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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2008
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    1,855

    Default Working Student -- Should I or Shouldn't I?

    ...and if I have to even ask in the first place, is that an answer in itself?

    I'm in my last of my undergraduate degree and am trying to develop a "plan" for myself for the next couple of years. While I have no interest in riding professionally and do intend to return to school and get my MBA after getting my work experience in the corporate world, I am very interested in being a working student for a year after I graduate. I'm very aware that it will probably be my one of my last chances to do something like that (soon-to-be fiancé will be returning to USMA and I'll have to do the army-wife thing once he graduates).

    I just started eventing this summer with my pony and the more we progress, the more I find out how ridiculously talented he is. Having never done eventing myself before and him only having been in under-saddle training for a little over two years, I don't have nearly all the things in my toolbox that I could. I feel like with the right sort of instruction, we could end up going very far. Again, I'm not looking to ride professionally, but there is a fire in me that really wants to see what he and I could accomplish. I've never really enjoyed showing much before this summer, but now I get a rush from events and every time one ends, it makes me that much more excited to go to another. The fire grew that much more when I took him over a Training course today and he cleared the tables (that looked almost as big as him!) with a foot to spare (I saw pictorial proof too!!), not a blink of an eye, and with the kind of heart that tells me he could do so, so much more.

    I don't think I'd be able to get the sort of instruction I could as a working student if I found a place to work and took occasional lessons. I understand that being a working student can be downright miserable at times and it's a grueling lifestyle...but I also feel like it would be an amazing experience to have in my life and that the knowledge gained would be so worth it.

    Is this a juvenile desire that I should steer clear of unless I know I want to go into the horse world professionally? Or should I take advantage of my youth, opportunities, and an amazing horse while I still can?
    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 9, 2007
    Posts
    997

    Default

    What is your chosen profession???? That will help to know in replying since some professions will allow more leeway!
    Sarah in New Hampshire
    My Blog - Adventures in Eventing



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2008
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    1,981

    Default

    I have a friend who doesn't ride competitively or professionally in any way (apart from the occasional 'tune up' session or a beginner riding lesson or two for barn mates and friends) who was a WS for a year with a VERY BNT and she seems to have really enjoyed the experience even though it was a lot of hard work. I think some of that is down to who you end up with - if it's a good pairing you'll learn a lot from it (not necessarily just about horses, either, but about people skills and so on) but if it's a bad one you'll just be miserable and feel like you've wasted your time.

    But certainly if you can afford to do it (and assume also that it might not work out so you might have to find a different job partway through the year - even if the situation is working for you, you might get injured or something and that needs to be taken into consideration) then it seems like it might be a worthwhile thing to do just for yourself - not every learning experience we have needs to be directly applicable to a career.

    (Like I said, you can learn a lot about yourself and other people in all manner of environments - and depending on how you 'sell' it later on, it could actually make you more appealing for a job than someone who has only had the college+grad school experience, because you have real world experience and might have had to deal creatively with all kinds of issues.)



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
    Posts
    4,059

    Default

    The time to do interesting, offbeat, challenging things is when you are young, and your life isn't as complicated as it will get later (mortgage, kids etc etc etc).

    Ask yourself, if you were on your deathbed looking back at your life, would you regret not trying?



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2008
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    1,855

    Default

    Joharavhf- my degree is going to be in Mass Communication (so a combination of marketing/advertising/some journalism) with a double-minor in English and PR. I don't know exactly what profession I'll end up liking, but right now I'd really like to work in the e-commerce/e-marketing sides of equine retailers/organizations. I figure it's a way to work with an industry I know well and enjoy while still being realistic!

    kdow- thanks that's what I'm thinking too!

    SMF11- that's a good way to look at it. I think it would be something I would always wonder "what if?" about and once the opportunity passes, I will sorely regret it.
    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2005
    Location
    MD girl living in NC
    Posts
    925

    Default

    I was in the exact same position as you (except different major and looking at longer term MS/PhD, not MBA) last spring.

    I have a horse who I think has a lot of potential, and I wanted an opportunity to focus entirely on him and take him as far as I could under a trainer. I was burnt out of school, but I never really wanted to ride professionally full-time. And I still wanted graduate school to be in the near future.

    So I inquired with the trainer I rode with the summer before--and she happened to be in need of a working student, so I made the decision to go ahead and do the working student thing.

    I don't regret the decision at all. Luckily I have a family that is willing to support me for this year, that has made an invaluable difference, though it is difficult balancing family obligations vs working student vs long-distance relationship with my boyfriend. But it's working as I've figured out ways to get everything balanced. Be realistic, upfront, and OPEN about your goals, other things in your life that could conflict with working student schedules, and your financial ability to show/clinic/etc.

