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  1. #1
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    Dec. 20, 2009
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    Question How did you start out in the horse industry?

    Summary for the TL;DR crowd: (TL;DR= Too long; didn't read) 1) How did you start out in the horse industry? & 2) Knowing what you know now, what do you wish you could have told yourself 'back then' / how & what would you change in your education (horse wise and 'academic' wise) / Whatever else you would like to share .

    ---

    I don't normally post on these forums (regular reader however!) so I apologise for bringing such a long winded post as my first on this board. I hope it does not come across as troll-like or weird. I posted this on another board but I was also hoping to get some responses from this board as well if you are willing, especially since there is a large group of eventers/breeders/hunter/jumpers here as well.

    This is one of the many questions I have seen pop up over the years on the various equestrian boards-- how does one become a professional trainer/coach / should I become a working student / how did you start out in the industry etc. etc. I know it's been hashed out and discussed several times over but I was hoping that the kind, intelligent, wonderful, knowledgeable souls like the ones that frequent this board might spare a moment and help me sort out my thoughts. Anyone in the same or similar frame of mind-- feel free to jump in, we can group together and work to figure this out!

    Let me preface this by saying I have two wonderful parents who no matter what will always try to support my decisions but they don't necessarily understand my wish to work on a farm/better my skills/become a trainer. And to be honest if I was in their shoes (not overly horsey people, my Mom rode as a kid but left it, Dad is a little fearful of them) I wouldn't get it either and would worry about how they would make money as a trainer/support themselves. But if you would be so kind as to share your experiences/stories/ how you became a trainer/coach/professional and perhaps why you decided that it was what you wanted to do, I think it might make a bit more sense to them-- coming from people already in the industry. I am also looking for resources on the web, and have found a few great ones (any you're willing to share would be brilliant).

    Becoming an apprentice/working student just seems to be what anyone would do if they were 'crazy' enough to want to go down the path of Dressage professional like going to medical school to become a doctor or law school to become a lawyer. While it would be lovely if I could have the ambition to invest in 4 years + grad school to have a more lucrative career and I now know I could do it, but I know that it isn't for me (for a while I truly thought there was something 'wrong' with me, but I know I have the capability to do well in school. I have taken the long way into figuring this out and I won't go into it here.) I don't want to waste money in pursuing a degree I have little intention on using. It is not my money-- again I am very blessed to have parents able to pay for my education. (Feel free to smack me on the head through the interwebs for not taking advantage of it, I am not looking for opinions/stories/etc that only support my own and I know I won't get that The benefit of asking for advice from a large group of people! Part of me feels horrible to walk away from that when so many don't have that opportunity but I don't want my parents to put out that money when it may not be used either.

    So that's part one of this post. Part two-- my end goal is not only Dressage trainer/coach but I would be interested on small scale breeding / training of young horses at a point in my career when it would be financially responsible/feasible. I have a nice young gelding to bring with me on my journey. Would you see benefit in posting oneself at an eventing barn or a more dressage focused barn? The reason I ask is that in doing my research, eventing barns in general seem to have more of a 'program' type involved in their working student positions rather than the dressage, however my young horse is definitely a 'little' dressage horse and not a baby eventer. I am not skilled in jumping but in order for me to get my coaching levels in Canada I must be able to jump. If I did go with the eventer route I would want/need to place myself in a very 'dressage oriented' barn. If you had any suggestions feel free to throw them out there or PM. The 'BNTs' I look up to are: Reiner Klimke, Ingrid Klimke, Klaus Balkenhol, Laura Bechtolscheimer, Elizabeth Ball, Guenter Siedel and George Williams. I guess the most important part would be I would be looking for a system that I can completely devote myself too and to become a well rounded horse person, that I could throw myself into with my young horse and trust that when the days are hard/long I am striving towards something, because I know that 99.999% of the time spent as a working student/apprentice will be hard/long/tiring.

    For those of you coming to this post in the same position as myself, my best friend wrote a lovely interview on the matter-- short, sweet to the point: http://equinestudent.com/?p=8 It actually got me really thinking about what I want to do/where I want to go.

