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Re: horse jobs

Angie wrote:
>Hi Renee,
>As a person who is very happy with the choices they've made, I'm going to
>tell you how I came to make them.  Horses were always number one with
> obsession. At one time I thought I wanted to make a living with
>them.  Fortunately for me, I met several people who were trying while I
>was in my teens.  Without fail, they were constantly having to wheel &
>deal, scrambling for a buck.  Some were dishonest, I don't think by
>choice, but out of desperation.

I'll have to second this thought!  There is a reason that the term "horse
is such a well know term!! ;-)  If your goal is to have your own barn someday
and teach riding, you're not going to get there by just teaching
riding...unless you're of Olympic calibre and have lots of deep pockets
to back you.  

> Then I got a job at a jumping horse farm as a groom.  I loved the work. 
> They had to make me take days off. BUT when I got home I didn't feel like
> taking care of my own horses.  I was tired of taking care of horses.

This is another important consideration.  As soon as something you love
your "job", it falls into another, something you *have* to do in
order to survive.  It's no longer near as much fun...and I never wanted to
that aspect.

> I went to college and majored in Art Ed.  I didn't piddle
> around.  I kept my momentum up and got though with school as fast as
> possible. I wasn't there for fun, just to get that diploma so I'd never
> sit around and consider going back to school.

I did the same also.  I considered a couple of options and went for
something I
knew was diversified enough to keep my interest and would pay me a decent
enough wage to allow me to do the things I wanted to.  I also married someone
with a college education who also made a decent living.  Over the years we've
spent an incredible amount of money building our barn, arena, etc. and buying
horses and tack.  I am now in a position (after 15+ years) of being able to
back my hours from my primary job and insert teaching riding, which I really
love to do...but I *still* don't rely on it as my primary source of income. 
Eventually I will (for my part, but not Steve's portion,) but I don't want to
leave the "for sure", consistent job that I know will bring me xx amount of
money, besides benefits, quite yet...we still have some major expenses coming
(new truck, new roof on the house, and so on) and I want to know the money is
there so that I can continue spending the rest of my time with the horses.  

> Now that my girls are in school, I've taken a full time job teaching Art
> in my old high school.  I get off work at 2:15 every day, have summers,
> two weeks at Christmas, practically every major holiday, snow days and
> spring break off.  13 off days per year to use as I choose (the principal
> is supportive of my competing)  I make more money than I ever could have
> made working with horses, and when I get home every day I'm happy to see
> them.  I don't have boarders hanging around my place.  I don't have to
> kiss up to clients.

Teaching in a school is a good option in this regard...but that wasn't what I
was interested in at 18.  I had to wait for quite a long time to be able to
dictate what I wanted for hours and days of work!  A factor to consider.

We have boarders at our barn now and we gave that a lot of thought before we
did it...starting with just one and seeing how we felt about someone driving
down our driveway who didn't live here.  I've gotten used to it by now but
because we decided to limit the number of boarders to 6 max.  We also have
time caretakers so the responsibility of the barn isn't all on us.  If you
have a few stalls to fill and you build a nice facility, you don't have any
problem renting the stalls...and usually have a waiting list.  It then becomes
money that we can pretty much count on, but it's not enough to live on or pay
the mortgage here.  It essentially becomes "part" of the income and basically
pays the barn expenses.  

I also got certified as a riding instructor recently...a costly adventure (not
to mention it takes a while to get there) but it will help lessen the
stress of
making money by teaching.  If and when I decide to bag the primary job, I will
be in a position to actually make a living wage teaching riding.  Don't forget
that I also already have paid for tons of tack, horses, barn, arenas, rigs,
so that side of the expenses isn't going to be an mortgage
will also be paid in 6 years so that won't be an issue either.  Another
phenomena associated with teaching riding is that the teacher doesn't get to
ride as often...unless you figure out a way to teach out on the trails. <bg> 
If you're a "horse trainer", then you have to deal with the aspect of getting
injured from always being on green horses and not being able to work at
all...paying your own insurance and so on.

It took a long time, but I've managed to find a way to make money with the
horses...but it's still not a living wage (I have a standard of living that I
like to maintain and I couldn't make enough to stay at that level by just
boarding and teaching riding -- and I don't want a huge horde of people here
and have to work that hard out in the barn.)  It's like that joke that went
around recently about the horse breeder who won the lottery.  When asked what
he would do with the money, he replied that he would just continue raising
horses until it was all gone. ;-) 

Figure out what you could tolerate doing for about 40 years that makes a good
wage!  Then take the money and put it into your horse stuff and do that part
for fun.

Tyee Farm
Marysville, Wa.

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