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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2006
    Posts
    536

    Default Christmas presents for barn guys

    I recently moved to a new barn that has three guys that basically take care of the horses/do feeding. Anyway, they all do a really great job, particularly the one guy who went out of his way to help my horse after a pretty nasty injury.

    My last barn had pretty crappy/creepy barn help so it wasn't ever much of an issue, but I'd like to know what the ettiquete is regarding giving gifts. I was thinking a nice card with cash? And if so, how much? Its been a while since I've been at a barn with good help...so...all help is appreciated.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2004
    Location
    Holland Twp., NJ
    Posts
    2,517

    Default

    Hmmm. Gift cards to Sears are always nice. Or food.
    Three guys, yeah, $20 or $25 a piece would be nice.
    I've given those refillable starbucks cards in the past too.
    Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2002
    Location
    Arlington, VA US
    Posts
    1,353

    Default

    always take the best care of these guys- you will be richly rewarded many times over during the year!!! Plus (as someone once who mucked for a living) the $$$ are really helpful for these jobs that don't pay alot.
    Appy Trails,
    Kathy & Cadet
    member CDCTA www.cdcta.com, TROT www.trot-md.org & Free State Appaloosa Horse Club freestateaphc.org



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 29, 2008
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    I always loved the thoughtful gifts boarders gave me, because it showed me that they loved me, but I'll be honest...cash was the best. Gift cards are great, warm socks are nice, but sometimes you really need to pay your phone bill. Given that they're barn workers, they probably make peanuts, so I can pretty much guarantee they'd love the cash.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2003
    Posts
    930

    Default

    Our barn collects cash contributions from the boarders, then distributes the money to our much appreciated, hard working barn help. Green is always a good color!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2008
    Location
    The beautiful midwest
    Posts
    807

    Default Green is good!

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbutnotdead View Post
    Our barn collects cash contributions from the boarders, then distributes the money to our much appreciated, hard working barn help. Green is always a good color!
    We do the same. Its always very well received!
    Lilykoi


    Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 29, 2008
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    funny story about doing that...

    our clients were supposed to kind of do things on their own, instead of taking a collection. Some people had tons of money to give, some had very little. So up comes one of the moms and hands me a few cards. one for me, one for the barn guy, two for the people who lived in the house. (Unfortunately, they were in the process of being removed from the property but it was so hush hush we couldn't say anything.) So the mom wants to know where to leave these cards. Told her that for me, Bob, and Joe, leave them in the desk b/c that's where we pick up our paychecks. Well for the last girl, who really wasn't even supposed to be working, but she managed the feeding since her boyfriend Joe couldn't handle it. So we taped hers to a supplement container in the feed room.

    Yay, we got $25 from the people who didn't have the most money in the barn. So we knew that was special because money was tight for them. Well, about this time the shizz hit the fan and Joe and Mrs. Joe got booted out. So I brought the cash that was in the feed room to my boss, and said, "what do you want to do with this?" At this point the money was in there because I looked. "I'll take it and give it back."
    several weeks later, the mom asks me what happened to the card. I said I gave it to boss lady. Mom asks boss lady, who gives her the card back. Guess what's missing?? Boss blames it on the people who she kicked out, who were gone before they knew they had cards. Therefore, Boss pocketed it. Boss: wealthy. No, WEALTHY. The mom: doing everything she can to give her daughter the best horse they can have. But look who keeps the cash.

    What did the uber-wealthy clients give us? The ones who tip me between $100-$200 per show? They gave us nothing. No, wait, I think one chick brought in a half dead poinsetta plant that her mom told her to throw away. Yeah.

    That's how the world works. Isn't it lovely? (Where's the barfing smilie?)



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2005
    Location
    Berryville, VA
    Posts
    467

    Default

    I always gave cash and cookies (now I'm the barn worker for the beasties.) Although one year TSC had carharts on sale and they call got a new pair of carharts. I know maybe not as handy as the cash but I guarantee they got worn and I think they were happy to stay warm.
    All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2007
    Posts
    9,131

    Default Money

    I agree with the posters who said to give money.

    My horses Cloudy and Callie, now just Cloudy since Callie is deceased, always give money.