    Thank you for reading this post and in advance for your thoughts/weighing in on the matter. It is greatly appreciated. I was always one to hold myself back from things with the excuse of not having the confidence to do something, but as I am going out more into the world I am starting to see more and more that confidence comes from repetition, learning, and disciplining oneself to (in this case) dressage. A confidence fairy is not going to magically descend and sprinkle it over me, it is something I have to go out and strive to achieve, learn to fail then learn from those failures-- rinse and repeat.

    To end this post, I really love these quotes from elite athletes outside of horses:

    "I wasn’t one of those kids who was told since ninth grade that he was going to play in the NBA. It was long-term goals broken into short-term goals. How to get from the bottom to the top. Those fundamentals transfer to anything.” – Steve Nash

    “I always try to improve on something that I think I’m not good at or think I can’t do very well and try to take those things and do them better. You have to let go of your inhibitions. It’s not an easy thing to do” – Clara Hughes
    Last edited by hollyhawk; Feb. 1, 2011 at 04:42 PM. Reason: Added 'Summary' because I am boring and long winded. <3



  2. #2
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    Default

    Well. You are obviously very articulate and a very good writer, and clearly intelligent.

    I probably shouldn't even post b/c I am not a professional trainer etc. (I have a private barn w/5 boarders). But from my marginal perspective: the horse world is a nasty, cutthroat kind of place. Many, maybe even most, professionals are sleazy. If they are trying to make money off horses many (most?) do not have the horse's best interest at heart, and often not the client's.

    If you care about the horses, and care about doing the right thing, it can be a very rough world. I probably will get jumped all over for writing this, but I went from being a lawyer to being a big barn's business manager -- what an eye opener!

    The trainers were only looking out for themselves, they didn't care what happened to the horse, or even the people involved. There was rampant drugging of horses w/o their owners knowing. Trainers would try and steal each others clients.

    I think the horse world is this way because there really is no one way to climb the ladder to become successful (unlike law, e.g. -- you have to go to law school, you have to have passed the bar etc). In the horse world, anyone can hang out a shingle, and in a way, bad behavior is rewarded.

    The other thing to consider is that riding/training is a physical business. If you were to get injured, or to decide being a pro was not for you, you will have nothing to fall back on. The job market is bleak for someone with no education beyond high school, or work experience in other fields.

    I'm sorry, but I'm going to be a wet blanket and say I think you should go to college (you may find something you absolutely love!). You can keep horses in your life, and you may even end up being a professional trainer, but this way you have a safety net.

    I will also say that although I have not practiced law in almost 20 years, the fact that I went to a top law school still, 25 years later, matters to people. It gives me a kind of credibility. Maybe it shouldn't but it is a hard fact of life that people make snap judgments about others, and having an impressive education is one of those things that people value.

    I'm interested in seeing others' responses, and hearing more from you. You are clearly very thoughtful and it will be interesting to hear what you think.



  3. #3
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    Default P.S.

    Also, you say your end goal is breeding/bringing along young horses. Do you mean to own your own farm? Unless you are incredibly lucky, you won't get there by being a prof. trainer. You just will never have enough money!

    My trainer owns her own barn, but it was in her family. Or, if you read Monty Roberts' book, he was able to buy his farm from the proceeds of a lawsuit (can't count on that!). Most other people earn their money somewhere else and buy the farm that way.

    Seriously, just do a little back of the envelope calculating -- how much would a small breeding farm cost? (land, barn, house, fencing etc). Around here, a 20 acre farm with all those things would cost you close to $1 million. I do live in an expensive part of the country, but if you go to a cheaper part, income tends to be lower too. Even if it were $350,000 I think it would be tough to swing.

    Educate yourself -- look around at all the trainers you can learn about: do they own their own farm? If they do, how did they do it?

