How much of a demand is there for kid-size adult pony trainers?
Thinking about finally taking the steps to have the career I've always wanted, but I have never really put myself out there like I should have a LONG time ago when I had the connections.
At 28 years old, I'm realizing I made a huge mistake when I went to nursing school and took a riding hiatus for a couple years and then moved away with my husband to a new area where I didn't know a single horse person. Horses are my parent's life (TB trainers), and were my life and I often question why I didn't just leave it that way. Oh well, such is life and we learn from our mistakes. I really do not love what I do and its starting to eat away at me. I think I'm having a 1/4 life crisis!
Being petite all my life, ponies became a sort of 'forte' for me. I've been riding for over 20 years, most of my time in the saddle has been spent schooling green ponies. I did a lot of catch riding ponies at shows as a junior, also have experience breaking ponies.
I want to do this again, but is it possible to earn a living as a pony jock? I wouldn't limit myself just to ponies, but because I'm kid size I think I'd be most useful to someone looking for an experienced rider to school their ponies. I'm also willing to teach lessons, but have more experience as a rider than a instructor. Its been several years since I last had a sale pony, so that too is on my agenda.
So I ask, how much of a demand is there for someone like me? I live in Virginia and there are a good amount of H/J barns in my area. I'm slowing getting to know the horsey folk in my area as I've been riding and showing at a friend's private barn.
I don't expect to be able to make a living right off the bat, so this would be part time until hopefully a full time opportunity/demand comes along.
I want to love what I do for a living. My friends and family tell me I should be doing something like this, but its just not that easy. Here's to hoping I can figure out a way to make that happen!
Do you have any advice on how I should market myself?
I think the biggest roadblock is that for a pony to garner any real value, it needs to be ridden and shown by a child. Most show barns have pros or another rider small enough to hop on a pony & school it if needed, so they don't need to bring in someone from the outside. Depending on your experience and "resume" so to speak, you might be able to get a job as a rider somewhere but it would likely be part time work and not enough to make a decent living. You might also want to look into contacting some breeders to see if they need any help breaking ponies. I think you might be more desirable for that job, which a child can't really do. Good luck!
You can do whatever you set your mind to doing....unless it is winning the lottery without buying a ticket. If you remember that you are in a service business and treat the animals with compassion, you will go far. Good luck and follow your gut.
You will have a tough time getting what you are worth from pony breeders. (Flame suit on) Breeders in general tend to be on the cheap side, and as soon as you get them to the point that some bad riding kid can ride them all for free you will likely be dismissed. Good luck, but be careful about quitting your day job ;-)
yeah, there is a ton of demand for pony sized adults however there is not alot of funds We have a working student position which would be great for that, but you're getting room and board and not a while lot else, which doesn't allow you to make a "career" per se. That said, I could certainly use a good one right now