The following essay is written by Ashia Sanders, the current Barbier Farm working student
It’s been nearly four months since I arrived at Barbier Farms as a working student. I will stay for another two months before heading back home to Canada and I hope that those two months move slowly. I am writing this review with an immense amount of gratitude towards the Barbier family and team, who have graciously shared their home, their horses and their knowledge with me.
Ashia and school horse, Romeo, moving together in lightness
I have done two other working student positions, both at Olympic-level barns in Europe. They are what you expect in a working student position: full days of cleaning stalls, feeding, blanketing, turning in and out, hand-walking, grooming, preparing horses for riders, etc. Maybe once or twice a week you receive a lesson, if there is time after the day is finished and if a horse is available. These positions were valuable as they created international connections and prepared one for a stable hand or groom position – but your skills as a rider are secondary.
working in hand with Romeo
Barbier Farm is different. The focus here is truly on you as a rider – and the art of riding and working horses in the classical style. Every day involves riding, lunging, working in hand, watching other riders, reading, and discussion. What an honour to receive (beginning on the very first day) such respect, dedication, and commitment to my development as a rider. The horses, the farm, the team – words can’t describe how wonderful the experience is. I will be leaving Barbier Farm with a profound change in my understanding of the relationship we, as riders, share with horses and a passion to continue the study of this art for the rest of my life.
Barbier Farm has an upcoming opening for a working student. Send your resume to Debra Barbier at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
For more details on the program, visit our Working Student page.