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Begging to make something out of myself in the equestrian world...

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  • Begging to make something out of myself in the equestrian world...

    I’m out to make something of myself. I think everyone out there who rides has a dream of traveling and competing at the highest level. Well, for me it’s a lot more than a dream. I know that everyone else might say that also, but in this case it’s very different. I am willing to give up everything to do this. I want to be in the equestrian world for the rest of my life, and I have never wanted anything but. My life has been giving up expensive clothing, technology, and everything else, for riding clothes, tack, and all horse things. My life revolves around horses and I love every single second of it. I heard a sermon about fulfillment, and being happy. Well, I know exactly what fulfills me.
    In the summer I do the exact same thing every day. I wake up early and run anywhere from one to five miles. Then I feed the horses, and pick stalls or paddocks while they eat. After that I ride the horses we have for training at my house, and then I ride my own horses. I stay outside working and riding and sometimes teaching until it’s too dark to do so anymore. Usually I’m too busy to even eat lunch and haven’t sat down or rested all day. I’m up at 6 and I don’t rest again until 9 when I collapse into bed. For most people, this is the day that they groan about having, and try to avoid. But these are the days I love to have. That is the type of day I want to have every single day. That is where I find my fulfillment and my happiness.
    Sometimes I have lessons that are long and almost painful, where I’m working so hard that I’m sweating and almost out of breath, even in the winter, and when I get off my legs are shaking and exhausted. Most riders hate these lessons, where they’re posting the ring without stirrups, they get off almost bow legged, and they wake up the next day sore. These are my favorite lessons. Those are the kind of lessons I crave. I want to work so hard that I can barely move. I want to ride all day. I don’t need to take breaks or vacations. This kind of work is my ideal.
    I was tailor made. Everything about me is suited for this lifestyle. I was created to not be attached to life anywhere. I love my family more than anything, and I love my friends. But, I could leave in a heartbeat. My dream is with horses and competing and, especially in the way my personality is, nothing stands in my way. I’ve never been homesick. I am made to travel. My home is wherever I’m closest to my dream, whether it’s the barn, my own small farm, or anywhere I get the equestrian knowledge I crave. I will work my fingers to the bone if I think it is getting me closer to my dream. George Morris himself said that what he looks for in top riders is attitude not aptitude. It’s all about how bad you want it.
    I was never one to party or ever do anything wrong. I could never waste my time with things like that. I know that messing up in my youth could affect my dream, so I keep on a straight path. I never gave into any type of peer pressure. Making stupid mistakes as a teenager would bleed into my future and that was a risk I never wanted to take. Every single decision I make is based on how it will affect my future. With a goal and dream like mine, I can’t mess up and jeopardize everything I’m working towards. And I know I can make it.
    At two years old I was riding better than I was walking. I was desperate to ride and for my birthday, my father bought me a couple months’ worth of riding lessons. When we showed up at the barn the trainer saw me and took my parents aside. She informed them that she only worked with children five or above and kids as young as me didn’t have the leg muscle needed to really ride. My mother convinced her just to test me and if I didn’t have the strength she would come back in three years. Well, at two years old, I could ride half of the large dressage arena in half seat, and at three I could post the trot by myself. I was the best student that my instructor ever had. Every single day I was at the barn. If I wasn’t riding I was helping however I could, brushing the horses, picking rocks out of the ring, and picking stalls when I started to get older. I'm still the exact same way.
    If anyone has the attitude to thrive in this industry it’s me. I have been trying for the past two years to get into some type of situation where I can make my way to the top, without buying it. I don’t have the money for eighty dollar lessons three times a week. I also don’t have the money to buy a half a million dollar horse, and board it at a prestigious show stables. And I don’t have the money to be shipping out and competing every weekend. But I have an attitude better than any kid I've seen yet on the circuit. I’ve been on the circuit as the lowest on the chain. I’ve been grooming for riders who take everything that they have for granted, who complain about the heat, and would rather be relaxing by a pool. I don’t ever complain about where I am even if it's grooming, and I’m thankful for every opportunity I get to be an inch closer to my dream, even if it means being the absolute lowest on the totem pole. But, if I got the opportunity to be on the horse, not under it, and in the ring, not outside of it, I would never let anyone down, or ever take it for granted.
    It’s true that I’ve never had the opportunity to ride a nice trained hunter or equitation horse. I’ve never had the chance to train with any instructor more than once a week. I’ve never ridden a horse that could take me around a 3’ course. But, the only reason I don’t have the skills is because I have never had the opportunity. If I was given that opportunity I promise I will blow people away. I have a work ethic like no one else. I am 100% sure that I belong in the equestrian world, training, teaching, and competing. I will do absolutely whatever it takes to make it there.
    Trainers say they like to take on riders because they know their students want it. They want to win. They will work their butts off to win. They’re not there for someone to hold their hand and speak kindly to them. They’re there for someone to force them out of their comfort zones, and push them as far as they can possibly go. They’re not scared to get their feelings hurt, they’re there to work, and ride, and win. I’m that type of rider. I will start at the complete bottom. I will work all week, just for one lesson at the end of it. I will ride any horse anyone puts me on and work harder than anyone else. I will do anything if I know that it will get me closer to my dream. I just beg that someone will give me the chance to prove myself.
    Every horse is ART
    And every rider is an ARTIST

