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  1. #1
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    Default When did working student become title for UNPAID BARN SLAVE....

    I was looking through a reputable equestrian website at jobs. One was for an eventer I haven't heard of, they want a 6 day a week barn help, in exchange for board for 1 horse and a lesson a week. Must be the most expensive board in the country...

    It's crazy that people expect a slave to work for them in exchange for NOTHING....Because they call it a Working Student...

    Working students should be respectable learning experience, NOT FREE LABOR FOR NOTHING....
    " iCOTH " window/bumper stickers.
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    7 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
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    Apr. 28, 2008
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    Default

    Has it ever been anything else?

    FWIW, in my experience a real "working student" position where you get to ride a few a day under the eye of the trainer (who gives suggestions if not a formal lesson) is well worth cleaning stalls and tacking horses, if you want to learn to really ride.

    Now, the eventing working student positions where you do everything and PAY for it, that I do not understand.


    11 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Apr. 26, 2000
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    When I was a working student 20+ years ago for someone who had ridden on a European Olympic team, the deal was as follows:

    Board for 1 horse
    1 lesson a day, M-F
    Housing for me ( I had my own cottage in a phenom setting)
    I worked 6 days a week with 12 horses to take care of

    I worked my butt off. On the weekends I would try to find extra jobs doing farm care, braiding, etc. to help cover my horse's additional bills (farrier, etc.) and put some food in my fridge.

    When I shipped my horse home to pasture (soundness issue) and didn't have a horse, I was paid a fair wage for my work taking into consideration that my housing was being supplied.

    If you really want to be a working student, I'd put the word out via the grapevine. There are some situations I wouldn't go into for anything (one of my friends interviewed at a WELL KNOWN eventer's barn and was told the heat in the working student's housing was NOT to exceed 60 degrees and only one light on in the house at a time - there were literally bare bulbs hanging from cords in the ceiling - this place was in New Enggland. brrr).

    Then again, I would also be more than willing to hustle and work my butt off with a great sense of humility. The girl who was a working student immediately before me was fired b/c she complained that currying the horses for more than a few minutes made her tired.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Feb. 1, 2010
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by grandprixjump View Post
    I was looking through a reputable equestrian website at jobs. One was for an eventer I haven't heard of, they want a 6 day a week barn help, in exchange for board for 1 horse and a lesson a week. Must be the most expensive board in the country...

    It's crazy that people expect a slave to work for them in exchange for NOTHING....Because they call it a Working Student...

    Working students should be respectable learning experience, NOT FREE LABOR FOR NOTHING....
    OK Then don't apply for it. If no one fills the position they will raise the benefits. But I bet they get plenty of applications.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    May. 18, 2012
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    Default

    To answer your question - since the beginning of time

    You do not mention how large of an operation is offering this position. Six days a week for a smaller barn (12 or less horses) in exchange for board and 4 lessons a month ain't to shabby.
    "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy. My reality is just different from yours."
    ~Lewis Carroll


    6 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Default

    If you are getting board for a horse, housing for you, a formal lesson a day and maybe some pocket money, you are doing well in the WS pay scale.

    IMO, the lessons need to be every day. And you need to get to school some of theirs with supervision.

    The position is close to slavery. But! Don't underestimate the value of the informal teaching that goes on. And a good trainer will supply you with connections, too.

    I can see not wanting to bring a horse, but IMO, no trainer is going to provide enough compensation to make up for the board you'll pay on your horse elsewhere and the missing training on your project horse you'd get if you brought him.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  7. #7
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    Default

    Don't apply for it if it does not suit you. Remember you are swapping minimum wage labor for rides on other peoples horses under the trainers supervision plus that one lesson plus board for your own. Almost always works out to more then what the work hours total, if housing is included the WS is actually coming out ahead.

    But its not a paying "job". Never has been a "job" with any sort of benefits and it works best for older teens. Plus those that do bring a personal horse find they have no time left for it let alone money for surprise vet and farrier.

    There is one BNR/T in Eventing that CHARGES for the opportunity to be a "working student". Charges ALOT.

    The best way to break in would be to get a job as a groom or even barn labor in a good barn and work your way up from there.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  8. #8
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    Dec. 13, 2001
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    Default

    When I did it I got a small stipend and room and board (room in trainer's house). I rode a few a day and she tried to make sure I got to jump a horse most days.

    I had to pay for my own horse (they did not own the facility, so no free board), but she helped me with it every day.

    I had to find other jobs on the side (braiding, etc) to pay my way but I do not feel I was gypped at all.

    The situation you describe sounds exploitative, but it depends on what it is. If your work consists mostly of riding, helping, setting jumps and having learning opportunities (like mine was), it may not be so bad (although one lesson a week is not much). If your 'work' is only mucking, turnout, scrubbing buckets, etc, then it is most definitely free labor.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." --Vincent Van Gogh



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2006
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    Default NO HOUSING and provide your own transportation...

    Yes they might get a few people happy for that for a month or so. But with no housing and hours that say 42 per week.


    FYI: I was a working student 20 or so years ago for an American Olympian, riding their horses daily, doing stalls one day a week and house/food provided. I also got a bit of spending money while there...
    " iCOTH " window/bumper stickers.
    http://bluemoongrafixva.webs.com



  10. #10
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    May. 5, 2000
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    Default

    Can a WS recieve unemployment benefits while doing the WS thing if all they get is board and lessons in exchange?



  11. #11
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    Oct. 4, 2010
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    Default

    My entire time in the horse world (30ish years) working student has been exactly a euphemism for unpaid barn worker.

