View Full Version : Trading cleaning 15 stalls on sat and sun for rent?

Apr. 2, 2011, 05:46 PM
I have a 60+ hr full-time job and am asked to speak & do educational events several times a year at other facilities. Problem is I don't make much money. I also have a great equestrain resume but haven't been in the horses since 2004 becasue of the shortage of funds. I've done LOTS of stalls in my life, at home and on the road. I've ridden or taken care of hunter/jumpers, fox hunters, dressage horses, eventers. and polo ponies. There's not much with the horses or around the farm I can't do or haven't done. I have a chance to trade weekend stalls, feed, turn out-in for an appartment and utilities. Getting out from under these monthly commitments would allow me to save and pay off some long lingering debts. The farm would cut my work commute in half. I am 54 yo.

I've never done that many stalls by myself. I'm wondering how long I might figure into my day to do the 15 stall with a tractor? I'd like not to have to give up Church and a few other weekend activities. But I also don't want to start at 5am. Thoughts.

Apr. 2, 2011, 05:53 PM
Whether its worth the money is something you are going to have to decide. That is likely to take the better part of the day to do the job right. Just walking 15 horses in and out can take an hour depending upon where they are going. Straw stalls take longer so bedding factors in as well.

Apr. 2, 2011, 06:03 PM
Fifteen stalls done well would take me probably 3+ hours, assuming the dumping is close by and no horses are utter slobs. See what kind of setuP they have and what sort of equipment before you decide. The wrong tools can make that many stalls a nightmare. Specifically the dumping arrangement--everyone can find a pitchfork they like. :)

It's great exercise, and you can certainly pray while you muck. Depending on your belief system, of course, the deity most commonly referenced when one says "church" has a distinct affinity for stables. ;) It's also a great chance to listen to audiobooks.

I'dbe wanting to know if you get ANY weekends off, however. Never having a day all tooneselfcan get very tiresome.

Apr. 2, 2011, 06:07 PM
I do ten stalls on Saturdays and Sundays and do turn-out/in for that many horses as well. It takes me roughly three hours when I work alone and about two hours when my husband helps.

Apr. 2, 2011, 06:32 PM
i do 13 stalls by myself in three hours. one barn has a very easy and close by dump pile, the other two barns require a much longer and harder wheelbarrow journey to dump. all in all the set-up of where the stalls are in relationship to the dump pile is a huge factor, as is the access to fresh shavings, and whatever else you'll need.
sounds like a decent gig, if the apt is what you want and if you get weekend off here and there.
good luck, sounds like you work very ahrd already.

Apr. 2, 2011, 06:37 PM
I had 10 horses and it took a good 3.5 hours to clean stalls, refresh shavings, and empty water buckets.
I like 'clean' stalls so maybe more attention to detail than most barns.
best to you.

Apr. 2, 2011, 06:39 PM
I have about 20 stalls and a manure spreader I can pull in the barn. Turnout is set up easy. I can haul butt and it still takes me over 4 hours. And I am 51 (holy crap, how did that happen?). I honestly don't do it much by myself.
Check the set up, but it does sound like a deal that could work for you.
Good luck.

Apr. 2, 2011, 07:18 PM
it takes me 1.5 hours to do 14 with a wheelbarrow though the maure pile is not too far from the barn. The shavings pile is also right next to the barn. That includes doing water buckets and feed. However, that also depends on how long the horses are IN the stalls...if they are out all day or in most of it.....which will significantly affect the poop levels! Ours are turned out 12 hours a day. The night feed part here would add another 30 minutes. That would not include any blanketing/unblanketing (we only have one that needs it) or sweeping ( we only do it on the weekends since we also have dayjobs).

Apr. 2, 2011, 07:20 PM
I would offer to work 2 weekends/ stay at the apt before making any decisions.

I would insist the entire job have written full description.

I would ask for some kind of contract --- if they fire you, you are out of work out of a home, on the street that instant! (people will be people, you know> my barn/my rules)

15 stalls a day, turn out, night feed is a LOT of work.
Does this include scrubbing feed and water buckets? filling outside water troughs? hay bags? washing off poultice? bandages? blanketing? halters on/off & hung? Washing off muddy feet? muddy horses? Sweeping the entire barn? raking the outside?

Even if they paid you $150/day-300wknd-$1200 plus utilities, perhaps you could just offer a fair market price for the apt and skip the work? :D or get paid fairly for the work and skip the apt.

Apr. 2, 2011, 08:14 PM
It's great exercise, and you can certainly pray while you muck.

