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View Full Version : Opinions on working in exchange for lessons?



foreverdreaming
Mar. 21, 2011, 04:21 PM
From your experience, do you think working in exchange for riding lessons is a fair arrangment? I know that many teenagers, like myself want experience around the barn. But, for the amount of work put in (around 4-5+ hrs of intense hands on barn chores) is an hour-long lesson (worth $40-60) fair exchange?

Even if the student can't afford lessons, is it fair? A teenager could easily find a less labor-intensive job thats pays the same, if not, better. So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?

sanctuary
Mar. 21, 2011, 04:25 PM
Where do you think a teenager is going to find a job paying $10-12/hr?

tidy rabbit
Mar. 21, 2011, 04:32 PM
Well, that all depends.

If you're given access to really nice horses to ride, then it is worth a lot more than just the lesson.

If you've got your own horse than that is a pretty fair exchange I'd say so long as everyone is keeping track of how much actual work is getting done and the time spent doing those tasks.

If you're cleaning stalls for 5 hours a day and then getting a lesson at the end of the day, I can see how that might cause some burn out.

If you're tacking up horses, warming up and cooling them out and cleaning tack, then that sounds more like fun than "work".

I guess, as in all things horse, it depends.

SMF11
Mar. 21, 2011, 04:44 PM
A teenager could easily find a less labor-intensive job thats pays the same, if not, better. So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?

It seems completely fair. If you are really interested in horses, the knowledge and experience you get from working at the barn will be with you your whole life, and be invaluable. Furthermore, assuming "pay" of $10/hour for barn work is VERY fair, especially for people who don't really have a lot of experience or know what they are doing.

You are kidding yourself if you think there are so many cushy jobs out there paying more than $10 for teenagers. Most pay minimum wage, and aren't very cushy.

Just do the math -- figure out how many hours you work, and if you get that much in lessons it is fair.

STA
Mar. 21, 2011, 04:47 PM
From your experience, do you think working in exchange for riding lessons is a fair arrangment? I know that many teenagers, like myself want experience around the barn. But, for the amount of work put in (around 4-5+ hrs of intense hands on barn chores) is an hour-long lesson (worth $40-60) fair exchange?

Even if the student can't afford lessons, is it fair? A teenager could easily find a less labor-intensive job thats pays the same, if not, better. So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?

When I was a junior, and YES I am about to date myself. I worked for about 12 hours on Saturdays for a lesson per week and $10 in cash. (1970's) I thought at the time and NOW it was worth every penny.
The experience I received from the work served me well through the years, plus the wonderful school horses I was allowed to ride in lessons I would have never been able to afford elsewhere. THANK YOU FOXFIELD!!!!!!

You will realize as you gain more maturity, there is more to compensation than cash.

ponymom64
Mar. 21, 2011, 04:50 PM
Where do you think a teenager is going to find a job paying $10-12/hr?

Babysitting pays between $ 10 - 15 cash per hour

BAC
Mar. 21, 2011, 05:11 PM
Babysitting pays between $ 10 - 15 cash per hour

I used to baby sit to help pay for riding lessons, but it was 50 cents an hour. :eek: :D But most teenagers are probably lucky to get jobs paying minimum wage. And I did a lot of barn work for an occasional free ride or extra lesson.

sanctuary
Mar. 21, 2011, 05:16 PM
Babysitting pays between $ 10 - 15 cash per hour


That's one of the only jobs.

I'd rather much stalls :lol: and would have as a kid.

True story (i'll make it quick) - I had a working student whose parents didn't think it was "fair" to work in exchange for lessons. Kid ended up quitting and going to work at another local barn for cash. Paid approx the same amount ($40/day). Kid was only mucking stalls, had no other "education" from barn owner.

Kid had issues in school, social issues, is a good student, but dropped out. Missed the environment at my barn and what she learned. Wasn't getting the same thing at the other barn. Kid has now quit the paying job and is now back with me. Her parents realized she was getting more than "just a ride" in exchange for her work. That what she learned around my barn was priceless. They begged me to let her come back.

something to chew on...

cherham
Mar. 21, 2011, 06:52 PM
I guess it would depend. Looking back as a horse crazy teenager (15 to 17 years old) I was the head camp counsellor for a very busy riding school camp and worked every March break, Christmas break and ALL summer long for basically free. I was paid back in one short riding lesson on a late Sunday afternoon after working all week for free on some poor dogged school horse that had obviously done their job with all those kids all week. And I had to pay for public transit to get there as well as bring my own lunch (even though we served nice hot lunchs to the camp kids but definetly none for us). Geez! I cringe at the hours and hours of up/down lessons I provided for the barn owner and tack cleaning, stall cleaning, pasture clean up...the list was endless. The hours long and tiring and all for an hour lesson once a week. I guess I did not know any better and my parents (bless their hearts) were just happy to know that I was working with horses when they could not afford to buy one for me.

