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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 15, 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Working Student?

    Hi,
    My name is Meredith and I just have a few questions about working student positions. First I'd like to give a little background. So I'm currently a junior in high school, 16 years old, and really ready to start moving up in the horse world. It's hard when you don't have to finances to attend all of the shows, ride the nicest horses, or work with the best trainers. However, I love the sport all the same and wouldn't be the person I am today without it. This brings me to my question about working students. Typically working students are riders who are already out of school, breaking into the professional world. Well I'm ready as a junior rider the start moving up and I think a working student position would help me greatly. However, I've been searching and searching and it seems as though most working student positions want someone who's at least 18 with tons of horse experience. Well my problem is I'm looking for somewhere to move up, where I could prove myself and maybe attain some opportunities to catch ride or show at some bigger shows. If anyone has any advice on how I could do this, I would love to hear it! I'm an extremely hard worker and when it comes to equestrian I'm willing to do anything it takes to work my way up! I appreciate everyone who gives me feedback.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2011
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,538

    Default

    Be willing to do a lot of stalls, grooming, late and long days, tough chores like stacking hay and feed, be willing to swallow your pride and opinion on a lot of things, be willing to learn but work your butt off. I was a working student from 16 to 20 and I groom now as well as work off lessons and rides from my trainers.

    You will want to visit and get to know the trainer before you go. They most likely will want to meet and assess you. Look, most people dont make it. Also dont get this allusion that you will be riding at shows. Most are not going to pay for your classes at the show. I can show peoples horses, but I do pay for the fees. You have to be good to get chances. Not trying to set you off, but that is the way it is, especially with the high price of shows. You don't have experience at shows, then not a lot of owners are going to let you ride.

    Good luck though and be willing to work hard and maybe you will get your shot.
    I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.




  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    674

    Default

    Get as many miles in the saddle as you can, on anything. When I was in high school I rode any horse anyone would offer me to hack (from OTTBs to draft crosses to small ponies). I even got a catch ride for some young small/medium ponies at some schooling shows in my last junior year. I would shadow my trainer and help hack horses everyday during the summer. I never really had a 'working student' position but just basically rode as much/as many horses as I could where ever I could. When I went to college I found a trainer who bred horses and kind of evolved into a working student. It's riding all the different types of horses that make you into a better rider. I never got anything back from riding or showing other people's horses/ponies other than just the mileage. You just have to work hard and hope one day you'll get your big break! That's what I keep doing...
    -Kendra
    *Every horse, at least once in their life, deserves to be loved by a little girl*
    www.northstateland.com



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 3, 2011
    Posts
    620

    Default

    Test the waters before you jump in. I learned that horses were something I wanted to pursue as a hobby and not as a job when I was riding 3 on Christmas Eve, 3 more Christmas day + blankets/buckets/barn check because the working student does not get time off. Not trying to discourage you, but give it a good trial run before going all in, getting a position, and realizing you're in too deep.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2011
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,538

    Default

    For the years that I worked, I chose one day during the holidays that I wanted off. I chose new years almost every year, because it was not like I could fly home for one day. You have to be willing to make that sacrifice.
    I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.




  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2001
    Location
    Finally...back in civilization, more or less
    Posts
    11,674

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by M555 View Post
    Hi,
    My name is Meredith and I just have a few questions about working student positions. First I'd like to give a little background. So I'm currently a junior in high school, 16 years old, and really ready to start moving up in the horse world. It's hard when you don't have to finances to attend all of the shows, ride the nicest horses, or work with the best trainers. However, I love the sport all the same and wouldn't be the person I am today without it. This brings me to my question about working students. Typically working students are riders who are already out of school, breaking into the professional world. Well I'm ready as a junior rider the start moving up and I think a working student position would help me greatly. However, I've been searching and searching and it seems as though most working student positions want someone who's at least 18 with tons of horse experience. Well my problem is I'm looking for somewhere to move up, where I could prove myself and maybe attain some opportunities to catch ride or show at some bigger shows. If anyone has any advice on how I could do this, I would love to hear it! I'm an extremely hard worker and when it comes to equestrian I'm willing to do anything it takes to work my way up! I appreciate everyone who gives me feedback.
    One thing to know about working student positions is that they are often not primarily about *riding.* While WS do usually get to ride - sometimes in a formal lesson, other times simply riding horses under the supervision of the professional to provide whatever the horse might need (exercise, schooling, etc)... the job is typically much more oriented toward barn management, and on a daily basis, looks a lot more like a groom's position than a rider's. Pros look for someone who is at least 18 because they want their WS to have a driver's license.

    If you have a lot of riding experience - and here I am talking about experience at say, 3'6" and up - you will have more opportunities to ride. If you have a very secure seat, an educated hand and a calm demeanor, you may be asked to ride horses that need a bit of schooling, or perhaps a youngster that needs more saddle time.

    What you most likely will NOT get is a ride on a fancy horse (or even not so fancy) at "bigger shows." Those rides go to A) the people who own/pay for those fancy horses, and for all the show bills and/or B) the professional who that trainer has chosen to ride and show with. The clients don't pay all that money to risk putting someone on their horse so that the rider can get some experience. Harsh but true.

    Now, if you are really good, you might get to show some sales horses - provided you enhance their value (which means you are very accurate, make the horse look easy and beautiful, etc.) if you happen to work for a trainer that has a busy sales business. Otherwise? It's pretty unlikely, I'm afraid.

