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    Last edited by GleeRider; Nov. 18, 2009, 06:03 PM.

  • #2
    Never think that your dreams are unrealistic! Dream Big and work hard! Is there any way for you to work off your board bill with all of your experience? Or at a lot of working student positions you can bring your horse along. I suggest getting an OTTB for next to nothing and start working your way up now. What area are you in?


    • #3
      OK its late, but a thought...
      once you are out of HS, you may well consider getting a WS position that allows you to work for more than just lessons. I know there are several that include board for horsie, lessons, rides on other horses, and some even housing or at least a chance at cheap housing-- and you can make some money teaching beginners, hauling to shows, etc etc.

      You are 17-- you DO still have time. Hang in there! Focus on the now goal- it sounds like you have a great opportunity, work hard and go for this, and then worry about the next step. When people work hard, opportunities do come up. Just try to be open to new opportunities and aware of other options. If your current trainer is as good as you think, she'll be happy to send you on in a year or two. Relax!


      • #4
        Your story sounds like mine....

        I was 19 when I took a working student position with a dressage trainer and brought my little cow pony along. My goal was to make the YR team in my area for Eventing. We decided that in order to do that the barely 15h cow pony must go so we hurried to start him over fences so we could sell him quickly and then put that money toward a possible mount for me. Thats when we discovered this little guys amazing jumping talent. He loved to jump. Every picture I had of him jumping his eyes were bright his ears forward and eating up the jump. He was only like a 5 mover in the dressage ring so I really had to work with that. I busted my butt 6 days a week and went to school full time. When I had a show I would not take my day off the week before just so that I could go. My trainer did not go with me and I did it all alone. I begged course walks off BNT's at the show or winged it on my own. I split hotel rooms with others or slept in the truck or trailer. It was a far stretch that I would ever make prelim. Then my little guy started winning and moving up. As long as I had a good dressage score then I was garunteed a placing. He was never out of the top 3. In less then 18 mos my little man was winning at prelim and I was scrambling to get my qualifiers for a *. I wanted a spot on that team. I went to my first * by myself as I had no one to go with me. I went blind not even understanding the 10 min box or the different phases of endurance day. I will never forget the kindness off some of Julie Burns Richards and Stuart Black for lending me grooms and even coming to the 10 minute box themselves to help me! At your first event you hope for a completion and not only did I get that I placed 2nd! I had gotten my spot on the team. Sadly I had my horse vetted as a precaution before going down to Ralph Hills grueling training session in Florida and we discovered a tendon strain. I was told that it may never cause a problem or my horse could blow it out in the middle of the training session or event and possibly never be sound again. I made the tough decision to scratch.

        I did all of this through hard work and dedication. I have no family so the bills were mine and mine alone. My trainer Gigi Nutter remains like family to me now and still pushes me. The heartbreak of having to scratch has kept me out of eventers for awhile but I am now ready to step back in. Ironically I start school toward my second degree after the first of the year right about the time I am looking at getting another project. So at 31 I will once again walk in your shoes, hoping to work off my board so that I may once again work toward a dream. While the Olympics seem a bit high right now I think I will just set my sights on Rolex lol

        It can be done. If it is your passion and your dream then make it work for you!


        • #5
          It can be done, but it will require hard work, sacrifice, patience, and committment. It is indeed unlikely that someone will hand you a fancy young prospect unless you are doing very well at upper levels already. So you're going to have to get yourself there on your own bootstraps most likely. This may mean making up a succession of cheap OTTBs on your own dime, sweat, blood, and tears, reselling ones who don't work out to fund more prospects, etc etc. Possibly while doing the WS thing by day and working at McD's at night until you want to die unless/until you find a more lucrative employment. It will probably, at numerous points, SUCK.

          That aside, I'm all for giving it a swing! But if you're going to hit 25 (or 30, or 40) and feel like you've wasted all that time because nobody's handing you an invite to join The Team yet, you are probably in the wrong field. In horses, guarantees and tangible returns on investments are few and far between. If the process and the journey are not good enough rewards, and you could not be content with, perhaps, being a mid-level professional riding not-so-fancy horses if the Big Break doesn't happen, I'd strongly suggest taking a pass.

          Third Charm Event Team


          • #6
            not to be a debbie downer, but at age 17 without a horse RIGHT now or in the very near future that will take you to a 1* next summer, chances for young riders next summer look slim considering next year is your last year to do it at 1 *. You need to be competing prelim this winter, 1* in April/may-ish to have a shot at making the team. Maybe set the goal towards bigger picture, like trying to be the best horseman and rider you can be. This sort of goal allows you to succeed through pure grit and determination, not money and horsepower. Young Riders isn't the end all be all. Good Luck


            • #7
              It's great to have goals, and there is no other time in your life when the mantra "I can do anything I want as long as I am willing to do XYZ" is more relevant and realistic than at 17.

              But it's also good to not put all your ambition eggs in one basket. NAYRC is a great program, but it is definitely not the only road to the top. It is, in my observation, a showplace for the mostly very, very affluent and well-mounted. Nothing wrong with that, but there's also nothing wrong with getting where you want to get by another road.

