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Love Horseback Riding, Issue #006
February 27, 2015
Dear Horsey Friends,


Well the groundhog saw his shadow this past month, predicting 6 more long weeks of winter.

How are you and your horses faring this winter? Are you ready for spring yet? Or are you enjoying the cold temperatures, no bugs, and watching your horses romp through the snow?

Many areas of the country are having record low temperatures as well as unusually high amounts of snow, leaving many horse lovers longing for green grass, sunshine, and long & lazy days spent at the barn (or an indoor arena!).

What's New

Have you checked out this page of my top 5 horseback riding tips? They may be simple, but can help set a good foundation not only for your equitation, but your horsemanship.

Reader Question- How Do I Turn Riding Into A Career?

Last month I answered Lauren’s email question “I want to ride, combine my passion for horses and get paid.” Last month’s answer to Lauren focused on trainer certification, credibility, and defining your goals as a potential horse trainer.

See the back issue here. This month we’ll continue by looking into equine degrees and apprenticeships/working student positions as they relate to becoming a paid trainer in the equine industry.

While an equine degree in the form of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited university is not traditionally the path to a paid profession as a horse trainer, they offer a nice compliment to the equine professional’s path, especially in the business and marketing aspects.

If you are seeking a college degree (either equine or otherwise) there is also the option to ride and compete on a college’s equestrian team.

Many riders pick a school in part for the equine opportunities they offer in addition to the formal education. This can be a great way to gain more riding and training experience in addition to completing a degree.

Traditionally to train horses you must have first and foremost EXPERIENCE, and a lot of it. The more (and high quality) experience you have, the more likely you are to find and keep employment as a trainer.

It’s simply not possible to learn everything you need to know about horse training from reading or studying, especially if you are new to horses and have limited riding and training experience.

This is where working student and apprenticeship positions come in. In a working student position typically you are not paid but trade out your time caring for horses and the stables in exchange for riding lessons and training opportunities.

Working student positions give you valuable knowledge and horse training experience.

Working student positions are available in every level of the equine training industry in one form or another, but the basics are pretty much the same. Some working positions may include your housing as part of your trade.

Another option can be to bring your own horse and have him live at the stable you are working at. You will need to assess your needs in these and other areas and then search for the right position that is mutually beneficial for both you and the trainer.

Last month we looked at different certifications and realms of horse trainers such as discipline or natural horsemanship specific. After you have decided what direction or discipline you want to pursue, what the specifics of the logistical items you need, you can start identifying trainers in your chosen specialty to find a suitable match.

If you are a teenager starting out looking to gain riding and training experience, you can seek out local lesson stables to see if they have any openings. If you aren’t experienced at all with horses or new to riding, the discipline isn’t going to matter as much. The foundation for all disciplines in riding is the same.

Here are some things you should know and be able to commit to before becoming a working student. Your success depends on it!

1) Excellent Work Ethic- Working students do just that, WORK. Hard. Expect to work long hours at physically demanding labor in a variety of temperatures and conditions. Some duties include mucking stalls, feeding horses, cleaning tack, etc.

2) Reliability- Trust me when I say the last thing a trainer needs is someone that doesn’t show up or complete his or her work. (If you can’t show up when you are supposed to, don’t bother applying. Paid lessons may be a better option for you. Only the reliable need apply.

Flakes just don’t work when there is barn full of horses needing fed/exercised. This is the same when pursuing equine degrees.

These programs typically have a “feeding rotation” including nights, weekends, and holidays that is part of a graded equine management course. If you don’t show up, you fail, and well you should.

3) Excellence- I can’t tell you the number of horse people that say they want to learn about horses and then do the minimum they can when given the opportunity to work.

No matter how mundane the task, it is your responsibility to complete it each and every time with excellence and a smile!

4) Be TeachableBe teachable and respectful both in and out of saddle to clients and other staff. When it comes to being a working student, remember everything from barn management to feed selection counts for your education.

These are important components to becoming a horse trainer in addition to riding. It’s also important to try very hard to apply what you are learning in your lessons.

Many riders study for years under a trainer before going out on their own. Or they may ride with more than one trainer in the course of their studies to gain multiple perspectives. This allows them to learn the ins and outs of professional level riding, training, and stable management.

Certain working student positions offer the opportunity to ride others’ horses in competitions and provide valuable training and showing experience. This enhances knowledge of the desired discipline

I hope these tips on becoming a horse trainer have helped you to clarify your goals.

If you would like to be added to the mailing list for my upcoming e-book on how to become a trainer, please click here. This book will highlight in depth, more topics in how to make a career out of riding and training horses such as;

-more detail of equine degrees

-more information about gaining experience and working student positions and how to pick the right one for you

- what you need to succeed as a trainer (besides experience!)

- options and logistics of where you will train

- legal concerns

- pricing your training, and more!

In the meanwhile, visit on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter! Until then,

Happy Trails!


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