    Will you be bringing your own horse to the WS position? If so, you may have more chances to progress and show. Trainers will often include a stall and some lessons in the package they offer a WS, and this is often the ideal way to get noticed, since people may notice how well you do on your own animal, and decided it's safe for you to ride theirs.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 23, 2000
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    8,107

    Default

    Plan on going to college. I'm not kidding. At least online, if you can. The things that can teach you will help you twofold - one if you decide a career in horses isn't for you, and two if you decide that it is. The basic business skills you will learn can be applied anywhere, especially a barn - and a lot of trainer have NO business sense and would benefit from it greatly.

    If you don't have a ton of horse/riding/big show experience, consider starting with a lesser name trainer. A bigger name trainer - someone who wants someone with a ton of riding experience - is going to have fewer riding opportunities for someone who is trying to just move up. If you work for a smaller trainer first - particularly someone with a lot of sale horses - it is likely that you'll have more riding opportunities than someone who is bringing a barnful of clients to "bigger" shows. You can build your reputation up from there.
    ---
    They're small hearts.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 15, 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thank you all for your advice. It was actually really helpful. I'm honestly ready to give everything I have to make it in this business. Yes, I do plan on going to college and getting my experience in their as well. I'm really just looking to get a head start and try to make some connections in order to maybe have more opportunities after college. I understand that the idea of showing nice horses at big shows is unrealistic, but I'm ready to work harder than anyone else to fight for any kind of opportunity. Thank you everyone for all of this wonderful advice! I will need all of it to help me in the future.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003
    Location
    KY, USA
    Posts
    1,956

    Default

    Agree with a couple of earlier posts. Find a local rider, get an introduction, and offer to help. Anything they want - mucking, grooming, etc. You won't get a ride to start with. Find out what they need, and do it. Make yourself indispensible.

    We've got a two 14 year old girls, not working students, but they help so much we'd do ANYTHING for them (including riding our good horses). That's the relationship you need to develop, and it takes time/effort.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    16,016

    Default

    You might need to look at your day-to-day life now.

    Where are you?

    Do you have a car?

    A horse?

    An after-school job? Other obligations?

    Do you got to school, home school, school with a flexible schedule?

    I think many trainers like an 18+ WSs because they have 70 hours a week to put into the deal.

    You can be an asset to a trainer if you have less time to give, but the gig *will* take all of your time. It makes a lot of sense to start local and ride every horse you are offered. Otherwise--if you and your family think you have exhausted every local option and you all want to give up some schooling for you and put in some more money-- then I think you are asking a different question.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2003
    Location
    West
    Posts
    1,009

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucassb View Post
    One thing to know about working student positions is that they are often not primarily about *riding.* While WS do usually get to ride - sometimes in a formal lesson, other times simply riding horses under the supervision of the professional to provide whatever the horse might need (exercise, schooling, etc)... the job is typically much more oriented toward barn management, and on a daily basis, looks a lot more like a groom's position than a rider's. Pros look for someone who is at least 18 because they want their WS to have a driver's license.

    If you have a lot of riding experience - and here I am talking about experience at say, 3'6" and up - you will have more opportunities to ride. If you have a very secure seat, an educated hand and a calm demeanor, you may be asked to ride horses that need a bit of schooling, or perhaps a youngster that needs more saddle time.

    What you most likely will NOT get is a ride on a fancy horse (or even not so fancy) at "bigger shows." Those rides go to A) the people who own/pay for those fancy horses, and for all the show bills and/or B) the professional who that trainer has chosen to ride and show with. The clients don't pay all that money to risk putting someone on their horse so that the rider can get some experience. Harsh but true.

    Now, if you are really good, you might get to show some sales horses - provided you enhance their value (which means you are very accurate, make the horse look easy and beautiful, etc.) if you happen to work for a trainer that has a busy sales business. Otherwise? It's pretty unlikely, I'm afraid.

    Will you be bringing your own horse to the WS position? If so, you may have more chances to progress and show. Trainers will often include a stall and some lessons in the package they offer a WS, and this is often the ideal way to get noticed, since people may notice how well you do on your own animal, and decided it's safe for you to ride theirs.
    I agree with everything Lucassab said. I am a trainer that has working students, and they are my "trainers in training." It is a formal position at my farm, even though they don't get paid. The minimum for me is 3 full days (that means 8 or sometimes more hours/day) per week. I have always had at least one working student and I really enjoy having them. It is my way of giving back to my sport, I was a working student at one time also and appreciate very much what I was taught.

    Here are my rules: over 18 is a must over 21 is best. Kids under 18 most often need some sort of supervision and I just can't spend my precious hours during the day making sure someone is doing their job. (Any more than I already do with my paid help!) I take my business seriously and can't have kids doing the work.

    They have to be able to ride the school horses well. This is where they will start. That means a good advanced intermediate rider with decent basics that can get on a school horse and do some low level dressage and make it better.

    They have to be interested in everything about horses and the barn. Good trainers do a lot more than ride; they manage, they feed, they teach, etc. My students shadow me in everything I do from bandaging, to re-writing the feed boards, to cleaning tack, to setting courses, and on and on. If they don't show me they are enthusiastic about it all, I'm not really excited to have them around. Riding is a small part of the job.

    They have to take direction well, be respectful to all people, horses, (and other animals on the farm), and be self-motivated. I can't deal with wimps, princesses, or partiers either.

    If they can do all that, and commit to at least a year, then they will get unlimited lessons and opportunities to ride. As they improve, they will get more. I have a few working students that have worked themselves into positions with me, and many that have gone on to work for others. I want someone who is really committed to the sport and my business.

    They will sometimes get opportunities to show nice horses (usually green ones around little courses), and I don't charge them day fees or hauling, and I will pay for their food, lodging, and travel (usually they bunk and travel with me), but the show fees are still up to them.
    ******
    "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."
    -H.M.E.



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