  • #2
    How old are you?

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I'm only 16, but I mean, I've been riding nonstop for 14 years now. I've owned horses for 12 years. I'm not too young or inexperienced to understand that this is what I should be doing for the rest of my life.
      Every horse is ART
      And every rider is an ARTIST

      Comment


      • #4
        It sounds to me that you are still in school (high school?). If that is the case, I would look into colleges that offer a riding team and apply to be on the team. Some colleges even offer scholarships to equestrian team members. You will have the opportunity to ride a wide variety of horses in competition while earning a college degree. There are a large number of colleges with riding programs. I suggest that you start researching those schools now.

        Comment


        • #5
          How willing are your parents to let you travel anywhere in the US to work for a trainer to achieve your dream?

          Comment


          • #6
            Just keep doing what you are doing and you will get somewhere. If you are riding and training every day, even if you are not on top equitation horses or riding on the A circuit, you will still get somewhere. It sounds like you are in a hurry. You are only 16, you have plenty of time!

            Riding is a life-long sport, it's not like gymnastics or ice-skating where the athletes peak at a young age. Look at Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut, they are in their late 40's and at the top of their game.

            Keep working hard, it'll pay off!
            ******
            "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."
            -H.M.E.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              My parents and my school are 100% on board. I've actually almost had an internship a couple times. I was in the running for one over the winter last year at WEF (which I didn't get because I was too young) and then I also was going to go down to virginia to work at a farm down there, but it turned out to not be the kind of situation I'm looking for.

              But I have full support as long as it's going to help my riding career. For instance, I could have spent the winter at WEF grooming, but my parents wouldn't allow that because I probably wouldn't be riding at all and aside from being there in the competition setting it wouldn't help my riding career at all.

              ~~

              I have looked into equestrian colleges. In September actually I'll be riding in a talent search up at Mount Holyoke College which is my school of choice. Their equestrian program is fantastic, and their English program is second to none which is what I would major in if I do go to college. You don't really need a degree to ride. But I've definitely looked at that aspect, but being in college doesn't really leave me much room for working with other trainers, or competing very much. Mount Holyoke is a very academically challenging school and if I would be spending most of my time focusing on academics.
              Every horse is ART
              And every rider is an ARTIST

              Comment


              • #8
                O m g i completely know what you mean... I'm younger than that and it is like my complete dream! Unfortunately, I don't ride at a huge showing barn so I don't compete that much. I cant afford a horse, either... but you should look at equestrian teams in college I know that there are a few that will let you travel all over the state for shows if you make it onto the advanced team

                Good luck!!!! Its more than a dream for me, too- its my whole life

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  The only thing with just doing what I'm doing is that, as I said in my first post, I'm just not getting any better. The small training business my mom runs are all un-broke horses, western horses, dressage horses, or problem horses. I've never been on a nice hunter, jumper, or equitation horse. I have gotten the opportunity to ride some nice dressage horses and some eventers, but every time I have a horse who can jump it gets pulled out from underneath me.