But I still remember this experience to this day and that has served me well. And shame on the owner of this farm that is still around (some 35 years later). I just hope he is not exploiting the next young horse crazy girl that comes around!

ponies123
Mar. 21, 2011, 07:39 PM
As someone who works in childcare, I find people are less and less willing to dish out 10-15 bucks an hour cash especially to a teenager who may or may not have any actual childcare experience. I have a HS certificate and an AA in early childhood and class hours working toward elementary education as well as several years of work experience in babysitting and a center setting. People looking for babysitters and nannies are looking to either hire stay at home moms, professional nannies, or they want to pay the equivalent of what they'd pay to a daycare center ($80-160/week) for full time. Not even close to 10-15 bucks an hour although I have seen people willing to pay for that for a sometimes babysitter who comes maybe a couple of times a month.

Anyway that's my soapbox and it boils down to this: you will not find a job that will give you the cash and the experience that a good barn setting will. I used to muck stalls with no pay just for the privilege of being around top level horses. Work harder than any of your peers and your BO/trainer WILL notice and if they are old school they will give you opportunities to advance - riding more horses, coming to groom at shows, setting you up with their connections for catchrides, etc. it's worth it if you want to be a horse person. If you don't, go work at McDonalds, but you won't get 10 bucks an hour flipping burgers.

Bit O Groby
Mar. 21, 2011, 08:07 PM
Fair? It is when both parties feel like they are getting a good exchange. Horses are labor intensive, and for someone who wants to ride, but doesn't have the money for lessons, it may be too much, but I would not use the word "Fair".

Opus1
Mar. 21, 2011, 08:09 PM
But, for the amount of work put in (around 4-5+ hrs of intense hands on barn chores) is an hour-long lesson (worth $40-60) fair exchange?

Yep. More than fair, especially given the job market. Where I live (rural Ga.) you'd be VERY hard pressed to find anything else that 'pays' better. Plus, that's your take-home pay, if you will. No taxes/social security have been taken out.

Just don't think of it as 5 hours = 1 hour. Think of it as 5 hours = $50.


So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?

It all depends on what you're doing while you're there and what your tolerance level is. If you're just going to be mucking stalls all the time, you may get burned out, even if the pay is good. But if it involves other horsey tasks, then yes, it's great horse experience.

That being said, the trainer/BO may stat you out mucking stalls, and eventually let you branch out into other areas, once you've proven you're serious about working and that you are competent. So don't run away if you've been giving mucking chores when you first start out. It could lead to better things.

*JumpIt*
Mar. 21, 2011, 08:31 PM
This irritates me so much, I was just discussing this with my trainer. Since when did students feel like they deserved to be paid for every little thing they do?

IMHO it is a privilege to work and learn, getting lessons is just a perk.

For me I am happy when I am working at the barn whether it is grooming, mucking, or anything. I really appreciate the trainers in my life who have taken the time to teach me as I've worked about horse care, barn management, and riding.

To the OP, it's not about working in order to make money or even to break even, it is about LEARNING. It just makes me so cranky, this is why the horse industry is dying, young people just have no appreciation nor work ethic.

If anything it is a lesson that in the horse industry you will always make less money than the effort put into it is worth (ask any professional), get used to it.

/rant

sanctuary
Mar. 21, 2011, 10:18 PM
This irritates me so much, I was just discussing this with my trainer. Since when did students feel like they deserved to be paid for every little thing they do?

IMHO it is a privilege to work and learn, getting lessons is just a perk.

For me I am happy when I am working at the barn whether it is grooming, mucking, or anything. I really appreciate the trainers in my life who have taken the time to teach me as I've worked about horse care, barn management, and riding.

To the OP, it's not about working in order to make money or even to break even, it is about LEARNING. It just makes me so cranky, this is why the horse industry is dying, young people just have no appreciation nor work ethic.

If anything it is a lesson that in the horse industry you will always make less money than the effort put into it is worth (ask any professional), get used to it.

