My Biggest Struggle as a Working Student
By Lauren Stark
As an outsider, it may be hard to grasp exactly what a working student does, specifically one at KYB. Grooming, caring for and paying loving attention to the horses is a rough outline. As someone who has been under the title of “working student” before, I can confidently conclude that there is no such job title consistency between employers. Using the words “apprentice” or “assistant” aren’t accurate, nor do they envelope the whole scope of requirements and opportunities.
I have a lot of struggles in life, in general. Keeping my laces tied, not tripping myself with my own spurs, getting my feet stepped on, avoiding being bitten (even when there was no threat to begin with), remembering what I was doing two seconds before. It’s a lot like living with Dori, from Finding Nemo. So it’s easy to say that others won’t see my biggest struggle in the same way that I do. But there’s one thing I find myself battling the most: patience. It’s quite ironic, Because by nature, I am incredibly patient and quite easy going. But something about mixing all the ingredients of high-expectations, goal-oriented choices, and deadlines, creates the perfect storm.
Whether you’re a patient person or not, you will become the part. I was lucky (or fortunate) enough to be chosen to come down to Florida for the 2015 winter season, for my perceived helping capabilities and further riding development. No English words that I know of without using a thesaurus can possibly describe the magnitude of awesomeness this was. Every single day, riding and being around the must beautiful and inspiring circumstances, it can do a lot of positive things to the soul. However, as with any opportunity in life, intense work and persistence were necessary. As a working student, I am expected to care for the well-being of the horses, tack up, organize all things pertaining to EVERYTHING, keep all things clean and tidy, and be a good team player. Essentially one must envision that every single horse in training is their own, and treat the horse accordingly. Certainly there are 100,000,000 other fine details, but there’s the rough outline. Being in Florida only amplifies this, and gets dually compounded with virtually no sleep. I was the only working student present (but I did have a lot of help) with concentrated responsibilities.
So…I can shamelessly say that I did cry like a big infant at more than one occasion. Because the work was hard? No. I’m not a child; come on. Because I wanted so badly to do the best I could and have it be blatantly clear that I was not only appreciative, but stone- serious about helping and improving. That’s the thing about being a working student here. No matter how hard you try to not have it be utterly involved in every aspect of your entire life, it can’t be helped. All the opportunity, hopes and wishes are fulfilled by the good graces of Yvonne and Kim. There is no way to not feel like the most gracious and obedient student, no matter how tough you think you are. Who else will let you try to ride any horse your heart desires, train for any level and become part of the family? At the end of the day, you are one lucky son-of -a-gun.
So this is the dilemma: the awareness. Once in the program, and knowing all of these things, it’s difficult to keep a well-calculated patience. To know that your job, KYB, the company, yourself all of these things have so much potential; it becomes a task of its own to take everything one step at a time. Trying to do all the steps, all at once will result in either a cloudy loss of thoughts or falling straight on your face, with frustration. So to admit that I have become a cry baby on a few occasions is not even remotely embarrassing. I am proud to feel that dedicated to succeed; to have something, someone that I care about that much. I don’t know many people that wake up feeling lucky every single day.