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Working Student for Phyllis Dawson...?

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  • Working Student for Phyllis Dawson...?

    I don't know why, but her working students page on her website has just really grabbed my attention and I can't shake it out of my head.

    Does anyone happen to have any further info on what she's like to work with? Know of anyone who has? Opinions?
    http://www.teamwindchase.com/event.htm

    I'm currently under the age limit anyway, but *IF* I were to ever "try out" and want to be all set up for interviews and such, what would further "put me out there" that would make them want to hire me? Should I apprentice or first become a working student at a smaller place?

    One option for me would be to work for Jennifer Kaiser at Forrest Hill Farm (percheron sporthorse breeding/competition farm... home of the late Cottonwood Flame, the first grand prix purebred Perch stally). I job shadowed for Jennifer once for a school assignment, and (on top of what my former dressage coach/Jenny's SIL has told her) she really seemed to like me and said I was welcome back to ride any time. She also kept bringing up their internship program I might just have to take her up on the riding opportunity when I can drive, it's not every day that you can live in the middle of nowhere and have a huge fancy dressage barn 20 minutes away!

    So... opinions? Who else would you guys reccomend I look into? I show hunter/jumpers and am retraining an appendix mare (HUGE eventing potential!) to hunters to get a good jumping foundation on her, and we'll hopefully start working on more eventing-like things in the spring. So, if I were to take a horse with me, it would be her.

    Thank you for anyone who read my jumbled and half-completed thoughts!
    Last edited by Alpha App; Oct. 28, 2012, 01:01 AM.

  • #2
    Send a PM to takeachanceinva. She's Phyllis's assistant trainer (one of two), and she started off by being a working student first. She's extremely nice!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Divine Comedy View Post
      Send a PM to takeachanceinva. She's Phyllis's assistant trainer (one of two), and she started off by being a working student first. She's extremely nice!
      I'll check her out, thank you!!

      Comment


      • #4
        You can look up Melissa Hunsberger (sp?) & Natalie Hollis of Destination Farm- she and my old trainer (Natalie) were working students of Phyllis'.
        I rode with Phyllis as a Loudoun Hunt Pony Clubber and won't ever forget it or her mother, Grace. Amazing ladies!
        Re: Phyllis- I didn't know her as well as Natalie or Melissa do by any stretch but as a trainer, she scared the daylights out of me despite the fact that she knows insane amounts about horses, eventing, etc. If you can handle old school trainers, you will be fine and should TOTALLY apply!!! . If not, Id keep looking (you could even try destination farm in md as they are right across the Potomac from lovettsville/neersville, where Phyllis' farm is. They take working students too and are really laid back but will make you learn.
        pM me for more info if u need.
        Good luck
        And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by La Chasse View Post
          If you can handle old school trainers, you will be fine and should TOTALLY apply!!! . If not, Id keep looking .....

          Agreed.

          Comment


          • #6
            Am I inferring correctly? Is this a teenager who can articulate her thoughts and write in complete sentences? How rare is that?
            www.ncsporthorse.com

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by La Chasse View Post
              You can look up Melissa Hunsberger (sp?) & Natalie Hollis of Destination Farm- she and my old trainer (Natalie) were working students of Phyllis'.
              I rode with Phyllis as a Loudoun Hunt Pony Clubber and won't ever forget it or her mother, Grace. Amazing ladies!
              Re: Phyllis- I didn't know her as well as Natalie or Melissa do by any stretch but as a trainer, she scared the daylights out of me despite the fact that she knows insane amounts about horses, eventing, etc. If you can handle old school trainers, you will be fine and should TOTALLY apply!!! . If not, Id keep looking (you could even try destination farm in md as they are right across the Potomac from lovettsville/neersville, where Phyllis' farm is. They take working students too and are really laid back but will make you learn.
              pM me for more info if u need.
              Good luck
              Thank you, I will deffinitely be checking out everyone you've mentioned. I have to ask though... how do ENGLISH people define "old school?" I hear old school, and almost immediately think upgrading to bigger bits and breaking a horse by riding the bucks out...