/rant

:yes::yes::yes::yes:

Perfect example...took a student to a horse show a few weeks ago. Spent 8 hrs there waiting for her division to go. This was 8 hrs after I had finished with my Baby Green. I had spent from 8am- 12midnight at the horse show (including driving, i don't get paid shipping, that goes to the BO). Had I not stayed for her division, I could've been home to my family by 5. I made $45, so...even without "my time" in the ring, I made just over $5/hr. Is that "fair" or is it taking advantage of a hard working dedicated trainer? To me, it all equals out in the end, as this client also has helped build my entire jump course, and helps out around the barn when schools out.

This is a hard business. Anyone who wants to get in it, needs to learn that from the beginning.

BeeHoney
Mar. 21, 2011, 10:53 PM
To answer the OP's question, no it isn't fair--for the trainer. I run a barn and I wouldn't pay a teenager $10-12/hr. for barn work. Sorry, but work done by a teenager is nowhere near as valuable as the work done by professional barn staff. A teenager has to be trained and supervised, and more than likely they would expect to be doing the "cherry" jobs like grooming, cooling out, cleaning tack, etc. when they had time to, which might or might not coincide with when I actually needed them to.

If someone is offering this to you, it probably is a good deal. My only caution would be to have it be very clear between you and the person you would be working for exactly what your duties were when you were working and exactly how many lessons you would get for how many hours worked.

kayteedee
Mar. 21, 2011, 11:06 PM
Absolutely agree with sanctuary. When I was a hard working student, I made $2 an hour for mucking 4 big stalls an hour and it got taken off my board bill. I never saw a penny.

I tell you what - it made me physically solid as a rock, and ready to ride anything they could throw at me.

Look at it as a great workout with benefits.

gottagrey
Mar. 22, 2011, 12:12 AM
Here's another perspective ( and by the way 5 hours of barn work at minimum wage = $36.50 so at a barn where the trainer charges $40 per lesson - you'd still owe)

Many college students take on internships during school breaks (or if possible during school) WHY - to learn about the business they wish to pursue. Some of the internships are paid, some are not paid, some may earn them college credits, others will not.. but the bottom line is what they gain in knowledge and experience from their internships will hopefully give them a good edge when they hit the job market.

My barn normally has one or two working students... one of which didn't know how to ride when she started... she never ever missed a day of work in 4 years... she went from not knowing how to post to being able to ride/exercise nearly every horse in the barn...and tried out/accepted for her school's riding team. She learned to clip and braid and did a great job. She was good at both and got paid directly from us to clip & braid our horses. The working students at my barn also get coaching at shows in addition to lessons...

it also depends on the barn situation.. as mentioned the WS at my barn learn a great deal more about horses than what they get in lessons

Jumpthemoon16
Mar. 22, 2011, 12:24 AM
Horse crazy teen here!

I have done the working student thing and also the "work for lessons" thing. I think both, done right, are extremely valuable and have been great parts of my riding experience. I really didn't try to look at it as "earning $x/hour." I saved that for babysitting (which just fyi, I earn $10-$12/hour doing and use towards show fees) I looked at it as an oppertunity to learn SO MUCH and get perks from time to time, one of the major ones being trusted & looked at for leadership by my trainer. I learned how to do every little random thing that has made me invaluable at the barn (everything from wraps to conditioning a rehab horse to feeding porportions to cramming-drapery-in-a-trailer-for-a-show) and a better horsewoman overall. I got lessons, yes, but I also just plain loved working at the barn and the great variety of things I got to do. Yes, sometimes I was scraping paint and mucking, but I also got to exercise horses and help with small kids lessons/tacking up and more "hands-on" stuff. I agree that it's not for everyone, and it could have DEFINETLY gotten tedious if I had just been doing menial work 100% of the time - really, you can only learn how to muck so well - but my trainers have been great about making it a constructive, productive atmosphere.

RugBug
Mar. 22, 2011, 02:01 AM
From your experience, do you think working in exchange for riding lessons is a fair arrangment? I know that many teenagers, like myself want experience around the barn. But, for the amount of work put in (around 4-5+ hrs of intense hands on barn chores) is an hour-long lesson (worth $40-60) fair exchange?

Even if the student can't afford lessons, is it fair? A teenager could easily find a less labor-intensive job thats pays the same, if not, better. So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?

As someone else mentioned, someone is getting a bit of a raw deal, and it's not the teenager.

