I LOVE that work, though. I've been a groom every summer between school, and now I'm looking to make it a career. But I do go on trials/interviews for the job so I can get a feel from the people. That's definitely the key: The bosses!
I'm glad this thread has gotten some good posts
I feel like you definitely have to have the passion if you want to last in the industry!
True, it can be an enjoyable job. However, I found them to extremely hard school and backwards thinking in terms of the horses, and some times down right cruel. You're not going to agree with everyone in life, but finding someone that you agree with 100% on methods, training etc isn't easy. I'm always open for new ways, but sometimes the welfare of the animal has to come first. Unfortunately there are a lot of people, especially older men who used to have their glory, with horses and ponies in their back gardens (not saying this is a bad thing) up to their knees in mud, caked in their own faeces and old rusted wires for fences, rusted parts of machinary and a blatant lack of care or thought to the horse's welfare ( that, is a bad thing).
Now, if you're lucky enough to find someone to work for, I don't know what the USA, or the UK is like, but you have one of few options. You either compete dressage at PSG, you jump S (level below grand prix) and you have a decent experience handling and breaking youngsters.
You become an au pair with some stable duties. You work on a stud farm. Or, my favourite one, working student. It pays about €200 a month. My stable bill is €240 without added extras.
Very few offer tuition, you have to find your own accomodation, driving is a plus, and HVG liscense too.
All in all, if you have the drive, and luck, you'll get there. But unless I had a good mound of pennies to fall back on when things go awry, or I am at the riding level where I would get paid to keep me in a comfortable life style (horse, home, car) then its not for me.
I do occassionaly fill in for my yard, I'll help with turnout, boxes, training one of the young stallions. Sometimes even fill in a lesson. But not long term. Oh no.