a working student and having worked with many working students for many years -- I think the premise that the working student is like a college intern is not apt. Most college interns do not have real world experience in the field in which they are interning. I do not know any trainers who hire working students with no riding experience or no horse care experience. Virtually every working student I know came to the position with significant riding and horse care experience. I am not saying that they necessarily had experience with ULR or horses -- but they had hands on real experience.
I acknowledge that having a WS requires a commitment from the trainer to teach -- and it should. Somewhere along the line, someone likely gave that trainer/rider the same kind of hand up -- and in my world we all have an obligation to pass that along.
Hiring the right person who is dedicated, talented and teachable is a skill -- and its a skill that IME many horse people lack. This is not a criticism, it is simply a statement that in the bag of tools that a trainer/rider needs to be successful this is one that is not needed until someone reaches the upper levels and even then not too frequently. Its not surprising that many of these matches fail because IME not one writes a description that clearly lays out the commitments that both sides are making.
Sure trainers/riders have bad experiences. So do WS. Too many times promises are made on both sides that are not kept.
I thought my point was simple. The poster said subjects "aren't allowed" to defend themselves on this forum. That's simply not true. I took their post literally. Guess I proved your point though. I took offense, and now I feel the need to defend myself. :lol:
Originally Posted by NCRider
I also wanted to mention, that there is a college quite close to me that has an equine course. I believe it is a 2 year program. You can bring your horse or not, its up to you. This course according, to actual people that have paid to go, is a waste of money. Apparently it is designed for people that have no horse experience at all. The only helpfull thing about the course is the business courses. Cost for the 2 year program is approximately 30k with including your accomodations. If you want to bring a horse board on top of that is 850.00 per month. This course seems to be pretty full year after year.Students come out no more able to handle the rigors of the horse industry the susy Q off the street. Juststarting out, your experience with the working students, is NOT the norm.These kids talk the talk but when it comes to hands on experience its just not there. Even the kids that come out of the college program i spoke of above, don't generally come out with a viable education. No one is expecting them to know everything, they are after all students, but trust me when i tell you, most of them do not want to put anything into the job. They wanted it handed to them, like its their right to have it. In a paid position at the local Mc Dees, trust me if you stand around not serving customers, your not going to have your job long. Its the way of the world. Even if i was to supply all that we give, plus a good wage per week, it would make no difference at all. As we started the program doing that, and even that did not work. No i believe the problem goes beyond what my actual complaints are, I believe its a work ethic problem, with todays youth. The whole everyone gets a gold star no matter what, is the crux of the situation. Now before everyone gets the knickers in a knot, yes there is good kids out there that work hard, but you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find that prince. I know a girl, right now that is in grad school, she works three part time jobs, does clipping on the side and anything else she can do to make the finances work. Her parents don't pay, she is the one guiding her own future, smart girl as far as i am concerned. She will go far in life.As far as hiring practices are concerned, I can only believe what they tell me. If they say they have experience, what am i to do. Say they are lying. Even references turn out to be rediculous.. No one wants to say anything negative anymore, in case there is a problem. Its not a matter of hiring/taking on the right people, as their resumes all read the same. Just interchange their names and you've got the same people. So maybe it comes down to the type of people that apply. Could be that..... but lets face it, it takes a pretty special person to make it in the horse industry.
Call me a cynic, but I am really surprised at how Mr. Martin went about this process. One could almost think that it was mostly about gaining "publicity" more then a good WS. Certainly a man with his clout and notoriety could have just reached out to friends, colleagues, other professionals and just put out the word. Either he's pretty naive or there was method to the madness.
What fascinates me though is the furor over this topic. 12 pages (and now I add more bytes that really don't matter). Lets say I am truly committed to the goal of becoming a BN something (say R). Will spending 3 months, a ton of money, no social life as a WS for Mr Martin get me there quicker? After three months I may have some incrementally better skills, but I'm still just a Rider at a level and I need way more time in the saddle to get to the coveted BNR label. Maybe I want to be a BO someday and manage an equestrian center, mucking stalls, cleaning tack, grooming and basic caring of horses will only get my foot in the door of the skill sets needed for that future....So what's the draw?
