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College Student wanting to go pro

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  • College Student wanting to go pro

    I know, I know, you saw the title, and this has been a topic of many threads....

    I have been riding for 14 years and I am a sophomore, business major (either Management or Finance, not sure and don't have to decide until May 2013) in college. I really want to do this professionally (I know it's hard to be successful and make money) and this summer I am going to be a working student at a barn in Argentina.

    Most college kids (that want jobs after college), do an intense internship the summer after their junior year. I would love to do another working student program; however, my mom said she "wouldn't approve" if I did. So... I guess that means I could go out and about on my own and do that (but I depend on her for rent/food/board so might end up as a hobo), or I could please her and get an internship with some big/fancy company.

    BASICALLY... my question is, what kind of jobs in the job market would help someone in the horse world? If I was to become a professional rider, I want this job to stand out and help me get a job, and on the other hand, if I end up staying an amateur, what kind of job would have me set in the real world, but able to afford horses/board/training?

    Also, I am torn between a finance degree and a management degree. Management is said to be easier, and I think it would help me in the horse world with my own business. Finance is said to be harder, but have better job options down the road with better pay.

    Please COTHers help me! I love reading these threads and most of you guys have so much knowledge and great advice! Help me

  • #2
    Go with finance or better yet, accounting, hands down. You will take management classes and get some experience. However, management is best learned hands on, through sucess and mistakes.

    If I were you (wait a minute, I was you 4 years ago!!!), Id go the finance/accounting route, do the CPA or the CFA. You will always have job opportunities that will allow you to afford horses and have the time to ride (unless you have a "busy" season-but the off season more than makes up for it)

    An accouting prof once told me that accounting is an excellent choice for a woman (okay maybe a bit sexist?) but you will always be able to have a job that enables you to support yourself and the life you want to have without havng to rely on the 2nd income (although 2nd income sure is nice )

    Feel free to PM me if you want!


    • #3
      I second the Finance/Accounting route. Business Management is not a great degree to have. There are a lot of people with "business management" degrees who are assistant managers at mcdonalds, burger king, etc, with $20-30k/yr jobs. Accounting was my major with a double minor in finance & business mangement. You'll find that most of the courses you would need for a finance or business management minor will have been required course work for an accounting major. I believe that employed finance majors probably make better money than accounting majors as a general rule, but accounting jobs are more readily available and still pay respectably.

      My advice on actually picking a job is to 1st make sure you have one locked in before graduation, even if it's not your dream job (I had mine locked in in September and graduated in December). Once you're in that first job, always be open to a better opportunity, especially as long as you are single. Better opportunities don't necessarily mean higher pay. I value having a busy time that does not interfere with show season (in private accounting, this means knowing when the fiscal year-end is), having a more-or-less 8-5 job so that you can schedule lessons/riding consistently, and minimal travel. Oh yes, and being in an area that is well populated with horse shows is nice as well.

      With all that said, my biggest regret is not pursuing training professionally. Chances are that I would not have made it (most people don't), but it's a dream that is now too late to pursue due to family obligations. If I had it to do over, I would have quit my first accounting job after 5 years (established base of experience with references) and found a working student position with a barn/trainer experienced at building professionals and large enough to support full-time assistant trainers. I did the working student thing during college, but in hindsight, it was time that could have been better spent with a training facility as described above. If you are going to be cleaning stalls, it's either not the right fit, or you're too far from the riding level you need to be a trainer. I'm fortunate enough to be riding at a dressage barn that actually pays their working students (who have supervised training projects and do not clean stalls) in addition to providing room and food, and pays living salaries to two non-relative assistant trainers. These barns do exist, so if you're going to be giving your time this summer to deciding whether to pursue training professionally... my advice is to find one of these.


      • #4
        I third the finance/accounting route for all the reasons listed above - and I'm currently living that life.


        • #5
          I have my BBA in Management... I am a Project Manager by day and mom/wife/equestrian by night. Accounting is good too but you just have to decide what you want to do for your career.

          Henry (House of Fortuny) 7 yr old OTTB


          • #6
            I know the Blood Horse group/farm has an internship program. I don't know if its more managememt or vet oriented but working with a very large farm could be good accounting/management training as well as a good horse type of a job. Learning what it takes to keep those very large farms/businesses running may give you an insight into how to combine horses and a job.


            • #7
              A lot of barns are in need of real accountants instead of retired horsey moms doing the books and billing. So that may be an interesting way to get into the barn situation. Most likely you will not get to show because the big barns usually have pros, assistant trainers that do that but you might get some lessons and with a little luck some opportunities.


              • Original Poster

                Thank you all for your replies!