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Working as a groom abroad?

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  • Working as a groom abroad?

    I am looking to broaden my horizons, and would love to secure a position at a quality facility abroad. I'm pretty open as the where I go, but would prefer to go to english speaking countries (UK or AUS/NZ being very high on the list). Anyone have tips on finding a job at a high level yard? I am experienced, have groomed for top dressage and event riders here in the US, am VERY hardworking, unattached and looking to really sink my teeth into an international level place.

    I've applied to a couple of places on yardandgroom.com, but I'm concerned about making the right choice. I'd hate to make a big commitment to a place and get there and it's not a good fit! I don't know reputations of riders/yards outside of the states.
    When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

  • #2
    I would explain to the prospective employer what your expectations and goals are ie do you want to just groom, or do you want to compete? What are your short term goals, long term goals? etc I think honest communication is the only way.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thank you for your response! I totally agree, open, honest communication is the only way. What I'm really concerned about it that, here in the US, there are some barns where I know I wouldn't want to work. The jobs sound perfect, but the reputation of the place is that they are not what they portray.

      So, unless I get a job working for Carl Hester or Brett Parbery, I'm not sure what yard lives up to the hype.
      When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

      Comment


      • #4
        If you are interested in the UK, try the website www.yardandgroom.co.uk - it does have some stuff further afield as well, but mainly focuses on the UK.
        "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

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          I've definitely had my eye on yardandgroom.com, but I'm wondering about the reputation of some of the stables with jobs posted. I've also never worked abroad (although I did work for an ex-pat Aussie) and don't know the expectation of stables overseas.
          When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

          Comment


          • #6
            You may be interested in reading:

            Taking Up The Reins
            A Year in Germany with a Dressage Master
            by Priscilla Endicott.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Bluey -- I actually have already! Very enlightening book...I wish I had the $$$ to do it her way. I'm contacting high level barns, even if there is no advertising of jobs available, cause hey, you never know, right? My only concern about going to Germany or the Netherlands is the language barrier. But I'd learn German for the right position!

              I'm willing to give a year (or more if the right spot came up) to all the grunt work necessary PROVIDED I can get a quality education out of it (and have a place to sleep and some cup o' noodles!) and it lead somewhere. I don't want to fall into something there that is all too common here -- a barn wants free grunt work so they offer "working student" positions and have neither the knowledge nor the desire to teach to a high level.
              When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

              Comment


              • #8
                Do you have a work permit?

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I have a work and holiday visa for Australia, and can get the same for NZ. Not sure what is needed to travel to and work in Germany or Netherlands. I believe it's fairly easy to travel to UK for a short period of time to work. I'd love additional info on the subject!
                  When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You cannot work legally in an EU country without an EU passport or work permit. This is why you do see so many "working students," who get room, board and occasionally pocket money.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I'll happily obtain a work permit for a worthwhile position. There are so many people living, working and training in EU from all over the world, how do they do it?
                      When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
                        Bluey -- I actually have already! Very enlightening book...I wish I had the $$$ to do it her way. I'm contacting high level barns, even if there is no advertising of jobs available, cause hey, you never know, right? My only concern about going to Germany or the Netherlands is the language barrier. But I'd learn German for the right position!

                        I'm willing to give a year (or more if the right spot came up) to all the grunt work necessary PROVIDED I can get a quality education out of it (and have a place to sleep and some cup o' noodles!) and it lead somewhere. I don't want to fall into something there that is all too common here -- a barn wants free grunt work so they offer "working student" positions and have neither the knowledge nor the desire to teach to a high level.
                        You may ought to realize that one year is but a blimp in a professional horseman's education, so it would be hard for some top riding center to take someone on for "just a year", displacing someone that will spend as long as it takes to work there.

                        If you happen to already be a top rider with much experience, then you could be an asset to them and that would make it easier to find a spot.
                        As a beginner to their system, you really can't expect them to give you the top horses and that level of instruction right off, may not even be what is appropiate for your current riding level.

                        Any serious job in a stable is about getting the job done first, then any instruction you get is a bonus.
                        Lessons without work first is what paying clients get.

                        In your shoes, I would be glad that ANYONE wants me, so you could get a foot in that door and then learn like a sponge, along with giving a good account of yourself with all the mundane, everyday work that will come your way.

                        For you, in hindsight, that year will not be seen as "wasted", no matter where you go.

                        Good luck finding that perfect position.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Bluey -- I am not looking to go from 1st level to GP in a year, and I am willing to stay as long as needed or I am able to. I'm NOT thinking I'm going to go and ride their GP horses and not work. Definitely NOT! I've done WS positions here, and I'm not at a point where I need to learn stable management, how to wrap a leg, how to muck, etc. I'd happily take one lesson in the afternoon, with maybe some hacking before/after they ride. But I'm not willing to work for free and not get any education. I've watched the best ride, I've worked in very high level barns and not gotten the level of "student" I was promised.

