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Do you need money to score riding opportunities?

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  • Do you need money to score riding opportunities?

    Hi everyone!

    This is my first post on COTH, but I have read some similar posts to mine in the past that have received so many helpful and informative comments, and therefore I'm hoping that you all could give me some insight, opinions, or tips on my situation.

    I feel really, really lucky because my parents are very supportive of my riding in every way except one, money. They love watching me ride, listening to me talk about horses, and they very much want me to succeed in my dreams of becoming a professional, but the problem is that we just don't have enough money to lease or buy a horse; even lessons and shows are a big deal for me. Over the summer I'm allowed a half lease and a few AA shows, but for the rest of the year I school horses at my barn including ponies, greenies, retired horses, and anything in between. I wouldn't consider myself a rider with beautiful equitation, but it's good enough, and I am absolute fearless when I'm on a horse; I'll ride anything. Riding many types of horses has been a great experience, but my parents recently told me that they would allow me to miss a few months, or even a year, of high school if it meant that I could have a great opportunity involving horses.

    I was really, really excited, and immediately began looking online for "working students wanted" or "grooms for WEF," but nothing was right. I needed a drivers license or two year contract. In my desperation, I emailed a few BNT's, marketing myself as a horse-crazy 15-year-old girl who would happily groom, school, or show horses or be a working student. I told them that I'm 5'7" but only 90 pounds, so I could easily school ponies and show larges if needed. I said I have experience on young and difficult horses, and overall I tried to be very polite and courteous. I received a response from an extremely well known BNT, offering me the opportunity of showing some ponies this winter, as long as I paid $800 a week to help with expenses. I was crushed. My parents can barely afford $700 a month for my half lease in the summer. So this brings me to my question; is it really all about money? I think it must be, because I thought surely I could find somebody who would want an experienced young rider, or even just a groom, to help out for a few months without making them dish out $800 a week.

    What are your opinions on the matter? Do you have any suggestions for what I could do to increase my chances of finding an opportunity? I know you've probably heard this a million times, but I'd really do anything to be around horses, it's just that I don't have an endless supply of money.
    Peace, love, and riding ponies are the best aspects of life.

  • #2
    is it just me or do we get this post/a similar one almost daily?

    short answer:

    if you want a fast track to the show ring and even riding, yes, you need money.

    if you don't have money and you're only 15, you're not going to be able to break into the A show market either as a groom/working student/rider unless you're able to pack up and move clear across the country, do online schooling, and essentially work your butt off doing everything BUT riding for a show barn. maybe then after a long while of proving yourself you might get a few horses to exercise. maybe.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by goodlife View Post
      is it just me or do we get this post/a similar one almost daily?

      short answer:

      if you want a fast track to the show ring and even riding, yes, you need money.

      if you don't have money and you're only 15, you're not going to be able to break into the A show market either as a groom/working student/rider unless you're able to pack up and move clear across the country, do online schooling, and essentially work your butt off doing everything BUT riding for a show barn. maybe then after a long while of proving yourself you might get a few horses to exercise. maybe.
      Oh god, I know! Now that I look back on what I just posted, I realize you COTH members must all think that I'm completely stupid for writing such a similar post. Oh well, I guess there's really no way to have questions like mine taken seriously anymore. Can't say I didn't try!

      Thank you for your input! You sound really knowledgeable and although your post did nothing to raise my hopes, it really informative. It sounds like because my family isn't raking in the millions, I'll never have a chance to do what I love. I guess I sort of expected it, but I feel pretty crushed.
      Peace, love, and riding ponies are the best aspects of life.

      Comment


      • #4
        The best way to be able to ride at big shows with a BNT is to become a PAYING client of that BNT. Without paying, it will be next to impossible because the unfortunate reality is that those barns don't need to take on horse crazy teenagers dying for a chance. They hire people who are experienced who they KNOW can get the job done. There isn't much time for taking chances.

        All of these posts are amazingly similar. And even more amazing to me is that you say you'll never have the chance to "do what you love." If what you love is the AA circuit and you are 15 and have no money, then yes, you'll have to wait to get there until you're older, have a career, and can pay the bills to get you there. My advice to all of you is to try to find a local barn that you can afford to lesson at, develop a relationship with the trainer there, and learn as much as you can. A place that you can afford to be a major part of. It might not be a AA barn, you might not ride at Pony Finals or WEF, but if you really are devoted to this sport, you can find your place SOMEWHERE in the horse world, even if there is nothing glamorous about it.

        Comment


        • #5
          The question that you need to ask yourself is whether you love riding or if you love the idea of showing on the A circuit (which, by the way, you do not need to be "raking in the millions" to do...).

          One of them will let you have a satisfying and successful time with your horse. One of them will leave you very bitter. And I have to tell you, no one is interested in giving a bitter person a chance to sit on their nice horses.

