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Where to find Working Student Positions?

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  • Where to find Working Student Positions?

    I'm looking to do some Working Student type of thing in the future. I have several friends who are in the Eventing world who are going to be working students this summer for some of the SNTs in Eventing, but their current trainers set them up.

    I personally don't know any SNTs or BNTs for that matter and would like to know HOW people get those awesome positions where they're slaves for the training barn/Event riders for a year or 6 months or whatever. I would love to soak up some knowledge from the people who are IN there.

    Any information would be helpful.

    Iron Star Equestrian

    Heels Down, Eyes Up, Plan Ahead

  • #2



    • #3
      www.virginiaequestrian.com is THE resource for the state of VA. We dressagies hold our own here, but it's very much event country too, if that's what you're looking for.
      spriesersporthorse.com | farm on Facebook | me on Facebook | blog


      • #4
        If it is eventing your are into, I would call Deana Vaughn at Tailwind Farm in Aldie Virginia. She often uses working students (she's terrific) or might now of someone. Virginia is full of some of the best eventers in the country.

        If you want to go hard core dressage, the Poulins (Mike and Sharon) often have an active working student program at their facility in Florida.

        Top notch. Different disciplines, but you'll learn a lot from real pros.
        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


        • #5


          • #6
            A long time ago (OK, not THAT long ago), here's how I did it.

            I picked a rider I REALLY REALLY wanted to work with. I called her and offered to work for free. Be humble, stress that you want to learn anything/everything, and you don't mind mucking stalls.

            I ended up not mucking stalls hardly at all, riding 4 horses a day with her, and getting 2-3 lessons a week.

            Now, this was for an event trainer... and my general experience is that event riders are much more likely to let you ride their nice horses than dressage riders. If you called a dressage rider and offered to work for free, you might just end up mucking stalls. Unless you have pretty good riding skills, you might look for a "lesser" trainer who has a more active sales practice. These trainers frequently have a better supply of decent-but-not-fabulous horses that they don't mind "lesser" riders getting on. If you go to a top dressage barn, the horse flesh is going to be really nice, and you won't get to ride anything unless you're pretty darn good.


            • #7
              "If you go to a top dressage barn, the horse flesh is going to be really nice, and you won't get to ride anything unless you're pretty darn good."

              I think that depends on the barn. And its REALLY hard to find the barn that allows that... But if you get in one that is more "classical" vs competitive (not saying they do not compete) they seem to know the value of riding schoolmasters and upper level horses. I ended up in a FABULOUS barn, never cleaned stalls, and had a lesson 6 days a week, forced to ride on my day off even if i was exhausted... LOL. I rode the 2nd level schoolmasters, but i also rode the trainers GP competition horses, and i was not "brilliant." MAN what i learned from getting that chance! I would go back to that barn in two seconds.

              I found them on the NEDA message board. I will say there seem to be a LOT more choices in the New England area. And whatever you do, get a contract in writing stating what you will/wont get out of the arrangement. I also ended up in a couple barns where all i ever go to do was be "priveledged" to clean their stalls, even though i was promised lessons and learning time, i never saw it. I even went for an interview, and then moved 1500 miles for them...

              If you can, talk to previous/current working students/employees, they will dish on everything. A good barn will introduce you to them. A bad one wont!

              The Poulin's do seem to have several openings for working students, but there's a catch... You have to pay for that priveledge, PLUS work... And its interesting that they ALWAYS seem to have openings... high turn-over? Maybe not a good sign that people like to STAY... I spoke with them years ago, sounded like a good opportunity, but not one that i could afford, i might as well pay for private lessons and not work. Purely speculation, i did not meet them in person or see their facility, nor have i talked with someone who has ever worked for them, but that is my observation.
              Your Horse's Home On The Road!


              • #8
                Poulin Dressage

                I too have been curious about the Yard and Groom posting for WS positions at Poulin Dressage. The listing doesn't say anything about paying to work there, and states that housing and horse board are free, and that the WS only has to pay for their food. It sounds like a great position with a BNT so it struck me as odd that they are always advertising. Has anyone had first-hand experience with this program, and would you recommend it for a person seeking their first WS position?


                • #9
                  Well that looks much better than it used to be! In regards to Poulins. I would have looked into it 10yrs ago or so. They didnt offer housing, but there were apartments nearby, you could bring a horse, but i want to say it was $500 a month and may have been more than that to be there. To me "working student" shouldnt cost money!

                  I'm not sure i like a working student program that you only get lesson on your own horse, possible rides on others if you are good enough/have time... I think you learn the most riding wise, and advance up the levels quicker, if they throw you on everything and anything. Just my experience though.
                  Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                  • #10
                    go to Europe (if you've got talent)
                    "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."


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks for all the replies! I'm definately going to look into some of the trainers suggested here and in private messages that I've recieved.

                      I'd love to go to Europe, those WS jobs seem harder to find. I haven't had the time just yet to check out the above listed websites but I WILL!!

                      Thank you so much!
                      Iron Star Equestrian

                      Heels Down, Eyes Up, Plan Ahead


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Equestryn View Post
                        Thanks for all the replies! I'm definately going to look into some of the trainers suggested here and in private messages that I've recieved.

                        I'd love to go to Europe, those WS jobs seem harder to find. I haven't had the time just yet to check out the above listed websites but I WILL!!

                        Thank you so much!
                        Ya because they actually PAY you in Europe. Don't be a fool, get a working holiday visa for Europe and work for $$ and priceless experience!! Way better than being a slave...


                        • Original Poster

                          Where do you find the European jobs?
                          Iron Star Equestrian

                          Heels Down, Eyes Up, Plan Ahead


                          • #14
                            Euro Horse Grooms


                            Some great jobs listed! If only I were 20 years younger, single, and knew what I know now...
                            "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."


                            • #15
                              working student

                              Take a look at the Forrest Hill Farm website. They train American warmbloods--I interned with them one summer in high school and had a good (albeit very tough) experience. Rode everything from greenies to upper level horses.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Equestryn View Post
                                Where do you find the European jobs?
                                Yard and Groom !


                                • #17
                                  Did you ever have any luck finding a WS student position? Would you mind sharing some of the trainers from the PMs that you got? I'm looking for a WS position now.


                                  • #18
                                    My understanding is that Erin Freedman who just came back from a year with Ingrid Klimke is looking for a working student. Erin is currently at Hedgeland in Waterford, VA and you can contact her via her website..
                                    Siegi Belz
                                    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                                    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


                                    • #19
                                      At this time, there are some positions listed on Yard and Groom that sound really appealing. It's hard to tell from ads what the positions are actually like, but they could be great. Does anyone have experience training with or working for Lorinda Lende (PA), Imajica Stables (VT) or Elite Expression Dressage (NJ)?


                                      • #20
                                        Imajica has a very high turnover rate. A lot of stalls there to be cleaned and very cold winters. You do not always get your lessons unless you push for them. The housing is also a joke.