• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

In need of advice, wanting to become an upper level rider

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • In need of advice, wanting to become an upper level rider

    I really want to become an upper level Dressage rider. Now that I have finishied college, I am looking for working student position and have come across several that seem promising.

    The problem? My horse. I have a coming four year old that I love, have had him his whole life. He has been started under saddle and has the potential do well in dressage. I have been hoping to find a position to bring him with me. However, now that I am a few weeks into searching for a job and have spoken to several different farms, I am wondering if I would be better off not taking a horse with and rather riding some of the more expereinced horses. The only problem is that I can't afford to leave my horse at home on a working student's salary which means I may have to sell him. I don't know if I could, this horse is special to me and I feel that I would regret it.

    I really, really want to become an upper level rider and trainer and am willing to give up alot to do, like becoming someone'e resident barn slave for a year or more. My question is I am I better off being with out a horse as a working student?

  • #2
    I don't have an answer to your question, but it would seem to me that you may have the opportunity to have the horse be part of your negotiations. I know of one facility that was was looking for a working student and they didn't have much "extra" to ride, but it would have been a great opportunity to get a bit of upper level riding education combined with great assistance in bringing your horse along. IMO you shouldn't decide one way or the other until you are closing in on a particular position. Only you can decide if you can part w/ him in the end.
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


    • #3
      Bear with my rattling/prattling below...I still feel pretty strongly about my experiences as a WS!

      I've done the WS thing with a couple different people-the only people I could work for WITHOUT bringing my own horse were less well known types who had the training board/sales/young horses they didn't mind others riding. The more "big name" the trainer, the LESS interested he/she was in taking me on as a WS b/c they felt I wouldn't get as much from the position only warming up/down a horse.

      After a year of dissatifying WS positions, I realized I learned more and felt more capable after riding the same horse routinely, and also found that I progressed far more quickly.

      I think it depends on what YOU want from the position. *I* do not want to be a professional horse trainer-I simply wanted to learn how to ride more efficiently, develop a better position, and fill in the gaps that existed in my education. So, for me, it was more efficient for me to ride certain horses regularly and learn that way. Others who want to become dealers, trainers, or sales riders would probably prefer to NOT be limited to one horse-or a personal horse-b/c they would miss riding the others and learning to deal with each one differently.

      It really depends on what you want from it and where you want to go, and if this horse can go there. The thing about WS positions is that it is easy to find one (in my opinion)...but its hard to find the *right* one.

      You need to walk away feeling like you're better for the experience, that it was worth the sacrifices (whatever those may be in your circumstances).

      So instead of wondering whether you should sell the horse right now, you should make a list of what YOU want from a position. That question will be answered once you take a serious self-inventory!
      Where do you want to be in a year? 5 years? Aspiring pro or not?
      Where does this horse appear to be headed-upper levels prospect for yourself or a good project to sell after a few months under serious program?

      Be very honest with yourself about what you want from yourself, the horse, the position, the philosophy of trainer, the environment, long-term plans, etc. before starting your search. Most WS positions allow you to bring a horse, if you want him, it shouldn't be a problem except monetarily speaking.

      Just my 2cents. Good luck.
      True Bearing Equestrian
      St. Helena Island, SC


      • #4
        I think every working student job works a little bit differently, so shop around for options. When I was a working student, I was able to bring my horse and I got daily lessons on him in addition to riding various horses that were in training at the barn. When I first started, I rode the greener horses and the older/lower level horses (the easier horses basically, or the ones the trainer didn't want to get on) anyways. As I learned more and she got to know me and trust me, I got to ride more horses. By the time I left (I did 14 months), I had ridden almost every horse there, including upper level horses. But she did not have me regularly "training" those horses, as that would not have been fair to the customer paying for it!! She would allow me to ride them to feel a certain thing, or if one just needed to be warmed up for the owner or stuff like that. I would guess most working students do get more time on the greener/lower level horses and mostly the trainer rides the upper level/better horses herself, unless the barn has an abundance of upper level horses and the working student is an accomplished upper level rider herself. If your goal is specifically to ride upper level horses, definitely ask about that ahead of time. However, as I found, the ticket to the upper levels lies in the experience you gain from all the lower level rides... and mostly if you want an upper level horse to ride everyday, you have to buy one or make one yourself.