                          I'm willing (and able) to be a groom, but I expect to be paid as such. If I'm going to be a working student, I expect to be treated as an apprentice. I'm not willing to do the work of a WS for the privilege of being in a barn. I've done that for 10 years here. What I am willing to do is anything and everything needed in a high level barn in exchange for quality education. I think that is reasonable!
                          When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post

                            I'm willing (and able) to be a groom, but I expect to be paid as such. If I'm going to be a working student, I expect to be treated as an apprentice. I'm not willing to do the work of a WS for the privilege of being in a barn. I've done that for 10 years here. What I am willing to do is anything and everything needed in a high level barn in exchange for quality education. I think that is reasonable!
                            Many times however, the quality education happens while on the ground, not while on the horse. I've learned a lot from many trainers while overhearing their lessons while doing my sweeping chores, or hand walking out the last horse. I think it is detrimental to yourself to go into the communication thinking that you are "owed" anything.
                            http://dressageesquire.blogspot.com
                            "The ability to write a check for attire should not be confused with expertise. Proficiency doesn't arrive shrink-wrapped from UPS and placed on your doorstep."

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              That's a bit confusing, because I feel both sides are "owed" something...right? It's suppose to be a symbiotic relationship, the BO/trainer gets quality work (and a LOT of it typically) and I get educated. I'm not saying there isn't benefit from learning on the ground. I, too, have learned much from watching my trainer teach, from watching them ride while picking poo from the arena, etc. BUT, if you want to learn to ride, you need to RIDE! There IS value to just being in a barn, but again, I've done that for 10 years here, and now I'm looking to take my riding to a higher level.
                              When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think this is what others are saying too... you're saying you want to go over there for one year, which is a blip to them. That is a lot of work for them to put into you, without much gain on their part. It is easier for a top trainer in Europe to choose a groom who wants to stay for the long haul and to train them their way for many years. Again, like someone else said, it may be a different story if you were coming in with experience up to the FEI level (which I don't' believe is the case, correct?) But to go over for one year and expect to be taught all that much is just a lot of "give" for that side...

                                in short... you may find that the other side just really doesn't see it worth the bother, and they would rather choose a student that would maybe want the same thing and stay for longer so they could actually utilize what they teach.

                                I'm thinking your best bet would be to find someone you think is fair, go into to giving your all and hoping for some "cherry on top" nice rides here and there. Instead of feeling like you're owed lessons.
                                http://dressageesquire.blogspot.com
                                "The ability to write a check for attire should not be confused with expertise. Proficiency doesn't arrive shrink-wrapped from UPS and placed on your doorstep."

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I've stated I'd be willing to stay longer. I'd be willing to stay permanently if I found the right place. What I can't do is stay permanently working for free, having to pay show fees and farrier/vet on a show horse, etc. I don't have outside financial backing, so I'd need something where I could be self sustaining. And if I am told part of my compensation for working is lessons, I would expect lessons. And while I'm not an FEI level rider, I am a capable, feeling, 2nd level rider who can be an asset to a training program.

                                  Most working student positions aren't long term. Most people burn out, go broke, or get hired as an asst trainer/instructor. So the argument that it's not worth it for "just a year" doesn't hold much water with me. Most of the WS positions I've seen advertised in Europe ask for a minimum of a 3 month stay, so I was thinking a year would show the commitment I have.

                                  Have any of the posters who responded ever done what I am looking to do? Anyone worked in a barn abroad?
                                  When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
                                    I've stated I'd be willing to stay longer. I'd be willing to stay permanently if I found the right place. What I can't do is stay permanently working for free, having to pay show fees and farrier/vet on a show horse, etc. I don't have outside financial backing, so I'd need something where I could be self sustaining. And if I am told part of my compensation for working is lessons, I would expect lessons. And while I'm not an FEI level rider, I am a capable, feeling, 2nd level rider who can be an asset to a training program.

                                    Most working student positions aren't long term. Most people burn out, go broke, or get hired as an asst trainer/instructor. So the argument that it's not worth it for "just a year" doesn't hold much water with me. Most of the WS positions I've seen advertised in Europe ask for a minimum of a 3 month stay, so I was thinking a year would show the commitment I have.

                                    Have any of the posters who responded ever done what I am looking to do? Anyone worked in a barn abroad?
                                    Things may have changed, but I don't know anyone going like you intend to go that has a horse they are paying for anything.
                                    You are working for basic pay and you won't have money or time to own any horses and you really don't want to.
                                    The experience will give you a real chance to learn to ride and that is on the backs of many, many different horses, some better than others and each one will teach you so much, with the help of the resident trainers.

                                    I don't think you quite realize that it is a job position, you don't get to have perks or will have time or money for owning horses too.

                                    If that is what you want, then you need to go as a horse owner, not a groom.

                                    Then, maybe I am wrong?

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      The horse was only brought into the equation in regards to staying permanently. I don't plan on bringing a horse, or buying a horse unless there is a permanent situation. My reason for saying that was because I got the impression from previous posts that I should take any job, work my butt off for free with no expectation of lessons or riding above a walk, and stay for 5 years while supporting myself independently. And be grateful that I get to muck in a German/Dutch stable instead of here.

                                      I am looking to ride LOTS of different horses, from babies on up. My fear is I won't get to ride at all, which according to previous posts, is accurate. Been there, done that. I've ridden GP horses for BNT, hacking them or warming up/cooling out, I've show groomed for 4* event riders...what I want is to take my "gap year" and break the 2nd level ceiling.
                                      When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
                                        I'll happily obtain a work permit for a worthwhile position.
                                        Unfortunately,it just isn't that easy. Your expectations are pretty unreal - they will expect you to WORK and do as you're told; concepts not that familiar to the average American dilettante.
                                        ... _. ._ .._. .._

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