Real Equine Professionals – Rebecca

Real Equine Professionals – Rebecca

I know you’re all wondering who won the Horze jacket… so sneak on over to the jacket giveaway post and see who our three lucky winners are!

I work a desk job… in a dark office without overhead lights (I am not exaggerating). On a day of long meetings or countless to-do’s, I often fantasize about what life would be like if I worked with horses.  To help touch on that, I bring you my newest blogging series… Real Equine Professionals!  I’ve stalked Facebook contacted some friends and asked them to share a little of their experience with us all in the form of 10 questions from your’s truly.  Today to celebrate my best riding buddy coming into town, we have the first interview brought to you by Rebecca!

Who are you and what do you do? 🙂
My name is Rebecca, I work at a private farm in Saratoga Springs, and we spend our winters in Wellington Florida. I do a little bit of everything around the farm, from mucking stalls, to showing our horses.

Did you always imagine yourself working with horses?
Not necessarily horses, but I’ve always loved animals.

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What choices that you made in the past led you to your position today?
I actually gave up doing a lot of other things that I really loved doing in order to continue riding. I was a working student for a long time and pretty much worked 24/7. I needed to do that in order to gain experience to make me qualified for the job I have now. Fortunately, I now have a wonderful job that allows me vacation time, and other time off to enjoy other things (mainly live music, and art)

Do you ever stop getting excited about seeing George Morris and countless other Olympian riders when you’re working at the shows?
Never! It’s incredibly cool to rub elbows with the greats! Its also really awesome watching up and coming riders and horses.

What do you think for young people reading this – college or no college before entering the horse world as a career?
COLLEGE! And not necessarily an equine degree. I majored in Animal Science because I was seriously considering going to veterinary school, but a degree in business management, or accounting will really give someone an advantage in the long run. The college experience is also really great for helping an individual figure out how to balance professional and personal life. There are so many options out there, there is no reason to skip out on college even if you are riding/working everyday.

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Best song/playlist to listen to while packing for a horse show. Go!
My current playlist is pretty hilarious, its pretty long so Ill just name the first 10 songs
“I know what I Know” – Paul Simon
“Stand”- REM
“And I Love You”- The Avett Brothers
“The Sign” -Ace of Base
“Bathwater”- No Doubt
“The Dynamo of Volition”- Jason Mraz
“Ok it’s alright with me”- Eric Hutchinson
“Crossroads”- John Mayer
“Change Your Mind”- Sister Hazel
“Sidney (I’ll Come Running”- Brett Dennen

Is it easy to get attached to individual horses when you work with them all the time or do they all kind of blend together?
Some blend and some I get attached to. I don’t tend to get too attached to them right away, as I’ve worked in sale barns before, and also never really had my own horse, you sort of just have to get used to horses moving on. The ones that we’ve had for a few years I usually have a good working relationship with.

How has working around the equestrian elite changed your views on riding, horsemanship and competition in general?
Oh, it hasn’t really. You just get a more clear cut view on what the norm’s are. The elite horse show world is a microcosm. I think mostly, I’ve realized that there are very few truly well rounded individuals out there. Its something that is sad, but not really unexpected. In my opinion, when you are at the top, you become specialized in your field. The smartest thing to do as a Rider or Owner is to surround yourself with others who are great at what they do (Grooms, Managers, exercise riders).

Is riding equally as enjoyable to you as it was before you started working in the horse industry? Aka does it being a “job” make it less fun.
Riding is still enjoyable, sometimes tack walking, and rehab type riding can get monotonous, but usually I still look forward to it everyday.

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What advice would you give to someone interested in a career as a groom/trainer/barn manager?
Be a REAL “working student”. When I was a working student, I didn’t have a horse, but I wanted to ride. In exchange for lessons and saddle time I acted as groom, road manager, and all around personal assistant to my trainer. What I see here is someone who is a paying client, with a horse already. The “extras” that they do is maybe wake up early and stay longer to ride more horses, and have another lesson, and maybe get to show more. They are still treated with kid gloves it seems because, in the end they are still clients. There is still a little too much separation between these types of working students and managers, and grooms. I haven’t witnessed them cleaning stalls, or staying late with sick horses. Even less so I see them being proactive about learning the ins and outs of the barn. What is a day in the life of a Manager? A groom? Everyone should at least experience all aspects of what it takes for everything to run smoothly. Being a professional and/or having your own business means knowing how it ALL works. Working students and riders these days seem go on to be professionals and not know any idea about how to be a good boss or how to identify qualified prospective employees. Another reason why you should also take business management classes, all big and or successful businesses have lots of pieces that fit together to make the whole picture.

Every time I visit Rebecca in Wellington I want to quit my job and braid hunters. True story. You can read more from Rebecca at the ProEquest Blog where she regularly writes in “A Groom’s Perspective.”

10 thoughts on “Real Equine Professionals – Rebecca

  1. Ah I love this- I also fantasize this same fantasy… Except secretly I have a ten year plan to maybe give it a real go. And while I agree about the college, the one thing that is hard is… STUDENT DEBT. That’s what has kept me from trying my hand with a horse career. But I love the last thing she said- I have a real problem with people who just want to ride and don’t want to be involved with the care part- even just horse owners. At my new barn, I keep cleaning the stall etc. when I have time and they confused ha. But I LIKE doing it! I like being involved with my horse’s care, and I want to keep learning how to do it better 🙂

  2. I loved this! Before enrolling in college, I questioned if it was really worth it to spend the money for a college degree or invest that money in my future horse career/business. I have to say, as much as I want to go into a horse career right now, I do believe that my college experience will only help me to pursue my horse career later on. I still ride 5-6 days a week and compete on a regular basis, so that keeps me happy. 🙂 I’m planning on majoring in Business Management. So, I guess I’m on the right track even if I didn’t know it! 😉 Thanks so much for this awesome post!

  3. Love this!! I have my degree in Bus Management and I am always trying to think of how I can do something horse related with it… maybe one day! 🙂

  4. Well said! I always think that starry eyed juniors (and ammys) need to give the barn manager side a go before they really think they want to be pros. It’s not all roses and it’s definitely not for everyone. It can be a super cool job, but it’s still a job.

  5. While I do understand what she means by the whole becoming a real working student without a former client relationship, I just want to say that there is always an exception. I was a client of my trainers for two years before I became his WS and there was NOTHING I didn’t do. Fed, tacked up horses, rode sales horses, cleaned 30 stalls when the workers didn’t show, stayed behind when the vet/farrier was due to arrive. I literally did everything. I think what also needs to be done in this industry though is a remodeling of the job of a WS. To many trainers and barns abuse and overuse their WS, and chalk it up to it being part of the job.

  6. I loved your note at the end! Every time I visit my friend in Ocala for the winter circuit I close my eyes and pretend I’m a trainer that gets to live in a fabulous camper :). What a life!
    And thanks for the shout out for Wilbur on my blog- he’s my sweet boy :).

  7. Great post – can’t wait for more! I’m dying to know what (or if) these people do for self-care since they work with their bodies all day – massages, chiro, acupuncture, etc??

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