Position Available: Working Student for Boyd Martin

The Farm in Aiken

Want to spend the winter in Aiken, South Carolina
in the heart of the high-performance eventing scene?
Boyd has an opening for a working student!

This is a temporary position, beginning January 1, 2012 and ending March 25, 2012, with the possibility of an extension for the right individual. The ideal candidate for must be enthusiastic about working extremely long hours, six to seven days per week. The work is hard, and consists of stall cleaning, grooming horses, tacking and untacking horses, and general barn and farm clean-up. However, the hardworking individual will have unlimited opportunities for learning horsemanship and riding of the highest quality from Boyd and his crew.

Boyd trains out of Ilene Boorman’s beautiful farm in Aiken, SC, which is part of the prestigious Bridle Creek equestrian development. The farm provides the perfect setting for intense training of horse and rider by boasting amenities such as a brand new jump field, a large riding ring with excellent footing for flat work and nearby cross-country schooling obstacles. The barn is gorgeous and the spacious turn-out fields are second to none. The surrounding development has endless trails for hacking and fitness work.

Barn Interior

The candidate for this position may bring one or two horses at a cost of $35 per day, per horse. Shared housing is available at an affordable cost.

In exchange for hard work, the working student will receive training in the form of dressage lessons from Caitlin Silliman and Boyd Martin and jumping lessons from Boyd Martin. The candidate will also gain valuable knowledge about the highest levels of horsemanship by working day-to-day alongside Boyd and his staff in the barn.

Interested individuals should contact Lindsey Taylor at Please send a resume or description of previous work and/or riding experience.

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  1. LOL If I weren’t working for Nina this winter, or in grad school in Augusta I would totally be the first applicant in!!!

  2. If I didn’t have to eat, wear clothes, have a warm place to sleep I would be the first one to sign up. You should just put, if you are well to do with no responsibilities or young trust fund kid send in your application. For real, you don’t even give the person a place to sleep, yet ask them to work long days 7 days a week just for the privileged to be near you??? Obviously all the generosity of those that have helped you along the way has very quickly fleeted your memory. I don’t mean to be rude but I am sorry I am a hard working, horse loving, eventer aspiring individual who would love the opportunity to train with the best but don’t have thousands to throw at insanely high boarding, with no pay to even feed, cloth and house myself. It is SO sad that opportunities like these are only offered to the elite and rich.

  3. Here is the basic deal Amy….

    It costs me about $50 per day to keep a horse in Aiken (Rent of farm, feed, hay, insurance , staff, accommodation, etc).

    That means I pay about $15 per day to keep students horse. You pay $35 per day.

    Then the deal is that you work off your lessons. Working students receive around $350-$400 worth of lessons per week.

    So the basic idea is that you pay for your horses expenses, and work off your lessons.

    If you think this is unfair, then this job is not for you.


  4. Affordable shared housing? Any specific price per month?

  5. is their any minimum age? I am 16 and would love the chance!

  6. I didn’t say it was unfair I said it was impractical for the every day person to afford such an opportunity. You are very right this job is not for me. I am a wife and mother of young children and I scrape every extra dollar I have to train with great trainers. So paying in horse boarding what I pay in my mortgage payment for a 15 acre farm is so far out of my realm of reality. I was just trying to make a point and unfortunately out of frustration. I am sorry for the way I worded my last comment. I am sure there are those out there than can afford this opportunity and they will be a better rider and horseman because of it.

  7. Are you required to bring a horse, and is there an age requirement? I’m only 16 but would definitely be interested.

  8. I wish i were rich..

  9. WOW, didnt realize a posting for a “working student” would draw out such venom. Jealousy brings out other horrible emotions. Most people work their butts off, suffer through a lot to get to where they are. Everybody pays their dues in one way or another. I applaud the Martins for creating postions for people to learn valuable lessons, not only in riding, but also in horsemanship and the very important quality of giving back to the equestrian world. If you dont like the way that the offer is presented, dont apply, no one is holding a gun to your head. But why on earth would you feel the need to bash people who have done nothing but good for eventing? No, it really does not sound like you would be good for that position in more ways than one. I dont think that you would learn anything at all.
    Juanita McDonnell

  10. I was a working student and gave up alot to do it for the chance to learn and be able to carry on the education that you receive when being in a program with riders and horses of this quality! You don’t have to be “rich” or have a trust fund you just have to dedicated and be able to do with out for things you want! It’s a great opportunity and anyone that can do it should! You will have tools for the rest of your life that you will never forget!