        One of the best opportunities I had that I will forever be grateful for was a PSG horse that had significant time off due to an injury and was being brought back to work. I got to ride him every day, starting with long walks and little bits of trot, and slowly increasing the amount of work he was doing until I did end up getting to ride lateral movements on him and do some flying changes. He was a REALLY cool horse that taught me a ton, but I only got the daily ride because he was coming back from that injury. And of course, once he got going really good, the trainer's daughter took over the ride. The really fancy grand prix horse? Only the trainer rode him.... The fresh off the track horse? I got to be the crash test dummy... and I would guess that's pretty typical. So yes I got some upper level experience, but it's not like I was just handed all sorts of upper level horses to ride. Just from being around and watching though, I did learn a lot about how upper level horses are trained, which I'm hoping will be valuable knowledge for me to tap into someday when I get there with my own horse!

        The experience on the various horses I rode was extremely valuable, even the lower level ones, because they all have something different to teach. The best part is the SOLID foundation we put on my own horse (who was also the only horse that I rode daily for the entire time I was there, all the rest came and went), and since leaving I have continued to move him up the levels, and I have trained a few other horses through the lower levels, so the education I got gave me the knowledge/feel to correctly recreate the work in other horses without supervision.

        If I had done those same lessons on a school master type, I may have progressed more quickly up levels, but I don't think I would have had the tools to then go back to a green horse and train the same stuff. When I am ready to train my own horse through the upper levels, I will get in a serious training program again with an FEI trainer, and only then will I consider myself a real upper level rider. I'm sure it will help me to have felt some of the movements before, but through the process of training I have developed an awareness that almost seems to make the training fall into place by itself. For example, I rode flying changes a few times on various horses that knew them (literally, a few times), and I understood what happened in a change and what the aids should be... but I never had a school master to do lots of changes on. Recently I put changes on my horse, without the help of a trainer. But my horse (and I) understands a half halt, and a canter-walk, and a counter-canter, etc so it was the next natural step for us. And if we would get stuck, I could feel what was stuck and go back and fix it so we could move forward again. I credit learning to train solid, correct basics for that, not the experience I had on the upper level horses.

        The other thing I learned, which may not sound profound, but I had to experience it for it to really sink in, was just how much physical strength it takes to do dressage correctly. Just to sit quietly and have a TRULY independent seat capable of making the teeniest little shifts and with just the right timing, and making aids coordinated and stronger or softer as needed... it takes a lot of strength! I'm not talking about pulling on the reins strength or anything like that either, I guess it's mostly core strength probably, but I know my whole body changed. It wasn't until I was riding multiple horses a day, and seriously working them, not just hacking them around, that I felt how much my seat improved and I suddenly had access to muscles in a whole new way, which gave me the ability to use my aids in a way I had never been able to before. This was a huge lightbulb for me. Before this change in my seat happened, I doubt I would have been able to ride upper level movements on even an "easy" upper level horse... and I wasn't a bad or unfit rider to begin with!

        Before you make a decision about your horse, find out what sort of working student positions might allow you to bring him. If you will be riding the greenies anyways, you may as well bring your own along! Also, define for yourself what your goal of "being an upper level rider" really means. Your young horse may not help you if your goals involve more of the riding a school master experience (but a working student gig may not help you there either), but if you want to compete/train at those levels, learning how to do it from the bottom up will make sure you really understand your stuff and do it right. Bringing him along to a working student position would allow you to train him under the constant supervision of someone who knows how to get you up the levels. And since he's yours, you can show him and continue to ride him for as long as you want, vs other horses that you may get a chance to ride and learn from, but are not yours for the long haul. Of course there are benefits and drawbacks to doing it either way, and ultimately it comes down to what your specific goals are, how much you love your horse, and what you can swing financially. It's a lot to think about, but it's such a valuable experience however you go about it, I hope you can find a way to make it work for you!
        Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
        Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
        My Training Blog: www.dressagefundamentals.com


        • Original Poster

          First of all, thanks for all the awesome responses I don't expect to get tons of rides on the really nice, really well trained horses all the time, I just don't want to always be limited to mostly lessons on my horse. I want to learn how to bring him along but I also want to be able bring along a variety of different horses as well. I guess the hardest part is going to be finding that right position.


          • #6
            Michael Poulin in FL specifically requests that his WSs bring their own horses. You might see if he needs anyone right now. I know someone who was with him for 6 years of something, and she's a lovely rider.


            • #7
              Hampton, Michael is looking for someone - he always is . My trainer spent a long time with them (more than a year) and it was very beneficial for her. They place a great emphasis on seat and position, and I have found Sharon, at least, in clinics, to be very helpful.


              • #8
                I don't see why you can't take your horse and ride others. In fact I would expect it. Check Michael Poulin for WS position. http://www.poulindressage.com/
                ... _. ._ .._. .._


                • Original Poster

                  I have heard of the Poulin's but I have heard that you have to pay them on top of working for them which isn't something that I can afford.