          Looks like westie and I posted at the same time.
          http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
          Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by westie55 View Post
            The best way to be able to ride at big shows with a BNT is to become a PAYING client of that BNT. Without paying, it will be next to impossible because the unfortunate reality is that those barns don't need to take on horse crazy teenagers dying for a chance. They hire people who are experienced who they KNOW can get the job done. There isn't much time for taking chances.

            All of these posts are amazingly similar. And even more amazing to me is that you say you'll never have the chance to "do what you love." If what you love is the AA circuit and you are 15 and have no money, then yes, you'll have to wait to get there until you're older, have a career, and can pay the bills to get you there. My advice to all of you is to try to find a local barn that you can afford to lesson at, develop a relationship with the trainer there, and learn as much as you can. A place that you can afford to be a major part of. It might not be a AA barn, you might not ride at Pony Finals or WEF, but if you really are devoted to this sport, you can find your place SOMEWHERE in the horse world, even if there is nothing glamorous about it.
            Thanks so much for replying, and yeah, I know how similar it is. Believe me, I feel like an idiot. You're right, it was wrong of me to say that I have no chance to do what I love. In retrospect, I do feel very lucky for what I have, it's just sometimes hard to understand why money seems to dominate everything in this sport. I would love to grow up and have a career which would support me, but being the impatient teenager I am, I guess I'm just thinking more in the short term, and I'm trying to take advantage of the amazing offer my parents made me.
            Peace, love, and riding ponies are the best aspects of life.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
              The question that you need to ask yourself is whether you love riding or if you love the idea of showing on the A circuit (which, by the way, you do not need to be "raking in the millions" to do...).

              One of them will let you have a satisfying and successful time with your horse. One of them will leave you very bitter. And I have to tell you, no one is interested in giving a bitter person a chance to sit on their nice horses.

              Looks like westie and I posted at the same time.
              The last thing I want to be is bitter! I really put a great deal of effort into being perfectly polished, polite, and grateful whenever I deal with people in the horse world. In answer to your question, I LOVE riding, and I ALSO love the idea of riding on the A circuit. Thanks for your nice reply.
              Peace, love, and riding ponies are the best aspects of life.

              Comment


              • #8
                Are there local shows near you? Can your trainer help you to network a little bit? Even if you don't get to show, if you're willing to be up at the crack of dawn and be a human longe line, etc., you might get to sit on some more animals. Then you can see where that takes you.
                http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Westie, I loved your post!

                  If I had a dollar for every horse crazy teen who contacts me with the same story.... "I have no money, no experience, but I'm really really motivated". I hate to be a big ole meany but I jut can't work with that.

                  I sit up and take notice if you own or lease a horse. That shows me a level of commitment. I don't care if it was a cheap rescue who will never win a blue ribbon. Have you worked off your board? Does he look like a different horse under your loving attention? Have you taught him to stand to be mounted, taught him to load, taught him to pick up his right lead? I like that. I really don't like kids who expect me to "give" them a horse to ride. I have a barn full of nice kids whose parents have sacrificed vacations and new cars to buy them a horse and who pay me to lead them.

                  I have my own child that I sacrificed for so that she could own a nice horse and show. I don't really care how much you want to be a star. Ever watch American Idol? Most of those bozos think they just need a "chance" and they'll be a star. Most of them are not nearly as good as they think they are.

                  So in answer to your question, you need "something" to score riding opportunities. Give me something to work with other than chutzpah!
                  http://patchworkfarmga.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What part of the country are you in?
                    ==================
                    Somehow my inner ten year old seems to have stolen my chequebook!

                    http://reriderandpony.blogspot.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You also have to recognize that a trainer taking a 15-year-old away from home, to work for them, is taking on a legal liability. Unless you are family or clearly a paying client, most won't want to take the risk. They're not being mean, they are running a business, one that they may have put their heart and soul into.
                      ...somewhere between the talent and the potato....

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                        Westie, I loved your post!

                        If I had a dollar for every horse crazy teen who contacts me with the same story.... "I have no money, no experience, but I'm really really motivated". I hate to be a big ole meany but I jut can't work with that.

                        I sit up and take notice if you own or lease a horse. That shows me a level of commitment. I don't care if it was a cheap rescue who will never win a blue ribbon. Have you worked off your board? Does he look like a different horse under your loving attention? Have you taught him to stand to be mounted, taught him to load, taught him to pick up his right lead? I like that. I really don't like kids who expect me to "give" them a horse to ride. I have a barn full of nice kids whose parents have sacrificed vacations and new cars to buy them a horse and who pay me to lead them.

                        I have my own child that I sacrificed for so that she could own a nice horse and show. I don't really care how much you want to be a star. Ever watch American Idol? Most of those bozos think they just need a "chance" and they'll be a star. Most of them are not nearly as good as they think they are.

                        So in answer to your question, you need "something" to score riding opportunities. Give me something to work with other than chutzpah!
                        This was such an inspirational reply! It's really nice to know that there is something I can do to improve my hopeful messages to trainers. Just to fill you in (and anyone else who replies) I have been riding for nearly 8 years. The first horse I leased brought me from short stirrup to children's mediums, and then I leased a horse who got me consistent in the childrens eq at AA shows. From then on it has been me who teaches the horses, rather than vice versa. I was asked to train a pony with no experienced beyond a few strides of trot when asked. I got him to master walk/trot, including going nicely on the bit, and when he refused to do right lead canter I eventually fixed that and he now hacks like a pro and jumps full courses with a 10-year-old kid. I LOVE riding the babies and improving them, and from past experiences it sometimes seems like I'm one of the only kids who will hop on the ponies who's a dirty stopper, bucker, etc. From now on I will elaborate on this when talking to trainers Thank you so much!
                        Peace, love, and riding ponies are the best aspects of life.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Chaila View Post
                          What part of the country are you in?
                          East coast. Could give you more info if you want me to PM you!
                          Peace, love, and riding ponies are the best aspects of life.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Whats wrong with the situation you have now? What is it that you find so unsatisfying?

                            Sounds pretty good to me and I'm sure there are hundreds of horse crazy 15-year-old's who would give anything to have parents like yours and to be able to show at all, nevermind at the "AA's."

                            I know the grass is always greener...and when you're young is hard to not want what you want when you want it and feel like you might just wither away and die if you dont get it

                            But I think you just need to take a deep and be grateful for what you do have and make the very best at it. At the very least you'll continue to grow and improve as a rider so if and whenever you do get to step up to the bigger leagues, you'll be that much more prepared and experienced.

                            ETA: Also, in addition to looking for opportunities from BNTs, why not query them as to how THEY got to where they wanted to be/where they are now. I know everyone's background is different, but I'm sure you could learn something from some of them!
                            Barn rat for life

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It all comes down to who you know. My daughter got exactly the opportunity you want at 15. She got it because someone who had been a working student herself recommended my daughter for the opportunity. I met this person's mother at a horse show, which led to my daughter meeting the working student. They became good friends even though there is a three year age difference. My daughter, who is 17 now, travels all over the country showing horses for this trainer. My daughter is not a well known junior rider either. Networking is the key. Talk to people at shows. You never know who you might meet and where it will lead.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by wcporter View Post
                                Whats wrong with the situation you have now? What is it that you find so unsatisfying?

                                Sounds pretty good to me and I'm sure there are hundreds of horse crazy 15-year-old's who would give anything to have parents like yours and to be able to show at all, nevermind at the "AA's."

                                I know the grass is always greener...and when you're young is hard to not want what you want when you want it and feel like you might just wither away and die if you dont get it

                                But I think you just need to take a deep and be grateful for what you do have and make the very best at it. At the very least you'll continue to grow and improve as a rider so if and whenever you do get to step up to the bigger leagues, you'll be that much more prepared and experienced.
                                Thank you so much for this really nice reply! You're right, my situation now is enviable to many people, but like you said, I'm hungry for more. I don't get to be at the barn nearly as much as I would with a working student or grooming position, and since my parents have offered the prospect of skipping school for a while to get a little farther toward my dreams in the horse world, I'm trying desperately to make good of their offer while it still exists!
                                Peace, love, and riding ponies are the best aspects of life.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by PonyPenny View Post
                                  It all comes down to who you know. My daughter got exactly the opportunity you want at 15. She got it because someone who had been a working student herself recommended my daughter for the opportunity. I met this person's mother at a horse show, which led to my daughter meeting the working student. They became good friends even though there is a three year age difference. My daughter, who is 17 now, travels all over the country showing horses for this trainer. My daughter is not a well known junior rider either. Networking is the key. Talk to people at shows. You never know who you might meet and where it will lead.
                                  Thanks! I wish I knew more people who were interested in what I had to offer or were looking for help.
                                  Peace, love, and riding ponies are the best aspects of life.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    All these posts seem to be that the kids want the BNT to give them the opportunity NOW, but you know how you end up with the big names? You WORK your way there.

                                    Start smaller. I know of several barns in my area who would be willing to have a student come help with their school program and ride a little bit. No, you won't go to WEF or Devon or Indoors. But you will get some good experience and start to work your way there. Then continue that effort through college and into your early years as a pro, and you might find that one day you earn the respect of the big name trainers, and that they are happy to invite you into part of their business.

                                    You don't get to start at the top, but if you never take your eye off it, you should be able to work your way there!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      what kind of connections does your current trainer have? Does she/he know of your goals?
                                      Barn rat for life

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by wcporter View Post
                                        what kind of connections does your current trainer have? Does she/he know of your goals?
                                        My trainer has some local connections, but the thing is that she is mostly used to catering to clients who can afford very nice horses and A circuit showing. I'm the only rider at the barn who doesn't at least full lease year round. If I told her of my hopes to be someone else's catch rider/groom/working student, I think she would feel like I'm not grateful for the opportunities that she is currently giving me, or that I have something against her. She's a little bit scary, I have to say. Trust me, I have considered using her as a network but after much thought I think it's a better idea to try to get somewhere on my own.
                                        Peace, love, and riding ponies are the best aspects of life.

                                        Comment

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