And can I just say that I detest this attitude in teens? It's more than a bit obnoxious and it SHOWS in the ones who have it. They think they are too good to do the hard, boring work that makes the barn successful. Why a teen thinks they deserve more than minimum wage is beyond me....unless they are some sort of superstar.





Where do you think a teenager is going to find a job paying $10-12/hr?
Babysitting pays between $ 10 - 15 cash per hour

For real? Oy...no wonder teens think they are special flowers. I remember the time I tried to get $5/hour from a babysitting job. My mom grounded me for taking advantage of the family. These days, I woud've been called entrepeneurial. :rolleyes:

How does one afford to be a parent these days and still enjoy some time away from the kids?

sansibar
Mar. 22, 2011, 02:16 AM
I guess it depends on the area where this is being done, because minimum up in Ontario is $10.25. Personally I wouldn't work for riding lessons, I would prefer the money, and probably seek a less labour intensive job. But that is just my opinion.

Canaqua
Mar. 22, 2011, 06:29 AM
As someone who works in childcare, I find people are less and less willing to dish out 10-15 bucks an hour cash especially to a teenager who may or may not have any actual childcare experience.

I agree, and I'm in Massachusetts, an expensive place for everything. I do NOT pay $10-$15 an hour for teenaged babysitters. I can get a college student, studying Early Childhood Ed, for $10- $12 and I can get a real, adult, public school teacher for $15 in the summer! These folks not only provide responsible supervision and play company, but they are equipped to respond to issues and behavior problems in a appropriate manner, I'll get the kid back, better than I left him ;).

I think that 4-5 hours of barn work in exchange for a private lesson is more than fair, in fact, it's generous. I worked far more hours for lessons when I was a teen. It's not like the teens are going to come in able to be working without supervision either. Adult barn workers, with experience, who can run the barn alone, often don't get paid $10-$15 an hour.

Plus, learning how to care for horses, beyond tacking up and riding, is a valuable skill if you want to have a horse some day. Some kids do it for free for the experience and the time spent around the barn. Kids in a barn a liability until they become very competent.

I'm going to sound like an old fuddy duddy (which at nearly 49, I guess I am ;))...kids these days! They don't understand the meaning of hard work and what their labor is really worth (i.e., not much compared to mature and experienced adults). I do have young adult kids of my own and I've told them the same thing...put in the labor FIRST, develop the experience, THEN you can start making salary demands, until then, you are an "apprentice" and every job someone allows you to do is a favor.

Bella'sMom
Mar. 22, 2011, 07:31 AM
"Fair" and "Equal" are not always the same. If you are looking for direct compensation for your time, you need a different job. We have two kids at our barn who work in exchange for lessons and they can (and do) do EVERYTHING. They have learned so much more than the kids who pay for their lessons, both in terms of general stable management and responsibility. They are dependable, kind, amazing kids and I don't think they would trade their experience for anything. They feed (and every single horse gets different grain - seriously - and there are probably 25 horses) they muck, they sweep, they get the barn ready for shows, they get the horses ready for shows, they can give shots, they blanket....pretty much anything that needs to get done. They get there every day after school and are responsible for afternoons and they are responsible for weekend. They get lessons on nice horses from a great trainer and can ride whenever they have time. Horses are really a lifestyle and if you need a 1:1 payback for what you put into it......you need to find a different hobby.

Canaqua
Mar. 22, 2011, 08:20 AM
Yeah, you aren't going to get an hour for hour payback...because the instructor's or barn owner's time is worth more than the teenager's in the horse industry. Everyone's hour of time is not worth the same and it depends on what you are doing. My pay rate at my regular job is far higher than my instructor's pay rate at her job. BUT, my time at the barn is not worth nearly as much as hers...so, if I were swapping barn work for lessons, I'd be lucky to get a 4/5 to one trade! My MBA and 20 years of IT experience aren't worth a thing in the barn!

merrygoround
Mar. 22, 2011, 08:30 AM
If I were the BO/trainer, I would pay you the going rate for the work you do. And expect you to pay me the going rate for a lesson.

That way there is no confusion. It is fair to both.

sanctuary
Mar. 22, 2011, 09:00 AM
Problem there merrygoround, is what about the lessons they learn while working? what about learning how to manage a bowed tendon, or drive a tractor, or how to turnout the bolter, etc? Am I supposed to charge for all that too? Otherwise, it's showup, here's your pitchfork, and let me know when you're done.

amberhill
Mar. 22, 2011, 09:21 AM
It's very hard to find working students that actually want to work and learn. In my experience, they come with unrealistic expectations and haven't worked a full day in their entire lives. Our children are growing up in a society of instantaneous gratification and aren't learning work ethics or life lessons. It's a shame. JMHO.