Love it! :D

Apr. 2, 2011, 09:57 PM
I am very big on multi-tasking. ;)

Apr. 2, 2011, 10:02 PM
I wonder if they would hire you to do more of the horse-centric chores on weekends (turnout, feed, groom, etc.) and let you "subcontract" the stall cleaning part? For a little over minimum wage or the cost of day labor you could probably hire someone to do 5-6 hours of pure mucking per weekend, pay them out of your pocket and still have a good deal going. Of course the owner would have to agree, but as you seem pretty overqualified for a mucking-out job, maybe what you could offer as your exchange for the apartment is a little more quality horse care like bathing, clipping, pulling manes, cleaning tack, etc., not to mention being there and looking in on the horses daily.

Not quite as brutal and physically draining, and you could do a little bit of the general horse care here and there rather than committing your whole weekend to just mucking.

Just thinking outside the box a little. :)

Apr. 3, 2011, 12:36 AM
Wonderful! feedback and suggestions. Thanks to all. I'm going to see the place and find out more tomorrow after church. I now have some better idea of what to ask and ask for. I'll let you all know and might have more questions.

Deltawave, I love your idea about mucking and praying and books on tape. I'm a religious professional--hospital chaplain--so thought I don't have to go to church on Sunday it's kind of expected of me. I also like church, teach a bit, lead worship occasionally, and have friends there I like to see.

Thanks to all again.

Apr. 3, 2011, 07:49 AM
I'd guess 3 hours for me to do 15 stalls and all the fixin's if I was very efficient.

So this means 12 hours of work per month for housing and utilities? That is NOT bad if you think about how many hours your Average Joe works to pay of the same.

In the 1950s, there used to be a general chart/idea that said you should not spend more than 25% (or so) of your take home pay on housing. I keep that number in mind. Most people can't/don't do that any more. But in the 1950s, the number was meant to tell you when you were making a mistake in choosing "too much house."

That's why I "do the math" on your situation this way. If you can do something you like, live in a pretty place, not commute, live AND pay down some debt-- man, you are way ahead of the game.

Apr. 3, 2011, 08:15 AM
I do 15 stalls, rake aisle, scrub and fill buckets in 2 hrs. BUT I do the stalls every day of the week. I would think it would depend on who is cleaning the stalls during the week as to how hard they will be on the weekends.

We have mats, manure pile is close to the barn and on days I add shavings I haul them late in the evening the night before (we use bags). Everything is done for efficiency, water buckets are on the outside of the stalls and we have hay bunkers.

Cleaning stalls is my favorite part of the day, no one else hangs around when there is work and its very peaceful!

Apr. 3, 2011, 09:00 AM
I'd ask to maybe cut out turn-in, if possible. Depends on how much of a social life you want, to be honest, but it's a thought. This will eat mornings and evenings for the most part.

I used to clean 21 stalls in two hours, but I was a demon. And these were CLEAN stalls when I was done. The feeding and everything took longer, because of inside and outside horses. Are there only 15 horses? If that's the case, I'd take it in a heartbeat. Three hours in the morning, 30 minutes at night, done.

Apr. 3, 2011, 09:20 AM
Do a trial run.
In other words, do stalls one weekend to see how long it takes.
Do turnout, etc ...everything expected of you.

then it will determine how long it will take you.

I have 2 young woman who help me. It takes each of us different times to do the job.
One of us it takes 3.5 hours, another 4 hours, and another 4.5 hours for 10 horses. we all end up with the same amount of 'clean', just takes us different times. I also have had people who take 5 hours to do this regularly.
Stalls are cleaned every day, a half bag of shavings at least put in every day.

Just cleaning stalls takes less time, the emptying of water buckets, adding shavings all add time.

Good luck to you.

Apr. 3, 2011, 06:59 PM
I want to thank everyone, once again for the truly great! advice and suggestions. I went to the farm today, met the owner, saw the job, and the apt. The owner is truly a lovely lady who was quite willing to have the stalls cleaned after church as long a feed, water and turnout was started by 8. So, church concern was no concern. The customers seem like pleasure riders, the horses seem kind and cute and very well suited to their jobs. It was very much a part of the industry I've not experienced before. I have no doubt that on my worst day, I'd exceed expectations. Sadly, the apt was very, very small and quite dirty. I got tearful when I saw it. The owner said she hadn't been in it and would try to see that it was cleaned and call me next weekend. She seemed so very nice and like she truly cared for and understood her horses. Sigh.... Thanks to all again.

Apr. 3, 2011, 07:22 PM
You sound like a very conscientous person. Just be careful you are not going to end up being the evening check person, the 7 nights a week waterer, the fill-in person for everyone else etc.

