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Working Student in Germany?

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  • Working Student in Germany?

    In two years time I hope to spend a few years in Germany at a dressage stable. My main goal is to improve my riding significantly! I'd love to work with a breeding stable. I just have a ton of questions, and hope some of you can maybe answer them.

    When should I start applying/looking?
    How do you determine the best situation?
    How do you find situations?
    Should I attempt to learn German before going? (I assume yes!)
    I know every situation is different, but what can you expect that they will require of you, and what you will get in exchange?

    Any information and input is appreciated! Thank you.

  • #2
    I can't really address your working student questions but yes, you should absolutely start learning German now. I knew ZERO when I moved here because our move happened kinda fast and now I know still very little (I can order food and beer and know all of the most important horse words...which has not been good for my ebay addiction since I can now sort through things on ebay.de....) but it will get you further much faster if you know German (both in the barn and out). While most of the people here know English, my experience was that if you are not a beginning rider (I'm 3rd level schooling 4th) then it's hard to find someone with enough English to give you lessons. I catch rode whatever I could sit on for a while and finally have lucked upon an Intermediare horse at a stable with a Grand Prix rider/trainer (with excellent English!) that is a friend of a friend from the States. Yay! My recommendation would be to start networking now and see if you can meet someone here with a stable through friends of friends/trainers. There are barns EVERYWHERE. I'm in the southern part and I hear the northern part is the place to be for breeding facilities if that's where your interest lies. Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Just make sure it's the right situation. Working slaves in the U.S. can have issues, but it can be even worse overseas. And ALWAYS learn the language before going and talk to Germans online as well as in person to practice!
      "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

      Comment


      • #4
        Look on the Eurodressage.com site, there are often ads for working students needed. They often give the terms so you can see what is the industry trend for living arrangements, riding, etc. We do have a few US and Canadian riders that live and train in Europe, maybe you can communicate with them to see what they recommend. And YES, learn German.
        bad decisions make good stories

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        • #5
          Just one thing: Breeding farms often have little ridable material in their stables.

          Up north tend to be the bigger ones, but Southern states have their share of notable ones....

          And yeah, learn German!

          (there might be groups in your community that meet to just speak German)
          Originally posted by BigMama1
          Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
          GNU Terry Prachett

          Comment


          • #6
            Definitely learn German. You should plan on having some back up places/ support network to stay in Europe just in case.

            I went 20yrs ago and learned a ton! It was a great experience.

            I think USEF gives you a card to be able to compete over there now. Back when I went, foreigners couldn't compete.

            The shows are totally different. Plan on sleeping in truck/ trailers when you go to shows.

            You'll probably share a room with other working students grooms. Long hours, lots of work, not alot of praise but if you stick it out, you'll learn a ton!
            www.TackMeUp.com
            'What's in your trunk?'
            Free tools for Trainers and Riders

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            • #7
              Learning some German and being eager to learn more shows respect. We should think that way in the USA as well.

              Comment


              • #8
                I found German extremely easy to learn. I went to university in Germany and in my spare time took lessons at the local Reithof. I was amazed with the quality horses they have for schooling. I could have died and gone to heaven right then. Since my German was fairly decent, I was instructed in German and managed just fine. And as everyone has already said, it shows respect and courtesy if you try to learn the language of the land.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I second what the others said. What to do and where to best go will depend a lot on your priorities. If you mainly want to learn about breeding, horsefarming and the market over here I'd stick to the North as this is where most of the large Verbands are sited with their adjacent training and sales facilities. Here you'll get a ton of young horses to ride, you could attend a course at one of the State-run riding schools (e.g. Verden offers courses in English)
                  If you rincentive is to mostly improve your riding and dip into the show scene I would suggest contacting some of the recognized riders and see if they have a slot for you.
                  We've had mostly vet students for interns at my farm thus far since I practice right here at the studfarm and we're close to the Hanoverian, Westfalian and Oldenburg auction centres with shows going on every weekend within 1h of driving distance. The language wasn't a first priority to our working students but they still caught quite a lot of it. Maybe it it would be a good idea for your to split your stay and spend some time in a showbarn (which is unlikely to have breeding and raising activity going on at the same site) and some time at a breeding farm. Or spend one part working and take a course at a riding-school during the other...

                  Some things to check out beforehand: If you're going to ride make sure your insurance covers activity abroad. If not you want to still check with your health insurance whether they will cover treatment overseas. If you're going over for educational purpose and to add to your professional CV make sure you land someplace professional not just 'a breeding farm'. Ask for references (ideally from students who have stayed in the past as they are unlikely to BS you )
                  If you're applying at show barns you can look up their show records through the National Federation FN to see if they actually do what they claim to. Professional status is accessible via the respective organizations (e.g. veterinary chamber for vets, agricultural chamber for equestrian professionals) Better be safe than sorry.
                  Also make sure to outline your skills, incentive and expectations properly. If you don't mind to do barnwork next to the more exciting jobs you shouldn't have problems to find entry. However you don't want to end up mucking stalls all day and seeing nothing of the horseworld. Afterall you can muck stalls at home too. Of course there is a thin line between not appearing like a spoiled DQ nobody wants to have around and not ending up as a working slave
                  Let me know if you need help, I can point you to some of our ex-WS' so they can share their experiences and guide you around potential pitfalls.
                  Froh zu sein bedarf es wenig...
                  http://www.germanhorseconnection.com
                  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Germa...m/237648984580

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Give and Take View Post

                    I think USEF gives you a card to be able to compete over there now. Back when I went, foreigners couldn't compete.

