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LoveTheSaddlebreds 07-23-2011 11:00 AM

Working Student Position!
 
I have an interview for a working student position on Monday and I'm really excited! If all works out, I get training, experience, board and all that WHILE being paid! I'm so happy! The only drag is (and it really isn't a huge one) its a dressage barn and I'm mainly interested in jumping. But I don't mind, the more experience the better, right? And I've contacted a few jumping/eventing barns as well so maybe they will work out.

Has anyone ever done a working student program? I haven't officially, but at an old barn of mine I basically did - helped manage the barn, clean, feed, handle horses, etc. help train, ride.. but I didn't get paid. Basically I'm asking your opinions on this sort of thing, what I should consider when applying, precautions I should take, etc.

Thanks!

Allison Finch 07-23-2011 11:13 AM

I was a working student for a well known event trainer for years. It was a fabulous experience that helped launch my career. He gave me excellent instruction in, not only riding horses at all levels, but I learned how to care for horses, train, run barns, vetting etc!!

The one question I always advise people to ask....how much daily riding will you get? My coaches working students were in the saddle at LEAST four hours a day as we trained horses under his supervision. Every horse we got on was a lesson. Major Lynch of the Potomac Horse Center (at that time a HUGE well known program) came to try to get us to join his working student program. When he said we would get at least an hour a day in the saddle, we ALL said...no thanks.

I well known trainer will also open doors for you by introducing you to great future contacts.

Go for it! Dressage is the base for creating great jumpers.

When I was training/competing full time, I had several working students. I did not use them as slave workers and they got good value for their time. SOME trainer, however, drive their WS like slaves and offer VERY little in return. They consider their presence as all the reward they need. Yeah, right!

Quixotic 07-23-2011 02:48 PM

I've just gotten a working student position with a 4* eventer. I start in 2 weeks, I'm excited but nervous! I'd say you're pretty lucky to find a position that actually pays you! Mine gives me board/housing/lessons/travel/weekly food allowance, but no actual pay. Good luck with your interview, I hope it goes well for you!

Strange 07-24-2011 07:57 PM

I'm a working student for an upper level eventer as well.
I work off my room/board, board/training for one horse + hauling to schoolings and shows and everything.

Depending on how many horses we have in for training at a time I ride anywhere from 2-4 horses a day. I also got to travel south to Aiken, SC this winter and it was an awesome experience. Like Allison mentioned I don't learn just how to become a better rider, but how to be a better horse-person. I learn about everything from the ground up, how to run the barn smoothly, lots about farriery and veterinary work that I didn't otherwise know about, etc. It's been a great experience and I'm just over halfway done with it!


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