In my 3 years of being a working student at top dressage barns in Texas, Florida, and California I’ve learned some really important things to succeed. I’ve made many mistakes, and I was and am far from perfect.
1. Show your organized
In some way you have to show you care about cleaning, and how the barn looks. We all show our organization in different ways maybe you clean bridles spotless you take them apart and make them look perfect. Maybe you like a perfectly clean tack room. Or you enjoy to sweep. From day one the first thing I do is organize. My first day in Florida my trainer came to he barn and saw me organizing and said “oh my gosh your a clean freak! I don’t know if I love or hate you. As long as you know where everything is after you organize it then I’m okay with you organizing.” I told her she should buy some organizing bins to put al the saddle pads in and so that I can organize the barn better” I did, and now I don’t really have to worry about organizing because it’s already so clean and organized I just keep up with it. When a bottle is in the wrong place or something looks messy I clean it. Make sure you show your a clean freak even if your not.
2. Just be nice!
It’s hard and a little exhausting being a working student but for the love of god be nice to your co workers and trainers. Don’t give attitude and if it happens to be 11pm at night and your blanketing all the horses and you smerk off to the other working students say “I’m really sorry blanketing this late at night is really annoying for me and I love doing everything else but this task does make me grumpy I didn’t mean what I said” they will understand! Just be honest.
3. Tell people when your confused. If a job is confusing or you can’t Denver the right grain ask to make a board or something so you can memorize it. This will make it so no one gets upset when you do something wrong or forget. Always make an idea on what you can do better next time or memorize something.
4. Others Working against you
If your co workers work against you for whatever ever reason if they sense they don’t like you or are jealous whatever it is that makes them not be interested in being your friend and trying to get you in trouble talk to them. Sit down and say “look I know there is something I’m doing wrong or something you don’t really like about me can we talk about it so I can improve myself?” They will like this and tell you and if it continues after the conversation and they have nothing to dislike you for and keep causing you stress for no reason simply go to your boss and say “I need me and X to sit down with you and have a talk because something isn’t right between us and I don’t know how to fix it but they won’t talk to me or tell me and it’s causing me stress”
5. Simply try your best riding & don’t let fear lead your life
It’s okay to mess up and mess up a horse. It’s okay to get a horse taken away just keep trying your best. Keep showing up and proving your worth the time. If you get 1 lesson a day take everything you can from that lesson then watch videos, read books train how to ride horses outside of work. If your given the opportunity to ride horses when your trainer is gone try new things so you can learn no one is watching so if you mess up it’s okay, but don’t keep trying at the sake of messing the horse up. Don’t fear trying a flying change on a horse that knows them even if you don’t.
6. Less advantage = working harder
If you don’t have the advantage of being the best rider or knowing that much about the sport you may have to show your strengths in other ways. Show up early, workout, cleaning, etc you have to prove to them that your not the best rider NOW but you are the BEST worker. So if you work super hard and have so much passion they want to train you to be the best rider.
7. Think about yourself too!
Yes you need to always be working and trying your best and pushing threw when your exhausted, but also think about yourself. I usually feel guilty when I take days off but they are NEEDED or you will have a mental breakdown! Make sure you take care of yourself.
Never give up. The sport is worth it.