This summer I spent two weeks working in Holland at the famous show jumping stable Stal Hendrix. My first trip there was in the summer of 2016. I went alone and was going to stay for 10 days. This time I was kind of used to the environment. It was a very developing trip for me, both of them.
First of all, I wasn’t paid for working there, I did it for myself to gain experience and meet new people and visit new places.
A normal day at Stal Hendrix was starting at 8 o clock and finishing at 5. Some days we had to start earlier due to the warm temperature outside, but then we usually finished at lunch instead.
All the grooms (“workers”) were spread out in four different stables. They had three stables with one or more riders (that basically trained and competed the horses), each rider had at least one groom. Then there was one stable for quests, they had a lot of people coming from America/Canada to train and compete their horses in Holland, as well as horses that basically had no place in the other stables.
The first thing we did in the mornings was to give all the horses breakfast. They were given hay and pellets. After that we started to clean out each box. Some horses stood on shavings while others on straw. When the boxes were cleaned we filled them with new fresh shavings and straw. It wasn’t that complicated, but it was heavy. And especially when the temperature reached 30 degrees… When the horses finished breakfast, around 9 o clock that was, some were put in the walker (a machine were up to 6 horses could walk in at the same time) and the grooms started making one horse ready for their rider. Usually I helped with riding some horses, since the rider I worked for had about 10 of them and a baby to look after. At 10 o clock, it was time for coffee, so each rider had time for 1 or two horses before that. Afterwards we continued with tacking up/tacking off horses, putting some in the walker and talking others out of the walker. Some had to go in the field as well which they needed to be tacked up for, with boots and fly blankets etc. At max I got to ride 6 horses per day, when the other riders needed help because they were going to a show or such. Around 12 o clock, the horses were given lunch, some pellets and muesli. And we got to go for lunch as well. After lunch, we worked the same until 4 o clock, were we gave them hay and cleaned out the boxes with shavings to make it easier for the next day. We also swept the floor and cleaned all the tack that had been used during the day. Then when everything was finished and we could go the clock was around 5 if we had been efficient during the day.
Some days were of course different, depending on the weather and if we had any show to go to.
As I said before, this was a very developing journey for me. To travel all alone to a different country and to work with people that doesn’t speak your language. At first it was a bit scary, especially the airport. But I think it developed myself when it comes to meeting new people. Since I met people from all over the world like America and Canada, Lebanon and Japan, it really made myself open up and become more social. And since we all were there for the same reason, because we all love the world of show jumping and horses, it wasn’t that difficult to connect with each of them. As well as working with people with a different culture, I also got to meet people with different backgrounds. Not everyone had been rich from the beginning, many had to work hard for it. Which was really inspiring to see, and to meet these people and get to talk to superstars like Laura Kraut and Nick Skelton, who were so nice, it was an amazing feeling. I can’t say that I am a judgemental person, but this trip has made me realize that you ca never judge anyone before you have really met them. And I think that is a great achievement in life to be aware of.