In this article we discuss if the equestrian job search site Yard and Groom is worth it. Is it sketchy? Are there some dodgy jobs on there? Is it safe? And most importantly, should you be looking for horse work and jobs online using Yard and Groom?
Author: Hebe Webber
From the EQA Founder’s Experience
In 2010, EQA founder Krystal Kelly was 21 years old. She had no clue how she was going to work internationally with horses. But it was her dream. In fact, she actually went to an equestrian international college thinking that when she got access to their job book, she would then be able to be given a book of jobs!
Which, nowadays, we actually have that from Equestrian Adventuresses. Krystal didn’t have something like that 10 years ago. When she was 21 looking to go work abroad with horses, what did she do? She went on to Yard and Groom. Then she started to browse around for different jobs.
At that time Krystal really wanted to work internationally. She wasn’t looking for jobs in the United States (her home country). As a result, she was just browsing around in any and every country she could find. Anything that was somewhat related to showjumping. Because that’s what she wanted to do.
When Krystal started her travels at the age of 21, she found herself on a plane to Belgium. She’d found something on Yard and Groom jobs. It was to work with an Olympic eventing rider. Now since then, Krystal has met quite a few people that have worked for the same stables. It sounds like it’s changed quite a lot. When Krystal went there, she was actually working in exchange for lessons.
She didn’t know how she was going to come up with the money for the plane ticket (it was very expensive). Actually, Krystal didn’t know anything about travel. So she went to work at this job, just temporarily for 3 months.
Job Pursuits in Egypt with Yard and Groom
Because Krystal was a very talented rider, it was requested that she stay a bit longer. Krystal actually decided to decline the offer as she wanted to go and travel the world. As she says, she “had been bitten by the travel bug!”. Krystal then took her pursuit of working with showjumping horses. She went back onto Yard and Groom and found a second job, which was a stables in Egypt.
This stables in Cairo was also a showjumping stable. Krystal was supposed to be giving riding lessons in the evening. In the morning she was supposed to just ride horses. The job was based on your riding ability. And because Krystal was a fairly good rider, she actually rode a lot of horses. Then got some lessons from the FEI coach who owns the stables.
In the evening she was giving all of the riding lessons to students. Later in her career when job searching, Krystal started to get positions by word of mouth. By this point she had been abroad for long enough that she had begun meeting people. So Krystal didn’t really have to go back on Yard and Groom.
Are you’re eyes getting tired from reading? Check out Krystal’s video review of Yard an Groom:
Working in Europe with Yard and Groom
When Krystal left that job in Egypt after a year, she ended up getting a job in Romania by word-of-mouth. That was because she knew the person in charge and it all just fell into place. So, that is how she ended up working in Romania. After Romania Krystal worked in Italy for a brief period of time. Italy was a position that she actually found via Yard and Groom.
What she had done to get the job in Italy was to add the person in charge on her Facebook. Of course, they saw her travelling and working around in all these different stables. And through Facebook, they reached out to her personally. They had a position available at the exact same time Krystal was job hunting after leaving Romania. So it was because of Yard and Groom she found the job. But she actually got the job through Facebook.
Krystal went to Italy. She was there for about two months on the island of Sicily. And this is when her equestrian travels working with horses got a little bit strange. So she decided that she was going to go to India. She’d had it in her mind that she wanted to go there. But when she went on Yard and Groom there was only one job available.
Flying Blind to India
It was being a riding coach for children. And she wasn’t interested so… Krystal decided to just go there and find something! So what she ended up doing was flying to India without any job proposals or anything. You couldn’t even google horse riding stables, she didn’t find anything…. so Krystal just took a blind flight to India!
Within a few weeks because of word-of-mouth, she found several riding stables. People were interested and she ended up staying in India for two years. Krystal worked at probably 10 or more different riding clubs. Even started a few riding clubs! Once she knew how to find something without using Yard and Groom jobs, she stopped using it.
Krystal continues to work internationally around the world, and since then she’s worked in countries like Bhutan, Greece, Greenland. She has done filming for Equestrian Adventuresses documentaries in Brazil riding criollo horses with gauchos in a 750km endurance race.