                  Also, I can't ride in the winter. We don't have an indoor and the ground freezes so there's nothing I can do then.
                  Every horse is ART
                  And every rider is an ARTIST

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ~~

                    I have looked into equestrian colleges. In September actually I'll be riding in a talent search up at Mount Holyoke College which is my school of choice. Their equestrian program is fantastic, and their English program is second to none which is what I would major in if I do go to college. You don't really need a degree to ride. But I've definitely looked at that aspect, but being in college doesn't really leave me much room for working with other trainers, or competing very much. Mount Holyoke is a very academically challenging school and if I would be spending most of my time focusing on academics.[/QUOTE]

                    Several pro trainres I know (including my trainer) went to college and got their degree and then went Pro. Quite honestly, I think you're being a bit short sighted. If you are on an equestrian team you will be riding while earning a degree. While you don't need a degree to ride, you DO need a degree to get a decent job outside the horse world. I understand that at the age of 16 you can't imagine wanting to do anything else, however, it's best to have some other marketable skill besides riding.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Oh no I'm not short sighted and I understand that there is life beyond horses. I'm not in any way saying that a degree is wasted on equestrians, I'm just saying it's not needed. The sport is based on experience and skills. Four years worth of competing will look a lot better than four years of college from an equestrian perspective.

                      And I have given a lot of thought as to life outside of horses I assure you. I'm very interested in English and have been told on many occasions that I could easily be an author or an English professor. So, I've considered this, and my plan is to go to Mount Holyoke after high school (if I'm not in a training program or better situation). I would be majoring in English (most likely creative writing), and minoring in psychology or philosophy. And, I would be riding with a very well established equestrian program.

                      But as far as making an equestrian career goes, riding with a college team isn't the best way to make it to the top.

                      edit: I'm sorry I didn't completely answer your reply. I know that I can't rely on making a career in horses and I will need a back up plan. My plan right now though, is to work and train and be a live-in trainer somewhere. My ultimate goal in life is quite literally to break even. I want to be able to make enough to live and enough to ride. I don't need any extra than that. But, if it does fall through, my plan is still to go to college so I can fall back on an English career.
                      Every horse is ART
                      And every rider is an ARTIST

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow, where to begin? Please don't take offense, but your attitude is what's getting in your way. You think because you want this so badly, that someone should just hand over opportunities that others pay hundreds of thousands to achieve. It doesn't work that way. Your goal to "make your way to the top without buying it" is seriously misguided. You've been riding so many years and working so hard, yet haven't yet been on a horse that can do a 3' course? Something is amiss, either your skills aren't there or your ambitious attitude puts people off.

                        I say this to you, not to be mean, but to give you a realistic picture when you don't have serious money in the horse world. In your situation, it's not about what others can do for you, but what you can do for others. It takes years and years before you have the experience to be of any real value to a BNT. Why are so many trainers teaching and not in the grand prix themselves? Because economics and lack of opportunities affect them, too. Managing a business and training for paying clients take precedence over their own riding goals (despite their talent and ambition).

                        I really admire your passion, work ethic and responsible life choices, but you should realize that there are thousands like you. If you stick with it, I promise you will have a place in the horse industry - a job that allows you to work with horses all day long, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. You'll be able to support yourself. That's all that you can expect. Anything greater than that will have so much more to do with luck and connections than an ambitious attitude and willingness to work hard. If you can resign yourself to that, then keep striving and making sacrifices. Learn to appreciate and enjoy where you are in the process with the goal of getting better every day. With luck and good friends you'll go far, but probably not to the top.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Another way is to go to some rated shows in your area. Wear your show clothes and carry your saddle. Ask any of the trainers if they need help in the jog for their junior hunter or ponies. You may even be asked to ride one in the under saddle. This may lead to something else. Talk to trainers at shows. Most are friendly. Keep being persistent without being annoying. Get your face out there. Sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time. Also check out Yard and Groom. Some barns don't specify an age other than you have to have a drivers license and if you are 16 you should have one. Contact every barn that does what you want to do and has a working student opportunity. Be sure to state that your parents are fully on board and you will have no issues with school. My daughter has been a working student since she was 15. She got the opportunity through a connection with another working student. She gets to do exactly what you want to do.
                          Last edited by PonyPenny; Apr. 17, 2012, 09:16 PM. Reason: Spelling

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You do need to take some lessons, to. I'm not saying your riding is bad or anything, (you are probably a very good rider if you ride problem horses and green horses) I'm just saying you need lessons. There is a really simple way to make money, too. Go to findfocusgroups.com (I'm not advertising! Just saying its a good way to make money) and companies will pay you to try out their product. Could be horse products, could be food, could even be nail polish! It wont take much of your time, and it isn't a steady income (so its not very reliable)but you will end up making money.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Pony Penny:

                              I actually haven't considered going to the shows and catch riding. I figured that maybe once I was a bit more of an established rider and I didn't have a horse to ride in the show I would see if I could do something like that. But that's a very good idea thank you. I have been on yard and groom also, and go through it often.