Trixie
Mar. 22, 2011, 09:24 AM
Even if the student can't afford lessons, is it fair? A teenager could easily find a less labor-intensive job thats pays the same, if not, better. So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?

Definitely fair - when I was a kid I worked 8 hours a day for a half hour practice ride IF there was a horse available. IF. It paid off in spades because now people have given me horses to ride without me having to pay for the privilege.

But if you can find a less labor intensive job that pays $10-12 an hour "easily" and you feel you're being "taken advantage of" - go for it. I sort of doubt you will (there's very little I'd pay a teen $10-12 an hour for on any kind of consistent basis) - and I definitely doubt it'd be as fun or valuable over the long run as barn work is.

findeight
Mar. 22, 2011, 09:56 AM
For the OP, do you actually have this position lined up or are you speculating you can get it??? Is it with your trainer or are you anticipating one you are not currently working with has a spot for you? Can you drive yourself are are you dependent on a parent who may have conflicts and not get you there?

Reason for asking is it's an awfully big assumption a barn would need you only 4 or 5 hours a week (at your convenience and when you can arrange transportation) in exchange for a lesson. Most barns need their working students around 20 hours a week or it is not worth it to them. And they don't need them early evenings and/or half a single weekend day.

Finding an off the books (and possibly uninsured) set up as a minor swapping work for saddle time is getting harder to find every year and there are probably 100 looking for 10 positions-and those 100 have reliable transportation and availability for far more then the 4 or 5 hours asked about originally.

So, no I don't think working 4 or 5 hours a week for a lesson would be fair at all. To the barn.

ponies123
Mar. 22, 2011, 10:08 AM
Plus, in this economy I'd bet there are plenty of adults with diplomas and degrees who are looking for that same $10-15 per hour job because any job is so hard to come by, much less that pays one that much over minimum wage. So no, I don't think a teen could "easily" find one that pays that and would hire a teen (who can probably only work 4-9 during the week and on weekends - and then when would you ride) over an adult.

Florent
Mar. 22, 2011, 11:21 AM
Think about the following....

When people want to learn, they go to college. It will cost YOU at least $10k a year... :D
My point: if you are really learning something (maybe simply what working means), you owe the barn. If you get free lessons...you are super lucky.

FYI. In my current barn, for 10 hours of work, you get a 30 minutes riding lesson. To be totally honest, the work is rarely mucking, it usually is cleaning, helping... Still a very good deal in my opinion.

red mares
Mar. 22, 2011, 12:56 PM
You're going to get lessons??!!!

Another "When I was kid..."

I cleaned 15 stalls, daily for $25/week in the early 90's, and it was pro-rated, if I couldn't make it one day, I was docked $5. And had to clean 2X the manure the next day. Didn't matter if it took me 2 hours or 4 hours, same rate.

Did I mention that these horses were basically stalled 24-7, including while I was cleaning stalls?

Occaisonally I got to ride, IF I could figure out which saddle and bridle went to with one of the 4 horses of 15 that were broke, since there was no one else in the barn.

It was a great summer and if nothing else has given me the opportunity to say "When I was a kid, I shoveled S**t for $100/month! and you think you have it bad?" That's priceless.

Just becareful if your potential barn owner is a cheap old German.

December
Mar. 22, 2011, 01:58 PM
I'll chime in too! I worked as a racetrack groom as my summer job for many years while in school (in the 80's). The work was 6am-5pm seven days a week for the whole summer. No days off. Ever. For four months in a row. Got what worked out to about $2-3/hour, depending if we had race days (longer hours).
Most work involving horses is not a good way to make money...
On the bright side, I always lost the 10 pounds that I would gain during the school year!

justathought
Mar. 22, 2011, 03:31 PM
It's very hard to find working students that actually want to work and learn. In my experience, they come with unrealistic expectations and haven't worked a full day in their entire lives. Our children are growing up in a society of instantaneous gratification and aren't learning work ethics or life lessons. It's a shame. JMHO.

Been trying to avoid this thread....

IME there are plenty of WS with the dedication, work ethic, and skills to work a full day - it may be a bit hard to find them, but they are out there.

