As the primary objective of the ESKO project is to develop a solid structure for exchange of students, facilitating students to move between institutions in different countries and, therefore, gain a wide range of knowledge and employability skills, it will improve the mobility of the equestrian work force in general and increase the use of Europass.
More exchanges of students and internships abroad will also result in more transparency in each other’s educational levels and may result in opportunities for students to follow parts of their training abroad.
For that reason, the EEN decided to elaborate a manual with quality criteria to be used in the selection of workplacement providers in all the participating countries, as a common structure in the guidance of students based on good practices.
This Manual, in conjunction with a list of work placement providers of all the participating countries, combined with the students experiences shared on the EEN website, pretends to be an important tool for all the European students on equine studies.
In order to make sure you choose the right place to work and have a pleasant and a compensatory experience, these are some of the things you must be aware of:
1. Selection of a workplacement
1.1 Choose the disciplines you want to work on
Every student, at the end of their studies, is sure of the discipline he likes the most, like jumping, dressage, eventing, driving, etc. Usually they will be more comfortable with the one they feel their skills are more accurate for. The one that he feels it’s easier.
Although you may be one of those riders that enjoys doing almost every thing that has to do with horses, you must start working on that discipline, to get more experience and a good curricula for the future work proposals.
1.2 Choose a stable or person you want to work with which fits your wishes/goals
Inside the discipline you have chosen, there are lots of professionals specialized on that discipline. Try to choose an expert on that discipline, not only by the sportive achievements that he or she must have got, but also by the knowledge and experiences you think you can get from him. Try to get some information about him among your colleges, teachers or other students or professionals that have already worked with him.
To help you choose the work placement, you can use the www.aequor.nl web site. It’s an official web site, developed by the Dutch government, that provides lots of information about work placements all over the world.
1.3 Find out if the Centre is registered at the national agency or federation
It is important that the centre you want to be your work placement is registered as an official centre, to make sure it accomplishes all the country regulations.
1.4 Learn about the costumes and culture of the country and about the horse culture
If you want to go to another country, it is important that you know about its culture and costumes, to make sure you won’t transgress any laws or costumes that will put you in trouble. To stay away from such situations and if you’re not sure you can avoid incidents, some times its better not to choose a work placement in some countries that has such a different culture from yours. From another point of view, a different culture is a bigger challenge for someone who wants to learn a lot about the world. But, for that, you must prepare yourself. The way horses are taken care of are different from continent to continent, or even from country to country. Make sure you learn about those costumes on the country you are going to.
1.5 Sign up a contract with the working place
It is very important that your professional relationship with the work placement gets officially formalized with a writhen contract, in order to avoid future doubts about each one obligations.
2. Guidance on good practices
If something goes wrong and an accident happens, you should have the help of an insurance that provides the necessary assistance and treatments. You have to look for the insurance conditions to make sure that, if necessary, the insurance company can help you in the country you are going to.
The European Health Insurance Card is a free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country. You can find more about it on:
It would be better also if you would get a traveling insurance, in order to cover costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property.
2.2 Economical support
During your journey and your stay at the workplacement you’re going to spend money for food, transportation, hygienic things, accommodations, etc. You must try to calculate how much you are going to spend, and think of the way you’re going to carry the necessary money. For safety, you must not carry to much money with you, and if you have to carry a great amount, make sure you won’t carry it all on the same place: put it in different wallets or pockets.
If you can take a credit card with you, it would be more comfortable if unexpected costs would appear.
Some schools are working with the Leonardo D’Avinci support. So, if that’s what is happening in your school, a great part of the economical support for your mobility is guaranteed.
Don’t forget to take some identification with you: Identification Card and Passport.
2.3 The use of proper equipment
As a good student and a future horse professional, you have to use the proper equipment to the work you will be asked to do. The proper equipment is to be, if you’re riding, riding boots, helmet, gloves, stick, etc.
2.4 Be well presented and clean
It is not only necessary to use the proper equipment, but also to be well presented and clean. Every good professional must not just be a good professional but also look as one. The look is as important as the rest. If you want a potential client to trust you as a good professional, you must look as one, and that must be part of your daily concerns, and become a routine. You must also remember that you are representing your school and the centre you are working for when you are out on your workplacement.
2.5 Be curious about different procedures and ask about them, to learn
Be aware that your school was not able to teach you every thing, and there are simple things that you will watch and will not understand. Don’t be afraid to ask about them, because every one knows that you are there to learn, and the more you ask, the more you learn.
What must you expect from the workplacement?
Here we will try to give you some guidance about the obligations the stable or centre must respect about your work and teaching:
1. Working schedule
Working with horses is a very demanding profession, and you must realize that sometimes you can’t have an exact schedule, as horses are always asking for extra care.
Any way, you must ask for a schedule to be defined and make sure that every one (you and your master) understands it, and be aware that some times it will be difficult to accomplish as sometimes you must start working earlier or finish working later.
But what is important as a reference is that the ideal schedule must have no more than 40 hours a week.
2. Getting experience and knowledge
Besides working in the stable to get as much experience as possible, you must get lessons from the master you choosed, and that must be also defined on the contract. As a reference, you must get four lessons a week, at least.
3. Stable routines
Every stable must have a schedule of its own and, if it is not written, at least it is well known by those who work there. It must include all the general routines as the feeding times and type, bed care (if you must use straw, wood shaves or others), the harness system for each horse, etc.
You must know and carry out those routines as soon as possible, to make sure you will become part of the team.
4. Work book
A good system for you to list all the tasks you have done and all the good and bad experiences you have lived during your stay at the workplacement, is to use a work book that you will be able to consult later, and remember those experiences but, most important of all, to make sure that you and your master at the workplacement take notice of those experiences and facts.
It would be good if you could give, from time to time, the work book to your master for him to read and sign it as he took acquaintance of the its contents.
Before going to the workplacement, you should also coordinate with your school supervisor the format and procedures about the work book.
We are sure you have made the right choice about the workplacement, but we are never sure that something might not happen as we would like to.
So, if something goes wrong, which means, if you feel that you’re not being well treated or if you feel that the master is not carrying out the compromise he made with you on the terms of the contract, here is some advice:
1. The first thing you must do is to talk with the master to make sure he understands your point of view and, if he agrees on that, will try to rectify it.
2. If the master does not agree with your complains, you must take some advice from your school.
You must put your schools coordinator side by side with the situation and get some advice from him.
3. If you go to a foreign country, there has to be a contact person on that country. The contact person is someone that works with your school, and whom the school trusts to help you on such situations.
You must get his phone number before you leave your school, and call him as soon as you get to your workplacement, just to make sure he knows you are there.
If necessary, the contact person must visit you at the workplacement to make acquaintance of the real problems you are facing, and talk to the master if needed.
We wish you a very pleasant stay at the workplacement, and a profitable future as a professional of this wonderful HORSE world!