For the past 12 weeks, Kierstin Antoniadis has been clocking in at her job six days a week. And not just any type of job typical of a 16-year-old, but one that requires her undivided attention, hard work, and dedication as she’s working for one of the most world-renowned junior equitation trainers.
Yes, she still goes to school — she's an ‘A’ student, in fact — but she attends an online school that works with her unusual schedule. That 6 a.m. daily alarm? Simply par for the course for this working young woman, as is sacrificing social time with her friends and family in favor of finishing up after dark.
So what is it that drives this teenager to forgo school dances, sleepovers, and weekend parties? For Kierstin, this isn’t just any job — she’s a working student at Andre Dignelli’s Heritage Farm while at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida, a coveted position that only a lucky few ever get to call their own. A passionate rider with dreams of winning the equitation finals and potentially even going professional, Kierstin isn’t simply punching a time card; she’s soaking up the knowledge, lessons, and know-how that come as a welcome perk to the job (between scrubbing tack and feeding horses, of course).