Ah ha, I get it...to drop Mr. Martin's name around like those Harvard/Yale kids can do about their education...but does that get me to Rolex any better then if I plod along, working with good (affordable) trainers, working side jobs to pay the bills while gaining hard won experience going to local shows, moving up levels? Is Boyd's name going to open some magical door that those poor shleps who can't afford his "offer" will miss out on?
How the heck did anyone ever get to the top without being a
WS for some BNR? ....
If there is one thing I've learned in my short time with horses, they don't gave a DAMN how much money you or one's parents got, they don't care a wit if you rode with BNR Martin or awesome unknown Eventing trainer. They care whether you know how to Ride. Mr. Martin's path is not the only path to the top and to say that the sport is becoming the play time for the rich is short sighted. Personally, I think his type of a WS program sucks, not for the cost, but for the approach. Over working people is a lousy way to teach and a lousy way to gain productivity. However, its his way, I am sure he found someone to do the time.
Does get me to pondering about my own WSP....STR (Small Time Rider) and BO seeks young, energetic, horse loving person to come join the fun at Windy Meadows Farm. For no pay you'll get to muck stalls, drag fields, clean tack, groom and ride two "mature" horses, sometimes conditioning on a future Rolex horse (if he was younger). In return this potential student can get "free" lessons (everything I currently know about riding, what my trainer teaches me, and what I get from Jimmie's book) every other day, use of truck/trailer to haul own horse to shows and the unwavering gratitude of a full time employee with little time to do any of the above. The workshop is clean and available for sleeping arrangements and breakfast/dinners three times a week. Send resumes to JP60, serious applicants only...Now you compare that to Mr. Martin's offer and tell me which is the better deal :winkgrin:
I also know nothing about Boyd's position, but re the general discussion: if I was looking for a WS position (which will never happen!), and knew about this thread, I'd look to go to someone like juststartingout, who has a *positive* attitude toward WS. Anyone who gripes about "kids today" and makes sweeping generalizations is right out (and I am 48.)
Sorry to hear you have had bad experiences. But YES -- check out what they are telling you. Its not that hard, at least here in my area. First USEF and US Eventing Association has records of prior shows. If a WS says that they have competed, look it up. You only need the name of the rider, horse, or show and date to verify their performance. Call their references. The horse world is pretty small and while you may not get a written reference, any professional will be unlikely to lay off a lousy working student on another professional by giving a good reference. Ask who they trained with and call their prior trainer. Ask how long they have been looking for a WS position -- the good ones have not been looking long. Call your colleagues and ask who is available, good, and hard working -- you would be surprised how many are.
Originally Posted by texan
On one thing we agree - it takes a really special person to succeed in the horse business -- in my experience they are out there and far too many are never identified or given the opportunity. It takes work to find them but they are worth their weight in gold.
I think you're making texan's point: it takes work (and a lot of time and money) to find the good ones--ws and program, both. How much time and money does someone have to waste sifting wheat from lots and lots of chaff before he or she is allowed to be a little grumpy and disillusioned?
Originally Posted by juststartingout
JP60, your offer sounds great to me! If I had an opportunity like this in my neck of the woods, I would have jumped on it! I'm still trying/dreaming I'll find something where I could be an adult ammie working student by day (when husband and kids are at work/school), and return home by night to transform into Mom/wife. Doesn't seem likely, but a gal can dream, can't she? If I had only known about WS possibilities in my younger years, I would have taken a different path. (sigh)
It takes just as long to find a good worker as it takes to find a good working student -- at least if you want the same quality -- and I do. I expect knowledgable, personable, hard working people who really want to learn the business and are capable of interacting with clients as well as other professionals
Originally Posted by WildBlue
So my answer is .... as long as it takes to find the right person -- because I am worth it and so are my horses and clients
I said corporate intern....not college....not sure what a college intern is but most of the corporate interns are people with 4 year degrees if not graduate degrees. They do have some real world experience. They do the free internships with top companies for the opportunity to prove themselves, get insight into how those companies operate and most of all...to network. It gives a company time to get to know the individual and whether they are a "good" one. And if they are...often they are offered paid jobs. It is NOT a long term thing.
