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College advice.. tough decision :/

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    02-23-2012, 09:21 AM
  #21
Foal
My opinion? Quickest way to get really sick of horses, is to work with them.

Unless you are independently wealthy.. you get treated like crap by most people (customers, barn owners, etc), you work gawd awful hours, and you spend next to no time actually dealing with horses.

I know.. it sounds like a great job.. working with horses. But really you don't. You work with people and have to fix a lot of their mistakes (and that's if you train, lesson, or sell). Working with horses has about 2% to do with how you are with horses and about 98% to do with your people skills and business sense.

And 30-40 years later.. you are left wondering how the heck you are going to retire on the 700.00 you have from your last paycheck. You probably lived onsite at the barn, so you'll need a home.
My advice.. find your 2nd passion. Get a job and a career w/ some nice benefits (health insurance is good, retirement, etc). And then spend your money on horses.

The sad fact is, the horse community is shrinking because of the economy right now. Less people are spending money. The few who can make it starting up, are getting money elsewhere (family/spouse, etc) or are working 2-3 jobs aside from the horse gig to make ends meet. It's not likely to get better soon. And even in GREAT economic times.. horse people are notorious for paying crappy wages, and no benefits.
     
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    02-23-2012, 07:29 PM
  #22
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapperjockey    
My opinion? Quickest way to get really sick of horses, is to work with them.

Unless you are independently wealthy.. you get treated like crap by most people (customers, barn owners, etc), you work gawd awful hours, and you spend next to no time actually dealing with horses.

I know.. it sounds like a great job.. working with horses. But really you don't. You work with people and have to fix a lot of their mistakes (and that's if you train, lesson, or sell). Working with horses has about 2% to do with how you are with horses and about 98% to do with your people skills and business sense.

And 30-40 years later.. you are left wondering how the heck you are going to retire on the 700.00 you have from your last paycheck. You probably lived onsite at the barn, so you'll need a home.
My advice.. find your 2nd passion. Get a job and a career w/ some nice benefits (health insurance is good, retirement, etc). And then spend your money on horses.

The sad fact is, the horse community is shrinking because of the economy right now. Less people are spending money. The few who can make it starting up, are getting money elsewhere (family/spouse, etc) or are working 2-3 jobs aside from the horse gig to make ends meet. It's not likely to get better soon. And even in GREAT economic times.. horse people are notorious for paying crappy wages, and no benefits.

This differs so much from person to person. I did this internship to find out if I would get sick of horses. And you know what? The exact opposite has happened. I am even more horse obsessed than ever before and I'm going on working here for two years!

The hours are long, but not impossible. Yes, you will have a very small social life, but it won't be non-existent.

I think the keys to making a modest living in the horse business is having years of experience working with both horses and people, location, and a good work ethic.

All I know is that I love this life. I know it sounds wiser to have a more secure job and have horses as a hobby on the side, but I don't see that working for me. I have to love what I do to be motivated and to work to the best of my abilities. I would only give half of my potential, or perhaps even less, with for example, an office job. I can live without the extras in life if it means I get to wake up and go to bed loving what I do.
     
    02-24-2012, 08:06 AM
  #23
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by IslandWave    
This differs so much from person to person. I did this internship to find out if I would get sick of horses. And you know what? The exact opposite has happened. I am even more horse obsessed than ever before and I'm going on working here for two years!

The hours are long, but not impossible. Yes, you will have a very small social life, but it won't be non-existent.

I think the keys to making a modest living in the horse business is having years of experience working with both horses and people, location, and a good work ethic.

