Yeah, Be Jealous: Interning With a USDF Gold Medalist

Ever wanted to play hooky from school to go the barn? Well, when school is at the barn, you can.

[top photo by Michael Gardner]

Emily Goldstein has the typical crazy schedule that any rider with a full-time courseload is familiar with. Living at home close to the farm makes it easier, but it’s still no easy feat to juggle lessons, events and general care and riding of her Thoroughbred Mo, along with making time for that pesky investment in her future–sociology studies at Hood College.

So when I heard that she had taken on an internship with USDF gold medalist and FEI competitor Barbara Strawson, I had to ask–how did she do it? She was kind enough to share the details, plus advice for other young riders.


Tip #1: Sleep is overrated.

[Tumblr miscgifs]

How did you snag such an awesome internship?

In mid-2013, I began receiving dressage and jumping instruction with Carol Herron, who has an eventing background and is a USDF bronze medalist. I really loved training with her, but when she headed back south to Florida for the winter I needed to find someone to keep training with consistently.

Carol and many others I knew suggested Barbara. I had seen the awesome job she has done with some other horses and riders at the place I board and was introduced to her. That’s how the whole idea started.

What does it involve, and what do you hope to get out of it?

I will be spending roughly 16 hours a week either with Barbara or working on projects she has given me to do. I get to train my own horse with her, which is awesome, but I also get to see what she does with her own horses and the horses in training with her, as well as see her teach lessons. I also get a much more personal aspect because we spend a lot of time together.

But it’s more than just riding–I’m learning both horse and business management skills.  I’m going to also get an in-depth view on maintaining horses performing at the upper levels and all of the work that goes into them, plus the business aspect of the farm.

What are your goals for the internship?

Riding wise, my goal is to take my OTTB Mo First Level this year. I’ve picked out a bunch of schooling and a few recognized shows for this season. I really want to get us going this year competition wise. I also just want to become more correct in my riding; I want to fix all those tiny things with my position to make myself really solid.

dressage 1st 1 Diag

Tip #2: Study for your tests.


My other goals for this internship include discovering whether I’d want to own or be part of a small business in the future, and if I would want to make horses a part of it.

And the question on all of our minds–how did you find out you could get school credit for an internship like this?

I was told that my internship needed to apply to my major. I’m a sociology major so you would think that horses don’t apply. However, when dealing with the horse industry you interact with a lot of people. To make people want to do business with you, you’ve got to sell a brand and you’ve got to establish your target audience–that is, figuring out who owns horses and where. So really, it’s very relevant.

Do you have any advice for other young riders thinking of doing similar internships?

Go for it. It’s a wonderful way to learn, make valuable connections, and is also a way to gain experience and training when you are on a college student budget like me. You probably won’t have the chance to do it down the road so take advantage of it!


Go Riding!

Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *