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Working student possibilities for someone's whose only ride is a schoolie

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  • Working student possibilities for someone's whose only ride is a schoolie

    I'm coming towards the end of my junior year of college and trying to plan my remaining time between now and grad school and then full time employment. I know it's going to go by fast and stuff needs to be arranged as early as possible, so I'm trying to decide what major things I want to do.

    I am thinking I would like to try to get a working student position for the summer of 2013. I'm not going to be able to swing anything, I don't think, this summer because I have no money saved up and I don't think my riding is up to par to get anything.

    Which leads me to my issue...

    I am seriously concerned about my chances of being a WS since the only horses I am riding (and more than likely will still be riding a year from now) are school horses. I owned a horse up until a year ago when he had to be put down. I am no position to get another and even if I did still have him he was no jumper. I switched barns at the end of this past summer and am now happily at an H/J barn where I feel I am learning a lot and in much more pleasant environment. But I'm riding school horses and thus confined to 2'6 and below.

    I feel like I'm coming along nicely. I've been riding for 12 years, so I'm no newbie. But I'm relearning some stuff and addressing some small, yet nagging issues. My trainer has said that I may be able to ride her own youngsters sometime, which would allow me to rider more often and possibly jump higher, but I don't know when that will happen.

    I'm worried that if I try to inquire about any WS positions I'm just going to sound like another kid going "I'm a good rider! I swear! I just don't have a horse!" Do BNT's generally understand folks in my position? Or do they truly only want people who are consistantly jumping 3'+? I'd like to get a feeling for if I even stand a chance before I decide whether or not to start grad school over the summer or wait until fall.

  • #2
    You might find that you get more saddle time and experience if you aim for a smaller name trainer - perhaps someone who brings along a lot of sale horses and attends fewer A shows.
    They're small hearts.


    • #3
      Ditto Trixie! Call up a whole bunch of area trainers, go to some local shows and offer yourself up to ride their greenies and exercise the horses they don't have time to ride, for free. I am willing to bet that you will find someone to take you up on it if you prove yourself. Bring your gear and offer catch rides or to warm up horses at local shows. Do anything to get yourself more experience on a wide variety of horses. Make a personal "sales" video of yourself riding, and circulate it. Ask your trainer for networking help.
      Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors


      • #4
        Do you have any other skills that would give you an edge getting a WS job? Like accounting or bookkeeping, web design, anything to offset your lack of riding and showing experience? Lots of people want WS jobs, and there are relatively few to be had. You'll have to be creative and kind of market yourself.
        It's 2018. Do you know where your old horse is?

        www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.


        • #5
          I agree with Trixie and Painted Hunter. Find the trainers in your area and ask if you can ride their horses for free or for a lesson or pointers once in awhile. There is a rescue in our area (Ohio) that takes in off-the-track TB's and is always looking for someone to help rehab them. They don't have the money to pay someone, but the experience is priceless!

          Also, if you go to your local tack shop and post an ad - many private owners would love to have some help keep their horses fit with some good quality rides. Lots o owners don't have the time to get out to the barn enough. They might pay for an occasional lesson for you, or a clinic.

          The more horses you ride, the better.


          • #6
            What about talking to your current trainer about possibilities and making a plan with her to get up to par? What are your skills in the barn? What is your experience handling horses on the ground? Where are you located? PM me and I'd be happy to help further or chat about WS jobs in general.
            Last edited by Cacique; Mar. 13, 2012, 12:31 AM.
            “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman


            • #7
              As you are an adult now, keep in mind the ammy rules if you want to retain your amateur status, as well.

              You can exercise horses for free all you want. But if you accept payment (even if it's in terms of clinics or lessons or a gas card) you would be considered a pro.
              I have CDO. It's like OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be!


              • #8
                Working student positions are mostly about grooming, not riding. Generally speaking, a WS is going to spend the majority of their time on the ground, doing the grunt work it takes to make a good barn run smoothly, so a lack of riding experience is not the primary requirement. If you are kind, hard working, willing and able to take direction and happy to pitch in and get your hands dirty, you should be able to find a position, although probably not with a BNT. The compensation will be learning from a (hopefully) good professional, some riding time/instruction, and if you do well, a good reference and perhaps introductions to other pros who can also help you further your education.
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                • #9
                  I am pretty sure I would not let a complete stranger ride any of my horses green or otherwise at a show. Your best bet is to network and take lessons with different Trainers. Work for as many as you can when you can so they will keep you in mind.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pixie View Post
                    I am pretty sure I would not let a complete stranger ride any of my horses green or otherwise at a show. .
                    Oh sure, of course- but her current trainer could introduce her to people/help her network with her other trainer friends and vouch for her so she could help warm up their horses in the future at local shows if she has met them first.
                    Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors


                    • Original Poster

                      Well, I can do barn work all day long. No problem there. I am teaching myself to braid... just need more practice, but I get it. I'm a good rider on the flat, but I need reminders about my back over fences. But I can get around. I W/T/C, do turns on haunches/forehand, and am learning my shoulder/haunches in. I come from an eventing/dressage background so I do love my groundwork. I have ridden greenies and the schoolies I ride all come equipped with their own quirks. I've just never had ideal circumstances in terms of a super awesome horse or the ability to continually ride 3+ times a week.

                      My trainer worked for some BNT's when she was younger and has connections. Finding a person isn't so much an issue as would be convincing them that I'm not a total dud.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by alternate_universe View Post

                        My trainer worked for some BNT's when she was younger and has connections. Finding a person isn't so much an issue as would be convincing them that I'm not a total dud.
                        That's what you're trainer's recommendation (and honest opinion on your abilities) is for. And a polished and professional resume and actually having the skills you will need. Can you wrap like a pro? Load a horse that doesn't load well? Lunge a horse that doesn't lunge well/at all/teach a horse to lunge politely without any major ugliness? Can you pick up on lameness/illness and do you have the knowledge and judgement to handle/call the vet? Can you muck a stall so its so clean you'd sleep in it in under 5 minutes? Do you know how to put on all different kinds of tack? Can you fit tack and blankets? Take it all apart and put it back together? Can you calmly and quietly show a young horse who is boss while working around/leading them by doing basic groundwork instead of just shanking and growling? Those are some things that come to mind when I think of what I have learned as a WS and what most BNTs would want in a working student. A difference you will find between eveners and H/J barns, especially the "big names" is that eventers WILL have you riding, riding out, hacking young horses, etc. and H/J trainers are universally more careful about leaving such tasks to actual pros.
                        “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Trixie View Post
                          You might find that you get more saddle time and experience if you aim for a smaller name trainer - perhaps someone who brings along a lot of sale horses and attends fewer A shows.
                          This this this.

                          I was riding and showing some very very nice horses this past summer, and the only reason I got the opportunity is because it was a smaller sales barn. The trainers were great and the horses were amazing, they were just a much smaller operation and were thankful for having another rider.

                          And I had shown in the 3'6'' in my junior career, but I came to that position and showing in the 3'9'' with them off of two years of riding at college where I jumped maybe 2'9'' at IHSA shows and rarely over 2'3'' on greenies in lessons.