I'd like to maybe work a year or two under one person and then go to someone else to broaden my knowledge base.
Questions I have:
How do I go about asking a trainer if I can work under them?
Will I have time to have a part time-ish job to get money?
Can I get my own clientele while working through a trainer?
Stupid question, but do I like live on property with them or just drive over every so often? Lol
When I'm ready to leave or start off on my own, is it just like quitting any regular job??
Here's my experience with the trainer I apprenticed under:
I started off taking lessons with her and then at some point asked her if I could help her work horses and train. I would suggest doing the same as the trainer is already comfortable with you and your abilities and it's not so much of a gamble as it is taking in a stranger. I was non paid but then again I bartered with her so in exchange for helping her I got a reduced board, no extra fees, free lessons, recommendations, and she would help me train my horses and let me use her equipment.
As for clientele that will depend. I was always upfront with the trainer and asked her if it would be okay for me to take on a few clients. She always said yes. However, I always went out to a different barn and never brought the horse on her property and I only did what I felt was in my league and anything else I referred the owner to her. Worked out pretty nice because I would start the colts and she would finish them lol. And there is no job security so six months down the line you could only have one person paying you $20 for an hour ride on pookey who is an almighty terror under saddle even though you trained under "so and so".
Maybe this was just me but I practically lived with her and her family during the summer. I usually came in the morning, stayed until dinner and ate with them and went home unless I was sleeping in the barn for some reason. Other than that it's like a real job. I was there every day and whenever I couldn't be I told her. Despite what it is you should consider it a job and try to treat it as such no matter if your getting paid or what. When I went off to college I told her that most of my apprenticing would now have to be done in the summer and on breaks so I gave her fair notice before hand.
Cowchick is right 100%. During shows and breeding season I was on call at night and hardly ever slept in my bed (coupling the fact that then I would have to go to school after using a hay bale as a pillow). Long hours, rough nights, hard work but worth it! Also, unless it's a huge barn be prepared for a lot of general maintenance. About 80% of what I did was fixing stuff around the farm while a horse bitted or got used to a saddle. It might seem tedious but it's necessary.
I will say that you can start out with just pleasure horses but if you decide to go into show horses you will need to find an appropriate barn and another trainer in that discipline to give you further credit. (I was lucky to get an ex shower who could give me that credit but worked mainly pleasure horses).