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View Full Version : How many people have (good) part time horse help?



twofatponies
Jan. 15, 2009, 06:24 PM
...along the lines of someone who comes to help on weekends or even every day to do horse-related stuff - feeding, tack cleaning, grooming, mucking, etc.

Have you found it easy to find skilled help (already know a lot about horse care) or easier to hire people who are diligent etc. but you need to teach them the horse-related stuff?

I have two horse friends dealing with this lately - the more skilled horse care folks can get work full time at big breeding or training places, so aren't interested in part time jobs. The folks available part time seem to have pretty minimal experience with horses, and usually have other jobs which makes their schedules complicated, or personal problems which interfere with them working well.

I saw the same problem at a barn I used to board at. The owners could do everything themselves if necessary, but they went through half a dozen employees trying to find someone to come in the mornings and help out so they could get lessons started earlier.

What's your experience been?

fizzyfuzzybuzzy
Jan. 15, 2009, 11:38 PM
Usually the only way to get good skilled help part time is a student trying to offset some horse bills. The only other way I've seen it is a stay at home mom that could come and muck stalls or help feed/turnout while the kiddies are in school. I will be doing part time barn work in exchange for rent, but I am going to school and will work full time at the teaching hospital. But from talking to the BO, I am the rare exception!! ;)

myhorsefaith
Jan. 15, 2009, 11:45 PM
I would think my employer would say I'm good hired help- actually, she does pass my name to those who ask, giving me rave reviews. I am always on time, and I always show up.

I do morning feed/ stall & paddock cleaning Fri-Monday. It only takes an hour to do, and I would love to find another 1 or 2 similar. The biggest issue in finding another one is that most owners want help during the weekdays, not the weekends. I have a FT corporate job, and so, weekdays aren't going to work. And i can't really give up my FT job for a stall cleaning gig...though i would love to! LOL

IslandGirl
Jan. 16, 2009, 08:33 AM
We're actually very fortunate to have some EXCELLENT help. In addition to my (extraordinary) full-time barn manager, I have two part-timers who are both very conscientious, honest, and reliable. However, getting to this point was not easy. A couple of people were just plain lazy and one or two just didn't "get it." I've tried the "experienced" route and the "training" route. Each has its benefits and pitfalls but, given the choice, I'd go with experience first, unless it's a younger person who is REALLY willing to learn and work.

In what area is your friend located? One of my part-timers may be interested in picking up some more work...

bf1
Jan. 16, 2009, 08:47 AM
I have had trouble finding help too. I gave up, and just figured out how to get it all done myself. Students in school - would only come after school - and I want the barn done in the morning. And in reality, it wasn't a big job. And also, I didn't want to interview a lot of people - I try to keep a low profile. Now more than ever since my barn was broken into last summer.

tuppysmom
Jan. 16, 2009, 11:39 AM
We can do all the work ourselves, but it makes for very long days. We tried having teens help in exchange for lessons, but as so as prom, or the hair appointment came they would bail. We now have 2 great people, one lives on the property and works every morning and the other works on the weekend mornings. They help clean stalls and paddocks, haul hay, mow fields and lawns in summer. They do not need to hande horses, we do that, so good work ethic and reliability are more important to me.

sublimequine
Jan. 16, 2009, 12:12 PM
I'd like to think I'm pretty good part-time help at my barn! :lol:

I work weekends only, Sat and Sun. I clean stalls, turn horses out and bring them in, rake the aisles and tidy up, and occasionally do odd jobs like scrubbing buckets or watering the arena if the BO asks.

I'm a college student, so it's the perfect job for me. Basically as someone said above, it helps offset my horsie expenses. I'm also a boarder at this barn, and have a lot of experience, so the job really isn't all that difficult for me and took next to no "training" to start. Basically they told me which horses go in which pastures and I was good to go. :)

Hunter Princess
Jan. 16, 2009, 12:25 PM
I think I'm good help too...I work full time in an office, and two days a week, I go out after work and muck stalls, and on the weekend I do stalls, turn in/out, laundry, groom, whatever needs to be done usually on saturday and sunday.

I do have to say I am sometimes quite tired on the weekends, but it's nice to get out and get my horsey fix. Unless it's 5 degrees. Then I'm just cold. ETA, it's a nice stress reliever after a long day at work to be able to go out and throw some poo.

I'm actually moving in a week and trying to find a new part time barn job, and it's nice now because my hours are going to be 9:30 to 6 at work, and I've figured out that i could probably do morning feed or do stalls before going to work. (horsey company, so no worries about it!)

Lori
Jan. 16, 2009, 12:46 PM
I am experienced and responsible and do the fill in work part time (nights/weekends), so we are out there!

theoldgreymare
Jan. 16, 2009, 12:54 PM
We have a guy who works 7-12 M-F and 8-4 on Saturday's. His primary job is chief mucker but he also cleans the fields (we don't drag) and does odd's and end's. He is a very hard worker and I normally think he is great until he pulls a bone head stunt like not showing up for work this morning. I was cursing him as I was cleaning the shedrow barn in windy, 8 degree weather :mad:.