  11. I’m not bashing, but how on earth are you supposed to pay for housing for yourself and your horse WITHOUT help, if you are working 6 to 7 days a week, “long hours” at that? It’s not possible, unless one has substantial savings to draw upon. It’s a shame. Best of luck with the position…I truly hope this is someone’s dream come true and the arrangement works out for both parties.

  12. It irks me to no end when people say that WS positions are only for the “elite” and “well to do.” Has no one read Denny’s “How Good Riders Get Good”?

    This is a subject dear to my heart, as I feel very strongly that if you want something bad enough you make the changes in your life necessary to have it. I understand that extenuating circumstances do not allow everyone to pursue a career in horses, but really… changes can still be made. I live hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck to keep my horse and while I am by no means well to do I would live like this for the rest of my life if it meant I could achieve my goals.

    If I were stupid, I would apply for this position yesterday and pray to the eventing gods that Boyd accepted it. However I realize that I am not in a position to take a WS yet, and so I have been planning for the last few months a cross country move to live with my parents in North Carolina for a year, save money, train with as good of a trainer as I can find, get my horse and I more experience and THEN venture out into working student land. This is something I WANT. I WANT to muck stalls for less than minimum wage because I WANT to become an Advanced event rider and I WANT the experience of training under a person whom I admire and respect.

    Don’t take my words as disrespect. It’s just a very sore subject for me when people find it necessary to share their disdain for those who can provide for themselves in a working student position. It is the hungry and hard working that buckle down and serve their time. Please take the time that you have wasted being negative and try to see things from others’ perspectives.

  13. Sara Siegel says

    1) They said this was a temporary position-3 months. We’re not talking a very long time here.

    2) In a VERY rough estimate, I just came up with $3500-$4000 as the cost for this stint if you brought one horse. This INCLUDES bit extra for entry fees to events/food/etc… No, this may not be the job for everyone (working student positions never are), but to say it can’t be done without help is downright lazy and unimaginative. How unreasonable is it to save 3-4k over the course of a year or two for a youngish single person without dependents? I work full time as a barn manager, and have been picking up odds and ends after-hours jobs for the last 8 months to hopefully save for a quick trip down to Aiken this winter to compete. Can you body clip? farm sit? Exercise ride? Braid? Hand walk or graze a stall-rested horse? Sell old tack? Find ways to cut back expenditures? Each dollar counts.

    Unfortunately not all of us are well funded, its true. But some of us make it work anyway. If you can’t, please keep your downer thoughts to yourself and let the rest of us work our butts off to make our goals happen.

  14. I must say I can agree with both sides about the price. I’m a college student who works her butt off to keep a GPA over 3.5, pay for my horse’s expenses on my own, work off most my board, and try to maybe slow down for a break if I get a chance. Obviously, This job isn’t for me, but a lot of people are going to have trouble doing that like me. It’s all fine and dandy to work off board and lessons, but if there’s no other source of income it’s not exactly something you can take a loan out for. I have done many working positions before and to be honest, many of the WS’s get taken advantage of. Not saying this is the case though, just an aside. I would give anything to have an opportunity such as this, but heck I can’t even afford to have a trainer right now. I know that it’s not IMpossible, I just wish it were MORE possible for MORE people.

  15. ^That’s my post above with the anon, I just wanted to say nothing was out of spite if it came out that way. I just wish more of our dreams could come true like this. Just gives you something to shoot for! Everyone said I couldn’t have a horse in college and I proved them wrong. [: Tasha

  16. There is no venom or disdain in me and please do no judge me from one comment you read that I made out of frustration. A comment that I already apologized for making the way I did. You are right I did not take the time to look at it from a different perspective. I only looked at it from the perspective of me and a lot of other hardworking, tenacious aspiring eventers that are in my similar situation. It just isn’t a job for those of us and there is nothing wrong with that. There are those that it will work for and I can be truly happy for that person. They will be the better for it. If you spent a day in my shoes you would see I am one of the most hard working people and someone who will do what ever I have to do to make my dreams come true though never at the expense of those I love. Tasha put it better than I and made the point I was trying to make better than I. Once again I am sorry the way I worded my original comment and it was said out of frustration and should have not been posted.

