Working students...

Pennythetank

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Joined
27 August 2014
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122
Location
Ireland
Hi guys, this might be a longish post but ill try not to ramble on too much...
I have two years before I finish my leaving cert (like A levels for most of ye I think?) and head on to college. A gap year before the 5 years of college (I want to be a vet) doesn't seem likely due to younger siblings coming up after me and my parents want me in and out of college asap due to costs etc. Understandable and I don't mind at all.
However I have always wanted to be a working student and be able to spend time just learning about the world of eventing. I am very unlikely to ever reach the tops of eventing (realistically I'm not good enough, and I'll probably be 50 before I had the funds to campaign a top horse- if ever) but I want to be the best I can be and bumble along at a level I am capable off.
I have my pony club B test, and a decent bit of experience for my age riding for a breaking yard and I am lucky enough to be able to ride (and sometimes compete at v. low level unaff shows) other people's horses. However due to school I would only be able to take up a position as a w.s for the 3 months of summer holidays and I wouldn't be able to bring a horse with me so I don't know how that would work out getting lessons etc.
Would yards take someone like me on? Would I be better off applying to dealer type yards if I don't have a horse so at least there would be (hopefully) horses I would be able to ride in lessons etc? Would I be wasting both mine and the yards time only going for three months?
Does anyone have any experiences they could share with me please? I understand that I will most likely be waking up at 6am to muck out and have to work like a carthorse all day every day, but (and I might sound crazy here...) I would relish the opportunity to be totally submerged in the horsey world considering I may not get the opportunity again. (plus doing it when I'm young enough to still bounce after a fall would be great lol)
I can offer a mug of luke warm tea and a few custard creams to anyone who got through all of that ( sorry about the late night post- colic watch can be great fun-not-when the horse seems to be fit as a fiddle and dozing happily!)
PTT.
 

wkiwi

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Joined
30 March 2015
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838
Location
Wales
Two factors here: I did several gap years before going on to do vet; and i have also taught vet students.
If at all possible, do a working gap year. It makes an incredible difference to the quality of students if they have had work experience in the 'real world' rather than coming straight from a school environment. Plus, doing vet is a long haul and you need to be 100% sure it is what you want to be doing in the end. Many students are disappointed in what vet life is really like; it can be tremendously rewarding but make sure you see the realities of practice first (not just highlights on tv or the odd week seeing practice).
If you are working during your gap year you should also be able to put money aside for your studies.

Secondly, summer is the time when a lot of other staff take their working holidays, so i would think that with B cert you would be quite useful as a 'dogsbody'. Whether you get lessons or not will depend on where you end up e.g. dealers yard you may get less formal lessons but more actual riding experience, whereas a smaller yard you might get a regular lesson but only on one horse. However, different situations vary and the quality of lessons will depend heavily on the quality of the instructor. Just make sure you get all the details in a written contract first (i.e. what hours you are expected to work and what you get in return).

I know what you mean about wanting to be submerged in 'horsey-ness'. It is exactly what i did when i left school (although at that stage i had no intention of doing vet); I went to work in stables for a number of years, along with a variety of other jobs, then i ended up working part-time in a vet clinic for a few years before doing vet. Cleaning cages is a good start to seeing behind the scenes!
I have also three-day evented and trained my own horses from racetrack to eventing, but i found that although the years working with different stables helped, I learnt the most from schooling my own horses while having lessons with event riders and dressage trainers; combined with riding racehorses. The latter might not give you formal lessons, but you can learn an awful lot from climbing onto a wide range of part-schooled Thoroughbreds and getting them balanced (plus the trainer i worked for rarely went to the track, so we worked them over the hills and beach which was ideal for crosscountry practice).

Good luck with whatever you decide but do see as much vet practice as you can before making the decision to commit to it.
 

Pennythetank

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Joined
27 August 2014
Messages
122
Location
Ireland
Thanks for the reply wkiwi 😃
I have done work experience at a number of vet clinics during transition year in school (I don't know if England has anything like it, it's basically an optional year between the two exam cycles where we do loads of work experience, charity work, trips and everything else that isn't school work.) and although I don't know where my head will be in 7 odd years time, I right now have my heart set on it. I do have a few college courses in the back of my head as a backup just in case.
So you think there would be yards willing to take me on? That's great! Thanks for the advice r.e different types of yards, that's giving me a lot to chew over and think about 😃
 

Count Oggy

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Joined
9 November 2011
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300
Location
South East Ireland
You aren't eligible yet as you aren't enrolled at a third level institution but don't forget you can work in the US on a J1 visa. If you could find an eventing yard across the pond what an exciting summer that would be. You might even get some sun too B-)
 

only_me

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Joined
7 June 2007
Messages
13,883
Location
Ireland
UK exams don't have a transition year :)

But Joseph Murphy has a vacancy on his yard in NI, if you don't want to go too far? I'd imagine would be great experience of eventing :)
 

I*HM

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Joined
6 December 2010
Messages
362
Depending on where you want to study veterinary (just UCD oe branching out further afield) it is worth considering a gap year if feasible.
I know the UK courses really look for experience with a host of different animals in a variety of settings - not just working on a yard but perhaps lambing, calving, seeing small, large and equine practice. I know you probably got to see a bit in TY but short stints don't quite show the real day to day going ons behind the scenes. Also, it really is a tough slog and though academically you might be capable - mentally it is nice to have a bit of a break between LC and college - especially as you won't have regular summers like many other students (summer = EMS, though perhaps there is scope to spend time on an eventing yard as part of your preclinical EMS). That said, its not the be all and end all if you can't manage a gap year. But do remember that if you're looking to do the summer months only, realistically you'll be looking to work from late june to late august (UCD orientation often is the last week of the month).
Another option in lieu of a gap year would be to spend a year in the likes of Brennanstown to get your BHS stages, would be yet another string to your bow and would give you the summer before and after to then go and do working pupil type things - with an extra year submerged in horses.
 
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