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Gillian 12-13-2010 09:30 AM

Looking for a working student position...
Hey there! I am once again looking into finding a working student position.

I am thinking of putting my studies on hold and getting a real feel for working with horses while I'm young and have no bills. I've considered doing this before but have not been able to because of finishing high school and taking a stab at college.

My place is working with animals, and my passion lies in working with and riding horses.

I am 19 have been riding and taking lessons since I was 6 years old. I rode hunter/jumper for most of my life and have been doing very basic dressage for the past year or two now. I rode consistently for many years when I was younger and leased a few horses in that time. Most recently I leased a TB x WB gelding who I jumped and did basic dressage with. I have also ridden western pleasure, and done speed events at a few rodeos, but my real knowledge lies in english riding. I'm open to any discipline though, because in my opinion good training and horsemanship is just that, regardless of what style of riding that you are doing.

I have not ridden consistently in about 6 months, but I am taking lessons a few times a month in dressage, and would easily get back into riding shape if I could afford to ride more. I know where my flaws are, and know what needs improvement. Basically right now all I need is consistency to build up my leg again and solidify the muscle memory. Unfortunately because of school (and being a poor college student) I have not been able to do that.

I am very comfortable around horses, and while I respect them for their power, I am not intimidated by them. I do not over estimate my abilities when working with horses, and do not take unnecessary risks.

I have a few pictures that I'll post and can dig up a riding video or two if requested. If you have an opening for this next year, or know of a good facility please let me know. Once again, I am open to western or english riding, and am a hard worker and a diligent student.

Here are a few pictures of my riding.
I'm going to point out what I see that needs to be worked on. I am tackling these issues, but once again am not able to ride enough to fully correct them yet. I will say that my upper body has improved greatly with my new instructor, and we primarily work on me strengthening my core, riding more with my body, and learning to separate the different parts of my body to influence the horse and give my cues more effectively.

I'll start with the most recent. These are all from 2009 with the TB x WB that I was leasing.

I needed to raise my hands, roll my shoulders back and sit less on my butt. I also should have lengthened my stirrups for flatwork. I was working on battling a hunter/jumper lean from bad instruction. These are my best photos but they are from when I first started taking dressage lessons and are from my first month of leasing this horse. We did (soon after this) switch him out of the gag and into a loose ring french link bit, which he rode went in, and became more trusting of contact in.

Horse on the forehand. Needed to roll my shoulder back, bring my hands up, and sit him on his butt more.

Thank you for taking the time to read all this!

I am open to advice, but I do know how much work these positions are, and I feel that taking this step would at the very least allow me to improve my riding and horsemanship skills, and at best make me realize that I do want to work with horses as my career.

Tell me if I missed something! I'll try to dig up the riding video that I have.

Gillian 12-13-2010 09:58 AM

I am also looking into possibly finding employment over the summer at a dude ranch. That would pretty much be my dream job!

kitten_Val 12-13-2010 10:49 AM

Gillian, are you looking strictly in FL or anywhere? (sorry if I missed it in your post)

Gillian 12-13-2010 01:56 PM

Whoops, didn't mention that! Doesn't have to be in Florida, but it does have to be in the states.

kitten_Val 12-13-2010 02:51 PM

Gillian 12-13-2010 02:53 PM

Thanks for the links! I'll check them out. :)

eventerdrew 12-13-2010 03:10 PM

I'm a working student for a top level eventer in Kentucky as well as being a student. It's possible to do both!

Lis 12-13-2010 03:54 PM
Plenty of postings in America.

Klassic Superstar 12-13-2010 04:00 PM

I wasa working student once, and it was a bad experaince. I am from Wa and the barn was in Canada, I didnt have the money to go out and check the plac enad out meet the people beofre movingout there (I did talk on the phone, email the other working students alot beofre leaving) It was horriable, but I tried to make it work and just couldnt emotionaly handle it and I strongly didnt agree with the ways if the training. I did get some good things out of it. Got to groom at really big shows learned ablot when I was there, Got to ride some amazing horses, met some fantastic people and so forth.
Im not trying to discourage you but just really check it out beofre takinga postion somewere, visit them if possiable, meet people at the barn, watch the lessons and training rides see if you agree with how they habdle and work with horses. I wish i could have done that, but I also wouldnt have found out alotof things about myself if I didnt nite the bullet and go. I gave it my best try.
Just be careful and have fun! Good luck!!!

Strange 12-14-2010 11:02 AM

It's definitely a lot of work. I'm a working student for an eventing rider/trainer in Maryland.

However, it differs from position to position. With mine, I'm basically doing all the barn work (feeding, turning out, mucking stalls, cleaning tack, sweeping, etc.) as well as exercising my horse + 1 or 2 other horses every day, plus whatever other odd jobs need doing (dragging the arena, cleaning out the trailer, washing shipping boots, etc. etc. etc.). If you really, really want a working student job the best thing to do is start sending out emails and making phone calls! I started emailing trainers and upper level riders in late September of this year (I probably sent out about 50 emails) and got 3 different interview offers. After the first one I went to I got offered the job and decided to take it. A lot of times if you comport yourself well through email and phone people can refer you to colleagues and friends that are looking for working students if they themselves are not. I can't tell you how many people said, "Well I don't need a working student but so-and-so might need one! Here's their number! I'll call and ask then get back to you!"

Keep in mind, also, that not all will include the same benefits. My current job I'm working off my rent/food and board for one horse. I still have to cover vet/farrier/show fees and when we go to Aiken, SC for the winter I have to cover a little less than half the board ($550/mo for three months). However another position I was offered I would only have been working off my lessons and part of board for one horse and would have had to pay for everything else.

You don't have to start off with a huge name that everyone knows. A lot of times those riders/trainers prefer students with some previous working student experience (not always) and they get a TON of people asking about it. Don't be afraid to branch out a little. As long as the trainer/rider is reputable and has a good facility (clean, orderly, safe) then you'll learn a ton from the experience and will find it easier to move on to other trainers.

Edit: I also forgot to say, if they're interested ask them if you can come interview in person, regardless of how far it is. I flew all the way to Maryland from Colorado for 4 days just to interview. You want to make sure you really like the people and the place you'll be working at/living in. It might seem like a huge investment but trust me, it's way better than taking the job and then realizing you hate being there and don't agree with the way they work.

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