  17. Are twelve year olds allowed to apply???

  18. Amy-You’re good people. I think there are so many of us working our butts off, and sometimes it starts to feel lonely and hopeless. But then situations like this come up, and we find out there are many others just like us, walking in our shoes, just trying to make things work the best they can. One thing I have to believe is that there are many, many different routes to take to becoming a better horseperson, and being a WS is just one of them.

    Sorry, Boyd, for highjacking your blog!

  19. As the mother of a young eventer, I have worked hard to support my daughter’s eventing dreams with passion and will continue to do so until the day I die -in part because of the example Boyd has set.
    Like most worthy things in anyone’s life, it takes a village to achieve any level of mastery in eventing. You never “make it” alone, but you have to show commitment in the pursue of your eventing dreams so as to inspire your family, your peers, your friends, your neighbors, etc…, to contribute a drop of water into the river that carries your dreams. Every drop counts and, like Boyd has done at every opportunity, you should be humble and acknowledge those who contributed to your opportunities. What Boyd is offering to an eager youngster (yes, this is not for a middle age mom like me) is not just a drop but a stream of the freshest water the mountains of eventing can offer. Boyd is just giving back to the sport by offering an opportunity similar to the ones he got from Heath Ryan and Phillip Dutton.
    The way I see it, Boyd’s parents sacrificed a great deal to help him become the extraordinary rider and person that he is (not the least, having him thousands of miles away.) Also, I cannot think of any top dressage rider who, like Silva, has done more to help her husband achieve his eventing dreams and, in the process, contributed more to the world of eventing at large in the USA. The fact that all of them did it with a smile is only a testament to their character. But Boyd still had to work his butt.
    With all the help he got (and his natural talents) Boyd would have succeeded in any endeavor. We are just lucky he chose to put all his might into being an eventer and he is offering his resources to help others fulfill their own eventing dreams.
    Maria, Michigan

  20. yeah, sorry for the hi-jacking Martins, just irks me to no end when people find a great opportunity, realize it isnt for them bc of THEIR circumstances and then have to bash the person who is offering it.
    Amy, I realize I dont know you other than this blog and vice versa. I am not able to take this opportunity and run with it either, being middle aged, out of shape and working hard to keep my own farm and horses going. But there was a time that I was able to take advantage of such things and worked my butt off. I had nothing. But I took out a personal loans, worked extra in addition to what I was doing in my position (braiding, cleaning tack, hand walking horses, grooming….even cleaning out dog kennels) so that I could learn. I was an event rider and worked in a saddlebred barn for awhile bc I knew that I could learn something from them even if it was how I DIDNT want to be. I am glad that you realized that your comments did not come across well and apologized. But realize that comments such as that, just like spoken words, once out there, can not be taken back. And eventers have enough problems with our sport in the public eye with out people from inside ‘hating’ on it and the competitiors.
    OK, done, wont make any more comments…pinky swear.
    Juanita McDonnell

  21. “$350-$400 worth of lessons per week” that cost nothing but the instructor’s time and attention.

  22. As the father of dedicated eventer who was a Working Student, I can testify that this is an opportunity for a young and hardworking person to see what it’s like on the “inside”. Also, as it is with most worthy goals, it is neither easy nor inexpensive; however, the time and effort spent creates an excellent experience to determine if this is the road that a young person may wish to pursue. – Bill

  23. $1067 per month for a self-care stall, the working student provides all feed and bedding and does all feeding and stall cleaning?

  24. Amy, you have a 15 acre farm, resources to event, AND 3 kids! Grow up already. Those were all YOUR choices, and you have quite a lot in life. Do you know how many riders out there would LOVE to have a 15 acre farm or a healthy child to raise??? You don’t have any right to take out your frustration on those offering a typical student worker situation. I think an apology to the Martins’ is in order.

