Tips for Being a Working Student
Becoming a working student is an exciting step in a young equestrian’s riding career. These positions provide great opportunities to learn both in and out of the saddle. As in any new job you may be a little nervous at first, so BarnManager came up with some helpful suggestions.
Have an Open Mind
The two most important things you can do as a working student are to have an open mind and be willing to learn. The main goal of being a working student is to absorb as much information as you can about the equestrian industry. Whether you are riding, grooming, helping with horse show entries, cleaning stalls, or turning out horses there is always something to learn. You should also be open to learning new ways of doing tasks you may already know how to do. Even if a procedure is different than you are used to, learn the new way and understand why the barn prefers it. Also, never be afraid to ask questions. Working students are not expected to be experts so questions are expected, especially when you are still learning the routine of the barn.
Watching is one of the best ways to learn in a barn. You can gather so much information by watching people ride, lunge, and do tasks such as bathing, grooming, or putting on polo wraps. This is a great way to pick up on small details about how the barn prefers tasks to be completed.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Working student positions can involve a lot of physical work and include long hours. During those extra-long and tiring days, remember to keep a positive attitude. Remaining upbeat at all times does not go unnoticed and can also help encourage other employees to act the same way.
Go the Extra Mile
Always aim to go above and beyond in your work. For example, if you are asked to sweep the barn aisle, go ahead and wipe off the tack trunks and wall boxes and remove visible cobwebs. Make sure you complete every task to the best of your ability, and if possible, do a little extra. This may mean applying hoof oil and wetting over the mane with a brush when you tack up a horse. Going the extra mile could also mean being the first person at the barn in the morning and the last to leave, ensuring daily tasks have been completed.
Manage Your Time
Although it is important to go the extra mile, it is also necessary to understand time constraints. While you definitely want a horse to be beautifully turned out when you groom it, you cannot spend hours cleaning one horse. If you are given several tasks to complete, you should prioritize each job in order of importance and also have a general idea of how long each chore will take. Additionally, if you finish your tasks early, be proactive and jump in on other tasks or ask for additional jobs.
Although working student positions require hard work and dedication, they are a terrific way to gain insight into the equestrian industry and what it takes to run a barn. If you are planning to be a working student, try to soak up as much information as you can while also having fun and enjoying the experience.
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