Earlier this week, Kate Severson posted on “10 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Working Student.” It’s full of mad #equestriantruths for aspiring working students. Now let’s fast forward 15 years to life after being a working student. Because while many hope for a career in horses, most trade in the long days and terrible pay for the chance at gainful employment that might, one day, allow them to actually afford a horse of their own. Without parental assistance.
But no matter where life takes you, there are things from your working student days that will stay with you for the rest of your natural existence. Like herpes, there’s just no getting rid of Post Working Student Disorder.
1. You’ll feel guilty when other people are mucking.
If you were a working student, you spent many an hour mucking stalls—doing it well, and doing your share, were top priorities. Standing idle while other people muck stalls will make you feel vaguely uncomfortable for the rest of your days.
2. You’ll have an obsessive need to clean tack.
After the mountain of leather you scrubbed every day as a working student, skipping tack cleaning is no longer an option in your life. What’s more, you’ll be totally fine with that.
3. There will only ever be one appropriate color for polo wraps.
White for dressage. Black for everything else.
4. You’ll always use the nicest saddle pad available.
5. And sweep the cross ties when you’re done.
Someone left a mess in the grooming stall?!
6. You’ll cringe when someone drops a rail.
One does not causally raise the jumps/dust boots/retrieve spurs. You RUN as though your life depends on it. Because when you were a working student, it did.
7. Which means you’re still an awesome one-person jump crew.
DID YOU SAY UP TWO? *Adjust entires grid at superhuman speed*
8. Tracks on the rail is the stuff of your nightmares.
You will never enter an arena without thinking, ‘Gosh, maybe I should give the ring a quick harrow.’
9. The barn is never a place for idle time.
Have an extra 15 minutes before you need to go? Let’s pull, trim and band that mane over.
10. Because you’ll constantly assess what needs to be done.
Without even being aware of it.
11. There’ll always be random horse paraphernalia in your home.
No matter how many years pass, or how infrequently you ride, hoof picks, mane combs and ear plugs will magically turn up in unexpected places in your home. And you’ll be delighted to see them.
12. Working over time at a “regular job” will never be a big deal.
Once you’ve worked 60 hour weeks, in extreme weather conditions of every variety, while nursing a head cold, spending a few extra hours a week at your climate controlled office job is never going to seem like a big deal. Ever.