    Even my trainer says she needs the safety net of her husband's salary as a pilot. As she said, if a few boarders are late with board, you can't make your mortgage payment. You may not board, but if you are a breeder, you'll need income from foal sales etc . . . *usually* this is a little more risky than a steady salary.



  4. #4
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    Default

    ---"But from my marginal perspective: the horse world is a nasty, cutthroat kind of place. Many, maybe even most, professionals are sleazy. If they are trying to make money off horses many (most?) do not have the horse's best interest at heart, and often not the client's.

    If you care about the horses, and care about doing the right thing, it can be a very rough world. I probably will get jumped all over for writing this, but I went from being a lawyer to being a big barn's business manager -- what an eye opener!

    The trainers were only looking out for themselves, they didn't care what happened to the horse, or even the people involved. There was rampant drugging of horses w/o their owners knowing. Trainers would try and steal each others clients.

    I think the horse world is this way because there really is no one way to climb the ladder to become successful (unlike law, e.g. -- you have to go to law school, you have to have passed the bar etc). In the horse world, anyone can hang out a shingle, and in a way, bad behavior is rewarded."---


    Excuse me, I beg to disagree with that being only about the horse world and trainers.

    There is sleazy in all and anything you may do in life, those that have a good reputation and those that don't, in horse barns or lawyer's offices.

    Yes, it is right that you can't always do everything 100% perfect, because there are gray areas here and there, but I think that many people do their best with what they have to do in their lives, personally and professionally.

    Now, the horse industry is a mature industry, there is not much room for newbies and little room to expand and it takes long to become good enough and few do to be at the top.

    If you want to spend a good dozen or more years being someone's slave, without complains, yes, go learn from those at the top, if they will take it, pay your dues and see how good you are in that world.

    That is what it takes, good horsemanship is part learning and part experience.
    Forget owning a horse, you will be too busy riding your boss horses, the better your boss, the better horses you will get to ride.

    If you are serious, try some apprentice program in Europe, they will be more inclusive than working in any one stable in the USA just in one discipline, especially if dressage is your ultimate goal.

    A good horseman knows as much as it may learn about all kinds of horses and disciplines.

    Whatever reason you have not to go to college, in a country like the USA, where a good 80% of young people do go to some college, I think you are selling yourself short and missing some important learning years, for the thrill of working with horses.
    I would at least give college a good honest try, you may surprise yourself.
    You can always drop out and go into the horse world then, wiser for the expanded horizons.



  5. #5
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    Aug. 24, 2006
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    Default

    As a start, you don't always have to be a working student. However, in many cases, that will lead you to many connections and you will learn many skills that you can take away with you. Having said that, I got myself into the industry by finding someone who was willing to take on someone that knew hardly a thing about the professional side of grooming and riding. I was paid a normal groom's wage, worked in every area of the business and if there were particular areas I was interested in, I could ask to spend a little more time in a specific area of the business.
    A good place to start, just to see what's out there, is: www.yardandgroom.com

    With hard work, determination, connections and perhaps a bit of luck at times, there's no reason you won't be able to make it in the horse world. It just may take a while to make all those dreams come true.
    **********************************
    I'd rather be riding!



  6. #6
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    How do you make a small fortune in horses? You start with a large one.

    Seriously, this is true on SO many levels. But, to go back to your original query, I'd suggest that you either get a job as an assistant trainer to someone (if you already have solid riding skills) and get paid to learn, or you do the working student path.

    This does not mean that I think you shouldn't also get a degree in something you like and will pay you good money if you decide to go that path later. Just do NOT do a degree in equine studies. Costs a fortune and you're better off earning while you learn.

    See the (literal) back end of the industry and decide if it's for you. Try it out. Try a couple of horse jobs. Work for a breeding farm. Work at a place where you teach and show. See what turns your crank, spins your drive shaft, blows your hair back...

    You're only young once. You also only go around once, if you do it right, once is enough!
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  7. #7
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    Dec. 20, 2009
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    Default

    Thank you for your reply SMF11. I appreciate your perspective and what your thoughts bring to the table. They are all extremely valid and have been presented to me before (but are definitely worth restating), a 'back up' is definitely a well thought out plan to have and not something I am completely against either.

