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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2009
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    Question Barn Rats and BNTs

    ...
    Last edited by maudie; Feb. 22, 2011 at 10:50 AM.
    Mel



  2. #2
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    Aug. 13, 2008
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    1,701

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    I rode at a big show barn for awhile and that's how I got my extra riding opportunities. I took lessons with the head trainer once a week, and she seemed to like the way I rode. Once I communicated to her that I was desperate to ride more but just couldn't afford it, she let me hack and school tons of horses. When I moved to my current barn, the BO let me feed a few nights a week in exchange for extra rides. I have a horse now, but I still feed occasionally to get a small break on board.

    You say you're not that experienced, but you need to be experienced enough so that a trainer/client will let you get on their horse and be confident that you won't make the horse's training regress. I'm not some big show rider by a far stretch, but I'm a solid rider with a proper, effective position and my trainers have recognized that. You may be able to find a trainer that will let you work for rides, but if you're not already a decently proficient rider, then I don't think you'll get many extra rides or get to ride the really fancy horses. I have no idea how good of rider you are but that is just a precaution. All of the people I know who are full working students, have gotten their positions by taking lessons at the barn they work at before asking about a job. Maybe try that route if you don't have any other luck asking around. Good luck! I know what it's like to feel that you're stuck in a "riding rut" just because you don't have enough $$$ and can't find a working student job!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 1999
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    Mendocino County, CA: Turkey Vulture HQ
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    14,424

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    1. Polo shirt and jeans is always appropriate gear for a barn visit.

    2. Realize that a BNT charges around $80 for a lesson and your labor is probably worth about $7 an hour. Thus, even if everything goes according to your wildest dreams, you still need to be prepared to work 10 hours for every hour of riding time. If you earn trust, you might do better. But not the first week. You'll also learn a ton just being around the barn, probably more than you will aboard a horse.

    3. You have to be prepared to be absolutely reliable. That means, your transportation has to be rock-solid: if you need Mom to drive you, you need to be certain she always can on the schedule you commit to. If you have homework, or an activity, you can't just not go except occasionally with plenty of notice or in a dire emergency.

    To be a working student when you are trying to attend school is a difficult situation. Don't commit unless you know you can follow through, even if that means you have to wait until summer or until you are older. If you fail, you can't expect to get a second chance.

    You might be better off looking for a good teacher with a lesson barn. They almost always need someone to help get everyone on their horses, and it's easy on your family to get dropped off for say all day saturday rather than struggling with weeknights.

    Have you discussed this at length with your friend? She will know how this trainer operates and how that relates to your skills far better than any of us can.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  4. #4
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    Aug. 22, 2009
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    1,007

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    If you're talking about the barn I think you are b/c your elusiveness wasn't very effective....given we know your location and the trainer there is well known for ponies... then I think it is pretty rude to be posting in an online forum implying all those things about that trainer before even meeting them. Here you are complaining that trainers only want "wealthy" kids or something but a few weeks ago you were bragging about how some wealthy friend of yours wanted to buy you a horse (?) So you hate wealthy people but are more than willing to have your hand out to them?

    If you have questions about what this trainer is willing to offer you then the right way to do that would be to talk to the trainer and ask those questions.



  5. #5
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    May. 17, 2009
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    330

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockfordbuckeye View Post
    If you're talking about the barn I think you are b/c your elusiveness wasn't very effective....given we know your location and the trainer there is well known for ponies... then I think it is pretty rude to be posting in an online forum implying all those things about that trainer before even meeting them. Here you are complaining that trainers only want "wealthy" kids or something but a few weeks ago you were bragging about how some wealthy friend of yours wanted to buy you a horse (?) So you hate wealthy people but are more than willing to have your hand out to them?

    If you have questions about what this trainer is willing to offer you then the right way to do that would be to talk to the trainer and ask those questions.
    I edited the OP a little bit. I completely forgot about my location in the little box. My bad, I apologize if anyone thought I was being negative about the specific trainer.

    And I didn't *think* I was implying anything about this specific trainer. I mainly want to know how to act and dress for meeting a trainer who has a bigger operation in general. I'm trying to get on a college team, and will probably be making barn trips in the future.

    Did you read that thread? if so I would have thought you would have a better idea of the situation and my course of action.

