Being a WS and a working adult IS possible - aka Heinz goes to Boot Camp!
By chance, I happened to learn yesterday that a certain Bereiter happens to live (quite) near me and was looking for a working student to help start some babies and put rides on some horses already under saddle, starting them over fences and doing some flatwork.
Now, I'm admittedly a little rusty, as I haven't been riding that much lately, and never claimed to be a DQ in the first place, so I went into my "interview" today with no real expectations - I am what I am, and wasn't expecting to be fawned over or celebrated. It was quite the experience; I felt a bit incompetent at times, riding a very nice but strange horse (not something I do often anymore) in a strange place in front of strange people (haven't shown in nearly a year, either), not really knowing what they wanted to see. We had a good bit of technical and theoretical discussion and while I came away sweating like a pig (it's only 80 and humid here today! ), I feel like my brain has been challenged more than anything. He was complimentary in some aspects but also very blunt about what I need to work on and what he was offering to teach me, which was refreshing. He did say that he thought I had the potential to improve quite a bit in a short amount of time, which I took as a compliment.
The best part is, they are willing to accommodate my "real" job, and I'll be working with him after work a few nights a week and likely one full weekend day as well. This is a fantastic opportunity that just sort of fell into my lap - I can't afford regular lessons right now, and I've been feeling a bit lacking in the confidence/effectiveness department, like we're sort of muddling along without really getting very far. It will be hard, and I will be very tired, but I'm so thrilled at the mental stimulation I'm feeling from just one ride! I'm a nerd at heart.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
lies with in us. - Emerson
Yay! I do kinda the same thing but with a HJ trainer. She is very blunt, but I actually need that. I don't want to be fawned over when I am well aware how much I suck, lol! Best part is she has lots of sales horses which I get to ride and they range from a 14hh appaloosa pony to a huge WB gelding, and everything in between. It is such an awesome learning experience .
"Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
"With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
One of my trainers did something similar when she wanted to move from hunters to eventing. She had a FT job and became a WS at night and on weekends at a dressage barn. She got excellent training in dressage. She used her experience not only to bring along her own horse from being backed to Advanced, but she has built up a clientele of people needing young horses started properly. I hope the OP's experience is as successful!
Sounds like a perfect opportunity - pretty lucky to get to do it in the evenings on the side of your proper job!
I've been a working student since September (no job though - just becoming poorer and poorer). I'm at my second place now, but the first place I was at was similar to the one you're at: GP dressage rider also breaks in and fixes problem horses. So I got to break in a whole bunch of babies, ride horses with "issues" and get to ride grand prix horses. Which is awesome because that combination does not normally exist. I learned a TON - it was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me horse-wise. I feel so much more well-rounded and confident as a trainer and dressage rider.
Hopefully your experience is as good as mine was!