    As for breeding/young horses it would be a very big *if*. Perhaps even pairing myself with a breeder would be a much better route, the point of that part of the post was to say I would want a rounded enough education to successfully train a young horse, how a young horse 'should' (imo/in the opinion of several of the 'greats') being that the horse is not specialised too early. Not necessarily for me to think that I could support a large farm on a training salary. Sorry for that but thank you for pointing that out so I could (hopefully) clarify a little bit! It wasn't written effectively.



  8. #8
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    Whatever reason you have not to go to college, in a country like the USA, where a good 80% of young people do go to some college, I think you are selling yourself short and missing some important learning years, for the thrill of working with horses.
    I would at least give college a good honest try, you may surprise yourself.
    You can always drop out and go into the horse world then, wiser for the expanded horizons.
    I am in the drop out and go into the horse world then- phase of my 'career' however it is quite debatable as to whether I am wiser for the expanded horizons part

    Now, the horse industry is a mature industry, there is not much room for newbies and little room to expand and it takes long to become good enough and few do to be at the top.
    You're too right Bluey! I don't think I've ever had someone explain it so succinctly before!

    Just do NOT do a degree in equine studies. Costs a fortune and you're better off earning while you learn.
    Definitely, Velvet! In my research I have come to this conclusion most certainly. After thinking about going that route.

    Thank you everyone for your replies.



  9. #9
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    Default

    Overall recommendation; have a back up plan/career in case you do get hurt or just can't make a go of it. I recommend book keeping as you will need that skill to run a business,and it is something you can do with physical limitations if you should be injured long term.

    I coach/train and own/manage a small boarding facility. The only reason I could afford to do it is I have a very supportive husband! Still, hard to make enough to have nice horses or go to many shows.

    I started out as a teach assistant at a large lesson barn when I was young. Then I moved to instructor. Meanwhile i was also acting as a working student for the local hunter/jumper coach. This eventually progressed into a full time job as their groom/manager/book keeper. I took night classes in accounting in the winter to have a fall back position.

    Eventually realized that job wasn't going anywhere, so I got a job working in an office for one of their clients. Then I worked testing, installing, and supporting specialized golf software. I loved that job, but hated the travel....so we built a barn/arena.

    Realized I had no interest in being in the H/J industry (saw too much of the bad side when working previously), so worked on dressage instead. Bred my mare for two foals, but I didn't have the stomach for breeding.

    Kept working part time for a few years while the business grew. Built up a decent reputation and have a decent but small board and lesson business. Not looking to be a big fish, so just cater to people who like horses and want to ride effectively/kindly.

    My biggest problem is I SUCK at placing a value on my services and tend to give too much away. I think it is because I grew up struggling to afford to ride, so I cater to people who have similar financial struggles...not the best way to create a viable/profitable business!

    Recently a neck injury and kick to the head have lead me to do some reassessing...which is a slow process with a concussion so still processing....


    Good luck.



  10. #10
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    Default

    Just because the horse industry is sleazy, doesn't mean there aren't other industries that are also sleazy

    Why not plan an amazing gap year, giving the horses your all -- why not try for a working student position at the biggest name dressage trainer you can find?

    But do it planning on going back to school.

    Agree with the poster who said do not get an equine sciences degree!



  11. #11
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    Default

    With horses, it is not if, but when you will be hurt and how bad and for how long.
    Try to have some provisions for that.

    I was a barn rat as a teenager, made myself indispensable and ended up starting all the colts and feral horses and as an assistent instructor and trail ride guide.
    Then had a chance to take on some leased horses and manage my own riding school, that did wonderful, I saved much money from that, but it was a dead end and I realized how little I knew.
    I went then looking for an assistent instructor position geared for certification and the rest is history.

    I too did my stunt in the jumper world and then sidetracked starting ranch and race colts, managed a large broodmare operation and got my license as a race track trainer eventually.
    Then advanced to manage more, ranch, farm and other interests.

