I am even more in love with the sport than ever! Since I was a child being a jockey had always been my dream and I realized living in TN that probably wouldn't be possible. Wel today was opening day at Kentucky downs and my boyfriend took me! Ran into someone he and I both work with my and I may have gotten my foot in the door. He works for a race farm right in Franklin ky and after telling him about how much I love race horses and the closest I've come to riding one is working with retired ones he said he may be able to get me an exercise position at the barn he works for!!! I'm super stoked. Even if I just clean stalls, I want to be on the back side in someway! Any advice for me?
Be prepared to see EVERYTHING. Drugs, drinking, honesty, dishonesty, sound horses, unsound horses, euthanasia, ups and downs, highs and lows. That said, you will gain TONS of great experience and will learn a LOT. I grew up doing hunter/jumpers/equitation but several years ago got involved with the TB industry via a breeding farm in KY where I worked as a yearling groom. I've also worked at a training center and have worked in the rehab aspect. I love the TB industry and honestly would much rather do the "TB thing" verses the "hunter thing" nowadays.
As for galloping, that is something that while I would love to do it, I don't. I am a single mother of a young daughter and can't ever knowingly risk serious injury or death. If you will be galloping, be prepared to come off, get injured, have horses break down under you. Does it always happen? Of course not. But it can and you need to understand that if you gallop horses long enough, it will happen.
Learn a bit of Spanish if you don't know it already - the Mexicans will appreciate it (and will be less likely to talk about you if they think you may know what they are saying, even if you really don't) ;-) All in all, have a great time and really soak up all the knowledge you can! :-)
Know what you are getting yourself into. Being young and I am supposing female, from the BF statement, you will get flack. Also do not work for peanuts. When I quit, $15 a head was the going rate, $20 for babies. I have no idea what mucking stalls pays, or hotwalking.
Pay attention to how the horses look. If they are scraggly, thin, or sour looking,with hooves that need attention and long manes this is probably not the barn to launch a career from. Good luck! Where in TN are you? There are a couple steeplechase barns based out of TN and that may be a better starting point for you to learn the ropes of galloping
Again, totally agree with Kentucky TBs, as I said above, but I wanted to add that grooming was some of the best & most memorable years of my life. I did that for 10 years. Now I have a "normal" job and often wonder why. I'm glad I did learn another profession, though (I suppose).
Exercise riders can/do get hurt, though. Admire them greatly but I'd be afraid to do it.
Sonoma - I am right there with you - I love working with TBs and really enjoyed the people and horses I work with as well as the things I have learned and still learn. Granted, I've been fortunate to mainly work for "good guys" verses the shady ones.
As they say, Kentucky & Riot, a life not lived is not worth living. I'm truly envious of you, KTB. I work in medicine now, and honestly, it really doesn't do much for me. The money is O.K., not great, for what I do. It's a bit empty but it, sort of, pays the mortgage.
Go forth, Riot and follow the song in your heart. That is what you will remember at the end of your life. Don't rule out getting a conventional degree or career, also, though -which is easier to do when you are young, imo. It's good to have something to fall back on and it gives peace of mind. So, weigh that out.
I already have a degree. Which I am using as my fall back plan to my current job. I am basically wanting to give exercise riding a try because I have always wanted to do it. I dont want to regret it later on.
I will keep you all posted, and Rust breeches, any insight on farms around me would be great.
Hey I messaged a friend for some contact info for you, hope to hear back soon. Galloping is great as long as you don't plan to do it forever. Salaried is safer than freelance, because you are covered if anything happens, and nobody is going to try and get a rider hurt if they have to pay medical expenses and lost wages. I actually quit training and went back to galloping when I was a single mom, because I could guarantee how much I would be getting and the hours were much easier. For 2 hours a day, six days a week I could make more than some of my college educated friends holding down real 9-5 jobs.
In the mean time, get super fit. I found rowing type machines to be most like galloping because you need a really strong core and legs.