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What skill sets/knowledge should a working student have?

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  • What skill sets/knowledge should a working student have?

    So I'm hoping to become a working student in a couple years, and I want to get a leg up on what I should be prepared to know/skills I should have when I enter the Big World Out There . I would most likely look for a WS position at an eventing barn, though I'd be open to hunters, show jumping, dressage, and polo
    I've brainstormed wrapping/bandaging, being able to drive a truck/trailer, braiding, lunging, what else?
    Thanks in advance!
    "rythm, power, feeling, harmony, and heavy competition"

  • #2
    Multi-task, work like a dog and don't pass rumours from BO to boarders and vice versa.
    Learn basic distances for trotting/cantering gymnastics lines. Pump some iron so that you can single handedly set a jump coarse of a dozen or more fences in a giant ring.
    Prepare thyself to weed eat around 10s of Xcountry jumps over acres of land in 95 degree weather. You might have a 4 wheeler to move from fence to fence.
    ALWAYS remember to look at every inch of every horse, you will learn to do this fairly quickly, because the one leg that you don't notice will have some kind of horrid injury that you will miss!

    have fun!


    • #3
      Be a stall cleaning robot.
      Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
      Thank you for everything boy.

      Better View.


      • #4
        I think you need to learn how to party until 1 and then get up at 5 to feed and start stables....(I did when I was a WS!) and learn how to disappear when there is a big task about to be handed out, and learn how to show up when the trainer needs some horse hacked out for an hour while she teaches a lesson....(not like me, I was always hanging around for the hard work and my fellow WS was always getting the easy stuff and the rides on the good horses. Be smarter than me!)
        Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
        Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


        • #5
          Originally posted by katie+tru View Post
          Be a stall cleaning robot.
          OH yah, I forgot that very basic detail. Oh and be able to lead the most obnoxious horses in to their stalls during torential rain/wind/hail and on coming tornadoes WITHOUT any help because the BO will be hiding in her house and could care less if you are killed by either the weather or the horse. And don't bother to ask for help or complain because no one cares.
          If you're lucky you might get to ride the odd horse once in a while and the 2 lessons per week that you were promised will dwindle to one/week and then 1 bi-weekly.
          Nope, I'm not bitter.


          • #6
            Be lively. Talk to your boss like he/she is a close friend. Soak up all knowlege. Ask lots of questions. Always smile and seek out the positive in any situation. Never stop moving
            Please visit the Donate page!



            • #7
              Definitely communicate! Don't be afraid to ask questions and ask why something is done the way it's done. Be prepared to work hard, but if you're used to working in barns this will come easy. Eat properly-so many times I wouldn't eat enough protein and I'd tucker out by mid day, not a good thing!! Make sure you have something good for breakfasy especially if you'll be working in the humidity-we'd start around 6am, clean some stalls, feed, then go for breakfast, come out and tack up horses, tidy up and then prepare to ride ourselves-sometimes 1-3 horses. When it's humid, this feels like riding 10 horses lol! So drink lots of water too!!! Make sure you know wrapping, first aid (incl. colic, emergencies), grooming and tacking up properly, etc-building courses and what not can be learned if you don't know them already. If you're planning on being a WS, set goals and have a picture in mind of what you want to get out of the experience. Unfortunately, the 2 best WS positions I had I didn't have a horse with me and I got a bit lost as to where my path was going-even though I rode everyday on other horses. For me, I wish I had a horse with me (one stayed at home to be sold and the other had a freak accident before I went down.) Anyhoo, the main thing is you're there to learn-if you putts around each day not thinking you're getting anything from the experience than it's time to move on.
              Good luck and also, have a few positions lined up and get feedback from each if you can.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cruiser12 View Post
                If you're lucky you might get to ride the odd horse once in a while and the 2 lessons per week that you were promised will dwindle to one/week and then 1 bi-weekly.
                Nope, I'm not bitter.
                You didn't by chance work in New Jersey in the late 90s, did you?

                That was pretty much my exact same experience.
                The dude abides ...


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Opus1 View Post
                  You didn't by chance work in New Jersey in the late 90s, did you?

                  That was pretty much my exact same experience.
                  Nope, it was much more recently. I know I sound horribly bitter, but I know I worked like a dog and got taken advantage of. When I left, she replaced me with 3 people, 1 full time, 2 part time, and all I ever heard from people was how things were not kept up as well after I left.
                  On the bright side, her last couple of WS have had much better experiences. So I really am happy for them because no one deserves that kind of treatment.