    I hate snotty, obnoxious, rich people. I've only come across a few that really made my skin crawl, and that was mostly at shows. I choose to associate with people who treat me like a human. Also, I don't walk around kissing butt wherever I go. But, if someone OFFERS me something, I'm going to at least consider it.
    Mel



  6. #6
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    May. 17, 2009
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    330

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    ...
    Last edited by maudie; Feb. 22, 2011 at 10:50 AM.
    Mel



  7. #7
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    Jan. 23, 2000
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    Virginia
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    I hate snotty, obnoxious, rich people. I've only come across a few that really made my skin crawl, and that was mostly at shows. I choose to associate with people who treat me like a human. Also, I don't walk around kissing butt wherever I go. But, if someone OFFERS me something, I'm going to at least consider it.
    You're going to have to stop thinking/complaining/hating "snotty, obnoxious rich people" if you want to work in a show barn. Seriously - GET RID OF THIS ATTITUDE. It speaks much more to your own problems and issues than anything they come up with.

    Better not to prejudge and to just be polite and helpful. You'll get better opportunities for yourself that way. And if you're still thinking like this, most folks find that that does come through even if you think you're being polite. And a good trainer won't have that in her barn, because those "snotty rich people" are important clients and they're paying your way.

    As far as how you are to dress, I would wear a polo (not terribly wrinkled), a belt, and polished paddock boots. Jeans that are not ratty or khaki pants. Hair tidy and minimal if any jewelry, with minimal if any makeup.
    ---
    They're small hearts.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 3, 2003
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    Up the creek from bar.ka
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    10,036

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    Quote Originally Posted by maudie View Post

    I hate snotty, obnoxious, rich people. I've only come across a few that really made my skin crawl, and that was mostly at shows. I choose to associate with people who treat me like a human. Also, I don't walk around kissing butt wherever I go. But, if someone OFFERS me something, I'm going to at least consider it.
    I can tell you right now your attitude is not going to get you anyplace.

    There are people from that barn who post here regularly and I'm pretty sure you've just ruined any opportunity you may have had.

    In the future, the best rule is to keep your mouth shut, or your keyboard out of reach if you can't type things that aren't obnoxious about people you'd like to use for your own advancement.



  9. #9
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    Feb. 18, 2003
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    Alberta
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    oh for crying out loud........snotty and obnoxious isn't limited to "rich people" you know! But, bless you're heart, you my dear, are coming across as exactly THAT by posting it the way you did and in the same breathe saying how, of course you'd use them for the handout though!

    P.S. For future postings, just ask how you should approach a trainer and what you should wear....don't bring up class status at all, it's unbecoming!
    Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2009
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    South Central: Zone 7
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    You should expect to have to wear a polo (tucked in), belt, clean breeches (if riding position) or jeans (no holes), either paddock boots or tall boots (cleaned and shined) or other barn appropriate footwear and don't forget to keep your hair tidy (up in a pony tail, braided, etc.). This attire would be expected in almost any barn (big or small) so its not limited "rich and obnoxious" people. You need to look professional at all times. Its not uncommon for a trainer to need a WS to hop on a horse and school it for a client or prospective buyer (in which case you must look good).

    Employees are representatives of there employer, so in this case you would be representing the barn. As a professional, I would not want anyone that looked like a "barn rat" representing my barn (I assume you mean dirty/holey clothing, inappropriate footwear, oversized t-shirts etc). If you need, go to Target or wherever and buy some polos (you can find them pretty cheap) and a lot of times the barn will provide you with a couple polos with the barn's logo on it.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 1999
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    3,215

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    You are not going to get anywhere by simply emailing BNT's for a job. That comes across as lazy and expecting them to do all the work to contact you.

    Do you currently ride? Can you go to a large show nearby and show off your skills and approach the trainers who interest you (during a quiet moment, of course)?



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2001
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    Finally...back in civilization, more or less
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    11,473

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    The best way I know to get a working student position (and I *was* one, many years ago, and consider it to have been a fabulous education) is to have another professional make the introduction(s).

    If you currently take lessons and/or have done similar work at a smaller operation, you can reasonably ask for their help and a recommendation. A phone call from another pro saying, "Suzy is a great worker and terrific around clients," will get you a lot more attention than randomly emailing a BNT out of blue. (Do you have any idea how many of those they get?) I remember being at a clinic with a VBNT a couple of years ago and he mentioned they get literally hundreds... and although he's a nice guy and not snobby at all, he simply didn't have the time to reply to most of them.

