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Is this the Norm?

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  • Is this the Norm?

    So i have been doing a good bit of research into WS programs as im hoping to do that while i take some time off before grad school. While there are a lot of good programs out there, one thing that has stuck me as odd is the amount a WS is expected to pay for room/board for horse and rider. I understand paying something but when a 'reduced' board for my horse is still 800+ a month and i have to pay rent on top of that, well ii just doesnt feel that reduced... is this the norm? that a WS has close to 1000 per month in board/living expenses at a BNT event barn? when you add in food/entries/vet bills etc it just seems hard to do. so i guess i am just wondering if this is normal or more of a coincidence in what ive seen so far. (i am in Area 2 if that makes a difference)

  • #2
    When I did it my "rent" was worked off and I paid $600 for board on my horse (this was in Ocala, FL and also 5 years ago, board has gone up a lot since then).

    I lived in a travel trailer with another WS. My horse's stall was bigger than my living area....

    I only did it for 4 months. That was plenty for me.
    Yes, I ride a pony. No, he would not be ideal for your child. No, he is not a re-sale project...


    • #3
      If you want to be a working student and avoid the pitfalls, it's best to be as flexible as possible. That means no horse for you.
      Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


      • #4
        It isn't the norm, probably, unless your universe of "potential WS positions" includes only THE BIGGEST names and THE TRENDIEST locations on the circuit. Depending upon your goals for the WS stint, neither of those may be actually necessary to have a great experience.
        Click here before you buy.


        • Original Poster

          haha no need for biggest and trendiest! im just looking for an active program that travels to events and i will have the opportunity to learn a bunch.


          • #6
            Certainly not abnormal, especially for big name programs. Especially if that is out of your budget, but also depending on your goals, looking into smaller name situations might get you a great education for lots of work but less of a price tag.



            • #7
              I hear you! I was looking for a situation this summer and couldn't afford anything. (Area II, also.) I had never heard of being charged as a WS until I began looking myself, but then again the places that suggested fees advertised. Long term situations seem to be more flexible, but I'm going to school in the fall and am not taking a gap year and couldn't do more than 2 or 3 months. I ended up throwing out the whole WS idea all together and I just work off my board and horse's fees but still have to pay for training from my offsite trainer. I wish I could have found something more WS-like, so I'll spend the entire off season looking around for something better.

              Good luck to you on your quest! It's not easy!


              • #8
                Can we break this down...

                Working as in a JOB performing physical labor..not a SLAVE
                Working as in performing duties to pay or earn your keep.
                Room board lessons.

                Not to include meals spending monies and board for a horse (optional)
                Should include alot more though including a day off and not living like a 2nd class citizen.
                Not pay as you go free labor either.

                Student as in there to learn not be a SLAVE.
                Student as in to ride or give lesson or school a horse under guidance and supervision not be a lesson giving lacky or a warm-up , leg up flunky.


                • #9
                  About half the WS positions I am familiar with cost money, about half are "work exchange" that come out about equal.

                  I agree big names are likely to cost money, whereas you might get bang for your buck with a smaller name.

                  Third Charm Event Team


                  • #10
                    My college age daughter has been a WS for two BNT's here in Area1. The first one included board for her horse and daily lessons but no additional rides. She paid rent for a small apt on the farm which was shared with another WS. Work was six days a week, ending around 6 or 7pm. It was physically demanding, she went to bed exhausted every day..but she learned a lot and absolutely LOVED it.
                    The second one involved no money on our part. Work was exchanged for all of the above, she shared a house with the BNT and the other WS'. A typical day was am barn chores, a daily lesson, training rides for several horses ,then some free time in the late afternoon until turn-in/night feed, then night check around 10pm, also one day off a week. There were other WS's there at the same time who paid room & board for the privilege of being there. So..I guess it depends on who the trainer is and what you bring to the table in terms of skill & work ethic.
                    "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville


                    • #11
                      I did 3 ws positions in my past. The first I worked off everything including food. All I had to pay was long distance phone charges, vet, farrier and showing expenses. It was a lot of work though and basically I worked from 6am to 6pm and then did night check 5 times a week. The other 2 I didn't have a horse with me and for both I worked off room and lessons. The one would've included free board as well but since I didn't have a horse her sponsors paid me out which I could then afford food and extras. The other I would've had to pay for board which I think was around $400 but I had 2-3 horses to ride per day so it didn't matter too much. I had to pay for food there as well (not un normal at all.) Both the last 2 were with Olympic riders-one short-listed and one on the team. I guess I was super lucky to have these opportunities (albeit the last one, the living situation wasn't the greatest lol.) When I went to do a trial a few years ago, the rider wasn't even short listed and all i worked off was lessons. Board and living was around $1200 / mth. I checked out others as well with Olympic riders and board was $900/ mth plus living of around $500 (funny to think your horse's board is more than your rent lol.)
                      But I do know there are a lot of great WS positions out there that you do work off board/ rent/ lessons-best places to check are the useventing classifieds and under the area contacts-you might have to move to get to one of the places but it'd be worth it.
                      I believe that if you're working 6 days a week for approx 10 hrs a day and the wage is roughly the same as a decent paying job then board/ rent/ lessons should be included in that cost...it certainly doesn't make sense to me that lessons a week would amount to the same that your hard work would! But then I guess some people might argue that as people worked in that environment.
                      Another great tool-yardandgroom. Lots of good listings there too! Good luck and I'm sure you'll find something that fits you!