1. The horse industry is one of the most cutthroat industries around, especially if you happen to be young and female. There are basically 3 ways to get into and get ahead in it. You can be born into it, you can buy your way into it (if you happen to have enough money to do this, or a rich patron who will sponsor you) OR, if you're willing to put up with having your self respect and dignity destroyed, you can SCREW your way in.
2. Be prepared to take a LOT of emotional abuse and mistreatment. You need to grow a really thick skin if you want to succeed in this business, and you need to learn to put up with being treated like sh*t most of the time by people who have far more money than they do BRAINS or common sense.
3. Be prepared to work long, long hours EVERY DAY, especially during the show and competition seasons. There's no such thing as a 40 hour work week in the horse business. Also be prepared to pay for your own insurance and medical bills, even if you are only making a pittance yourself. And DON'T EXPECT to receive Worker's Comp or any other protections if you get sick or hurt on the job. They don't EXIST in the horse business.
4. You'll have a better chance of surviving if you go into the business with a "can do" attitude. Don't argue with or talk back to anybody if you want to survive, either. It's not your place to question what your trainer or boss is telling you to do, even if it puts your health or safety at risk. If you open your mouth at the wrong place or time, you're likely to be shown the road in short order, so do yourself a favor and don't go down that path.
5. The horse business is one in which you can and most likely WILL be fired for even the simplest of things. Pay attention to little details, because they're important and they MATTER, even if YOU personally don't THINK they matter. That means you need to be on the ball all the time, whether you're working or not. I know what it's like to be fired and shown the road for something as simple as forgetting to turn off the tack room light switch. It has happened to me, more than once- and the experience has been a bitter one.
6. One of the hardest tasks you'll face in this business is learning to recognize that you exist for the benefit of your employer, and not for your own. Your main job in all situations is to make your employer's life easier, no matter how inconvenient or tiring it may be for you. That means YOU are the one who stays up till midnight or two AM the night before a big show doing show clipping or grooming, or packing the trailer.YOU are the one who is up half the night walking a colicky horse, and who puts in a full day's work the next day as if nothing had ever happened. YOU are the one who is on call 24/7, in all kinds of weather, and able to handle any emergency. If a horse gets cast in a stall at midnight, you handle it. If a mare foals at 3AM, you're there to attend her and make sure that she gets through the process safely. And you're there to hold the lead rope while the vet puts down a seriously ill or injured horse, so that the owner doesn't have to deal with it.