    I also had lessoned with my trainer for a summer prior to the working student situation kind of falling into my lap. That helped--knowing her training style, horses etc. BUT it is an entirely different relationship, seeing a "trainer" outside of that role and you need to make sure that your personalities can work together as well.

    Good luck!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    269

    Default

    Thanks for posting this. I am going to be a sophomore in college this year, and I'm thinking I would REALLY like to do a 1-year or less WS stint sometime before I head out into "the real world." Not interested in riding professionally - just in, as you put it, adding more tools to my toolbox.

    Haven't figured out the specifics yet but I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking of doing it!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 9, 2007
    Posts
    997

    Default

    hmmmmmm.....

    I say if you DO IT, do it BIG. Don't go with some no name trainer. Go for one of the bigger ones.
    Sarah in New Hampshire
    My Blog - Adventures in Eventing



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2005
    Posts
    3,355

    Default

    Most of the kids we know who became working students did not get a lot out of it. You will probably not get a full range of lessons and experiences. Everything depends on the needs of the trainer.

    I think you would be better off getting a job with flexible hours and paying for the lessons you want and need. Go to an awesome dressage person for some really good dressage lessons. Spend a week every month with a big name event rider. Go to Florida for a few weeks in the winter and to the Northeast in the summer. The problem is always finding a job that will let you have flexible hours or flex place, while still paying you enough so you can live. I agree that now is the time to do something fun. It is just hard to get it arranged so you get the experiences you want.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2009
    Location
    SE VA
    Posts
    465

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SMF11 View Post
    The time to do interesting, offbeat, challenging things is when you are young, and your life isn't as complicated as it will get later (mortgage, kids etc etc etc).

    Ask yourself, if you were on your deathbed looking back at your life, would you regret not trying?
    This is something I can relate to. . . I have regretted not staying longer as a working student in my youth. I left for practical reasons, but probably could have worked it out and stayed longer.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 6, 2007
    Posts
    513

    Default

    No advice, as such, but I'm going to follow up one of the previous posts with a quote I think is relevant:

    Never regret anything, because at one point it was exactly what you wanted.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
    Location
    Saco, Maine
    Posts
    4,715

    Default

    Do it! But not in Maine



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2006
    Posts
    867

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joharavhf View Post
    hmmmmmm.....

    I say if you DO IT, do it BIG. Don't go with some no name trainer. Go for one of the bigger ones.
    Don't the BNT's charge for you to be a working student? And isn't it expensive?



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2001
    Posts
    1,354

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravencrest_Camp View Post
    Don't the BNT's charge for you to be a working student? And isn't it expensive?
    Not all of them. it depends on the BNT and the individual deal you broker with them. Ask for what you want then compromise! Paying positions are few and far between, though, and are held by permanent staff.

    If you are not paid be prepaired to either live with much younger working students/ staff OR rent your own place. The work ranges from very basic, ie. mucking stalls, turning in / out, grooming, tacking up, basic work around the farm - to being able to ride a range of horses, help and big events and to be privy to what goes in to training event horses to the international level.

    I say do it - but yes go with a bigger name... maybe not the biggest names, since they might have waiting lists of young riders who ARE going to make horses their careers and so would get priority.



  15. #15
    Time_for_Tea Guest

    Default

    I'd say look around and see who is actually taking on WS (never know b/c of the economy right now, everyone has been tight). Def. get realistic info before making your big decision I can tell you as a working person I'd love to have had more time working with my horse and other horses before going into the grind of the workforce.

    I would caution you to know your financial options & availability. For the most part masters programs don't offer financial assistance, aside from loans. SO if getting your MBA is a high priority down the road don't make it an impossible one b/c of becoming a WS now.

    It's a tricky decision but I'm sure that whatever you decide you'll make it work. Best of luck!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2006
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,404

    Default

    I agree that you should give it a shot. I wish this was something I had considered/had available to me when I was 21-ish.

    However, I would add that you should have a Plan B, and maybe even a Plan C, in place in case it doesn't work out.
    -Debbie / NH

    My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2000
    Location
    Chantilly,va.
    Posts
    10,867

    Exclamation with caution!

    You are getting excellent advice!Is your family willing to support you while you do this?I was afraid of the WS with a BNT because I did not have my own horse so, went with WS at Morven Park; and, though I rode some wonderful school horses ; there was no "real world experience" either in competing or barn management; no owners. boarders.l, vets or farriers to deal with or hay man or feed store; they were all there but, we did not interact/ interface)() with them on the business end; the art of dealing with these various and varied individuals; would be worthwhile to learn; If you have a dream like this, do it now, while you are young; but, do have something to fall back on;I would say if, you can get job in your academic area right out of school, go for it; figure out how much money you will need to do this later and set that aside every month; be sure to get a written agreement as to hours and duties; and how much notice is required on either side
    breeder of Mercury!

    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans



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