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Horse Related Summer Jobs?

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  • Horse Related Summer Jobs?

    Hi COTH, first time poster, long time lurker here
    I'm about to finish my first year of university, and am looking at about 4.5 months off to do as I please. I'm really curious about what my options are out there in the horse-related field.

    For some background information about me, I've been riding my whole life, and have had the opportunity to ride a wide range of horses in a wide range of disciplines. I've done a few years of beginners dressage as a child, some team roping and cattle penning, barrel racing, with a main focus on hunter/jumper. I've competed up to 3'3'', schooled 4'3" and jumping is definitely where my heart is. While I love riding, it's more of a life-consuming hobby for me, I dont have any particular plans of a horsey career, although that's definitely subject to change. With that being said, I would like to expand my horsey knowledge a bit more while at the same time expanding my worldly knowledge (since I have next to none at the moment). And would like to spend my summer somewhere other than my home of British Columbia, Canada. With all this talk lately on here of WS positions, I had considered that as an option but I don't think I have the skills that most show barns are looking for...I'm not completely comfortable clipping, bandaging or wrapping, and my braiding skills are barely passable at best, (although I do a pretty good job of mucking a stall). I would kill for the opportunity to work at an upper level barn and maybe have the opportunity to ride some horses there too, but I'm just not confident enough in my stable management abilities. I did some research and I think I would really like to maybe work at a dude ranch over the summer, although I'm not really sure how to go about it. Looking up ranches online produces a mind-boggling amount of results, and I'm not even sure where to start.

    Can anyone recommend any reputable dude ranches? What other options do I have in terms of horsey, non permanent, summer jobs out of the country/province? Is there H/J barns out there that are looking for someone who will muck, feed, and maybe exercise some horses too if the chance comes up, or should I just focus on the western side of things? I'm willing to work hard and have grown up on my family's 100 acre horse and cattle farm, so I'm pretty experienced in bringing in/turning out, feeding, mucking stalls with up to 15 horses, plus have helped out with a few babies.

    Sorry for all the questions, thanks in advance for all your replies!

  • #2
    There are kids camps still out there that would probably love to have you, if you can deal with the kids that is. My university used to have a job placement service, and my roomie spent a summer as "Barnie" one of the horse wranglers. She loved it. Suggest you seek info there. Also some magazines such as Sunset, used to have a camp section in the back, along with resorts.

    Reading again, there's always the simple expedient of cold calling or blind sending a resume to every place in some state you might like to visit, or every fifth camp on a alphabetical list, something like that. I would list your strengths, it's amazing how many will pass on a non-Western rider, I guess they don't think you'll be able to toss the saddle up there and tie the latigo or something.
    Living on a ranch makes it sound as though you have a good work ethic and can haul your bum out of bed at sunrise to do morning feed and get everybody tacked and ready for the clients. Don't forget your interpersonal skills as well, a good wrangler can make or break a camp experience. For the past few years I've sampled commercial trail rides and even on a nose to tail ride a guide who has good people skills really adds to the experience and makes it worthwhile to repeat.

    Good luck!
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


    • #3
      PM me if you want a few horsey summer camps in the Northeast USA that are great. You want to get references before committing because some camps have horrifying horse care. I loved the summer I spent working at a horse camp! (but I also love kids)

      I would also suggest WWOOFing. You can work it out with the farm, but you can stay for a few weeks or a few months. I got to put some miles on some great greenies and travel the world at the same time. You won't get paid, but room/board + local attractions.


      • #4
        PM me if you want a few horsey summer camps in the Northeast USA that are great. You want to get references before committing because some camps have horrifying horse care. I loved the summer I spent working at a horse camp! (but I also love kids)

        I would also suggest WWOOFing. You can work it out with the farm, but you can stay for a few weeks or a few months. I got to put some miles on some great greenies and travel the world at the same time. You won't get paid, but room/board + local attractions.