He's good for not showing up once or twice a month, and doesn't call.
He is very honest though. When you ask why he didn't come to work the day before, he tells you the truth....."I went Christmas shopping", "it was too rainy", "it was too cold". I guess it's better than being lied to..........

unclewiggly
Jan. 16, 2009, 12:55 PM
I am fortunate enough to have had 1st class help.
But I have to flex abit on the time they come.
I am their 2nd job. My barn gets done in the afternoon when they leave the big training center.
But its well worth it to have experiance competent help.
And my horses don't care when the stalls are done as long as they get fed on time.
My biggest road block has been the language barrier w/ limited Taco Bell spanish, commincations sometime involve pantomime of a quick phone call.
Try to expaining this is a "Stallion" and thats a mare w/ hand signs:lol:

twofatponies
Jan. 16, 2009, 01:02 PM
He's good for not showing up once or twice a month, and doesn't call.
He is very honest though. When you ask why he didn't come to work the day before, he tells you the truth....."I went Christmas shopping", "it was too rainy", "it was too cold". I guess it's better than being lied to..........

You know, it is better to hear to dumb truth! I worked with a woman (non horse related job) once whose father, aunt, and cousin each "died" during her first two weeks on the job. She didn't call in, just didn't show up, and then the next day explained "oh, my xyz died". She didn't last long!

saddleup
Jan. 16, 2009, 02:02 PM
I have two great guys who do my stalls Mon.-Sat. and blow out the aisle. They are available sometimes for landscape clean-up projects, too, and are very reliable and work really fast. I've used them for two years and they have never missed a day. They work at several barns each day, and I had to do some convincing to get them to work at my little barn. I do all the turnouts, feeding, watering, etc., plus I clean the stalls and paddocks on Sunday.

Huntertwo
Jan. 16, 2009, 02:57 PM
I work part-time mornings Mon-Fri 7:30-12:30 at a private stable (4 horses) and am experienced and extremely reliable. I started in Sept. and haven't called out yet, except for scheduled days.

My employer treats me very well, pays an honest wage and gives me holidays off with pay. Plus my opinion is always welcome.

I sometimes think that "some" barn owners pay crap for wages, work you like a dog and expect a person to be loyal and show up diligently. IMO..

Wouldn't say that part-time help is inexperienced. I just happened to want part-time hours and these suit me great.

People are out there, it is just a matter of attracting the right kind of help.

twofatponies
Jan. 16, 2009, 03:11 PM
I sometimes think that "some" barn owners pay crap for wages, work you like a dog and expect a person to be loyal and show up diligently. IMO..


I think that's true - you do get what you pay for in some cases!!

LAZ
Jan. 16, 2009, 05:31 PM
I have my wonderful 'stall fairies' that show up while I am sleeping, clean the stalls, sweep the aisle. Every morning I walk into the barn, they've been there and gone.

I pay them well, they come when it suits them during the day (which seems to be consistently 4 AM-6:30 AM).

They are wonderful.

I have not had nearly as good luck hiring teenagers for evening feed & other chores, I'm just about done with that.

shawneeAcres
Jan. 16, 2009, 06:29 PM
I wish! Actually I have a GREAT working student who used to coem every weekend and work for me, she spent this last summer here living with us (and spoiled me!) but is now in vet tech school so can only help out on holidays :(. I will be actively looking for another working student for the coming summer of 2009. Cannot really afford to "hire" someone ongoing to work here, wish I could!

brightwhitestockings
Jan. 16, 2009, 07:07 PM
i have to admit, i'm slightly offended by the generalizations made about teenagers by some of you guys. :(

I am 16 and work at my barn. I do all of the work (feeding, t/o, stalls, water, hay, sweeping, bringing in, feeding, etc.) every sunday. I also groom for my trainer, help get the lesson kids organized, and bring in and feed and other chores when i'm at the barn during the week after school. I do my best to keep everything clean and organized and everyone happy.
I ALWAYS am on time no matter what (the horses are hungry!!) and am obsessive about everything being clean and taken care of. :yes: The water buckets and tubs are always scrubbed and spotless, there is never a piece of hay or dust on the floor, and a missing shoe or a cut or someone not finishing their grain or anything else you can think of going wrong NEVER goes unnoticed.
I would never skip out on my responsibilites, for any reason, whether it was prom or not.