    All I can say, go work with the best, if you are really good at working and talented with horses, because at least you will get to work with the best horses in your field and then see where that takes you from that to find your own niche.

    I would not say any one path in the horse industry is standard, each one is unique to the persons involved.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHT View Post
    My biggest problem is I SUCK at placing a value on my services and tend to give too much away. I think it is because I grew up struggling to afford to ride, so I cater to people who have similar financial struggles...not the best way to create a viable/profitable business!
    I wonder how many of us would reply with if you started another thread asking how many people do this. And how many got out of the horse business because it made it impossible to afford to stay in it!
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  13. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SMF11 View Post
    But from my marginal perspective: the horse world is a nasty, cutthroat kind of place. Many, maybe even most, professionals are sleazy. If they are trying to make money off horses many (most?) do not have the horse's best interest at heart, and often not the client's.

    but I went from being a lawyer to being a big barn's business manager -- what an eye opener!
    Uhmmm...what's the diff?

    (Retired lawyer, here!)



  14. #14
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    Be able to do a lot of little things well......for instance being able to braid well can give you quite a bit of jingle in the pocket while you're working your way up the ladder. It also gives you connections to other trainers, owners and riders.

    Be open to disciplines outside your speciality.....be open to other training techniques and horse people that might be able to help you along the road.

    Look at your industry and determine the overall weakness of the trainers in your discipline. Maybe as a lot they are great at finishing horses but for the most part can't start babies......a stint with a good colt starter (even if it's a western person) might give you some skills that you can give back to your industry.

    In general look outside the box as well as in it to further your education with the horses.

    Here's a biggie.....try to imagine the horse industry when you are 55 or so. Some of the things that might affect it then could be the animal rights movement now. The current state of the economy is going to have a big impact on the types and numbers of horses that are being bred in the future for future generations. This will all affect the type of horse services that will be needed 10, 20 and 30 years from now. The current horse industry is WAY different than it was 20 years ago when I got started. Knowing that I need to make it another 20 years, even pros today are looking forward to that, trying to change and adapt to the needs of the customer.

    The reality is you're going to have to make a living, pay bills and save for retirement. You're not going to be able to do that forever by living in a barn apartment and making $50 a month working for a big name trainer. You'll have to learn skills that will serve you in the real horse world because people aren't going to hand you $50K made horses and their kids that already know their leads and diagonals to start with.
    You're going to have to be very good at managing a meager cash flow while doing the best for the horses and yourself. Unless you're very lucky you're going to have to.....em 'kiss a lot of toads before you get your prince' ie. you'll ride quite a few horses with meager talent and skills to start and you'll give quite a few up down lessons to kids and adults with limited ability and aspirations. It pays the bills though and you'll have to balance that. If you're going to apprentice with someone do it with someone that's worked their way up from the bottom, not someone that was given a facility, horses and clients.

    Learn to budget wisely, take care of your stuff, make smart purchases and not waste money on the fluff. Like the other posters said it takes A LOT of money to buy a place, maintain it, pay the taxes and insurance. Any type of business background helps.

    About the sleezes in the industry. Yep they are here they are everywhere. Burn me once, shame on you.....burn me twice, shame on me. Stay true to your values, in the end the good people shine through. Don't spend 1/2 a second dealing with someone that doesn't match your values or tries to screw you.

    Get a thick skin, you're going to need it! Have fun, from a 'lifer' it's been a great ride so far, something I would never trade.