              Originally posted by shea'smom View Post
              Am I inferring correctly? Is this a teenager who can articulate her thoughts and write in complete sentences? How rare is that?
              Hahahahaha! Oh come on, we aren't all that awful!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by shea'smom View Post
                Am I inferring correctly? Is this a teenager who can articulate her thoughts and write in complete sentences? How rare is that?
                Amen to that! I was thinking the same thing. I especially appreciate the lack of "text lingo".

                Good job, OP! With your mature and well articulated aspirations I'm sure you'll make a great addition to someone's barn (as long as you're not afraid of a hard day's work to go with those aspirations )
                Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                The Grove at Five Points

                Comment


                • #9
                  What do you want from your experience? Both opportunities would teach you horsemanship and good horse-keeping for competitive athletes.

                  If you are focused on eventing (or want to be focused on eventing), Phyllis would be a better match than a dressage barn that specializes in Percherons.

                  If you want to just get more education and learn about competitive riding from the inside out, you might have an easier, less expensive all around experience by going to the place close to home, though it doesn't sound like you'd get much help with your jumping aspirations.

                  If what you liked about your previous experience at the dressage barn was that the trainer "really liked you," Phyllis may not be for you. She's a taskmaster and she'll teach you a lot, but I don't think making students feel all warm and fuzzy is really at the top of her priority list. (And THAT's what people mean about an old-school trainer. It has nothing to do with big bits -- I'm not even sure where that comes from?! -- it has to do with being a demanding taskmaster who puts the riding and the horsemanship first, rather than coddling and ego-boosting.)

                  In my experience, in any GOOD working-student situation, your background and experience don't matter nearly as much as your willingness to listen, learn and work hard. But your willingness to do all that will directly correlate to how much you feel you are getting out of the experience -- don't go to a trainer who specializes in something into which you don't actually want to immerse yourself completely.
                  I evented just for the Halibut.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ditto ACME and shea'smom!
                    Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                    You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Phyllis is just fabulous.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by NeverTime View Post
                        What do you want from your experience? Both opportunities would teach you horsemanship and good horse-keeping for competitive athletes.

                        If you are focused on eventing (or want to be focused on eventing), Phyllis would be a better match than a dressage barn that specializes in Percherons.

                        If you want to just get more education and learn about competitive riding from the inside out, you might have an easier, less expensive all around experience by going to the place close to home, though it doesn't sound like you'd get much help with your jumping aspirations.
                        I did dressage-only for a while and as much as I love dressage and how dramatically different a horse is after being well-versed in it, I missed jumping. As awesome as being a hunter/jumper rider has been... it's just not exciting enough for me. I have TONS of respect for a well-trained h/j pair and I can appreciate a well-done course, don't get me wrong, but after getting a trained barrel pony a few years ago, and having so much fun with that, I really think I'm looking to combine my top three favorite disciplines.

                        If what you liked about your previous experience at the dressage barn was that the trainer "really liked you," Phyllis may not be for you. She's a taskmaster and she'll teach you a lot, but I don't think making students feel all warm and fuzzy is really at the top of her priority list. (And THAT's what people mean about an old-school trainer. It has nothing to do with big bits -- I'm not even sure where that comes from?! -- it has to do with being a demanding taskmaster who puts the riding and the horsemanship first, rather than coddling and ego-boosting.)
                        Sorry--I didn't want to sound like I only liked the trainer because she likes me. I meant to imply that since she LIKES how I ride, I'd most likely have a MUCH better chance in making it into her program. I don't expect to feel warm and fuzzy because frankly, I don't want to. I don't want to feel special just because a trainer likes me. I want to be rewarded by a horse when it's obvious that it has progressed under saddle with me. I can feel "warm and fuzzy" after one of my horses or maybe even in the future someone who has ridden under me, goes to a big show and performs extremely well.



                        [quote]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by NeverTime View Post
                          She's a taskmaster and she'll teach you a lot... making students feel all warm and fuzzy is really at the top of her priority list...who puts the riding and the horsemanship first.. your willingness to do all that will directly correlate to how much you feel you are getting out of the experience -- don't go to a trainer who specializes in something into which you don't actually want to immerse yourself completely.
                          agreed. phyllis is a "save the drama for your mama" kinda gal. =) and you had better like doing whatever you are told, otherwise, well.... just do it.