                              It's cool hearing about your daughter also. It's always encouraging to hear things like that.

                              ~~~

                              Muggle Mom:

                              I'm afraid you're taking me all wrong. I'm not at all asking for anyone to hand me anything I'm asking for someone to allow me to work for it. The only thing that I'm asking for is for them to give me a chance to work. I said that I want to start at the bottom and work my way up. I'm ready to work my way up. And every big name trainer has said that that is exactly what they look for in a student.

                              The entire post was about the fact that I want to work to make this happen for myself, not that I want someone to hand it to me on a silver platter. But why can't I "make my way to the top without buying it"? Shouldn't I be able to work for the same situations that people pay for? Shouldn't the girl who is working at the barn from sun up until sun down get the opportunity to ride in the same lesson as the girl who just walks in and pays for it? I'm really not trying to sound naive or like I expect all these things to happen for me. I'm just saying I want to be able to work for the same opportunities the rich girls get.

                              And I haven't had the opportunity to ride a 3' horse because right now I'm known as the girl who can train your horse. I can't break out of that mold, every horse I get asked to ride is a training horse. Every time I'm on a horse that could prospectively jump a 3' course, I get them to that level then they're pulled out from underneath me. I don't want to say this in an accusing or fight provoking kind of way, but you probably haven't been in this type of situation. Every single horse out there that could jump a 3' course, no one needs someone to ride them. They have a rider. I've been trying to get rides on horses like these, but it never happens.

                              I've been on one of Olympic Ferro's nicest daughters. A $500,000 dressage horse. My mother owns (accidently) one of the nicest bred cutting horses on the east coast. But, none of that helps with my jumping. The nicest hunter/jumper I've been on was a year ago. It was the barn owners Hanoverian. I only flatted him. She said I rode him beautifully and I should ride him more often, then she moved back to Florida before I even got on him a second time. It just hasn't happened for me and I can't seem to make it happen. That's what this post is about. I want to make this happen for myself. I want to work for it.
                              Every horse is ART
                              And every rider is an ARTIST

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by xemilyx805 View Post
                                Oh no I'm not short sighted and I understand that there is life beyond horses. I'm not in any way saying that a degree is wasted on equestrians, I'm just saying it's not needed. The sport is based on experience and skills. Four years worth of competing will look a lot better than four years of college from an equestrian perspective.

                                But as far as making an equestrian career goes, riding with a college team isn't the best way to make it to the top.

                                edit: I'm sorry I didn't completely answer your reply. I know that I can't rely on making a career in horses and I will need a back up plan. My plan right now though, is to work and train and be a live-in trainer somewhere. My ultimate goal in life is quite literally to break even. I want to be able to make enough to live and enough to ride. I don't need any extra than that. But, if it does fall through, my plan is still to go to college so I can fall back on an English career.
                                Let me sum up your situation from your posts: you're 16 years old, have never jumped a 3' course, but you somehow think that "Four years worth of competing will look a lot better than four years of college from an equestrian perspective".

                                Why do you expect (hope) to find a trainer position that will allow you to compete on other people's horses when you're not jumping 3' courses???? This isn't a realistic expectation, or plan. If you're Tori Covin and successfully showing at AA rated shows in Hunter Derbies, Grand Prixs and rated divisions, then it is a realistic plan. If you have very little show experience and aren't jumping 3 foot courses then you aren't going to find a trainer or even assistant trainer position without a riding and successful showing resume.

