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Working student for Event barn.

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  • Working student for Event barn.

    Is there any website that can help me find a working student postion? I am 19 and I really want to oppotunity to ride horses that could help me get my name out there. I am a talented rider, but cant afford a nice horse or a trainer. I have taught myself to ride and brought myself up through the levels...well Training atleast. Since my horse is 15hh and he pretty much maxes out at 3'3".

    If anyone knows anything could yall help me out? I feel that if someone where to invest in me I could go far. I want it SO BAD!

  • #2
    Other than the Equestrian classifieds for various areas, no, there is no clear way to find WS positions though looking at the websites of Eventing programs that interest you is the best way to determine if something might be a fit for you and if there is an opening. You also need to talk to other working students so you can get a handle on what it is you are getting into. Most girls who get into the "I wanna be a working student for "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ!" have no idea what they are getting into. You certainly need to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself "Do I really have the basic life experience and skills necessary to even try this?". Being a working student can mean anything from being a groom and stablehand in all but name and with nothing to take away from the job other than misery to being part of a great team and sometimes extended family. You won't find the same thing everywhere you look.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


    • Original Poster

      Well I already have been a barn manager for a year. I def. have the work ethics. I have to feed, turnout, clean stalls every morning and evening for 17 horses. And on top of that I would ride 2-4 horses a day. But I wasnt learning anything. All i got was free board and I lived in their upstairs apartment.

      Unfortunatly I was kicked by one of the boarders horses in the pasture while trying to catch a horse to ride and my left humerous snapped in 2 pieces.....The woman there told me I had to pay or leave.....so i left. Now I dont care if I have to do the same work, but this time I WANT TO LEARN! I have brought myself as far as my own knowledge can take me. So Im def not one of those girls, trust me!


      • #4
        In my experience, most working student positions for a rider at your level entail doing all the things you did at your previous job, and get living quarters and one lesson per day on your own horse/part to full board on your own horse.

        Most top riders will ride all the horses in their yard themselves, or working students of theirs will help school the horses, but those are riders mainly doing 2* and up. (Ashley Adams, Jennie Brannigan, Ryan Wood, Lauren Kieffer etc, etc)

        If you want to try to find a place where you are riding lots of horses everyday, I would suggest steering clear of the top names and instead look for someone who is a horse dealer or breeder, with many many horses.


        • #5
          I agree with Middleburg. Find something that not only fits you but builds your experience. The big names don't move a lot of horses and though you get prestige by hanging out with them, you aren't guaranteed to take much of anything away from your time with them other than social connections and whatever comes with being associated with them. What you experienced with your barn manager job is the general experience of many young equestrians who try to get into the industry. Find someone who is more than just a name. Find a position where you are not only learning but being a part of something. Otherwise, you're just someone else's bitch.
          Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


          • #6
            Yard and Groom has jobs all the time. Most of these jobs are with people that Middleburg mentions - breeders, dealers, local big names, etc. It is worth a shot to look.



            • #7
              Originally posted by HannahLeigh10 View Post
              Is there any website that can help me find a working student postion? I am 19 and I really want to oppotunity to ride horses that could help me get my name out there.

              If anyone knows anything could yall help me out? I feel that if someone where to invest in me I could go far. I want it SO BAD!
              Need to focus on what you can offer them. No one is going to invest in you or let you ride super nice horses just to "help you get your name out". It has to be that you are good enough to improve the horses, or have such a phenomenal work ethic that the barn will run flawlessly with you there, or that you have the skills to learn how to run a truly upper level barn and take care of those horses, or barring that, that you can do everything asked of you, work your tail off, and move up the ranks slowly. Patience and slow-and-steady and being absolutely completely trustworthy and dependable, and also getting along with everyone in the barn.

              Big barns will hire someone - but they don't hand out rides on the Advanced horses to just anyone. It takes time and effort and alot of very very hard work to move your way up (and more of all three if you're struggling on the finances side of things).


              • #8
                Try Caroline Atherholt in Eagle Rock, VA-she has had WS in the past and is great! Her website is www.carolinedowd.com


                • #9
                  I'm afraid that even the best positions will expect a working student to pay their own competition expenses and probably own a decent horse to compete on. And the ws will be responsible for all of the expenses associated with owning the horse (except possibly board). So getting your name out there cost $$$. It helps--in fact it's probably essential--to have parents paying the bills if you want to be a ws and actually compete regularly.

