I would totally do this for you but  NO TEXAS. Sorry Twisty.
I'll be your horse girl :D Where is Cottonmouth county??
I was a horse girl from age 14-20... but college was problematic and people would hire someone while I was away for school and not need me anymore.
But seriously, what someone said about paying horse crazy girls in horses and responsibility was totally true. When I was 14 I started working on my first farm. I didn't get paid. I was *supposed* to be given lessons but I never got them (the BO always had some excuse for why we couldn't ride or why she couldn't give us a lesson that day). But I still stuck around for 1.5 years because I loved it. Was I used? Heck yeah. I worked 5 days a week during the school year and lived there in the summer (only going home once a week, if that). But, despite never getting the promised lessons, I loved it.
I miss working on farms and would love to get back into it. I've just been unable to find one near my school...
So, if you are looking for an awesome horse girl near Oxford, MS, please feel free to let me know :winkgrin:
I was (am?) a horse girl. I worked in exchange for riding, and because I wanted to. I don't do what I do for money (money!? That's laughable). I am a fairly lucrative horse girl because I am comfortable handling everything from weanlings to stallions, have a track background, can treat wounds, can identify colics, ect.
Right now, I get lessons in exchange for doing the barn where i board on Saturday. The work is worth more than the money, but like I said, I do it because I want to, not for the money.
Rude horses and taking advantage of your horse girl (Oh can you just do this? And this? And this?) are a sure way to piss off your horse girl.
ETA: Oh, and I'm doing the barn on Christmas morning to give my BMs a break. Just out of the kindness of my heart. How's that for service? :p
Oh heck, handing over the keys? That never even occurred to me. I'd be grateful just to find someone who could weigh out 10 pounds of hay, check to see if their eyeballs were bleeding, and/or not steal my saddle. Such a horse girl could practically write her own ticket up in this mug.
Originally Posted by Fred
I have a friend who has had several horse girls, some better than others, but none last forever (go off to college, move, etc.). I think word of mouth is the way she found them, whether through a local trainer, vet, feed store, etc. It is a pretty good gig, as they do minimal mucking (just pick stalls, as a regular guy does the full cleaning, arena maintenance, etc.), feed, water, groom, and ride, for $10/hr. A teenager getting PAID to ride?! I would have killed for such a job at that age. And done the riding part for free!
I would love to find a helper for me, but with just 3 horses here, can't really justify it. Actually, what I REALLY want is someone to do the household stuff (clean, cook, shop...), as I don't mind the horse work and it would free me up for more horse time. So instead of a horse girl, I need a house boy (or girl)!
I was so amused by your post. I can so totally relate. I can't afford a Horse Girl. Or even a Horse Guy. I can't get my husband to fill in and give me a morning to sleep in. I'm about ready to jump off a bridge. I am also turning into a haggard horse owner with no presentable wardrobe. At the mall the other day I was wearing muck covered muck boots and a dirty barn jacket, and kept wanting to explain to onlookers the reason for my unsightly appearance. Except that there was no reason. Just fatigue and that I no longer care.
Or "forgetting" to pay them after dogsitting, housesitting, and farmsitting (not in the same location!) while BO were on a vacation to a warm climate. A week of -40 meant that I should been at least given a bottle of wine or something! ;)
Originally Posted by Preposterous Ponies!
Any area lesson barns where you can see if you can borrow an older barn rat?
I suppose the problems with being in the sticks is that your pickings are not quite there.
Well, i live in TX & I have a college student that helps me out and is my backup. She is awesome. She is reliable, trustworthy, and has owned horses all her life. I pay her as much as I can afford to and try to tip whenever I can. I got her name from another BO who was downsizing & had too many employees. I would ask all your horse contacts, vet, farrier, feed store owner, etc., but also put the word out to your friends, neighbors, and fellow horse people. Someone will know someone who needs work. Good luck to you.