  15. #15
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    Default A Free horse started it all...

    in 1990 I was given a free horse. Ya-I know! no such thing as a free horse. He was a 3 1/2 yr old halter broke gorgeous!! purebred Arabian stud colt. I had NO thoughts of ever getting another horse after 20 years without one. So much for good intentions..
    Fast forward a year.( I was a professional industrial sewing dept manager with an additional machine of my own at home.) Someone asks me to fix their horse blanket.. Then fix a halter.. and then..and then....before I knew it I was repairing all manner of horse equipment. Buying heavier more leather friendly sewing machines. Designing and manufacturing a line of blaze orange horsewear for hunting season as there was NONE to be found to keep said Arabian safe. Designing and making leather bound horse theme photo albums, wedding books etc. (Ebay is my friend!)
    21 years after getting a 'free' horse I am now self employed, running a tack repair shop and making my 'stuff'. I miss the steady paychecks and health insurance...but the day job rat race is over for me.
    Sadly, we lost Hizzhonor (the NOT!! Spoiled! Arabian) 3 years ago. But he was the reason I am where I am, doing what I do today. He was a life altering gift of the very finest kind.
    the NOT!! Spoiled!! Arabian Protectavest poster pony lives on in my heart http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o...pscc2a5330.jpg



  16. #16
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    Well, let's see, I started my "career" with horse at age 9 by leading tots around on shetland ponies & then mucked stalls for the "chance" to ride at the end of each day.
    I've been in the Horse Industry for many years. I agree with much of the advice you've received here. Particularly with advice to have something else to fall back on - briefly, here was my "path" -- received 1st horse at 13 --- was not give a great deal of show opportunity / or lessons. Was probably a danger - to myself & others, but never mind that now. Went to college for freshman year, wanted to take a break from school - and convinced my grandmother to provide the opportunity to go to "riding school in England" -- where I lived and trained 6 days a week, for 6 months. I was not a working student, but still had "work" assigned, but rode 2x's a day, learned stable management, equine health .... and learned how to give lessons. Trust me, this was not my original "idea" - I had thought I was going to literally have a break from school... but instead found myself working / and studying harder than ever. Truly, this experience was life altering for me.
    I did receive BHAI certification -I then returned to US, finished my degree -- but "gave myself" a part-time job giving lessons. I've worked (some) in the corporate environment, using my degree to get the job, but for a variety of reasons, have always come back to the horses. So first advice I'd give you is definitely have options, for another career path
    Now, I'd say, if this is what you truly have your heart set on --- GO FOR IT. Just like many "careers" -- having one involved working with horses is not going to be the easiest path, but if you want it bad enough, it can be done.
    Yes, you're going to need a thick skin. You will come across some very tough people, who will not be nice, so be someone who can handle that - people will critique you, and everything you hear will NOT be a compliment.
    Keep on working toward your goal.
    I like the "idea" someone suggested about learning accounting skills -- you don't necessarily need a degree to do this -- but to survive, you will need to learn how to handle money.
    Keep yourself fit. You need to be strong, healthy, and energetic. Having a bit of "good luck" along the way will be helpful too....
    Trust your gut, when you find yourself in a "bad" situation, get out of it, and move on.
    Understand that choosing a career path with horses will eliminate many other "activities". To do it right, you work long hours, and don't have much time off. (But remember, this is a choice, so don't feel burdened about this aspect of the 'industry')
    Have a plan (it sounds like you do), but keep the plan flexible, so you can jump on "unexpected" opportunities.
    One thing I would have done differently was... wait to have children. Love 'em, but that certainly side-tracked quite a few of my options. If you get married, realize that you will need someone who will support you in this.(and I don't just mean financially)
    .. and these guys are rather hard to find, and I was never successful in that regard. Just saying, your choice of a SO / or spouse will affect your abilities to work in this industry, so either don't get involved with someone for a long time...or choose wisely, and make sure that they understand upfront, what they are getting involved in by being with you.
    I believe that their are a great many niches in the world of horses, and so I'd advise you to consider that your 'original plan' may not work out, but you might find a way ... as someone mentioned about working with leather. Educate yourself, get some sort of certification, and realize that you will not have an easy life, or even a predictable life. Making good connections will be invaluable for you.
    I will end by saying that today I do have everything I dreamed about - large barn, 60 acres, plenty of work -- lessons, training, showing -- I now thoroughly understand the wisdom of "Be careful what you wish for....." I offer you my very best wishes, and hope that you go all out and try to achieve your dreams. Be tough, be persistent, and.... always remember to be moral, and ethical with the horses.
    Cream rises to the top.