It will help get you started but…
So, the purpose of this article is to share with you some of her personal experiences. How many times did she actually use Yard and Groom to find jobs? Krystal has worked in 20 different countries with horses. She used Yard and Groom to get about 3 jobs in the initial stages of her career.
Since then it’s been mostly either word-of-mouth or blind emails or friend of a friend who reached out to her. Or something like that. Now, if you’re sitting in the USA and like Krystal was 10 years ago and have never even met someone from another country. And you’re thinking how am I going to get a job internationally? It seemed like such an unfathomable process. Krystal had no clue how to get started.
Yard and Groom jobs worked for her in the sense that it got her to actually take the leap. To contact people that she could see were actually hiring and she knew that they were looking for someone. Krystal was confident in her riding abilities and her skills with horses. So she knew that whatever tasks they need her to do, she would be able to impress them. And then hopefully work her way up the ladder, which did work.
Slave labor. It’s not realistic long term
But, what Krystal did say is: these Yard and Groom jobs they paid very little or basically nothing. And although she had a free place to stay and sometimes she had her meals covered, it was not a realistic long-term opportunity. It wasn’t very long-term solution for her. So even when they requested that she stay a bit longer, the pay was still pretty awful. She didn’t really see herself continuing using Yard and Groom jobs for the future.
Now it’s not just Krystal. She actually met a lot of other women who have done Yard and Groom jobs. They all pretty much said the same thing as her. It’s great to get your foot in the door. If you’re totally fine being basically an equestrian slave and it gets you the flight abroad (though they probably won’t pay for it).
Yard and Groom jobs are what I would say, exactly how they sound. It’s for people that just want to be working students or grooms. I would not take Yard and Groom seriously as a website as far as high-level job positions. Especially because work with horses, it’s not like an “online business”. It’s very much down to the following questions. Can you ride? Can you give good quality riding lessons? Are you actually certified? And, are you trained or do you have experience riding spooky or crazy horses?
Just show up for a job
So there are a whole lot of factors that actually require them to physically see you in person. Because of that and the nature of the equestrian business, I would say Yard and Groom is the place to go if you are working student and you’re just starting out. However, if you are a professional looking for a salary position, probably the best thing for you to do is actually show up in that country. Ask around. Or literally drive to the stables and say ‘Hi I’m here, do you need anyone?’.
Because probably 90% of the time they will be interested and they will talk to you. Or, they will refer you to somebody they know who is looking for someone. Usually in these countries everyone knows everyone. So if they aren’t hiring, they will know somebody who is.
You can find all these tips in our book How To Work or Volunteer Abroad with Horses. You can grab it on Amazon worldwide as a paperback or if you want a free ebook, you can download it, completely free. Along with our other books World Travel Guide Book for Equestrians and the USA Travel Guide for Equestrians. This is going to save you a lot of time and be super helpful. Krystal says she wishes she had this when she started out!
Alternatives to Yard and Groom to find work
Her other suggestion is to just contact stables and send blind emails. If you don’t want to take the risk that she did and just book a flight and knock on their door. Then what you should do is to make a list. Like a database of all the stables in that country, area or state. Go through the list and email them one by one.
Make sure you include their name and personalize it. Don’t just make it some kind of junk or spam-type email. Say that you’re thinking about moving to their area and you would love to discuss the possibility of working for them. Or if they have a position available maybe you can schedule a phone call.
We Have a Little Gift for You
So those were some tips that Krystal recommends on working abroad with horses. Grab our book How To Volunteer and Work Abroad with Horses. You’ll get the list of more than 70 job ideas that you can do to work with horses in different countries. People in other countries need you, they need to fill these positions so if you’re doing these things they will hire you!
In the book you’re going to get access to actual stables who have listed (which is why we call it a job book). These stables are hiring trail guides or have different types of jobs in whatever discipline it is they’re looking for. They are requesting people. They regularly have open positions throughout the year. There’s a job in Egypt, Peru and many more.
I hope you find this article helpful, please comment below and and let us know which tips you find helpful and if you have any questions or concerns on how to work with horses abroad!
If you want to hear more about how Krystal has lived her dream of international work with horses, listen to her podcast interview.
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