JSYK, not all teenage girls are irresponsible brats. :winkgrin:

Mariequi
Jan. 16, 2009, 07:22 PM
I'm not a teenager BTW. : )

I live on property where the barn is. Cannot work off my rent. Worked off pasture board by taking care of the barn Sundays. Wanted stall board, so I get feed from outside barn building, put in all stalls, carry water (this time of year) to 11 to 13 stalls, bring in from 6-11 horses from 3 to 6 diff pastures. The really far pastures I can't see if I have to get to a full-time job by 8:30. Sundays there is hay to throw to outside horses as well and monitoring waterers. Turning all in a.m. and out p.m. Turnout schedule doesn't change through the year. I buy my own hay, grain, bedding and do my own work. Saturdays someone else does barn. When I wasn't working and the BM was injured, I also fixed feed for a.m. and p.m. and often helped or did the barn extra hours or whole days. Sure would be nice to find something to work off rent as well or was full-time with benes and housing. And this minus weather when you're used to South Carolina is a bit difficult for me, so I've been very proud of myself for getting up and getting it done!

merrygoround
Jan. 16, 2009, 08:33 PM
Brightwhitestockings-Don't be offended. There are some great teenagers out there, and I've known them over the years. but they are few, and very far between. It's gotten tothe point where I won't even think of hiring them.

camohn
Jan. 16, 2009, 10:20 PM
We have been fortunate that most of our help has been good....only one dud in the lot 2 years ago. We hire local 4H or pony club teenagers that are horsecrazy/have a horse to pay board or expenses on. First 2 were awesome/had them for 2 years each before they graduated and moved on. Then The Dud that got fired........(dishonest on the old timecard...didn't think I would find it odd it took 5 hours a day to turn out feed/turnout 12 horses and pick the stalls when it takes me 2 max if I move slowly? I can see it would take her a little longer without my routine but FIVE?). Next girl was OK....did what was specifically asked but not a drop more. Did OK but less than self motivated. And now we have another winner...and she is only 15 so will be around for another 3 years yet!!

oldenmare
Jan. 16, 2009, 11:12 PM
Good barn help is out there - I would love to find something PT (a couple of evenings & weekends around full-time job) and am exceptionally reliable with great trainer & breeder references.

But I am selective about where I will work (or rather - who I will work for). Many of the BO/BMs around here want full-out help at minimal wages...... and the attitude towards barn help in those barns is pathetic. I had one such BO approach me at a show about a job - she was going to do me a favor by letting me work for her (her words, not mine)..... I smiled, thanked her for her consideration but "no, thank you" and went about my business. Since she had just publicly berated and fired her groom/barn helper in front of me & many others, small wonder I wasn't tempted. I may be perpetually broke - but I do have my standards!!!

I'm lucky that the couple of barns where I've worked over past few years have been really good in management and wages.... unfortunately, neither is hiring for PT right now (and both have very responsible help) - but c'est la vie.

*JumpIt*
Jan. 16, 2009, 11:43 PM
I am 16 and work at my barn. I do all of the work (feeding, t/o, stalls, water, hay, sweeping, bringing in, feeding, etc.) every sunday. I also groom for my trainer, help get the lesson kids organized, and bring in and feed and other chores when i'm at the barn during the week after school. I do my best to keep everything clean and organized and everyone happy.
I ALWAYS am on time no matter what (the horses are hungry!!) and am obsessive about everything being clean and taken care of. :yes: The water buckets and tubs are always scrubbed and spotless, there is never a piece of hay or dust on the floor, and a missing shoe or a cut or someone not finishing their grain or anything else you can think of going wrong NEVER goes unnoticed.
I would never skip out on my responsibilites, for any reason, whether it was prom or not.


This is pretty much me. Accept I'm 17 and work all day Saturdays and Sundays and spend around 12 hours per week assisting the PE classes our barn offers. I get free lessons and pay 1/2 board. It is great for me though it does become a lot since I am still a full-time HS school student and a part time community college student. I have my own horse and then two projects ponies I am working on for other people. I often wonder how I do it all. :lol:

Mariesonny
Jan. 17, 2009, 09:21 AM
We've got good part time weekend help (finally). It can be really hard to find someone to work just part of a day. We've got a small farm and just don't need help for the full day. My best weekend workers have always been female. Don't know why. Maybe the guys either lose interest or can get other jobs or something. I've had success using Craigslist and our local paper when I need someone.

Our during the week help is also part time but we trade an apartment in exchange for am and pm feeding and chores. Works out very well but we have to be very, very selective when we are filling the apartment. It makes me cynical about humanity when I have to fill it as everyone and anyone calls wanting a free place to live but most are unqualified or have a shady history. I use the local paper to fill that job and then use my phone voicemail with a message describing the job/apartment to screen applicants.

I've also found that when barn help stops being reliable then it is time to fire them and get new barn help. My apartment folks are always reliable. It is easy since they live there. My weekend folks can be more of a problem. So now my policy is no show, no call....no way....you are fired. Even at that I have decided that once they start calling that they can't make it then it is time for me to move on and find new help.

I always say that stable help is unstable! They just come and go constantly.