                    Hmmm interesting. I emailed USEF. When I buy a young horse here I would like to be able to compete a little bit but DO NOT want to have to jump to get the competition card and I don't know enough German yet for the theory part of the test...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My daughter is headed to Germany next week. I spoke with the USEF about competing in Germany. If you are going to compete at the national level you do not need any special permission from USEF, but if you want to compete at the FEI level then the USEF has to give you permission and the USEF does your entry for you.

                      I do not know what the German Federation may require, but I think I will be finding that out as time goes along.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks all for the input! I guess I should get going on German. Should I actually take classes, or can I attempt it on the internet? Thanks.
                        My goal is riding by the way. I hope to come home a grand prix rider! Even if it takes me 7+ years there.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by toesforward View Post
                          Thanks all for the input! I guess I should get going on German. Should I actually take classes, or can I attempt it on the internet? Thanks.
                          My goal is riding by the way. I hope to come home a grand prix rider! Even if it takes me 7+ years there.

                          You can take all the classes, anywhere, really. You will finally really be learning the language when you are there.
                          But that's ok.
                          Originally posted by BigMama1
                          Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                          GNU Terry Prachett

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tuppysmom View Post
                            My daughter is headed to Germany next week. I spoke with the USEF about competing in Germany. If you are going to compete at the national level you do not need any special permission from USEF, but if you want to compete at the FEI level then the USEF has to give you permission and the USEF does your entry for you.

                            I do not know what the German Federation may require, but I think I will be finding that out as time goes along.
                            I can't wait until she gets here! I'm not close but will be planning a few trips to the North I think One conveniently around our shared birthday

                            The FN here requires that you do an exam of jumping, dressage, and theory for the level you want to qualify to compete in. So for people like me that don't jump anymore and don't know enough German it kinda sucks...

                            I did just get an email back from USEF that you can fill out this form and get a permission letter from the USEF to compete in National competitions in other countries (different form for FEI) so maybe that will be a possibility.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by toesforward View Post
                              Thanks all for the input! I guess I should get going on German. Should I actually take classes, or can I attempt it on the internet?
                              I would advise you to take at least one beginning class in person so you can get some coaching on the accent before you develop bad habits, *then* you can do internet or tapes or whatever.

                              I went to university in Germany and was a working student outside of Stuttgart and the farm I was at actually didn't have a lot of English speakers. I'd never have learned as much as I did if I wasn't fairly fluent to begin with (especially given the intensity of the local dialect ) and likely wouldn't even have had the opportunity to work there to begin with.

                              Once you get going with the language a bit, pick up a couple of the books from the National Equestrian Federation.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by citydog View Post

                                I went to university in Germany and was a working student outside of Stuttgart and the farm I was at actually didn't have a lot of English speakers. I'd never have learned as much as I did if I wasn't fairly fluent to begin with (especially given the intensity of the local dialect ) and likely wouldn't even have had the opportunity to work there to begin with.
                                People keep trying to teach me Swabisch! What barn did you work at? I'm in Stuttgart but ride in Münsingen with Grand Prix rider Baerbel Eppinger.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  n2dressage wrote:
                                  The FN here requires that you do an exam of jumping, dressage, and theory for the level you want to qualify to compete in. So for people like me that don't jump anymore and don't know enough German it kinda sucks...
                                  I thought the changed that? If you only want to compete in dressage, then only dressage testing is needed?? You'd still have to test in theorie for your Reitabzeichen.

                                  toesforward
                                  I've meet a working student from Scottland at the Landesreitschule in Hoya (Lower Saxony) years ago. Her german was good, but I believe Herr Meyer- von- Strohen who run's the place speaks excellent english.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    n2dressage

                                    There is some info here about the disciplin specific testing:

                                    http://www.pferd-aktuell.de/Doc-..21...m?backNode=540

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Having spent time riding in Germany and traveling around the various breeding areas my advise would be to go there expecting to put in very long days. I was never at a barn where the interns were not required to do stalls, sweep floors and do most of the barn work AND ride. As far as riding - don't expect to ride the best horses - you have to earn that privilege. You will probably only have one day off a week.

                                      It's a great experience and if nothing else you will see what it's like to have horse sports be one of the biggest sports in the country.

                                      I would definitely learn some German - Rosetta Stone is a very good product.
                                      Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                                      "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Equi88 View Post
                                        n2dressage wrote:


                                        I thought the changed that? If you only want to compete in dressage, then only dressage testing is needed?? You'd still have to test in theorie for your test.
                                        I was told by several barns that do the testing that the only way around jumping is to do your exam at M level dressage (3rd/4th) which is fine but there is the finding a horse to do it on and still my lack of good enough german. USEF said they can grant permission per year to members to compete abroad. That sounds a little more straightforward thankgoodness!

                                        Comment

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