01-13-2010, 11:58 AM
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In my opinion an apprenticeship or internship is the best way to get into the horse business. I have done both a Equine Science degree at a traditional four year college and I have done a horse training internship. I ended up dropping out of college after my first semester there because I was not getting enough hands on experience (and it was WAY too expensive). I then went to a dressage training internship for seven months and got more hands on experience then I could have every asked for. I learned more in those seven months then I did in the previous 3 year combined because I lived and worked on the farm everyday and got to experience what it is really like to work at a training barn full time. I HIGHLY suggest finding an apprenticeship or internship. The pros way out weigh the cons.
Free/Inexpensive, if you are lucky you may even get paid
More hands on experience
More focus on the disciple you want to learn, college is a lot broader.
Sometimes chances to show for free (I did)
More one on one attention from instructors
Sometime you can bring your own horse
Chances to build real-world relationships that will make great from networking in the business (very important in this industry).
No stupid, time wasting, classes that you hate
No degree (but in my opinion, you don't need one for this job)
Not always as much structure as college (but I love flexibility)
No life outside of the job. You are always there, and even on your days off your not going to have much fun time (laundry day!). If you are a big partier then you are going to have to change that if you want to be an apprentice. This worked fine for me since I'm not much of a partier anyways.
Um... Having a hard time thinking of more cons...
This is not a con, but it is something important to consider: Make sure to spend some time learning about the trainers methods and teaching styles before you agree to apprentice with them. Make sure you agree with those methods and that you will get along well with the trainer. Find someone that makes you say, "Gee, I want to be just like them someday." Of course you are not going to find someone that you agree with 100% of the time (If you do, then you are lucky) but make sure there are no major conflicts, and then be willing to do things a little differently. I did not always agree with the training methods of my trainer, and there were some major issues. I did not know much about their style until I moved out there to work for them. It was still good and I learned a lot, but I left a little earlier then I intended to because there style just did not fit with mine. Now I am applying for another apprenticeship with a trainer whose methods I already trust (though I've never actually worked with him directly). Just some advice.
I hope you find what you are looking for. Keep chasing the dream, it's out there! Good Luck!
P.S. I have a blog about my journey to become a horse trainer. You might find it helpful, or at least encouraging. It's linked in my signature, called "Dream Chaser"