                  Of course, assuming you get a good position you can learn a ton as a ws and get lots of lessons and coaching for all the very hard work you will do. But it's probably unrealistic to assume that someone is going to invest in you right from the start. As others have pointed out, if this ever happens it will be after you have worked with a trainer for many years and become truly valuable to them.


                  • #10
                    If you really want to go somewhere having a map will get you there a lot faster.

                    Start by doing some research. List all the eventing trainers you know. If they are established figure out who've they have coached on their way to or at the upper levels - this should flush up several more names. Find out who those people work with and repeat etc. Flush out their reputations.

                    Basically size up who's out there, who takes on students, who has an interest in young riders etc, and don't be afraid to go one or two removed from where you would like to be as long as the one you end up with has connections - this will be what will help you out the most in getting where you want to be as a working student.

                    Strategize, have a flexible plan and keep your goals in the forefront.


                    • #11
                      Doug Payne is looking for a WS

                      Originally posted by HannahLeigh10 View Post
                      Well I already have been a barn manager for a year. I def. have the work ethics. I have to feed, turnout, clean stalls every morning and evening for 17 horses. And on top of that I would ride 2-4 horses a day. But I wasnt learning anything. All i got was free board and I lived in their upstairs apartment.

                      Unfortunatly I was kicked by one of the boarders horses in the pasture while trying to catch a horse to ride and my left humerous snapped in 2 pieces.....The woman there told me I had to pay or leave.....so i left. Now I dont care if I have to do the same work, but this time I WANT TO LEARN! I have brought myself as far as my own knowledge can take me. So Im def not one of those girls, trust me!
                      I don't know Doug though I've seen him at competitions. He seems like a nice fella and a very good rider. Not sure where you live but it's always worth giving it a shot if you are willing to relocate.

                      Below is the link to Doug's blog about the position along with link to the home page of his website



                      If you want to get an idea of what he is like, Doug recently did an interview with Horse Radio network too which you can down load to Ipod or listen from your pc if you have a speaker


                      Lastly Doug's sister Holly Payne is looking for a WS and she is in the same area of Hunterdeon County, NJ



                      • #12

                        Believe Phyllis Dawson in Purcellville has a WS opening. Her website is www.teamwindchase.com

                        Good luck!


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks everyone for those suggestions!! When I meant get my name out there, I wasnt trying to be like I want a super nice horse to ride, I was kinda reffering to how I never had nice horses to ride at my other barn. I always rode the problem horses, lol. And at the other barn I never got lessons so I was never learning. All i want is to learn and know more about the sport. I want to work my way up with someone teaching me.

                          I am willing to relocate, but I am in school this semester. So I more than likely cant move or start looking around till January. But thanks to everyone!!!


                          • #14
                            -Sigh- I've written and erased this four times, but I can't stop myself from posting.

                            I seem to be a cynical mood today, so forgive me. And OP if what I am about to say does not apply to you, then I apologize, but I do hope you'll read what I have to say and think carefully about what you want.

                            I am a LNT. We've produced some good horses and good riders, but I wouldn't sell myself as someone who'd get you to Rolex. However, we've produced horses from scratch through the CCI** level, and riders as well.

                            I take on working students, and when I started offering WS positions, I was waiting for someone like you to come in to my life. That hungry, talented kid who just needed an opportunity--I was that kid. As was Mr. PF once upon a time. We were both given hands up over the years by people who believed in us, and by our own work ethics, and we wanted to be that person for someone else.

                            Three years in, I think it's a fantasy. Don't get me wrong, I've had some lovely people here. They've done a good job for me, and to the best of my knowledge they've learned a lot and gained valuable experience while they were here. But at the end of the day, flat out, I'm not sure this current crop of folks really wants to put in the day in and day out grind over the period of time required to move up the levels.

                            If you don't have money, then in this day and age your only chance to "be someone" in this sport is sweat equity. And that equity is going to take a chunk out of everything else in your life. Time with your family and friends, hanging out time, holidays, weekends, you name it. You are going to have crappy days where the weather sucks, and the horses are all naughty and you dump the water bucket in your shoe. Your horse (or your favorite you are riding) will go lame. You will ride great horses and crappy ones and you will be required to treat them all with equal respect. And you will be expected to that pretty much every day. And then you will go to the show and place behind someone riding a horse that cost more than a house, and you will have to smile and be gracious.

