I was asked the other month by the mother of one of my horse riding friends that if I could do anything work wise, what would it be? We were discussing some difficulties I was having in a particular job and if I had the choice, ignoring financial obligations and location, what would I choose to be doing?
I mentioned my interest in educating others about horses, particularly with regards to the practical and my teaching of horse studies at TAFE. Then I recalled how much fun it had been to teach work experience students while they were carrying out their practical placement where I was working.
Suddenly I found myself telling her that I’d love to be able to advise people with regards to a career in the equine industry. She looked at me, surprised and queried if there was such a job.
This ‘occupation’ had just come to me and consequently, I had no idea if there was the demand for such a position within the equine industry.
When I was studying at TAFE in 2003, we had a worker from Stablemate (now TEP Pty Ltd) come out to chat with the first year students with regards to what we wanted to do once we’d finished our diploma.
Stablemate advertised positions worldwide with regards to horses, be it exercise rider positions, stable or stud hands, yearling preparation, a nanny that can take care of kids and take them to local riding competitions, polo players, showjumpers, etc, etc.
This woman was provided with our resume and then carried out individual interviews, finding out what discipline we would like to work in and in what country.
I was happy to stay within the Thoroughbred industry though loved the idea of learning any facet of horse related work. I told her of my desire to work in the UK, at that time particularly in England.
Apparently a great judge of character and capabilities she told me that she didn’t feel I’d handle the high expectations with regards to horse turnout and stable work of England but that the industry in Ireland was a bit more laid back and perhaps this would be for me.
I took such an opportunity to get offended, concluding I would go to England, do a brilliant job and prove this person I’d met once completely wrong! I know, pride, right?
So now, six years down the track I’ve not been to England, but I have worked in Ireland and did indeed have a ball with these laid back people.
There are general careers counsellor positions and there was such at my high school. My careers teacher strongly encouraged me to stay away from horses – after all, they can’t be a career, can they?
Stubbornness or pride overrode his advice, I’m happy to say as I love what I do and am content to continue working at least part time with horses for the rest of my life.
I don’t think there’d ever be such a position as equine careers counsellor within any given school but as a city kid who wanted to do a ‘country’ job, it’d be wonderful to know that there is someone out there who can advise teens who are considering dropping out of school to pursue horses, or go on to further education with horses.
How wonderful for a parent who knows nothing of these gorgeous animals to be able to set up an appointment to have their teen talked through the best option for them – a certificate II in horse studies as part of high school; an apprenticeship to gain hands on skills or perhaps a TAFE course to give a bit of both. Perhaps the person wanting to get into the industry is looking into a more scientific field and would like to do a bachelor of applied science (equine).
How wonderful as a 20, 30 or 40 year old to be able to get a career path to pursue one’s lifelong dream of working with horses.
Indeed, if possible, it’d be wonderful to accommodate such a role, adding another job to the long list of equine related vocations and advising others of their many, many choices within such an industry.
“The horse you get off is not the same as the horse you got on; it is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible the change is for the better.”