It has been my experience that there can be great variability among Horse Girls. Some of them are wonderful, others not so much. It does require "kissing some frogs" before you find the princess of your Horse Girl dreams. And when you do, all efforts should be made to retain said Horse Girl. Do not be above groveling, crying, renting your clothing, or fainting in order to maintain the Horse Girl. Always carry cash so that a quick tip is handy.
But since Crone is in the acquistion stage, she has a different problem. I would consider an import. You may not be able to get a fancy one like Fred did, but Texas does have plenty of imported labor from your southern neighbor. Although I have never been so lucky as to snag one myself, I know several happy farms that employee imports. There is also the bonus of getting to practice a foreign language.
A domestic Horse Girl will require a more thorough vetting IMO. Specifically you need to know about the Horse Girl's romantic life and type of cell phone. Now why is that important? It has been my experience that a fair percentage of domestic Horse Girls, perhaps because they are younger, have rather dramatic love lives. This can be a problem for reliability and timeliness. Not always, but is you can find a Horse Girl who is a nun, don't hestitate to hire her. The cell phone is important because the smarter the phone, the more likely the Horse Girl will be on it. While some Horse Girls are excellent at multi-tasking, others have a hard time texting and mucking. I look for the ones who keep their phone in their car versus behaving like Pavlov's dog whenever the phone beeps.
Good luck Crone! Remember, those lip warts will disappear over time and leave minimal scarring.
Dear Crone - do you have no neighbors?
I ask because in my 8yrs as a Crone (Midwest version) I have managed to acquire several sets of helpful neighbors - some horseless, some horseful.
Set #1 stalked me at a Meier - literally asking if I was the new neighbor at 9P. Turned out they live right across the road, and while totally non-horsy are easily educated and performed as farmsitters for several years.
We are still friendly, but I have moved on to paid help when I need to get off the farm.
Set #2 - also across the road (the other road) - started out by plowing my driveway unasked. They have ponies and son now helps me out by keeping my truck mobile (he drives it more than my 5mi to work & back 2X week) gas tank at a reasonable level.
They also hay my small acreage. In exchange for keeping the hay they cut I get property that looks civilized.
Bonus Points as they have driving ponies and son has promised to be my Crash Test Dummy when I attempt to find out if my pony can overcome the crash in his past.
I have gone through a series of HGs - first a "friend" w/horses who exchanged farmsitting chores with me until the time she bailed on me the night before I was to fly to CA the next morning. We are no longer friends.
After that a coworker who wanted to learn to ride and was fine at feeding 1X a day when I was gone - neighbor #1 did the 2nd feeding.
These were all freebie help.
Paid help included the HG who worked and lived at a nearby boarding barn. She was good for about 2 years, then moved away to go back to school.
After her another HG from my trainer's barn who worked out until she got a "real" job.
My current HG is really a Horse Guy - he works at the local feedstore which is minutes from my farm so it works out great.
I agree with asking your vet and farrier.
You might also talk to the peeps at your feedstore and ask if you can post an ad there.
Good luck in the hunt!
^^ :yes: the cell phone. I have had barn helpers who really do attempt to text and muck, or usually STOP mucking in order to maintain that constant contact with the outside world.
I'm wondering what could be so important?
I mean, they are not Hillary Clinton!
springer, I do understand, and can relate. But I think it is really important to change out of your filthy barn clothes into your 'good' barn clothes (because let's face it, they are ALL barn clothes, eventually).
Not because we care what others think, but because it gives us a bit of a lift to actually get cleaned up, put on some lipstick, and go spend some time with humans.
Crone, yes, 'the keys' and the code to the security system. :yes: I keep hoping to find someone I can trust with my most precious possessions - the horses - and all the other 'things'.
My horse-girl is only on a horse-sitting basis, or when I'm ill/hospitalized (happens often enough). She is paid $10 per visit. She has three ponies to feed/turnout/clean stalls/set up night feed (1/2 hr job). Then at night, its a 5 min job of bringing in and turning off the lights. So for $20/day, she makes out, IMO.