All I know is that I love this life. I know it sounds wiser to have a more secure job and have horses as a hobby on the side, but I don't see that working for me. I have to love what I do to be motivated and to work to the best of my abilities. I would only give half of my potential, or perhaps even less, with for example, an office job. I can live without the extras in life if it means I get to wake up and go to bed loving what I do.
I wasn't talking about the luxuries. I'm talking about the basics. Love of your job is important. So is paying the bills, and being able to afford to live. Working with horses seems fine when you are young, Until you get injured. Most barn jobs don't cover insurance..and you are aren't able to earn your paycheck, even if worker's comp covers it (which most don't.. a lot of equine jobs try to gloss over that and say that everyone is "an independant contractor"). What if you sustain an injury so severe you can no longer work with horses? Do you have short term and long term disability? Health insurance? 401k? How many trainers are still training when they are 50 or 60 or 70.. and it's not for the love of it. It's because they barely scraped by and now they CAN'T afford to retire.

And it's not going to get better quickly. The economy isn't going to magically turn around in the next year. Between the droughts, the gas prices, negative equity.. people right now have A LOT less discretionary income than they used to. Most farms (breeding) are drastically scaling back.. and that's across the board for almost all breeds. If people are breeding less... less horses to train. A lot of shows are closing (again in different breeds). Entire farms have sold all their stock. Now is a great time to buy a farm though, if you are independently wealthy lol. There are tons in foreclosure.
     
    02-24-2012, 01:40 PM
  #24
Foal
I have to agree with Tapperjockey. Make sure you diversify enough that you have a backup plan in case working directly with horses doesn't work out.

The manager of the animal hospital where I work had to quit what she had been doing training and riding horses for a living because she was injured badly enough that she couldn't continue and had to switch careers.

Now imagine that happens to you which is a possibility since horses are large animals and injuries, serious injuries, can happen.

Now imagine that you have all those student loans to pay back- with no income and thousands of dollars in medical bills. (And for the record- you can declare bankruptcy with medical bills- you can't do that with student loans.) The last time I fell I needed over $40,000 worth of orthopedic surgery to be able to use my hand normally again- but luckily it was covered by health insurance. If you don't work at a place that allows for health insurance you are taking a risk- or will be forced to pay a premium for health insurance. (Health insurance in my area if you pay for it on your own is $1000 a month.)

Do what you love- you'll be the better for it- but make sure you have yourself covered at the same time. Have a backup plan.
     
    02-24-2012, 09:01 PM
  #25
Foal
I would highly suggest getting a working student position or a barn job of some sort for a year. I felt the same as you did, and after high school I took 3 years off and worked with horses. I LOVED working with the horses, but realized I would never be a good enough rider to get to the level that I personally wanted because I just didn't have the money or the talent. Also, it is ridiculously hard to deal with clients and bosses who treat horses and do things differently than you and have no say at all... In smaller things, not so bad, but in dangerous situations or in the case of using lame horses or not rehabbing horses correctly, abusive situations, etc, it can really wear you down, and I was constantly stressed out about paying my bills and not having enough money and working way more hours than I was getting paid for.
So, I went back to school so that I could get a job that I can work at and make enough money to enjoy horses later in life. And for me, I think that will be enough. Right now, it is really hard to deal with being in school and not living, breathing, and thinking about horses and running a barn, but in the future for me, I know that I can work horses and do whatever I want with a job that is dependable etc.
That said, if this is your dream and you want it, it is still a good idea to try it out for a year getting paid instead of paying for a program at college you might find out you don't like a couple years down the road. I know how hard of a decision big life choices can be though, so good luck with deciding!
     
    02-25-2012, 07:01 PM
  #26
Foal
My horse business thoughts (not so much horse career thoughts)

I have a slightly different perspective. My husband and I own our own business, but it is not in horses (although we do work with horses also - we are full time pet sitters). So I'm going to answer from a "maybe you want to work for yourself someday, with horses".

I'm nearing 40, and looked into horse careers a few times now. I made up detailed Excel spreadsheets that mapped out time, expenses, and income. No matter what I came up with, I just could barely break even. And the work hours were nuts. Even then I still really want to do it each time, but then I read about all the other hassles - and wow everyone has a long list of things like dealing with crazy people to fixing equipment - and I know it is just impossible.