    Can you imagine if all horse owners gave $20 or more to barn workers, and farriers and vets and BOs?

    I sometimes give wal-mart gift certificates to some people, oops, that is C&C always did and Cloudy does now.

    I always figured it was better than "cookies and candy", even homemade, cause you can add your special cookies to the $$ for gifts. Cloudy and Callie's philosophy was to let the recipient spend the money as he or she likes.

    Now with this economy so bad, it is even more important to give money or a gift cert. ==to a feed co. or Smartpak or Dovers, both of whom donate to rescues btw, and let the recipient buy whatever he or she needs. Like gas. Or food for themselves or their horses.

    If you give the gift from your horse(s) as I did, then the recipient must thank the horse. Very funny when you get someone who doesn't particularly like your horse(s). (Like one BO didn't like hot ottb mares and some ppl don't like imported warmbloods wearing shoes)



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2003
    Posts
    3,589

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Seven-up View Post
    funny story about doing that...

    What did the uber-wealthy clients give us? The ones who tip me between $100-$200 per show? They gave us nothing. No, wait, I think one chick brought in a half dead poinsetta plant that her mom told her to throw away. Yeah.

    That's how the world works. Isn't it lovely? (Where's the barfing smilie?)

    Sounds like your BO was a real meanie. However....if your clients were tipping you $100 - $200 per show, I think they were more than covering your Christmas tip during the year! I'll bet you rathered that than they tip you $20 per show and then give you $200 at Christmas!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2000
    Location
    NE TN, USA
    Posts
    6,201

    Default

    I'd go with the gift cards, especially given the economy. Just make sure the business that issues the card will still be viable after Christmas! Also watch for those that tack on "useage fees", devalue the card periodically, or set expiration dates.

    For years I've given the WalMart* cards and everyone says they appreciate them because you can get just about everything you want there at discounted prices!

    I know there's a lot of anti-Walmart propaganda being spread around, but hey, political agendas be damned -- money's tight these days!
    “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”
    John Adams



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2003
    Posts
    9,625

    Default

    Would anyone care to share how much cash they give/receice (or what amount they spend on gift cards)? A range would be helpful. This is the first time in a long time I've had a horse at a large barn with grooms, etc. and I've lost any semblance of the "normal" range. I know it depends a LOT on what people can afford, etc., etc... but knowing a range of what people give / receive will help me figure out an acceptable/generous amount for me.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2006
    Posts
    241

    Default

    We have three barn workers. These guys do a great job and go above and beyond their job requirements. (Pick feet twice a day, groomed when brought in from outside, wrap legs, put on bell boots, change sheets and blankets, give meds and supplements, put on and take off fly masks, clean tack, wash saddle pads and leg wraps, unload and clean out horse trailer and to many more things to mention.) Each guy is assigned 6 or 7 horses to take care of. The one who takes care of mine I am giving $150.00. The other two I am giving $50.00 a piece.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 29, 2008
    Posts
    3,059

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kate66 View Post
    Sounds like your BO was a real meanie. However....if your clients were tipping you $100 - $200 per show, I think they were more than covering your Christmas tip during the year! I'll bet you rathered that than they tip you $20 per show and then give you $200 at Christmas!
    Yeah, the boss was a real piece of work.

    But anyway, what was funny was what I appreciated more was the $25 from the person who only gave what they could afford than the people who just nonchalantly handed me a hundred dollar bill. It really didn't mean anything to them. The girls who scraped together 20 bucks or so did it because they loved me. And they regularly tipped me, even though it was less than everyone else. The ones who gave me big money were real spotty. They expected that they owned me at every show, and that I should give others 2nd rate service. Yet they only tipped when they felt like it, or when they remembered.

    That certainly didn't mean that I didn't appreciate the shows when one parent would hand me $200. That was 50% of my weekly salary. The first time one mom handed me 2 bills, I looked at them, choked, and looked at her with tears in my eyes. She just said, "Oh, honey..." It was nothing to her, but it made an enormous financial difference to me.

    The most amusing (not ) thing was the wealthiest people in the barn would only tip when the boss more or less told them to, and even then it just killed them to do it. I could just picture them handing me a $50 and then going behind a tree to vomit.