She also happens to drive right past my house every day for college so its on her way.
How I found her? Try the local college, see if they have an equestrian team. I knew this girl from the college I work for, and I'm the equestrian team's advisor. So I have a plethora of horse-girls to choose from. Plus, college kids are in that middle-ground "don't have time for a full time job, but broke as hell and need some cash" so they will work for a minimum, especially if your deal includes some free riding time. They're too old to be really incredibly stupid (like I find most high-school teens) and they're young enough that you don't have to pay them a living wage salary.
I'd love to come be your horse girl, but seriously, eff Texas! That's where my brother lives, and there's a reason I'm still in Illinois ;)
2DogsFarm said "do you not have neighbors?" Well, I realize it sounds astonishing, but I don't. Dreadful Acres is literally in the middle of nowhere. Aside from a giant state park, rich Texan absentee hobby ranchers own the majority of the land out here, so there's really nothing but cattle and mesquite (and on Fridays, RVs headed for the park) for miles. The closest house is a mile away and inhabited only on weekends by a townie lawyer. And, increasingly, by his trigger-happy teenage son who has automatic-weapon-target-practice parties on Saturday nights. It sounds like Beirut over there. My horses love that.
So yeah, the problem is that there isn't much of a local talent pool. The nearest settlement of any consequence is a half-hour drive, and its agrarian-type youths seem generally to be more of the goat/cattle persuasion.
Not that there's anything wrong with that!
My fancy sporthorse vet is too far away to be useful, so it hadn't occurred to me to check the local horse doctor, and the ropin' horse farriers workin this side of Austin, or even the local 4H. So thanks everyone for that idea.
Discipline bias rears ugly head, bites crone in ass. Alas.
To say "she makes out" kiiiiiiiinda reads to me like you feel you're doing her a favor. But depending on how you look at it, I'd say you're making out quite well too, particularly if your horse girl is conscientious, thorough, and reliable. I feel like $10 a visit is the bare MINIMUM anyone should pay for any amount of work. Truth be told, I think $10 should be the bare minimum for showing up --at least for horse girls with any experience and/or sense.
Originally Posted by spacytracy
I guess I feel like YOU'RE the one "making out" in the mornings (my employer has told me that she feels she would be taking advantage of me to ask me to "pick up a rake" [that's in addition to bringing in and feeding horses] for less than $15), but your horse girl perhaps is the one making out in the evenings (that doesn't sound quite right!:)).
You gotta find someone like me! :D I was a full-time, 100% horse girl in my carefree 20's. Got my start with Arabian halter horses and ended being the barn manager of a very nice barn that hosted the German Olympic team in '96. So I definitely know which end is which on a horse and can still pick a stall with the best of 'em. When reality settled in and I realized I needed a "real" job, I gave up the FT horse life and settled for a part-time one with just my own horses.
As I degenerated into my 30's and moved to a new area, I realized my skills were going to waste. So I put the word out for occasional, part-time horse sitting, and it has paid off. I can't be the only adult horse person on the face of the earth who is mature enough to chuck the cell phone to the side, actually be conscientious enough to pay attention to the horses, do some work just for the sake of making a little extra pocket money and helping save the sanity of similarly-afflicted horsepeople such as yourself. I think your best bet would be to check with your local feed store and go from there. That's what I did originally, before word of mouth began to extoll my fame.;)
Good luck, Ms. Crone!
Speaking of bias, that's not the first Texas diss I've read here. What's with the anti-Texas vitriol? It's sunny, the State Lege is a laff-riot, there's no annoying snow, and we have fabulous high-profile murders all the time. We produced Ann Richards and Molly Ivins. We've got beaches, mountains, deserts, swamps, pine forests, Austin, and three huge cities. The wine is starting to not suck.