Apr. 4, 2011, 09:44 AM
You could stipulate a professional cleaning and upgrading appliances as needed in the apartment, I'll bet.

Being "very nice" is an asset, but not a replacement for a good contract and professionalism. :) Remember SHE is looking for help and you do hold most of the cards here.

Apr. 4, 2011, 11:19 PM
Deltawave and some of the rest of you need to come and live in my head for awhile. I need to think more like you all.

Please know that: "It was very much a part of the industry I've not experienced before. I have no doubt that on my worst day, I'd exceed expectations," is me being very generous and taking tact to a level I didn't know I had in me.

I've been very fortunate to be associated with folks who are GM trained and run GM-like programs. When I've run my own program, I've done my best to follow the standard as the situations and finances have allowed. Given the high quality of hay and grain, and the happy and well fleshed horses at this farm vis-a-vis the serious maitenance, cleanup and general farm management issues present, I think money is a big problem with this situation....

I think she truly needs some single young man, who dosen't care much about the physical environment of the farm and the apt and can do a good-enough job for her.... I'm quite sad. It seemed like a great way for me to get a head financially and I really like the owner, we found we had mutal friends... :(

I'll keep looking and networking to see if there are other opportunities like it out there.

Thanks to all again.

Apr. 5, 2011, 09:52 AM
Deltawave and some of the rest of you need to come and live in my head for awhile

Oooh, if you're a chaplain-type person, you wouldn't like it in here much. ;) :) :D

Apr. 5, 2011, 01:08 PM
Oooh, Deltawave, I bet I'd thoroughly enjoy myself. ;) Thanks again for all the good counsel. :)

Fairview Horse Center
Apr. 5, 2011, 01:31 PM
I would offer to work 2 weekends/ stay at the apt before making any decisions.

I would insist the entire job have written full description.

Definitely do a trial day. Small differences in properties can make a huge difference in time. I can clean my 29 sawdust stalls in about 3 hours in the winter (day turnout), 2 hours in the summer (night turnout). If the horses were in longer hours, or it was shavings/straw instead of sawdust, it would add hours to my day. When my sawdust guy delivers different types of wood, it can change how easy the stalls are.

I have also worked a barn that kept adding a few things here and there, just 5 more minutes, "a tackrom sweep, wash rack cleaning, oh, and by the way, we want to keep them off the new grass for more hours for the next few months, so can you bring them back in when done the stalls? and throw them some hay while you are at it? Can you pick their feet when you bring them in?" It kept adding, and adding over the months.

See if it may be possible for you to pay a college girl or one of the boarders to substitute for you on an occasional weekend.

As for the apartment, once it is cleaned, maybe fresh paint? possibly they would be willing to add some things to maximize space. My apartment is also quite small, and adding shelving and cabinets above my desk, dresser, etc has really helped. Look for double duty stuff. I have a lovely steamer trunk that will duble as a coffee table, while storing extra bedding. We also have a stacking washer/dryer. There may also be a space somewhere for you to be able to store things that don't need to be in your home, using all the time - holiday decorations, luggage, etc.

Apr. 5, 2011, 09:10 PM
How small was small? Was it more like a studio? You don't think that once you got in there you might quite enjoy small?

My husband, 4 yo daughter and I have lived very comfortably in a < 1,000 sq ft apartment above the barn for the last 2 years. The thing is that most of our time is spent outside, as I imagine yours would be (?) so the size of the apartment became less relevant.

I agree- maybe they could clean and paint?

Apr. 5, 2011, 09:17 PM
I agree with Kate66 about the space...I moved from a 5-bedroom house to a tiny little glorified studio apartment and I love it!

However, from my experience if things are dirty and not maintained when you move in, you can't count on that changing. If you could overlook the lack of maintenance around the farm and were successful in advocating some changes to the living space, that would be one thing. However, just moving in and hoping to change things is not a good idea, especially with a work schedule like you have.

I think you made the right call, as disappointing as it is. I hope you will find another situation like this that will be perfect for you. :)

Apr. 5, 2011, 11:39 PM
Small is small. There were two 10X10 rooms a 10 X 14 Nasty-dirty kitchen and a nasty-dirty bathroom that seems like it was slavaged from a small plane. And all of it was paneled in sticky dark wood. Really, if I could think of a way to make this work, I'd try. Sadly, I think the very nice owner simply could not afford to make it liveable. I truly hope the right person walks through her door. You all have been so encouraging and helpful. Thanks, agan.