Curious as to the duties each trainer here or each working student here requires / is required to do. Both for lessons alone or for training horse and rider. Mostly just interested to see how each person runs their working student program, or what you'd look for in return as a working student.
My old trainer who took me on when I was very young grew my responsibilities. When I was 10-12 I just had to do water and haul dust. When I got to be a little older my duties started to be giving little kid lessons 20+ stalls a day, tack horses up, set courses and a general responsibility role. In my nine months with her (around 15) She "gave" me two horses that became my sale prospects, I had to ride them in addition to my horse and whoever else needed schooling in addition to my previous responsibilities.
In return for this I got some lessons, free trailering, reduced price board and sometimes lodging if my parents were out of town/ couldn't take me to the barn.
Just from what I know of a local bnt barn:
WS is basically trainer slave, she goes on coffee runs, tacks up, mucks stalls, organizes barn, lunging, drags the ring, will sometimes drive the trailer to local shows, tunes up ponies/horses occasionally, sometimes gets rides on sales horses for miles in junior divisions. @shows, when not showing she's generally cleaning the stabling and tacking up for everyone else and helping/setting jumps at the ring and doing ringside duty with the grooms.
In exchange she gets to train with a bnt for basically free (she doesn't own her own horse) and gets to ride 5-10 nice horses a day and the opportunity to show them where she doesn't pay trainer fees, just braiding and class entries. She lives on property and is in online school, but pays all her living fees like lunch, personal things, gas, etc. From what I've heard her parents live two states away where there wasn't a lot of opportunities and she plans to go pro. This is a strange situation though because the girl is a fantastic rider just without the funds to get to the top, and the trainer is really generous.
Ours do everything, however no one would say that they are slaves..Not even them! We have a happy barn family. If they don't know how we teach them. From running tractors and learning to seed and fertilize to teaching little ones to groom and everything in between.
At the barn I ride at, the WS work 6 days/week. They muck stalls and do turnout on one of those days (grooms day off). On the other days, they do turnout, feeding, care (cold hosing, hand walking, wrapping, hold for vet/farrier, laundry, arena maintenance, and ride.
Where my (practically) sister is a WS for (with a VERY BNT on the West Coast) she does a lot of things. Her daily (not at shows) consists of waking up, going to the barn, cleaning, and riding both her own horse and client horses. She holds horses for vet and farrier, schedules appointments, and is jump crew for other riders. They have A LOT of horses at their barn and a lot of other help, so most of the day they are working horses. At shows, she does get to show both her horse and sale horses. She does sometimes catch-ride for other people, because she is a junior and a dang good rider, so it gets some younger horses more mileage. She is responsible at shows for warm-up's, cool downs, making sure BNT is at his classes and warming up other students on times, feeding, mucking, and helping the grooms. She is often seen running back and forth correcting or adding or scratching entries, but she does get a TON of saddle time and free lessons.
In return, she lives with BNT at his house. She pays for some of her own meals, gets crazy deals on tack (he has a ton of sponsors), and is learning A TON. She does pay for her show entries on her PERSONAL horse, and she does pay for board at shows and at home. Her mother is a state away but they have a fund set up for her so she is never left high and dry without money. BNT is very generous to her and is very willing to teach her. He also hands her "tips" sometimes at the end of the week or just because she is a good worker.
Very lucky. It's hard work but she loves and wouldn't trade it for the world.
I think it really depends on the barn. I've worked for several places. Some were all mucking/feeding/farm work and very little riding. Others were more riding/educatuion and "normal" farm work. But they were all at least 6 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm, so a life other than being a working student was non-existant. Not for everyone, but can be a great experience.
"And my good dreams? They all come with a velvet muzzle and four legs. All my good dreams are about horses."--In Colt Blood
Water buckets, unblanket AM and blanket PM, lunging, turnouts, making sure barn aisle is kept neat, tack cleaning, schooling rides, helping the little ones get their horses ready for lessons, supervising when the kids come out to help with barn chores, sweeping crossties, bathing, mane pulling, clipping, graining, administer some medications, holding for vet, generally anything else clients or trainers will ask me to do.
"You either go to the hospital or you get back on! Hospital or on!"