Detailed information for Prospective Working Pupils.

Just imagine being based with an equestrian idol, someone whose time and expertise is beyond the reach of almost everyone. As a working pupil, this scenario suddenly becomes possible, giving people the chance to improve their riding while they watch and assist true horsemen in every aspect of their work. To become an expert at anything, it is expected that you have to put in over 10 000 hours doing that task. Well, if you ride for one hour a day, five times a week for say 40 weeks (accounting for spells, holidays etc.), that is only 200 hours a year. Becoming a working pupil can really open up your opportunities to develop your skills as a rider and serious competitor. Working pupil positions are not only an opportunity to gain intensive lessons from a master but also open your eyes to how a busy and vibrant Stable is run. You learn not only many new skills that are essential in any equestrian career, but also about yourself, how to talk and engage with clients, and many other life skills. Working pupil positions allow for a ‘hands on’ approach to learning and gaining your qualification.

The majority of our Staff at Wallington Park have stayed with us for many years, some even up to 10 years. We are supportive of each other and our individual goals. We start work at 6:30/7am with feed out and arena maintenance. Followed by taking horses from the stables out to their yards and cleaning out the boxes. It is then time to prepare the horses in training, Stallions and your own horses for riding. We all break for lunch around 12, and spend the hour relaxing and chatting. The afternoons are mostly focused on preparing and assisting in the riding school and or the ‘other jobs’ that get left after the busy morning. The early evenings are spent either on feed out, bringing in horses for stabling and finishing up in the riding school. Night times are for fun!

We rotate the work duties roster on a weekly basis so that all working pupils get the opportunity to try new tasks and the routine is more interesting. As our working pupil scheme grows and develops we hope that those who have done the hard yards and have been with us for some time, have more opportunities to ride, compete and campaign the horses in their chosen disciplines.

Working pupils will be working for Wallington Park under the watchful eye of Dirk Dijkstra. Dirk is an accomplished rider and competitor, with more than 40 years experience. He has won a number of State and Australian national dressage championships since moving here from the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, Dirk competed primarily in show jumping events.

When he moved to Australia (with his then wife Sicca) in 1982, The Dijkstra’s purchased the Australian Equine Academy from its, founder Fred Hoevenaars, husband of well known Australian International Judge Susie. It is this business which forms the basis of today’s AEA Dressage, although along the way Dirk’s interests and skills have expanded and developed.

Dirk is successfully competing the stallions AEA Metallic and AEA Tuschinski and is a current member of the Victorian Senior State A Dressage squad.

Dirk has the highest qualifications in Dressage in Australia

  • An EFA NCAS Level 3 Coach
  • A Coach Educator
  • An EFA Assessor
  • An A level Dressage Judge
  • Colt Classifier

Dirk has conducted clinics throughout Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Dirk is one of a handful of Dressage Riders in Australia who is out competing at the highest level as well as Instructing. He has had many years experience as a mentor to working pupils and has produced some of Australia’s best riders such as James Patterson Robinson. He has competed at the highest possible level in all Olympic horse riding disciplines and is ready to pass on his knowledge and experience to the next generation of equestrian enthusiasts.

When assisting in the riding school, learning how to teach and conduct lessons, you will be working under Linzi Roos. Linzi has been the riding school manager here at Wallington Park for over 6 years. She has taught in riding schools in England and Australia and has her ‘fingers on the pulse’ with modern teaching techniques and training methods. She has built up the riding school offering private lessons, group lessons, saddle clubs, show jumping clubs, Saturday school programmes, camps and day camps. Wallington Park Riding school offer all levels of instruction from complete beginners to Grand Prix riders training with Dirk. We cover all Olympic disciplines and have a client cantered approach to teaching and uphold the highest level of care for our horses and clients. We currently have seven instructors teaching at Wallington Park and offer a diverse range of expertise. All our instructors are highly qualified and sought after.

All other operations are monitored and supervised by Erin Burns, general manager. Erin, Dirk and Linzi work closely together in order to ensure the smooth running of Wallington Park, and to ensure that the working pupils are getting the absolute best care and learning opportunities that we can offer.  The team work closely so that the maintenance, teaching, horse training and day to day care of all our horses and agisted horses are of the highest level. Setting the bench mark very high and constantly breaking new ground with our services and facilities.

All working pupils are encouraged to live on site in our bunkroom accommodation. They are also encouraged to bring their own horse to the property to train on. The private yard agistment, including the morning and evening feed out, is included in the package. Students must provide their own horse feed. Students are encouraged to undertake their NCAS Intro and Level 1 coaching qualifications. They are expected to pay for their learning material, however Wallington Park will cover the costs associated with sign offs with Dirk. Your training to teach sessions will be ‘hands on; style learning under Linzi Roos. You will get free lessons with Dirk Dijkstra, these will be a mixture of lessons on your own horse, on horses in training including school horses and private and group lessons. Sometimes you will have many lessons and if Dirk is away competing or teaching clinics it will be less frequent, but at a minimum you will receive weekly one hour lessons. You will have the opportunity to ride every day on multiple horses, gaining much needed hours in the saddle. You will mostly ride along side Dirk whilst he is training the Stallions, so that he can offer his guidance to you. All working pupils will also receive a cash allowance.  We have a 2 week trial period where by the student can leave at any time and Wallington Park can discontinue the arrangement. After the 2 week trial it is required that 2 weeks notice be given in order to terminate the arrangement.