10-14-2010, 02:07 PM
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I graduated from William Woods in 2001. Now we're opening our own hunter/jumper training farm in Virginia. If you want to be a trainer, make sure you ride and ride and ride! I started riding rough auction horses starting at 14. College was my first big opportunity to ride very good show horses. William Woods has very nice horses. I'm sure they are even better than when I was in school. I got to ride a couple retired grand prix jumpers and numerous high quality hunters. I tried to ride everything that came into the hunter/jumper barn. (There was a high turn-over of horses, so that was quite a challege!) Then once I got out of school, I got my hunt seat ARIA certification. (I'm planning on doing more testing once we get our farm set-up).
Anyway, William Woods is very expensive. When I went it was nearly $100k for four years. I also graduated right after September 11, 2001 so the horse jobs weren't really there. When there is a recession going on in the country, the jobs get fewer (no matter what industry you go into).
No matter what school you go to, work very very hard. Don't just do things so the teachers notice you and get you into a good job when you graduate. Some classmates of mine, sort of did things just to look good. You need to really really work. Your not working hard enough, until your teachers start to worry about how hard your working, then step it up even more than that. And really go to learn, and really try to figure out what your plan is for employment after school. Don't just do the bare minimum of requirements.
When I was in school, I had a full load of classes and then would ride 4-5 horses Friday thru Sunday, and ride extra during the week. I also would take care of 1-2 horses every semester I was in school. The requirement was only to take one semester of hands-on horse care. I did it every semester, constantly. I also would help other students with their horse care.
Every summer while I was in school, I'd get a full time job and save every penny for clinics and horse shows during the school year. I couldn't afford to go to the big week long shows, but I made sure to do all of the clincs. We had some top notch trainers come in for clinics.
For me, personally, I had difficulty ever finding a good employer. I landed some good jobs as an assistant hunter/jumper trainer, but the employeers weren't the nicest people to work for. To be honest, there might be some good people to work for, but I never found them. Within the first year of graduating, I decided to become self-employed and now nine years later we are building our farm. It was not easy, but gaining my independence was well worth it.
When your finally ready to gain a professional job, make sure your employers are decent, clean living type people. There are some real characters out there, that are not worth working for.