Originally Posted by Mosey_2003
As it happens, Mosey, I've spent a lot of time in Illinois, north, south, and middle. If I were prone to pettiness -- which of course I'm not! -- I'd say the most captivating thing about the state is the giant ketchup bottle in Collinsville.
I hear you. I had plenty of barn kids and horse girls. Then I moved to Mid West. I have nice nice hunters to ride. A lot of good that does me in Western Country.... I even saddled up my fancy hunter in a western saddle. Her beautiful springy flowing trot is not condusive.... sigh. Wish I had me a barn kid... It is what I miss most about the East Coast.,
Well, given your circumstances/location, what about a horse boy? A local worker who works on one of the farms next door who wouldn't mind picking up some extra hours? Someone who can muck stalls, drive a tractor, fix fence, stack hay...
I've hired both types of workers, and not to be sexist I'll describe them as "farm workers" and "horse workers." Farm workers (men and women included here) know how to work. They know they gotta show up on time reliably or they are gonna lose the job. They get it that farm work means working no matter what the weather is. They don't shy away from tasks that involve machinery or heavy lifting. I have found farm workers to often be more patient and reliable around the horses--it's just a job and they aren't trying to prove that they are some "horse whisperer," they just want to get the work done. Farm workers are usually happy to do things your way.
"Horse workers" expect work to be enjoyable. If they have something more fun to do they won't show up. They don't know about fences and machinery. They will prefer that you do the work when the weather is bad. They will prefer that you do the work when it involves heavy lifting. When they handle your horses, they want to do it their way instead of your way. Sometimes they think they know a lot more about horses than they really do. Sometimes they are less patient with the horses because they take it as a personal reflection of their skill if a horse misbehaves, or they want to prove that they can make the the horse behave.
I have observed over the years that there are a lot fewer genuine Horse Girls or Horse Boys around. A lot of kids who have the financial resources to be involved with horses nowadays tend to be on the more pampered side. Young people in general do not often make good workers--they need a lot of supervision and they may not take suggestions for improvement well. Have an open mind as to who might be able to help you out!
"Horse girls" seem to find me with some regularity. I've usually got someone who wants to help me ride my horses. But out of the 3 or 4 kids I get volunteering each year, I am lucky if one of them is in it for the love of the horses and not because they want to ride (or show) my nice ones. Those girls (the ones who just want to ride) inevitably end up being ones who don't sweep, don't help clean stalls, and end up with me pulling my horses back from underneath them because I don't have time to clean up after them and I have no interest in giving them lessons on my horses (and there's no jumping my horses without my help).
My current girl was my next door neighbor who wanted to come ride my horses despite no real experience riding. I handed over my small pony and said "get him in shape," and she turned out to be the one who showed up every day, sweeps the barn as well as I do (maybe even better!) every. single. time. she. comes. She is totally responsible and reliable and I love her more than would be appropriate to share :lol: And she has never once implied that riding my pony is beneath her (the want-to-ride-your-horses kids can't ever be bothered with the pony).
I didn't pay her when she was coming out here mostly to ride. Her "payment" was in the form of getting to ride my pony and occasionally hop on one of my horses when I finished a ride, or do 5-10 minutes of basic work on a horse rehabbing from something.
But then she moved and doesn't have much time to ride right now (my pony thanks her for the winter off :)). But I need help when I travel and have hired her to watch my kids super early in the morning and get them off to school so that DH can still leave the house at 4am. And she comes out to hold horses for the farrier, vet, and anything else that needs to happen in the barn. She also feeds, cleans paddocks and stalls whenever she's able. I've basically given her a $15/hour rate for anything she does no matter how hard or easy, and tell her to round up to an hour any time she's here for less.
I think that is an absolute steal. She thinks it's a great deal.
So far it's worked out well for both of us. And did I mention that I LOOOOOVE her? I really do. She is truly "the protector of my sanity" :D