A morning spent blitzing more stables than you thought possible might not be high your wish list. But if you are a horseless and horse-mad teenager, here's why you should sign up for a Saturday job at a local riding school asap...
1. Hard graft
Filling haynets and mucking out might not scream glamour, but it will certainly instil some old-fashioned hard graft. And practice makes perfect — you’ll be whipping through jobs in no time, raising your chances of having time for a ride at the end of the day…
2. Soak up the knowledge
A busy yard with knowledgable staff and instructors is the perfect place to garner tips, tricks and advice. And at a riding stables where residents range from Shetlands that are so hairy it’s hard to see where their tummy ends and their legs start, and clipped-out thoroughbreds ready for competition, you will experience the full spectrum of the equine specimen.
3. One eye on the future
If you are considering a future in the equestrian industry, and dreaming of getting a job with a top rider — a riding school is an excellent place to start. A top rider might have ridden around Badminton, won Olympic medals and not stepped inside a riding school for 20 years – but they will recognise that anyone with experience working at a riding school has learnt the basics and notched up their fair share of practical experience.
4. Confidence boost
Working at a yard is a great opportunity to build on your communication skills — whether it’s chatting with like-minded people in the tack room over a cup of coffee, or having to deal with highly strung parents, or nervous pint-sized jockeys.
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5. Get the edge
If you’re looking at applying for university in the not-so-distant future, a regular job which you have shown commitment to can look very attractive to universities where places on courses are competitive (even more so if you are looking at a future career involving animals…).
6. And finally… A wake up call
It can be tempting to while away a long Saturday morning in bed internet surfing on your phone, but commitment to a job — and the prospect of the sack if you switch off you alarm again — will tempt you out of bed, and keep your parents on side. And surely it’s more enticing than a paper round?