              And leasing or riding a great horse that can carry you around successfully is WONDERFUL. Been there, done that, can't wait to do it again. But do you really need an expensive lease that is going to win for you every weekend? Or could you learn just as much for your future with a less exalted partner?

              It's a tough road, and it sounds like you acknowledge that and aren't afraid of the sacrifices. But the short-term "shiny things" like NAYRC or a platinum-plated lease horse may not be as relevant or important to your long-term goals as you think. Try to decide which has more value to you in the long term.

              Being devastated at the thought of not having all your dreams come true is a natural part of being your age. So set lots of goals, many of which are attainable, some of which are tough, some of which are downright humble, and a few that are "pie in the sky" types. Go for them one by one, and don't do yourself the disservice of pinning all of your self-worth only on the loftiest one. Good luck.
              Click here before you buy.


              • #8
                Listen to Deltawave. I think her assessment of the YR program is quite accurate. It is a great program for kids who have time and money. It is not usually a good path for those who do not have time and money.

                Think about your goals. My daughters took years of lessons with a wonderful woman who rode for the US at the Pan Am games. She always held herself out as an example that you can get an education and have a responsible job, and then go to the top in eventing. After you have a good job and money, everything is a lot easier. She got her PhD in genetics, and worked for NIH. She had flexible hours so she could ride the the mornings before going to work. Because she had a good income, she could afford very, very nice horses and could compete them as often as she wished.

                Most of the people who try to make it in the horse world barely survive financially. They have to sell their best horses and are always living on the edge. I would never want to see my daughters have to live that way.

                Think about backing off on your immediate goals and focusing more on the long term. After you have a good education and a good job, you can get the horse of your dreams and try out for the US team. Until then, ride as much as you can ride without it getting in the way of your education.


                • #9
                  Im in the same boat you are, GleeRider. I actually posted a thread today asking for stories about the Young Rider Program. I am 18 and would love to compete in the NAJYRC, but like you its a matter of money. I have the horse but also the bills. I know I can make it happen if I work hard enough, but also if I don't, I will still gain invaluable knowledge/experience/appreciation from the journey and I will get somewhere! Good luck and keep us updated!


                  • #10
                    I am a college student in California, lived here my whole life. I am at a great barn with a trainer currently on the USEF B training list. I am not really a working student because I need to pay for all my horse's bills so I have a real job. But I do turnouts and blankets Monday nights to work off partial credit for trailering to shows. I also have the opportunity to ride other horses quite frequently, and I am actually also looking to start braiding for other people at shows. (other riders already have all the clipping territory.) I wish I could be a full time working student but I wouldn't make enough to cover all of his bills but I'm content with my current situation. I'm hoping to be a working student next summer in Virginia for one of my trainer's friends, and so I can't wait to experience east coast eventing!


                    • #11
                      Yeah i just need to braid faster! haha but why Ram Tap?!?!?! Honestly, out of all the events here, it's the least nice. Lol but it's still a fun show. I'm going there again in Feb, hopefully this time it won't practically flood! Last year I got muddier during my dressage test than on cross country. We basically did our test in a pond. Haha.


                      • #12
                        FYI if you turn 18 in 2010 that woulkd be your last year to compete at the 1*. Even though you turn 19 later in 2011 you are considered 19 Jan. 1st 2010.
                        Gwen Dean
                        Erie Hunt & Saddle Club HT Secretary


                        • #13
                          GleeRider, the only equestrian discipline I'm familiar with where you can go to NAJYRC and WEG without owning or leasing a horse is vaulting.

                          If you've only gone Novice, then trying to jump that many levels in one year might be a bit much. I don't think paying so much for a horse who can only go Training, even very well/has gone higher in the past, is necessarily the best use of your parents' money. Does your trainer or one of her students have a horse who you could part-lease and compete on at Training? Can you look around for other options?

                          I think that even if you plan on a career with horses, getting your degree while you can is a good idea, and will serve you well (take some business classes/etc.).
                          Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


                          • #14
                            Leasing a been there/done that horse is a super way to learn and move up the levels. However, as others have said, it is doubtful you will make it to Young Riders at the 2 star level with the leased horse or a newbie. Concentrate on developing your skills for the future. You can do this with the leased horse and avoid picking up bad habits from defensive riding picked up while starting young ones.


                            • #15
                              When I was 16 I had the exact same dreams as you. I was working hard on a budget so small you could barely see it. My parent's were kind enough to sacrifice everything for my riding lessons. I was brave, talented and dedicated. I ended up with a career altering injury at the age of 16. I fell in a jumper class and fractured my back. I was told by doctors that I'd never ride again. I thought I was finished. Instead, I set new goals that probably weren't attainable in others eyes but I managed to achieve them. I began riding again after several months, found a cheap ottb that was smooth enough that my back could handle it, found a fabulous trainer that wasn't too expensive and I showed my little butt off.