Originally Posted by juststartingout
To me WS positions are similar. If you can afford to do it...you can get a lot out of it. It is a chance to see a program up close...do some networking...and gain some skills. It is not a quick way to the top...NOR is it the only way.
In my experience though, the WS are not typically bringing a ton of value to the table. That is my own personal experience. If they have that ton of value and experience....they don't typically do WS positions but come with the recommendations and connections to start with a paid position. Most of the time, riders that offer those positions are doing it more out of giving someone a shot. Some good kids are able to take that opportunity and make a lot out of it...others will not. But I also see no issue with an established trainer not wanting to put themselves too far out until they get to know a person.
We see the world and opportunity differently -- and that's ok.... it is also perhaps why I have found more success finding working students-- more time looking, more time screening, and more time invested.
Originally Posted by bornfreenowexpensive
Corporate interns with 4 year degrees -- yep - and nope I teach them and they haven't done anything. Graduate students are usually but not always back at school because they want to change fields - again no experience -- most will do internships -If they HAVE to - as summer jobs to build a resume --- but no longer than that not--- basically agreeing to work for nothing for any time longer than a break tells the employer that you do not think you are worth anything. Not a message I recommend my student send
Originally Posted by juststartingout
Who said I have trouble finding good people?? I'm not a pro but I have helped several young riders. All have been great. But I'm a pretty quick and good judge. BUT I know a lot of UL riders...and have heard more horror stories about WS than good ones. Many will no longer have working students unless someone like me steps up and vouches for the kid.
My point was a WS is similar to an internship. To me it is something to ONLY do short term. Like a summer or one season. I never was a WS...but those that I have offered interships to all had resumes that showed they were hard workers. I cared more that someone had a record of a work ethic than direct industry experience. Yes...we all know those kids that have never held a job. I waited tables through college and law school, as well as mucked stalls etc. In the summer, I typically worked multiple jobs. One that may help my career (but often didn't pay) and others that paid. And as part of my hiring committee....I tend to hire people (for paid positions) who are similar. As I hate having to teach basic work ethic and work skills to a first year associate pulling 6 figures who while they have fancy degrees have never worked a real job.
Again...I'm not opposed to WS. I understand how they can be a good and how they can be bad.
There's something to be said about learning from a master. I don't know if Boyd Martin would claim any mastery at this point in his career, but he went the trad route in training/apprenticeship for many (7?) years with the Ryans. Then he went to Phillip Dutton before striking out on his own. That's about a decade of watching, listening and asking questions from some people who've had amazing success in eventing and dressage and in training others to excel at both. These are people with world-class programs and world-class success. There are reasons for that.
Originally Posted by JP60
My young horses are ridden by Glenbaer, who for the past several years, has been working as assistant to J. Michael Plumb. Before signing on with him, she had ridden at the ULs and had her own successful training/teaching business. But she realized that if she wanted to be a top-level rider, she had to focus on developing top-level riding and training skills, which meant learning from the best.
Is it easy to work for Mike? I would use an icon here but there is no icon that would do it justice. (And I love Mike. I really do.)
Has it been worth it? Definitely. Her riding and training skills, which were already good, have improved dramatically. She could not have made these improvements or gained these insights in this timeframe (measured in several years, BTW) any other way. I suppose she could have ridden and trained by trial-and-error and by picking various BNT brains but it would have taken most of her lifetime to get there.
From a client's POV, you can send a horse to her knowing where her program comes from, and also that it has been vetted at various stages by someone of Mike's caliber.