                            Again, I think in general I've been pretty lucky with WS, I've been generally happy and so have they, even when a situation hasn't worked out. But at the end of the day, most people just don't actually want to work that hard. They think they do, but they don't. They can do it for a while, and they burn out. Or they decide they are too good for certain horses or certain jobs. Or their horse gets injured and they decide "why am I doing all this when my *&@%^#^&$ horse is hurt?" I don't begrudge anyone having those feeling, heck, I got a degree and worked outside of the horse industry for many years too, because burnout IS real.

                            I believe it is still possible to pull oneself up by their bootstraps with hard work and the right situation. But the number of people who really, truly, have the work ethic to pull it off are infinitesimal.

                            Concrete advice, on the off chance that you are one of those few? Put together a good resume, with refrences. Be thinking of a stepping stone farm, like mine for instance, rather than aiming for the four star rider right off the bat. If you are competant at training level, you have a ways to go before you'd need someone with advanced level experience to guide you. And unlike at a BNT barn, programs like mine often have better financial arrangements for the cash-strapped. You won't get rich, but you won't be paying $$$$ to work your behind off either. When you are the interview LISTEN carefully and really absorb and understand the work level required. Ask questions, and be honest about what you are willing, and not willing to do. Nothing makes me crazier than to have people whose entire contribution to the interview is "I'll do anything" and then you find out, after being as honest as possible about the job entails and then hiring them, that, in fact, there are all kinds of you things you won't do. Not every program is suitable for every person, so finally, be VERY VERY honest with yourself, and your potential employer about how this position could work for you. And how it might not.

                            And if you are looking for something starting in December/January and like California, let me know. Guess I'm not as cynical as I thought.
                            Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
                            Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
                            Check out my new blog: http://califcountrymom.blogspot.com


                            • Original Poster

                              Thanks PhoenixFarm! I def. understand what you are trying to say. About how people get burnt out, my friend actually became a working student for 3 months and quit...I quit after a year because my arm broke and the woman I was working for wouldnt cut me slack! Like they said it would take 8-10 weeks to heal completely. She came up to me and was saying that I need to help pay for my horse.....WHICH is outragous to me cause She knows that I make money by training/exercising other peoples horses...so that means I couldnt ride/make money for 2 months.

                              Sorry I am going on a vent here. But I was so good to her. I worked my ass off for nothing. All I wanted to do was help her and try to keep her business afloat. She fired her mexican to save money so I took over most of what the mexican did. AND she would go somewhere almost every weekend so I was taking care of the 16 horses by myself every morning and evening. I didnt ask for much either....my horse was on full turnout so he wasnt even on full board. I would turn of the air/heat whenever I left the apartment to save her money for energy. I would take quick showers so I didnt waste water. I always stayed quiet when I was in the apartment since it was right over there living room and kitchen. .... ok done venting. But she was good to me, never rude always nice. But i couldnt believe she was hounding me for money when she knew damn well I had no source of income.

                              I had to end up moving my horse 3 times while my arm is still in 2 pieces. During that time he was attacked by dogs at one barn, Had his tail ripped out(like 4 inches from the tail bone...I was pissed), and I finally moved him somewhere that would let me work when I got better to pay for his pasture board. And after all that happened the woman who orginally hounded me for money said, "You didnt have to move Country. I would have let you keep him here and not pay." ARE YOU SERIOUS? I went through all that stress of trying to find somewhere to keep my horse, he had his tail ripped out and he was attacked by dogs ALL BECAUSE YOU HOUNDED ME FOR MONEY. Then all of sudden shes like I wouldnt have made you pay.

                              So I got way off topic but back to my origianl point. Yes, I am one of those few motivated, hardworking people. I have done it and still would be doing it if my arm didnt get broken. Well actually I am doing the same stuff at this new place. My arm has just now gotten to were I can ride and feel comfortable. So I help turnout, feed, or help where ever its needed when I am there.

                              I live in Georgia by the way.... Does any one think its good or bad to move out of state to be a working student? The only thing I worry about is having money to do it. I would do it in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented it self and it seemed legit.

                              Long post, sorry.


                              • #16
                                I would say that it is probably better for you to stick close to home (not necessarily in the state but nearby) until you REALLY get into being in that professional side of the game. Then you will be experienced enough to bounce outside your box of familiarity.
                                Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


                                • #17
                                  The USEA Area 3 website usually has some job/WS postings.


                                  • #18
                                    regarding working student position

                                    Hannah- you have a PM