  25. Get a life people! All of ya’s

  26. For what it’s worth, Boyd (and Silva too), I think it’s a fantastic and fair opportunity. Sorry to see that some are complaining instead of just not applying, but regardless, it’s great that you’re willing to open up your barn and schedules to give someone the chance of a lifetime.

  27. I worked for Boyd for nearly 3 years about 10 years ago. I come from a small town in the middle nowhere Australia and definately did not come from any money at all (my parents would have helped if they could, but they could barely pay for their own food let alone mine), and I didn’t even know what a ‘trust fund’ was until I was about 22! At the time I was thankful that he gave me a chance. I made it all work financially with a little bit of lateral thinking and a lot of hard work. Being a working student for Boyd was one of the best and most influential decisions of my life. He rates among the top 3 most ispirational people I’ve ever met. He was always very generous with his time and advice, a trait that continued even after I stopped working for him. I’m still learning from him thru his actions and how he handles himself/business/horses. At the end of the day, if you want to do something or become someone you will. And it’s opportunities like this that can help make your wildest dreams come true! I hope whomever gets the position looks past the dollars (they come and go in life anyhow) and takes all the skills, inspiration and opportunity this can provide them! Thank you Boyd for helping me to get where I am and thank you for giving me a chance in the begining!

  28. For such a short period of time, perhaps taking a horse would be unwise, but rather better to learn and apply those learnings later to thine own equine!

    This is a great opportunity! WS positions are unique that it places that person on the inside, a true witness to the inner workings — the day to day pressure of keeping all on schedule (even when things go wrong).
    How different is it from working(in the real world), the applying those funds to living expenses? to horse expenses? to paying a trainer? none that I see.
    So, for those with WS goals save now for some living expenses and learn to budget.

    I am a professional groom, working 6-7hrs a day is a cakewalk, that allows a LOT of time to invest in ones horse and personal training. Sure, I rise at 3:30am (cheerfully and eager)…………and work/play some nights to the last race post at 9:17pm, with 2hrs after cool out.
    Actually, in a few years, would you consider the working retired Boyd?

  29. You are paying for an education with a top horseman,at a top facility and for crimes sake it almost never snows there either.”Working Student” does not mean the instructor fawning over you because you are “special” :/ It means you are paying for _their_ time with your labor and some “ching”. It is for a set of un-attached people who live and breathe the sport.Not part timers,old-timers,outlaws or in-laws. : > Tamara Howard TN

  30. STOP COMPLAINING PEOPLE!!! Everyone should be thankful he is offering this position those of you sitting here bashing it need to get a life!

  31. Don’t think of it as a job, think of it as school. Inexpensive? No. Worth it? Absolutely.

    I’m an adult and if I could take sabbatical from work I’d be very, VERY tempted!

  32. Wow, what an incredible time some lucky rider is going to have!
    This is a spectacular opportunity and I’d take it in a heartbeat if I could!


  33. Don’t you have to pay to go to College or University???? Is this not the same thing???

  34. Is it possible to live in a tent outside barn for housing??

  35. No problem….


  36. “I hope whomever gets the position looks past the dollars (they come and go in life anyhow) and takes all the skills, inspiration and opportunity this can provide them! Thank you Boyd for helping me to get where I am and thank you for giving me a chance in the beginning.”

    Well said Kate- I think almost everyone who has worked for Boyd in the past or currently works for Boyd would definitely agree with this statement.

  37. Sweet lord I never seen a bunch of eventers hate on eachother like this!

    Being a working student is something that, for those who truly love this sport and want to be successful competitors, is is an extremely valuable experience.

    I work for my trainer one or two days a week for lessons… really, I can’t get enough of tacking up horses, cleaning tack and stalls, and sometimes standing in the washrack for an hour coldhosing some lame horse… You know, all of that ‘fun’ stuff, just so i can get the opportunity to ride a cool horse and get lessons without having to get that bill at the end of the month.

    I can’t tell you what I would give up to take my horse and train with Boyd!! I would literally sleep out in the field in a box that had “loser” written on the side.

    If you aren’t willing to give some stuff up, live like you’re poor, then it’s not the job for you. If you’re not in the position to take the job, then don’t do it! You don’t need to be writing about your anger with this kind of life on Boyd and Silva’s blog… I’m sure they would rather be training Olympians than stress about hateful comments posted on here!