(ETA: Last month, Glenbaer went to a Boyd Martin clinic at JMP's insistence. She had to get my permission to take one of my horses, and I knew better than to say anything other than 'yes'. JMP is very positive on Boyd's riding skills. That says a lot.)
Look at Kelly Prather, who's ridden at Rolex but is now working for William Fox-Pitt. Even if her work is a job, she's had to have made numerous financial and professional concessions in her own life to pack up and resurface overseas. But she must also realize that being William Fox-Pitt is a huge step up from just maybe getting around Rolex on one horse.
There are proven systems for success. They're not the only path to success, but if you have the patience to learn them as well as the space in your life to commit to them, you will probably end up more secure in and closer to your goals.
JER, I totally agree.
There are many WS programs out there where you do get good benefits right from the get-go. But that's likely because the trainer/BO does not have the mastery of someone such as Martin. The market is a fair one and one must work harder in exchange for learning from someone like Martin or Dutton, etc. (JP60, this is NOT intended as a slight toward you as I don't know you or your qualifications).
I do know top UL riders who have given up on WS programs because they just cannot find people who are dedicated. From my personal experience, I've not had good experiences with paid positions, even when they get to ride super horses and get paid while doing it. I don't really need for them to ride but have used this as a way to garner enthusiasm. I had one who was terrific, and she was in her 40s... and went back to her full time professional career after a few months.
I'm now in the position where I need to find someone else and I am cringeing at the thought of trying to find someone. They are always so eager and positive when interviewed, but after a few 6 am mornings... that enthusiasm seems to wane. I will teach someone everything I can along with pay and getting to travel to events etc. But I am a small name rider in BNR territory.
Originally Posted by JER
I have a wicked sense of humor, about as crass as you can get. But I also thought it was tacky and not the right place to post such a dig.
OTOH, I was kind of amused that COTH is so well known that it gets mentioned in an Olympian's WS ad. Like, there is no such thing as bad press? :cool:
Sorry to be coming so late to this thread, but maybe you’re still reading. The main problem with your position is that it is directed at such a limited pool of applicants, and probably not those with the most potential for success. Do you really want a “desperately hungry young rider who is committed to a long term working agreement?” I find that hard to believe since your terms ensure that the only people who can work for you are extremely well-fed teenagers or young adults who are totally dependent on Mom and Dad for all of their needs. They probably won’t stay long—they will miss their family, friends and fun times, or college will have to happen. I guess the promising kid from down the road could work out since they could live at home while being your ws. But that’s a really limited applicant pool.
The best ws prospect would be a talented rider who is independent, responsible, realistic, smart, and mature enough to know that she wants a career in the horse world. She’s willing to work super hard for long hours, but has enough self respect to know that her work has value. (As juststartingout said, being willing to work for nothing just tells everyone that you don’t think you’re worth anything). This kind of person is generally no longer a teenager and she’s not the kind of person who expects endless handouts from her parents. Superior young adults don’t sponge off their parents for everything, yet your position absolutely requires this. You are eliminating the very people you should be trying to attract in favor of young spongers, so it’s no wonder you find that most aren’t suitable. Please be realistic—no matter how hard-working a person is, the cost of your program can’t be covered without begging a ton of money from parents. Riding lessons are excellent and essential, but totally inadequate as a form of compensation if a person is striving to be even semi financially independent.
If ws truly aren’t valuable to you, then just hire someone to do the extremely hard work for extremely long hours. If they are valuable and you want to attract the best people, make the position at least minimally affordable in a manner typical of other successful ws positions (e.g., see Phyllis Dawson’s program).
Tamsin, I think you are being presumptious. I would bet that one could make it without parents, just like people who make it through college and grad school without parents.
If there is a will, there is a way.
I know of WS's who work on their days off, clipping horses, teaching lessons, cleaning barns, etc., and/or wait tables at night. And how do you know that Boyd won't work with a potential WS to make it work? You have no idea.