                                I know a number of college students who are riding on teams. Some want to pursue an equestrian career, others don't. Regardless, all of them are riding, showing AND getting an education in the process.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I am taking lessons right now and I am so grateful for it. I have been riding once a week with a very nice trainer. Although, the ground is frozen here at my house so I cannot ride my own horses all too much in between. (The indoor I used to ship up to to ride just switched ownership and now I'm left with nowhere to ride.) It's absolutely fantastic to be riding again with a trainer, I just wish I could do it more often.
                                  Every horse is ART
                                  And every rider is an ARTIST

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by xemilyx805 View Post
                                    I'm only 16, but I mean, I've been riding nonstop for 14 years now. I've owned horses for 12 years. I'm not too young or inexperienced to understand that this is what I should be doing for the rest of my life.
                                    I'm 20 now, and I completely understand the sense or urgency. But as others have said, you can be a 40 year old equestrian Olympian. Thats one of the great aspect of our sports; there really isn't an expiration date on it.

                                    The catch 22 of riding is that many professionals don't actually make that much in the industry. I know trainers and professionals who barely get to ride, and I know ammys who have a non-horsey job who ride and compete on a higher level than some pros. The A/Os (hunters and jumpers) are super competitive divisions that exclude professionals. That means the riders winning 10k A/O Classics at WEF don't actually make their money in the industry...but I guarantee they are riding mounts many professionals are jealous of.

                                    Don't think that the only way to be a successful rider is to work in the industry - its not. You could have a non-horsey career that finances your riding. And who knows, your non horse-y career could end up being horse-y (an ammy I rode with worked for an insurance agency for 25 years...she lost her job during the recession and now works for Marshall and Sterling. So basically she gets paid to go to HITs, Vermont, etc. and talk to BNTs.)


                                    Originally posted by xemilyx805 View Post
                                    But I have full support as long as it's going to help my riding career. For instance, I could have spent the winter at WEF grooming, but my parents wouldn't allow that because I probably wouldn't be riding at all and aside from being there in the competition setting it wouldn't help my riding career at all.
                                    How can you say grooming wouldn't advance your riding career? Thats seems super short sighted. Being in the right place is a huge part of it; through that job you could have started to make connections and gotten your name out.

                                    You're not going to be handed a riding or showing job or internship at a place like WEF, but you maybe could have worked up to one by showing how hard a worker you are.


                                    Originally posted by Muggle Mom View Post
                                    You've been riding so many years and working so hard, yet haven't yet been on a horse that can do a 3' course? Something is amiss, either your skills aren't there or your ambitious attitude puts people off.
                                    While I do understand what you are trying to say, the idea of measuring skill my how high someone can jump just seems problematic to me.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I'm not putting down the college riding team, please do not jump down my throat for it.

                                      I've repeated myself a lot, you seem to see only the things you can argue with me about. I'm not asking for a situation like that I'm asking to work for a situation like that. I have done 3'. I have not done a full 3' hunter or equitation course because I have never gotten the opportunity to do so. I do not have the horse for that.

                                      All I am saying is that I want the opportunity to work for lessons and ride time on horses like that. I am an extremely fast learner and talented rider. I trained four horses before I turned 15 and I turned a western pleasure horse into a hunter. Over the summer a few years ago, I went from 2' to 2'9" courses. I've done the three foot, I just need to be able to practice it, and I have no opportunity to practice it. I'm asking for the opportunity to work for lessons and eventually start riding other peoples horses.

                                      Where I am right now? I would be better off on a college team. Two years from now? Who knows? Maybe if I am in a training program and showing, then I would be better off advancing through that than going to college and riding less. But did I ever say I didn't plan on going to college? No.



                                      Let's put it this way. If I won the powerball right now, and marched up to a nice trainer and said here's thousands of dollars, can you put me in a training program, he would say yes and by the time I was about ready to go to college I could be showing the 3' and beyond. How is it any different if I'm working for the training program or paying for the training program?
                                      Every horse is ART
                                      And every rider is an ARTIST

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                                      • #20
                                        Bless your heart babydoll. Don't listen to [people] who wish they had followed their dream and are now too old to pursue it. Go for it and don't look back, [edit]. Ten, fifteen years from now, you will be happy you followed that dream. Just be sure you hook up with a good trainer to school you and not some [edit] wanna-be trainer who don't know nothing.
                                        Last edited by Moderator 1; Jan. 17, 2012, 03:21 PM.

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