                          you will enter one type of rider and exit another. the other thing to know is she has a way of keeping working students around vs other places that cycle them quickly. that is a good thing.
                          And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            COTH member rideforthelaurels16 was a working student at her facility. She doesn't post here much anymore though and hasn't logged in for some time. You can dig up her older threads about her experience as well as her online journal about it.
                            Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just a quick mention of another working student who didn't make the age criteria. The girl who bought my mare wanted to work with Sharon White but was too young. The girl and her parents traveled to Last Frontier Farm and met with Sharon. Sharon agreed, based on the girl's maturity, to accept her as a working student for the summer. It was a great opportunity and one that might not have happened had the girl not asked.

                              I've been to Phyllis' farm, found it to be immaculate with obviously well run staff. I would imagine a working student on that farm works hard but learns an immense amount.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If you are looking for an all around horse experience, look at Playland Farm in Maryland. You will learn about breeding, and youngsters, as well as doing some eventing and dressage. The working students there seem happy. The big disadvantage there is that once the youngsters are eventing, they are sold. You probably won't get to compete above Novice.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by LexInVA View Post
                                  COTH member rideforthelaurels16 was a working student at her facility. She doesn't post here much anymore though and hasn't logged in for some time. You can dig up her older threads about her experience as well as her online journal about it.
                                  I've actually finished my homework in class for once so I'm checking her out now. Thank you!

                                  Originally posted by Sadiegem View Post
                                  Just a quick mention of another working student who didn't make the age criteria. The girl who bought my mare wanted to work with Sharon White but was too young. The girl and her parents traveled to Last Frontier Farm and met with Sharon. Sharon agreed, based on the girl's maturity, to accept her as a working student for the summer. It was a great opportunity and one that might not have happened had the girl not asked.

                                  I've been to Phyllis' farm, found it to be immaculate with obviously well run staff. I would imagine a working student on that farm works hard but learns an immense amount.
                                  Seriously jealous of that girl. What an experience to aleady be having! As it is, I'm not looking for a "summer thing" because alot of my classes actually assign homework and projects ove the summer (BLECH!) which I'm sure I would forget about if I was at a top trainer's barn for the summer. I'm going to finish high school before I make a commitment anywhere and am looking for possibilities for after graduating highschool--class of 2015.

                                  Originally posted by AKB View Post
                                  If you are looking for an all around horse experience, look at Playland Farm in Maryland. You will learn about breeding, and youngsters, as well as doing some eventing and dressage. The working students there seem happy. The big disadvantage there is that once the youngsters are eventing, they are sold. You probably won't get to compete above Novice.
                                  Again, I will check this place out. Thanks!
                                  First and formost I would love to be able to learn fom Phyllis or someone very similar as I want to get the gist of training, competing, and farm management. While the perch/sporthorse facility isn't quite top notch eventing horses, they do breed some VERY nice jumpers/eventers, and they would be much closer to me however I'm not certain if they would allow someone to intern for the breeding aspect only.
                                  Last edited by Alpha App; Nov. 5, 2012, 08:45 PM.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Alpha App View Post
                                    Seriously jealous of that girl. What an experience to aleady be having! As it is, I'm not looking for a "summer thing" because alot of my classes actually assign homework and projects ove the summer (BLECH!) which I'm sure I would forget about if I was at a top trainer's barn for the summer. I'm going to finish high school before I make a commitment anywhere and am looking for possibilities for after graduating highschool--class of 2012.
                                    Just FYI: We interview for working students at least 6-12 months in advance, sometimes we dont have openings available for at least 12 months. As someone previously mentioned, our working students have a tendency to stay up to a year, sometimes 18 months and longer, which I think is longer than many other places, which is just credit to our excellent program. So if you are interested in applying for a position in the next 1-2 years I wouldn't hesitate to plan early!

                                    Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions, or just shoot Phyllis an e-mail, she is happy to answer any questions regarding the working student program!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Whoops, total brain fart!!!! I will graduate in 2015..... waaaaay more time than 2012! Sorry!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        [QUOTE=Alpha App;6639391]Thank you, I will deffinitely be checking out everyone you've mentioned. I have to ask though... how do ENGLISH people define "old school?" I hear old school, and almost immediately think upgrading to bigger bits and breaking a horse by riding the bucks out...

                                        Yep, that's old school....my trainer now is very old school, and I'm thinking about applying for Phyllis's WS position too, so this all makes me feel better! Lol.

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