So You Want to Be a Professional? Here Are 7 Things to Know First

In the first edition of PonyApp’s Young Professional series, we catch up with top junior rider and Auburn University alum Hayley Iannotti of Carriage Hill Farm. Here, Hayley shares seven things that every young rider should know when considering a career in the industry. Brought to you by Dover Saddlery’s Ladies Wellesley Knee-Patch Breech. 

  

(c) Auburn University Athletics 

 

1. It helps to have a helpful personality.

When your job is supporting dozens of people—not to mention your four-legged crew—you want to make sure you’ve got the right personality traits. “I really like to be able to help and teach others—that’s something that I’ve always liked to do,” Hayley says. “Even when I was a junior, and rode some of the horses the other girls were riding, I always liked to [be able to] make them be more successful.”

2. Surround yourself with good people.

No man is an island—and no young professional is, either. No matter where you land, or for how long, having a strong team around to help and support you is essential. “It’s a lot of responsibility, dealing with all the clients and knowing that a lot of what they do is riding on me,” Hayley says. “I know that the other people I’m working with and the group that I have, if I need anything, they’ll help me [sort it out].”

3. Seek out the right experiences during your formative years.

“Being a working student [as a junior] definitely helped me, because I was able to ride so many different horses [and] I got a little bit of the behind the scenes knowledge,” Hayley explains. “Auburn [University] taught me about leadership skills and how to work with a bunch of different kinds of people, and [also, how to stay] organized.”

4. Don’t check your own values at the door.

“Nowadays, this whole idea of ‘being a [horseman]’ is getting lost,” says Hayley, who encourages her own Carriage Hill students to stick around after their rides and to become more involved in other aspects of horse care and management. “The horses are animals, not just machines.”

5. Take control of your own reputation.

“I think trying to be honest in what you’re doing, whether it’s in sales or with clients, [makes] people, in general, more willing to work with you. I think it’s about building those connections and letting people know they can trust me—whether they’re buying horses from me or I’m buying horses from somebody else—that what I’m trying to do is correct, not just for the horse, but for them as well.”

6. Set realistic expectations.
Not every young professional is destined for the Olympic Games,
Hayley points out, but that shouldn’t stop you from having your own goals—and working to achieve them. “When I walk in the ring, [I’d would like people to] know who I am, and to think that it’s going to be a good trip. Not just to make it around, but to be at the top level, where I’m competitively placing—and [maybe making some money] off of it, somehow!” Hayley laughs.

7. Hang on to the passion that brought you there.
For would-be professionals of every age, Hayley says that a working student position is important, and a great way to get a taste for all aspects of the business before your livelihood depends on it. “It’s about knowing what you’re getting yourself into—it’s a lot more than you probably think!” Hayley jokes. “[But] if you have the love for the horses, and you have the drive, then it’s definitely possible.” I’m buying horses from somebody else—that what I’m trying to do is
correct, not just for the horse, but for them as well.”

Hayley wearing Dover Saddlery’s Ladies Wellesley Knee-Patch Breech. 
6. Set realistic expectations.
Not every young professional is destined for the Olympic Games, Hayley points out, but that shouldn’t stop you from having your own goals—and working to achieve them. “When I walk in the ring, [I’d would like people to] know who I am, and to think that it’s going to be a good trip. Not just to make it around, but to be at the top level, where I’m competitively placing—and [maybe making some money] off of it, somehow!” Hayley laughs. 7. Hang on to the passion that brought you there. For would-be professionals of every age, Hayley says that a working student position is important, and a great way to get a taste for all aspects of the business before your livelihood depends on it. “It’s about knowing what you’re getting yourself into—it’s a lot more than you probably think!” Hayley jokes. “[But] if you have the love for the horses, and you have the drive, then it’s definitely possible.”
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