IME there are good matches and bad matches on both sides. IME sometimes its the barn or trainer that end up on the short stick because the WS does not want to work, but just as often, its the WS who ends up not receiving the value in exchange for their efforts. Too often, I have seen dedicated WS give 12 plus hour days, 6 or 7 days a week, only to find that there is not time for their lessons, or horses for them to ride.

In the situations that work, the expectations for work are clear and the benefits received by the WS are equally clear.

foreverdreaming
Mar. 22, 2011, 03:54 PM
Thanks for the replies!
I asked this question because I have a friend in this situation. Shes lucky enough to recieve a lesson in exchange for work around the barn. She feeds, mucks stalls, etc, and in addition has a mom who is a horse person. It drives me crazy when she complains about the amount of work she has to do. :no:

I personally value every second learning about horses (including the time not in the saddle), and I wish my parents had the time to regularly drive me 30+ minutes to the barn and I wish they were more understanding of my passion.

btw, in my neighborhood $10+ /hour is the norm for babysitting. That's why her complaining drives me crazy. If she isn't up to working hard and spending time in the barn, she could easily babysit for a few neighbors (I babysit on weekends, and volunteer at the barn on the rare occasions that my parents have time to drive me). Or she could walk to the shopping center down the road and get a job there. :mad:

Trevelyan96
Mar. 22, 2011, 03:54 PM
my 22 year old DD is mucking stalls and other barn work for the privilege of excercising 2 retired GP horses and 1 lesson a week while she waits for her 'real' job after graduatiing from college almost a year ago.

She considers the experience to be worth every minute and is using a lot of what she is learning to bring her own greenie along.

rivenoak
Mar. 22, 2011, 06:23 PM
How does one afford to be a parent these days and still enjoy some time away from the kids?

Some of us don't!

I fall somewhere in between the ideas of kids shouldn't get paid for helping with barnwork & kids getting exploited because they aren't paid. Maybe there is a distinction in my mind between "helping once in a while" = not paid, maybe a lesson once in a while, and "being scheduled to work" = should be paid, whether with a paycheck or lesson.

I think a situation is fair if both parties think it is and it's in writing. What came to mind was also having something signed off on daily/weekly/etc as to how time has been worked, to be redeemed at the time of the lesson.

I have worked in barns for a paycheck. I've been known to help out in barns for no paycheck, but have appreciated the consideration shown by extra rides, lessons, etc. But, I'm clear in my own mind on what I consider helping as a favor and what qualifies as being something that's turning into a job. And I wouldn't have trouble pointing out if situation 1 slid into situation 2.

poetaperegrinus
Mar. 22, 2011, 06:57 PM
It's very hard to find working students that actually want to work and learn. In my experience, they come with unrealistic expectations and haven't worked a full day in their entire lives. Our children are growing up in a society of instantaneous gratification and aren't learning work ethics or life lessons. It's a shame. JMHO.

I just wanted to chime in on this point. I think it's very easy to blame teens for this situation when it isn't really their fault. As a society we shunt teens away from the real world more and more. Even if they want to work, labour laws handicap employers & litigation fears make volunteer work hard to find. Yes, they need more guidance & supervision than adults. But no-one majically becomes responsible when they turn 18. They become responsible because they have been fed responsibility, in small bites, because adults invested in them–offered them opportunities & helped them, thru feedback & modeling, to grow. If you treat people as useless and irresponsible they will be useless and irresponsible. And that is, by and large, how we treat teens. We have nothing to be surprised about.

In the end: If you can't handle a greenie, get one thats already going nicely. Some find the greenies rewarding, some prefer to shell out a little more to have the hard work done for them.

:)

findeight
Mar. 22, 2011, 07:10 PM
Say what? This has nothing to do with a blanket generality of how we treat teens and everything to do with simple economics-that being 4 hours of work at $10 an hour is not going to pay for a $60 group lesson, add $20 or so for use of a school horse if they don't own or lease. That is IF they are successful in arranging that when 100 others are trying to do the same.

There are 3 long standing entry level barns around here that allow trading student labor for lessons and/or board offsets. Two went belly up when they could not meet expenses last year, the third is struggling with drastically increased property taxes in a financially failing rural school district and will likely soon follow, already running way short on scholl horses. Two other AA barns offering lesson programs have "merged" to survive.

Student labor in exchange for lessons does not generate cash for increased operating expenses and can mean increased liability costs.