Having said that, I have learned a lot about running a business. The main thing I learned is you can't dip in one toe and see how it goes. If decide to go the route of running your own business (or being an independent trainer), you should dive in head first. Interning first, or working for others would be good. But if you take the leap into working for yourself, leap. Tons of businesses go under because they didn't invest either enough time or enough money.

I went to college and got 2 degrees (computers and criminal justice) and did very well in school. Neither career worked for me. But I wouldn't give up the experience for anything in the world.
It gave me
- the confidence that I could do anything I want - including starting a business. Overcoming the challenges helped build my character.
- connections/networking with other people - ones that I carry with me today. I can seek advice, and it gave me a good reputation which helps with whatever business I do next.
- social skills. It taught me how to communicate with people on a more professional level. Like adults. With a good vocabulary. Especially helps since I'm a small women with a voice like a 12 year old.
- drive to complete things.
- a chance to grow up.
- something to put on my resume. My clients think much more highly of me because I have degrees - like I'm more trustworthy. Even though my studies had nothing to do with pet sitting.
- Accounting & math skills.
- Computer skills
- The opportunity to try out multiple fields, learn about different career options, and change my mind - alot.

But the absolute best program I finished was a Home Inspector course. I didn't feel qualified to be a home inspector (even though I passed the state test and was licensed) at the end. But it was 90% about how to market a business. And with that information I started a successful pet sitting business, and then we started a second business that sells information about starting a pet sitting business. What's in that information? Tons of marketing advice. Marketing is the key to ANY business, in my opinion....

So if you are serious about having your own business some day, I'd highly recommend going to school for at least 2 years and take classes or major in marketing, communication, and business. These will be awesome skills to have when you are ready to start a horse business. And if you finish a degree, you could even work at a different career first, save up some money and build up a great credit rating, and then get a good start on a horse business (investing in your own barn, horses, equipment, etc). You'll be able to dive in then, and financial concerns won't hold you back.

I'd also say don't give up on your dreams. When you have a job you love, it's like you aren't working at all.
IslandWave and OuttatheBlue like this.
     
    02-28-2012, 12:03 PM
  #27
Weanling
I'm a freshman in college this year, trying to determine a major for this year when I'm (hopefully) going to a larger college in Wyoming. The college I'm looking at has an equine business degree that I plan on majoring in. After I complete that degree, I would go back for the horse training degree more of for me than my career really. This way I could have a job that provides a steady income and keep horses in my life too.
     
    02-28-2012, 12:26 PM
  #28
Trained
I kinda agree with all of the posts here. You REALLY need to research and do the MATH. JoeD is right--there is currently a nurse shortage and if we're LUCKY and Obamacare is struck down, IMO nurses are going to become even MORE in demand. For instance, WalMart is thinking about opening up Triage at their super-stores. They would hire nurses, NOT doctors.
Consider how much money you will need to borrow and how quickly you can pay it back.
Youngest DD is currently in her first year of Law School. Her undergraduate$ is almost paid off. She is looking NOW for a SA or PD job here or in another state that hires in those offices and offers Law School debt forgiveness in exchange for a certain # of years working in public law. She is also planning on taking the Bar for multiple states. I'm sure the ND will be one of those states she'll be eligible to practice passing these. 3% unemployment is VERY attractive.
OTHERWISE, just getting a job is a pretty good idea. ALL of my daugthers started working at 16yo. DH and I refused to pay for their driving insurance. My eldest will be 32yo and now has a resume with a work record for 1/2 of her life. She is a retail store manager but looking for something else bc her company is about to implode. Since she's worked at only 3 other jobs, those are the recommended 3 on her resume. You are more marketable with a degree, true, but also you are more marketable with a WORK RECORD.
     
    03-03-2012, 01:20 PM
  #29
Trained
If you like horses, you are going to need money. I think that Joe4D had the best idea. The horse industry is rocky at best.
Go to nursing school, law school, medical school...........
Then you can afford to be involved with horses.
Tapperjockey likes this.
     

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