Top 4 tips to get a working-pupil job in Europe
From someone who has successfully done it
Working with the elites of the Dressage.
Working with the elites of the Dressage, Show jumping and Eventing world in Europe is
something every young rider can achieve with the right amount of dedication and luck. Being
surrounded by the best horses and famous riders at the most prestigious horse events in the
world is truly an eye-opening experience. There is no better way for a young rider to improve
their riding, learn about the ins and outs of professional riding/breeding, and build
connections for a future career riding horses.
I was lucky enough to find a 6-month working-pupil job in both the Netherlands and
England. This was one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences of my life and
allowed me to ride a huge variety of different horses, attend international events and meet my
idols. However, without guidance I would have had no idea where to begin with finding and
successfully applying for a reputable and high-quality stable.
Below are 4 simple tips to prepare you for the journey of a lifetime and help you land the
Tip 1: Get relevant work experience.
On the job experience is important for maximising your employability and proving your
capability. It also gives you a chance to dip your toes into the world of professional
Firstly, do some research and find stables and professional riders in your area.
Get in contact and offer to volunteer for a week or two during the summer holidays or on
weekends. This work may start with the practical tasks such as mucking out stables, tacking
up, feeding and keeping the gear and stables clean. Every stable has their own way of
approaching routine tasks and there is often a very strong rationale for the way they do things
which they are usually very happy to share. (Trust me, it’s worth every penny for the
experience and knowledge you will gain).
You will be able to add the experience to your resume. If you do a great job, you will walk
away with a glowing recommendation!
Tip 2: Skill up.
Working in a professional stable requires you to be super organised, efficient and task
oriented. These skills come from practice!
Make sure you are whip fast at thoroughly grooming, tacking up and presenting horses for
Do your plaiting skills need to be polished? Are you confident with equipment such as
bandages, double bridles, and stallion chains? Do you know the correct etiquette for warming
up horses with multiple riders in an arena?
Now is the time to ensure you have covered your bases so you can seamlessly become an
asset to any busy stable. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Tip 3: Get high quality, recent footage of you riding.
Take the time to put together a video of high-quality riding. Include footage of you at
competitions, training days and across all disciplines you have an interest in.
Having footage on hand is a great asset as a lot of professional stables will ask for it. Being
able to send it without delay shows you have initiative and means that you won’t have the
pressure filming “your best ride” within a limited time constraint. A good idea to add to your
portfolio is pictures of your plaiting and show turnout. Pictures help to increase trust and
prove your skills to your prospective employee.
Tip 4: Build a network.
Ask your coach, work experience stables or local professional if they can recommend a
These sorts of jobs often aren’t advertised, and it can pay dividends to put your feelers out
and be placed on a waiting list. You never know who will have international connections!
By going about securing your position in this way, you will have more confidence you are
going to a trusted contact (who is a real person and not an internet scam). Your coach or local
contact can also verify that you are a real person who is passionate about riding, and you will
start off as a trusted employee.
Finding the perfect position requires careful preparation, good timing and quite a bit of luck!
By following these steps, you can place yourself on the path to riding with the best of the
best. Keep training, building your resume and seeking opportunity and you will be on a plane
to follow your dreams in no time.
From downunder, Brooke