It is NOT age specific discrimination to require more age and availability.

mademoiselle
Mar. 23, 2011, 08:08 AM
I think it is fair if the BO/trainer really takes the time to teach horse management to the student.

I have a similar arrangement at my farm now. I have 2 teenagers that work for me. I pay them $15/day - for gas and misc- and the rest is paid in lessons.

One girl started with me in November, she didn't know how to really tack up, she couldn't post the trot let alone canter (after 2 years of lessons at different barns), she was timid.

Today she tacks up, she can wrap anything, she is confident around young horses and stallions. She jumping 2'3, has done a schooling show on a 30k sale horse, she can longe horses, cool down anything. She knows the types of hay, basic vet care, you name it.

She works very, very hard for me. And she gets rewarded. I got her half chaps, saddle pads, grooming box, shirts, gloves, show clothes ...

The other girl just started and already she has learned more in a couple of days with me than in years of 'real paying jobs' and lessons elsewhere.

:yes:

Canaqua
Mar. 23, 2011, 08:46 AM
I just wanted to chime in on this point. I think it's very easy to blame teens for this situation when it isn't really their fault. As a society we shunt teens away from the real world more and more. Even if they want to work, labour laws handicap employers & litigation fears make volunteer work hard to find. Yes, they need more guidance & supervision than adults. But no-one majically becomes responsible when they turn 18. They become responsible because they have been fed responsibility, in small bites, because adults invested in them–offered them opportunities & helped them, thru feedback & modeling, to grow. If you treat people as useless and irresponsible they will be useless and irresponsible. And that is, by and large, how we treat teens. We have nothing to be surprised about.
:)

There are formal programs to address this problem. Back in dinosaur days (1970s), when I was a teen, I joined a Boy Scouts of America subsidiary called "Explorers", it was for kids 14-20 and allowed girls. It was workplace based and had posts focused on all kinds of careers. I joined a post based at a local veterinary clinic when I was 14. There were adult volunteers, in addition to the veterinary practice staff, who supervised us. We got training in various skills. Within a few months, I was "working" (for free) their weekly heartworm clinic, holding dogs for the blood draws, spinning the blood in the centrifuge, cleaning up nervous dog accidents, etc... Then I graduated to helping in the wards on the weekends. I also got to watch surgery and was eventually able to draw blood and start IVs myself. By the time I was 16, I could run the wards alone all day, including giving all meds, on Sundays when the practice was closed and got paid minimum wage for it. Very valuable experience and I worked there on vacations all the way through college. I was also able to parlay that experience, plus my personal horse experience, into some unpaid internships with an equine vet at the track, very interesting!

This program still exists, but it's more divorced from the BSA and is now called "Learning for Life" and extends to even younger kids.

When I worked at a large university, they had a program run jointly with the local housing authority, we'd get assigned kids from the projects who wanted work experience...often sent by their guidance counselors because they showed promise but were lacking in adult supervision and role models. We supervised them, taught them office and computer skills, became their friends and helped them arrive at mature ways to handle personal problems...it was great, very rewarding for everyone and some of the kids stayed on and got real jobs there after high school.

There ARE ways to get teens work experience and opportunities for responsibility, but you have to look for it and they won't always be paid well...but it will pay off later.

mvp
Mar. 23, 2011, 09:53 AM
Just stopping by for a quick rant.....



btw, in my neighborhood $10+ /hour is the norm for babysitting. That's why her complaining drives me crazy. If she isn't up to working hard and spending time in the barn, she could easily babysit for a few neighbors (I babysit on weekends, and volunteer at the barn on the rare occasions that my parents have time to drive me). Or she could walk to the shopping center down the road and get a job there. :mad:

I think the talk about "fair pay for teenagers" is way, way misguided. I also think it comes from parents who think and talk a lot about money, worried their kids won't grow up to make a lot of it, yada yada. On the other hand, unpaid internships are now a standard part of the undergrad experience.