    It was the "poorest" people who took the best care of me.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2008
    Posts
    140

    Default

    Where your adult barn workers are concerned--Cash is King.
    If giving a gift card, get one to a store that has grocery as well as other merchandise. (Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer, Target, etc)
    This year, a gas card is also a surefire winner for your adult staff.

    Your own circumstances will ultimately dictate the amount you are able to afford, but I'd suggest a $25 minimum if at all possible. That's an amount that can supplement a holiday dinner, stretch their family gift budget or allow for a "splurge" on something for themselves.

    Aside from individual cash gifts, the best reactions I've seen from staff are for thoughtful group barn-staff gifts: Costco packs of hand warmers, cocoa, coffee and popcorn; new 'boombox' with a selection of cds, etc.
    FYI: Not so well received were well-intentioned boarder attempts to arrange group dinner/party type events. Shift differences, personality differences and the busy-ness of the season made attending more hassle than ho-ho-ho for the staffers...

    Hope this helps.
    Cheers
    Rev
    To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it. - GK Chesterton



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2005
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    6,679

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev View Post
    Aside from individual cash gifts, the best reactions I've seen from staff are for thoughtful group barn-staff gifts: Costco packs of hand warmers, cocoa, coffee and popcorn; new 'boombox' with a selection of cds, etc.
    Money is uber tight here now, and really the barn has given me more hassle lately than I think I deserve considering how much stress I have over my sick horse... I intend to make a gift bag for each with a card, candy, a mega thing of cocoa from Sams for the office,... and thank them very nicely.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2007
    Posts
    9,131

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quartergirl View Post
    We have three barn workers. These guys do a great job and go above and beyond their job requirements. (Pick feet twice a day, groomed when brought in from outside, wrap legs, put on bell boots, change sheets and blankets, give meds and supplements, put on and take off fly masks, clean tack, wash saddle pads and leg wraps, unload and clean out horse trailer and to many more things to mention.) Each guy is assigned 6 or 7 horses to take care of. The one who takes care of mine I am giving $150.00. The other two I am giving $50.00 a piece.

    Good grief! Is it rude to ask how much you pay in board? I think that cleaning tack and washing saddle pads deserves a big bonus, unless you're paying 1000/per month in board.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2003
    Location
    Lapeer, MI, USA
    Posts
    4,075

    Default

    When I boarded, the staff changed through out the year... it was pretty much the same 2 - 3 guys or so including 2 owners, but you never knew who was working what week, etc.

    on New Year's Day, I took a HUGE collection of goodies to the barn... Mt Dew, case of beer, chips, lots of homemade goodies, cheese, crackers, summer sausage, and a bottle of brandy. It was MUCH appreciated. : ) as the guys all kicked back with the TV and their munchies. : )



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 29, 2008
    Posts
    3,059

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    If what you can afford to do is some cookies and a card, do it.


    If you can afford to give a hefty cash bonus, do it.


    Either way, workers will appreciate it. So often it's a thankless job. It's great to get some recognition and a thank you for all the hard work.


    Why would anyone say a specific dollar amount is too much? It's a kind gesture, no matter what you consider to be a lot of money -- $15 or $200.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 1999
    Location
    Holland Township, NJ
    Posts
    2,699

    Default

    Cash. really. seems impersonal, but if you at all think they are pinching pennies, they'll appreciate it. Been there, done that. Living it now, really. (thanks Fred, even tho I know you don't read COTH!!)

    If they are from 'south of the border' and you'd like to give something other than just cash, then maybe an international calling card?

    At Ri-Arm, we generally got "a lil' somethin" in our paychecks from Mark, and presents or cash from the customers. Obviously some were more generous than others, but I don't recall anyone being stingy.

    One year, Mark asked those of us who lived on the farm if we wanted him to put cable in the house, or our usual bonus. We debated on that for a day or two, but when one wise soul piped up with "you can't eat cable". That solved it for me. We lived fairly well there. We certainly never went hungry. Nice roof over our heads, cash in the pockets, etc. But yeah, cash in the bank over cable wasn't hard to choose. Our roof antenna worked just fine.



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