                              I finished Highschool with decent grades, got into a college with an equestrian team and that benefited me most of all. I learned to ride a ton of different horses. I trained green ones, I worked at the stable, I groomed at shows, taught beginners, was president of the equestrian team so I networked with other trainers and BN stables in the area.

                              I realized that like someone else said, people in the horse industry live on a small budget as the industry fluctuates so much. If you start out with money, you're fine. If you expect to go up from nothing, it's MUCH harder and it is a much longer road. I got my college education while keeping up with riding. I got a degree in Anthropology (I'm currently an archaeologist) just to have a degree and to get a decent job. I managed to secure a decent job with flexible hours. I found several stables who needed help in exchange for riding. I began taking dressage lessons on a dutch warmblood. I began doing jumpers again and found myself interested in eventing.

                              I then found an empty stable up for lease and jumped at the opportunity to open a boarding facility. I have two horses of my own, both are pretty green but one will make a fantastic second or third level dressage/eventer and the other is my fun project. I need to figure out what he wants.

                              I'm now 24. I have my "own" stable, my own students, a string of lesson horses, we show quite a bit in our area at events and h/j shows.

                              I still have lofty goals. I'd like to see my name on the cover of a magazine. I'd like to compete at Rolex. I'd like to do Grand Prix. I'd like to have students who show at Rolex. That kind of thing. I still have outrageous goals but they're not unattainable. Even now at 24, I know I could make the US olympic team.

                              Keep your chin up, work hard and don't worry about the wealthy kids beating you to the post. It's not the destination that counts, it's the journey.
                              Iron Star Equestrian

                              Heels Down, Eyes Up, Plan Ahead


                              • #16
                                very well stated


                                • #17
                                  I think you should forget about YR and focus on learning to ride and train a variety of horses. One of the really great things about eventing is that you may age out of YR, but you don't become physically incapable of participating in the sport by the time you are 30. There is plenty of time to reach your goal of competing at the upper levels.

                                  I also think that you should focus equally on your education. You will find it MUCH easier to pursue your dream if you have the means to independently support your horses. Living as a professional rider / trainer is a TOUGH way to go. I wouldn't discourage it if that is what you really want to do - but - I'd think long and hard, if I were you, about having the experience of establishing a great bond with a competitive horse, versus a career as a rider / trainer. There is a big difference, and it is not, fortunately, too late yet for you to have both the horse and, well, a much easier life doing something else entirely

                                  If you think you do want a career as a rider / trainer, then I encourage you to go for a year to the barn of an upper level professional who does NOT have sponsorship. Most don't get it, and this will give you a more realistic idea of what it is all about. If you go to KOC and ride at the Mars family property, for example, you may have a fab time, but you will not be getting a realistic view of what the vast majority of professionals have to deal with.
                                  Treat Jockey for Spellbound and Smidgeon


                                  • #18
                                    With focus and hard work you can attain all of your goals!
                                    Don't let your studies slip as an education is never wasted - If you are going to make it as an athlete you will need more than a good grounding in your chosen sport.
                                    Success in eventing is 50% sportsmanship and 50% business acumin. You will need to be able to work with (and for) your sponsors and make yourself a good candidate to catch the better deals and rides if you want to get the tools you need to sustain yourself at the higher levels of competition.
                                    Whatever you do, remember that you do it because you love it and DON'T GIVE UP
                                    GOOD LUCK


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by GleeRider
                                      Which event do you prefer out west?
                                      Well pretty much all of them are great. Twin Rivers is awesome, it's where one of the annual training sessions with CMP is usually held. They also have a great 3* in April every year. Then there is Woodside, which has nice events and has started hosting a Prelim Challenge in May that has a rider div and a horse div, each with 7,500 prize money plus 5k more in prizes. Pretty sweet! And there's Galway, which I haven't made it down that far south yet, but I plan to next year. Same organizer as Woodside, Robert Kellerhouse, and I hear it's pretty impressive. They always have tons of prize money, in fact this weekend they are hosting the annual CCI**, CCI* LF, CCI* w/out and a T3D. The 1* has 3,000 in prize money and there are only 11 entered in the Long Format! But really, I hear it's a great show. Wonderful courses with a good moveup course for Prelim in the fall. And then this summer I went up to Inavale Farms in Oregon for the T3D and that sure was a great event! Loved the training course, definitely maxed out, and the ground was soooo green! (very diff than CA). Haha and it was was fun to ride SJ on grass!
                                      Last edited by ozzy24; Oct. 30, 2009, 08:40 PM.


                                      • #20
                                        For one thing why is your horse getting $350 shoes?! haha

                                        If i were in your situation i would get a real job that would give me more income so that i can not be as stressed out about money, and how am i going to pay for the next board..etc.
                                        I would also focus on your education like the above posts because that is REALLY important. What if you get hurt and are unable to ride the rest of your life(sorry, i know terrible to think about). You need an education, skills, and a degree to fall back on as a "back up plan"
                                        Get a job, get some money, dont spend it unwisely, and use that well earned money to take care of that horse you love and compete in whatever you want!!
                                        Good Luck!!
                                        Why walk when you can ride?