So let me get this straight: You want to have the high schooler negotiate hard for a good wage from a horse trainer.... but you'll willingly help NBC or Dupont Chemical or whoever make their bottom line by having your college student work for free? And then you're bummed out that a BA/BS isn't enough qualification to get a Good Job? Well, that's because you just assented to making entry-level jobs non-paying propositions.

leilatigress
Mar. 23, 2011, 10:15 AM
I started riding for money when I was 10. I never ever worked for lessons but I did work for experience & knowledge. As a teen I had a full time job, still rode for money. My parents were of the if you can get paid to ride do it. If you want to hang out at the barn and learn from the trainer do it. 5 stalls(complete clean with shaving) = 2 hours of time on the show horses sans trainer. If I wanted the trainer I had to pay for the trainer. If she/he wanted me to clean anything or tack anything it was $5 an hour. When I finally did go the working student route it was the same thing. We earned $5 an hour for whatever task the trainer was asking us to do not on a horse and her rate was $60/hour to ride with her. When we earned $60 we got a lesson. Shows were she paid the entry fees and provided the horses and we still paid her for the coaching that day.

kateh
Mar. 23, 2011, 10:32 AM
Many college students take on internships during school breaks (or if possible during school) WHY - to learn about the business they wish to pursue. Some of the internships are paid, some are not paid, some may earn them college credits, others will not.. but the bottom line is what they gain in knowledge and experience from their internships will hopefully give them a good edge when they hit the job market.



Good point. I just accepted a year long unpaid internship that was highly competitive. My roommate complained that I've gotten 3 offers when she hasn't gotten any. I pointed out to her that I'm willing to work for room and board to get the experience I'll need down the road.

OP I was in your shoes. I would have loved to work at the barn as a teenager, but in my case my parents kind of disapproved of the whole horse thing. I have friends that did the WS route and I am soo jealous of how much they know that I don't. Once I get my real job I'm thinking of offering to muck stalls in exchange for "stable management" lessons!

hntrjmprpro45
Mar. 23, 2011, 10:46 AM
I love hearing people say "I could get paid more elsewhere". If you can get paid more in another job then do it and just pay for lessons with the money from that job! It's that easy.

Couture TB
Mar. 23, 2011, 10:59 AM
From your experience, do you think working in exchange for riding lessons is a fair arrangment? I know that many teenagers, like myself want experience around the barn. But, for the amount of work put in (around 4-5+ hrs of intense hands on barn chores) is an hour-long lesson (worth $40-60) fair exchange?

Even if the student can't afford lessons, is it fair? A teenager could easily find a less labor-intensive job thats pays the same, if not, better. So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?

So at first you say you want experience working around the stable and then you say it is easier to find a less labor intensive job?! This is why most kids can not cut it as working students. I did my first ws stint as a 15yr. We worked from 5am to 9pm with a 30min at the most meal brakes. We cleaned stalls, tacked horses up, cleaned tack everyday, re groomed every horse at night, scrubed the barn aisles, picked pastures, set jumps, exercised horses, and the list goes on and on and on. While I was there 2 of the other WS quit and a couple got sent home.

Why should I as a trainer pay you as the teenager who has no experience around the stable to work for me? I would have to teach you everything, clean up behind you for awhile, and honestly it would add more hours to my day and make it harder on my job to be teaching you these things, and you think you should be paid?! :lol:

Now if I had a very eager student who wished to work off her lessons and learn stuff around the stable that is different. If you work your butt off for me, and it will be long hard hours, I will teach you how to be a horsemen / horsewoman not just a rider. But then again that is the difference between what the horse industry seems to have become. We use to produce horsemen and horsewomen , now we produce just riders and most of those feel they are entitled to everything in the world.

Rant over. Going to finish my yougurt and go back to work.

ponyjumper525
Mar. 23, 2011, 03:46 PM
You will realize as you gain more maturity, there is more to compensation than cash.

Ditto!

SnicklefritzG
Mar. 23, 2011, 07:54 PM
Here are a couple of questions I would have for you up front:
1) Are you interested in pursuing riding very seriously/competitively?
2) Are you thinking of going into the equestrian industry at some point?
3) Will you be applying to college soon and needing to think about your applications?


If you are relatively young, not in high school yet and can do a variety of interesting jobs at the farm, then it might be worth it. However, if it's just mucking stalls in exchange for lessons, then I would say look for a job somewhere else. That is, unless you think there may be an opportunity to gain responsibility down the road in that job.

If you are in high school, you may need to think seriously about how much the horsey job means to you vs. getting into the college of your choice. If you want to go to a fairly competitive place, then you may need to find jobs that more closely match the tasks that the school might find valuable or that would serve you well in your first job out of school. If you are lucky, then you can have your cake and it eat too. However, in a tough economy, I'd take whatever job is going to provide the most experience that will help you down the road.

If you do decide to work for lessons, make sure the expectations are very clear and get them in writing if possible. Misunderstandings can lead to a lot of problems.