Dressage Goals/Career/Aspirations

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Dressage Goals/Career/Aspirations

This is a discussion on Dressage Goals/Career/Aspirations within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Set dressage goals
  • Proffesional dressage career

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    10-29-2012, 05:28 PM
Dressage Goals/Career/Aspirations

So I'm not sure if this is the best place to post this...there are so many places here!

Anyways. I was just wondering who on here is really serious about dressage...I'm talking about having/has a career based on it or something along those lines.

For me, I've had a passion for it since my first dressage lesson about 5 years ago. It excited, thrilled, and challenged me...now that I'm 17 I'm thinking about what happens next summer when I graduate. I'd really like to pursue something like professional riding or training. Not sure where I'm going to start quite yet but we will just have to see where it leads.

So what are your aspirations/goals/dreams? I'd love to here them!
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    10-29-2012, 05:35 PM
Im very serious about a career in the Dressage and Hunter/Jumper industry. I am currently a Equine Canada Coach In-Training, My plan is by the middle of next year to be fully certified and be a traveling coach in Alberta. I have been wanting to do this since I was about 10, so excited I am finally reaching my goal!
    10-29-2012, 05:37 PM
@ Fulford15: Wow that's really neat! Good luck!
    10-29-2012, 05:38 PM
Green Broke
In would love to be able to start working on getting my rider awards starting from training level! That my long term goal.
    10-29-2012, 05:41 PM
@KlassicSuperstar: Good goal!
    10-29-2012, 05:42 PM
Green Broke
Yeah! Someday I'd like to have my own training barn and have clients, be bow to have top riders come do clinics! But that's way way down the road...of I meet a rich man!
    10-29-2012, 05:58 PM
Currently I am focused on my own riding before attempting to start coaching seriously.
I have one CDI win at PSG, planning on doing another CDI next year and traveling to compete more. I am currently on the lookout for my next prospect to develop and hopefully take to GP and represent my country internationally. I am also a competition organizer and am working on getting certified to judge dressage.

As far as what you can do at 17 to get your riding career started, you can consider going overseas to Europe to do a stint as a young horse rider if you don't have the resources to purchase an FEI quality horse and access to a high level coach. After that, however, you should really consider going to university or college and getting a degree in something non-horse related. Courtney King-Dye had a really cool article in Dressage Today encouraging young girls like yourself to diversify and go to school. You will likely not ever be able to support yourself and ride at a high level in dressage by just going the "horsey route". You need financial backing and unless your family is wealthy, you marry rich or stumble upon a random stranger willing to hand over millions of dollars, you will need to rely on yourself for backing.
I went to school while riding and have made it onto my country's "watch" list while being in school. It is doable, you just have to sleep less and work very hard.
Many, many high level dressage riders have a university or college degree. Many are lawyers, engineers, doctors, etc.. It is very, very difficult to make it as a rider. Look at Carl Hester. He finally made it onto the big international scene and in order to support himself was forced to sell his Olympic horses. He has never had anything cushy in his life, and now at 40+ years of age is finally able to have enough money not to worry about making ends meet every month. And he is one of the lucky ones!!! I can't stress enough how having an education and a real job will propel your riding career and afford you the ability to have access to coaching in order to improve your riding skills enough to ride at a high level, and coach. Lessons with internationally renowned coaches START around $80/lesson, and that's if you trailer to them! Clinics start at $160 per lesson. I've paid as much as $600 for one lesson with Robert Dover (and it was worth every penny). It's unfortunate, but dressage is a money game.

Good luck!
kenda, core, Mary Liz and 1 others like this.
    10-29-2012, 06:54 PM
One thing to help you get started would be a working-student/rider at a high end barn, work your way up to a barn manager... Try horsejobs.com and look for something in your area, there are opportunities out there you just need to take the time to really find them.
A lady I know did this, she ended up working at Ian Millar's stable in Ontario as a working rider for him and John Millar, she did this for a couple years and has now established an amazing riding program in her home town. :)
    10-29-2012, 08:00 PM
Super Moderator
I agree with Anebel. The first goal is to become self sufficient financially. I went the professional rider first, depending on owners with the good horses. I was very lucky to get good horses that enabled me to go a long way. However, these horses always seemed to go up for sale when showing FEI. That was when they became quite valuable. It was SO hard to stay on those horses for any length of time. It was heartbreaking every time you got to where you wanted to be only to have the horse sold out from under you.

Get educated, get the good job so that you can get your own horses to bring along.
    10-29-2012, 11:47 PM
Green Broke
I'm going to have to agree with Anabel and Alison and encourage you to seriously consider going to college first. I know, you didn't ask for advice, but as a horse professional I'm going to give it to you anyways.

First of all, what people in the horse business often seem to be lacking is business skills. And you use it. A LOT. Management. Advertising. Accounting. Business law. Etc etc etc. You use it all the time. I've seen good riders struggle or even fail simply because they have terrible business skills. Also, as much as you might hate to hear this, but you 1) need a back up plan should your riding not work out and 2) you need a back up plan should you ever change your mind. I know, you may think you will NEVER change your mind, but a lot of people start off thinking they'd love to ride professionally and end up hating it. As much as you may love riding, you may not love that it will one day become A JOB. It doesn't matter how much I love my job (i'm a trainer), how much I love to ride, how much I love a particular horse, there are a lot of mondays when I really just don't want to get on another horse. But I have to. It's also a job that has almost no bounderies. There have been months where I teach mon-thurs and then horse show fri and sat. And then go horse shopping with clients on sunday. (or show tues-sun and then use my "day off" on Monday as the day to pack up, attempt to do laundry somewhere, and unpack at a new show to start all over again) I think I wnet a good two and a half months last year without a single day off. And on the days I ride/teach I usually work a good 12 hour day. On horse show days? Haha. Well, on Saturday I was on a horse when the sun came up and on a horse when the sun went down. And when I was in the saddle was the only time I got to sit down all day! But at least I got 5 hours of sleep that night. Because there are shows when I only get 3 or 4.

All that to say, I LOVE my job. ;) I have the best job in the world. I'm not a dressage trainer, I do hunters and jumpers but I've had opportunities to work alongside or ride with some of the top olympians in the world. I've cliniced with some of the best clinicians out there. I don't pay to show, people pay me. I get to train horses and create something cool out of a blank canvas. I get to be there for a kids first blue ribbon. I get to do what I love. It's a great job! But I have worked my butt off to get where I have and been very very lucky to have had the opportunities that i"ve had. Soo.. If that's really want you want to do, go for it. But again, I'd be very practical about how you get into this profession.
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