    I ditto the suggestion to lose the attitude about "snotty rich people," and to learn to kiss some butt if you want to be successful in a WS position. I was the most junior WS on the farm when I started, but had a manager's position in well under a year - because I was unfailingly great to the customers and went out of my way to be nice even to the difficult ones!
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  13. #13
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    May. 17, 2009
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    330

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    ...
    Last edited by maudie; Feb. 22, 2011 at 10:51 AM.
    Mel



  14. #14
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    Oct. 2, 1999
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    Mendocino County, CA: Turkey Vulture HQ
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    Remember that people's time to mentor and supervise a working student is at a premium - there's only so much to go around. It's not so much about being mean or prejudging as the reality that a farm only stays open when the bills are paid. A farm needs both hard work and money to survive.

    If you don't want people to judge you by your wallet (or perception thereof), then you shouldn't be judging them by your perception of their wallet. Drop it from your thinking entirely. Snotty people are annoying regardless of bank balance. (Indeed, in my experience the worst are people who are poseurs.) Besides, you're probably not as good at guessing people's net worth as you think.

    Bring everything you can to the table; respect the contributions of others.

    Good luck.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  15. #15
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    May. 17, 2009
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    Thanks for all the advice on dress, I should be good. I have a black polo, nice jeans, belt, and waterproof paddock boots. I appreciate the help
    Mel



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,179

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    There are rude people who try to make others feel "less than" all over. And they belong to all income brackets, believe it or not.

    But one thing is true: The PITAs with money are a necessary ingredient to your recipe for riding with better instruction and on better horses who can teach you what you want to learn. If you do want to be part a relationship with the person who bought and supports the horses you'll ride, you need to see each person as putting in what they have to offer.

    As I'm sure you know, the owner's contribution is considerable. If it weren't I'm sure you'd just finance all this yourself!

    I do think it can feel hard to gain a toe hold. It can *be* hard, in fact. Just start somewhere. Your idea of taking a few lessons is a good one. Get to know how the trainer teaches and prove yourself an attentive student and effective rider. If you feel comfortable that you can do what the trainer asks in your lesson and understands how he/she wants a horse to go, you can then ask about opportunities to hack a few.

    The other way to go about this is just as good: Take lessons with a smaller trainer for longer. Really build a rapport with him and then ask him to introduce you around if you both agree that you should move on.

    I don't remember your history-- whether you have this kind of situation now or not. If you do and haven't gotten to the end of what this "little guy" can teach you, stay on for a bit. Good people like loyalty and will help a good kid move onto a better opportunity without reservation.

    Hope something opens up for you! Just keep at it.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  17. #17
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    Apr. 3, 2003
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    Up the creek from bar.ka
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    For me, the most important thing is attitude. I want someone who will be happy to be here, is clean and presentable, and is happy to be here.

    I can teach my working student everything I want them to do but a good attitude and kindness to the horses, those two things you have to bring with you.

    What I don't like is someone who talks and talks and talks about negative things, about all their successes but doesn't ride at the level they brag about and doesn't follow instructions or second guesses me.

    Good luck! And remember, don't ever ever ever wear a tank top to the barn.
    Last edited by tidy rabbit; Aug. 28, 2010 at 07:55 AM.



  18. #18
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    Jun. 10, 2009
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    1,683

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    Quote Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
    oh for crying out loud........snotty and obnoxious isn't limited to "rich people" you know! But, bless you're heart, you my dear, are coming across as exactly THAT by posting it the way you did and in the same breathe saying how, of course you'd use them for the handout though!

    P.S. For future postings, just ask how you should approach a trainer and what you should wear....don't bring up class status at all, it's unbecoming!


    I realize what comment you were responding too, but don't see the need for you to bring up class. It's unbecoming indeed. I know you're not trying to, but you kinda came off as snotty and obnoxious yourself...hopefully it was merely a temporary lapse in keyboard judgement and you'll command yourself with more professionalism when you meet the trainer in person. Best of luck!



  19. #19
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    Aug. 19, 2007
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    822

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    Another day, another thread where, inadvertently or not, a poster who wants an education/a hand up/help comes across as judgemental, jealous, and carrying a big 'ol chip on the shoulder. Is it any wonder that trainers have become less open to working student positions these days?

    OP, you know what to wear, and presumably, how to interact politely with others...now get rid of the chip on your shoulder, learn how to bite your tongue if the clients aren't all sunshine and roses, prepare to bust your *ss, and you'll do fine.



  20. #20
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    Aug. 21, 2005
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    958

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    I cant emphasize enough - you have to present yourself as someone who can act like a grown-up (even if you are not, yet), and as someone who is willing to work REALLY hard. I cant tell you enough how important that is to a prospective mentor, and how many kids today have no idea what hard work means.

    and yes, you need personal contacts, or talking to folks at shows or clinics, not e-mail. they need a reason to get interested.



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