    I realize that sometimes out there, a "working student" gets to ride horses (whether schooling or just hacking or something of the sort),
    however,
    as a teenager, as well as an adult who did the gig on the side, my "working student" experiences NEVER included any riding outside of my lesson. I was never put on other horses, I rarely got to watch the training of the horses or others' lessons. I mucked stalls, did general farm labor, sometimes groomed for the trainer, and took my lesson. That's it.

    My trainers have a "working student" right now, who has been to NAYRC. She only rides her own horses in their program; mostly, she cleans stalls and tack.
    Whatever.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Jan. 18, 2009
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pds View Post
    Can a WS recieve unemployment benefits while doing the WS thing if all they get is board and lessons in exchange?
    I can't believe this is even a question...


    20 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2011
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    Texas
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    Default

    Yes, there are some slave labor WS positions, which is why I was always reccomended to go through my trainers. They could find me stuff where I actually got to ride some horse flesh and learn, in exchange for the un-fun stuff. There are some WS positions that provide no riding and all barn help, and they wanted me to avoid those because really what good was that.

    One of your girls is a WS currently for an Olympian. Her days consist of hacking horses (both his and clients), grooming (though they had grooms, so she doesn't have to do that often), and she does some stalls (because she was taught to work her butt off for her keep). She also gets a lesson on her horse everyday (unless they want her to have a day off), and she also sets fences, rotates horses on the walker, and she does a lot of show entries and fixing of show entry mistakes (love the guy she works for, he is just a little unorganized).

    At shows, she does have to groom more, cool down horses, warm up horses, clean tack, help feed, and do stalls. A little more work than at home but she also gets to listen to him and gets valuable coaching.

    In return? She gets to go to shows, learn under an Olympian, and gets her horse schooled and trained by an Olympian, free room in his house, and she gets to catch-ride nice horses! Yes, her mother pays for board for the horse and all the show fees, farrier, vet... but really what she gets out of this is priceless! And the guy she works for will hand her money somtimes if she goes above and beyond helping out at a horse show.

    She is more than thrilled with her position, but our trainer also made sure she didn't get crapped on by finding her someone reputable.
    The Struggle - - a blog about the equestrian struggle.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by horsegal301 View Post
    I can't believe this is even a question...

    Well if they are not getting paid $ as a working student what would prevent them from collecting unemployment?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2011
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    353

    Default

    [QUOTE=grandprixjump;6783663]they want a 6 day a week barn help, in exchange for board for 1 horse and a lesson a week. Must be the most expensive board in the country... It's crazy that people expect a slave to work for them in exchange for NOTHING....QUOTE]

    Board and one lesson isn't nothing. In fact it is quite a lot at many larger show barns. What I pay for board and lessons is probably equal to the amount a person in a low level job would make in a month. It is a very large chunk of my income.

    You also forget that invaluable experience that comes with being able to watch a respectable, talented pro in action and become familiar with the daily workings of a show barn. This, too, is worth something to a lot of people.

    If the situation isn't worth it, don't take the WS position. But what is "nothing" to you might be valuable to someone else and vice versa.



  16. #16
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    Dec. 2, 2009
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    Default

    Not only that, being a working student is being an apprentice. Similar to going to college, except when you go to college you actually have a huge bill to pay at the end as well - try being a grad student.

    Which means that you are actually getting quite a bit in return, valuable expertise in many areas including learning how the barn works, and all sorts of informal training as to how to run the business, how to deal with difficult horses, being networked by the person who has earned it etc. etc.

    It's not slave labor, it's called paying your dues.

    If you work hard enough, the person will likely open other opportunities for you. But they aren't going to just automatically give you the world, nor should they.

    You may have to work two jobs. That isn't a bad thing. You may find that in this business you HAVE to work two jobs to make it work all of your life.

    Again - not a bad thing.

    If I didn't have the obligations I do (a family), I'd kill to be able to go back and do that again. I would absolutely positively grovel to be allowed to continue to have that experience (I did have some of them when I was young, but I didn't understand them at the time).



  17. #17
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by pds View Post
    Well if they are not getting paid $ as a working student what would prevent them from collecting unemployment?
    Ummm...pride? With a dash of ethics?

    Plus you would have needed to have lost a regular full time job fairly recently to qualify.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    15 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
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    May. 5, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    Ummm...pride?
    Who would know unless WS told someone.

    I'm just saying that it may be a viable alternative to starving while working as WS.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pds View Post
    Who would know unless WS told someone.

    I'm just saying that it may be a viable alternative to starving while working as WS.
    Probably be better off loooking for a job that actually pays a decent wage not this that leads to...no kind of decent paying job for a very long time. And you would be lying on the unemployment forms-I realize that does not bother alot of people.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by pds View Post
    Can a WS recieve unemployment benefits while doing the WS thing if all they get is board and lessons in exchange?
    Speaking from my wannabe tax guru armchair, Yes (with two caveats):

    1. Collecting unemployment means that you are actively looking for work and are available for work. Can you meet that standard while you are being a WS? Oh, and the labor dept of your state reserves the right to ask for proof of your efforts to find work. Defraud them at your own risk (and that off pissing off people who look down on folks collecting unemployment at all).

    2. If the barn submits a 1099 for the value of that stall and board, your are in a bit of hot water. Those things count as "income" for tax purposes.

    I'm not sure how these IRS and Unemployment things fit together.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    2 members found this post helpful.

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