  17. #17
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    My #1 recommendation:

    If you are going to teach riding, go to collage and get a degree in education.

    I think the best trainers are the ones who understand the psychology of how people learn.



  18. #18
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    Default

    Thank you for everyones input and your personal stories. I have been thinking creatively over the past couple days and I think I have come up with a yearly plan that might work well and will set me up (hopefully) for success when I am finished. The degree program I am enrolled in is Sport&Exercise Psychology. I am going to see my advisor next week about adding accounting or maybe marketing into that as well as there is some room within my electives in this program.
    I am going to attend school during the spring, summer and fall semesters (when I am most focused and have the most energy) then during the winter term I will try to find a working student position. This would only be for 4 months however at the end of my degree I would have 12-16 months of apprenticeship work. And what might help is that is a time when working students would love to have off!! (maybe I could provide relief to Rhodes workers and allow for them to have extra holidays and then I would get consistent training in.) I thought that also during these 4 months I might want to look into doing a course that might expand my niche when I go out into the horse industry. Ie massage, nutrition, breeding, saddle fit. Not full blown courses that take years but the shorter certificate type courses. There is also a 10 week course (online) from a college in England that teaches instructional techniques!

    During the school year I might be able to help a local young horse trainer/ massage therapist in her business and do stalls (small barn) to bring in a little pocket money/ savings to put towards working student/"pony time"

    It probably would sound like a lot to non horse folk but it's organized well I think and school time would bring a break from the physical work although I've always preferred physical work.

    I have some feelers out to some top trainers who said they would be willing to contact me if their situation changes (currently not looking for anyone). Where I would be a short term stay I would pay board and then hope to get lessons/a room for my work.

    Now just to run this by the parents! I'm sure they would be much happier that I want to get my degree. (hopefully there aren't too many weird typos I write this up on my iPhone and sometimes it likes to think it's being helpful when it isn't )



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    20

    Default

    I don't know where iPhone got Rhodes from meant "the workers"



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    365

    Wink

    For what it is worth I am in a similar place but perhaps a few steps (or several years anyways ahead).
    Was a working student as a junior rider and graduated, went to college. While in college I was also a working student for a dressage trainer which I LOVED.
    I accepted a job riding professionaly which took me away from completing my undergrad in Psychology. I always intended to go back, but I needed the money and was not going to turn down the job offer. So off I went. The job was for a season.
    A year later went back to school, leased my own barn,had 3 horses in training and gave a few lessons. Felt like all I was doing was working and not getting anywhere as a rider, so accepted job in another state as working student. Again, off I went. Ended up in a not such great working student position and accepted a job teaching lessons and schooling some horses. However I found myself doing more teaching then actually getting to work on my OWN riding skills (my whole point of love dressage) so finally enough was enough and I went back to school to finally finish my degree and then off to grad school I go. As a psych major I plan to go the sports psychology route. I still ride as a pro and plan to continue but I love dressage because I love working with horses and creating a complete athlete. Personally I would rather have one amazing horse then a billion clients I can hardly keep track of. I always felt like I was doing nothing but giving of myself and not being able to really focus on my sport/craft/art while worrying about everyone else.
    The reason I chose this is because I have now been in several different enviroments, and even though I really did enjoy what I was doing, I was not reaching my own personal goals.
    I would very highly reccoment going to school. I wouldn't trade any of my experiences but having run into the same wall several times in different situations, I think it's the best way to achieve your goals. Our passion is not a cheap one! I would choose something you are good at and can make some money. I love to teach people, and hope to continue later on, but I do not want to have to rely on that for a main source of income.
    As a little background I come from a low income non horsey family so have had to dig out of a ditch to get anywhere. I have to rely on myself to purchase my horses and equipment etc. So i have been a working off lessons and board since I was old enough to handle a pitchfork
    Thats my 2 cents anyways!
    It\'s not the color of the ribbon that counts,but the color of the ride.
    Oh My!



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