As I am a H/J business owner so I am posting here...
I hate staffing for stall cleaners. My stable is located in super horsey area, and I can't keep this position filled. (I have fired many guys). My beef is why is this hard. Come to work, on time please. Follow the instructions, as I showed you to do it. Please don't smoke in the entry way of the barn, or throw your cigarette butt in my parking lot. Yes, you need to feed the hay the way I want. They won't poop less if you restrict their feed. Clean shavings will not dry out a wet spot you failed to remove two days ago. You wouldn't have to strip the stall if you cleaned it right the first time. That part is for the off- the street laborers.
For you horse crazy ladies and WS. I really need you to do the most basic part of the horse care. Their health and a CLEAN stall are realy really important. I am not sorry that I cannot offer free riding to you other than on the horses need to WALK or light trot, or the lesson horses. I ride, my assistant rides, and their owners ride, they pay for those rides, that is why there is a place for you here. Yes, really I think that stall needs MORE bedding. I know the tub/ cart/ wheel barrel are heavy; I have cleaned ten zillion stalls. Now it is your turn. Please stop being grumpy because you have to work while the other ladies ride the horses they are fortunate enough to own; this is life; and I cannot change it.
I not sorry that I am not going to pay you 15.00/ per hour while you text, gossip, smoke, lie and just plain don't do your job!
Thank you, and seriously now. Other BO/ trainers, why can't I find good people to do the most basic part? I want it done the way I want it. Period. The right way.
Because stall cleaning seems to be almost impossible to teach. Either you want it clean, or you don't. If someone doesn't really want the stall clean, there is nothing you can say or do to make them do a better job. And unless it's your horse, and/or you're obsessive about a clean barn, there just isn't much incentive to be the person who cleans the stall well.
Some people really take pride in their work and have outstanding work ethic in general. Unfortunately those people are not only few and far between but they also tend to be snatched up quickly and rarely in need of a job!
I really hear you about the WS positions! I am amazed at the lack of ambition in today's young horse people!
Important to add...there are good barn workers out there, and there are truly hard-working working students out there. I've been both for the last 15 years. You have to find the good ones and hang on tight
I'm 50 years old and could make 4 phone calls and have 4 jobs in about an hour. Denny Emerson said you have to have 10,000 hours at something to be truly proficient at it. I can flip a turd into a coffee can from 15 feet away and I don't care how good you do it, when I fluff it, it will be more beautiful even if we use the same pitchfork.
You have to find someone that actually enjoys making Trigger's stall a nice place to be and keeps the barn tidy. If someone is just a laborer for $15/hr, they are NEVER going to do it to suit you. Find an old lady that worked at the track in a former life and pay her whatever she wants, tell her once and leave her to it, what you pay her, you'll save in not having to redo or supervise.
It's why I clean my own stalls, and go after everyone I've ever hired. The only person who I don't go in after is my DH, Mike. Even if it wasn't up to my impossible standards, I'd never dream of going in after him for any reason, it won't kill Junior once or twice a year.
And this is why I have job security in this industry. I hire and fire lazy terds at my other job, but when it comes to barn work, I'm quite thankful for the slackers. For such unmotivated folks, there sure a lot of them out there.
My best workers (besides myself, as I do stalls about 4 days a week!) show up without me looking! I ahd a girl show up last summer, from Latvia, but has been in the US for some time. This girl had grown up riding in Latvia on a broodmare farm, they rode the broodmares when the foals were weaned. She is now in the states married to an american and goes to school in the day, works a third shift full time job at night AND wanted to work at my farm. I told her we could try it. She now is my "go to" person when I need to go out of town etc. She generally works 2 - 3 times weekly in exchange for board for a nice young horse she bought. She is awesome and I never even was looking for her! That is how you get the best people! She takes true pride in keeping my place nice on her "watch" and I take pride in giving her a good place to keep her horse and ride/train him! Symbiotic relationships are the best kind!
Okay, I *know* this is not your situation but let me just play devil's advocate for a second
My friend worked for this guy riding his green horses. He kept them in a paddock and my friend worked her butt off to train and work with them. This guy knew nothing about horses, he only knew about them in a farm animal capacity. Finally the guy fired her because she had only worked six out of the eights hours he wanted her to - for a week. Why didn't she do more with them? Because all the horses went lame because the owner kept putting off the farrier visit. Again. And again. She literally could only do groundwork, and groundwork with three horses can only take so long.
I understand your frustration because I know many people who don't work hard for something. But I also know a lot of young people who have worked their a** off grooming, mucking, hand walking, etc for an hour of saddle time.
This is my biggest worry when my barn is finished. I'll be all set for help from December until April as my trainer and her crew will be down for the show season, but during the rest of the year, I'm on my own. I work a full-time job, so I can't take care of the horses all by myself. I'm hoping that the incentive of having an almost free place to live (I'm offering cost of utilities only for a one-bedroom apartment adjacent to the barn, which I think is really decent) and the possibility of free pasture board if they have a horse in exchange for taking care of the barn chores (stalls, feeding, sweeping, watering, turn-out, turn in) will entice the right sort of folk, but one never knows. I hope I don't have the luck you did, OP!
Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.
To keep a stall "show barn" clean with all the shavings brighty-bright white looking as if they came out of the bag 30 seconds ago, you have to throw out A LOT of good bedding.
If three forkful's worth shavings are dry but mixed in with some that are slightly discolored from having been blendered in with one trampled horse apple, out it all goes.
If there are a few wisps of uneaten hay blendered in with completely brand new shavings, out it all goes.
Obviously when it is somebody else's place and they are paying you to do it their way, you do it their way, but I have to say that I cringe at the waste of removing a heaping oversize wheelbarrow's worth of bedding from every stall.
After the initial poop and wetspot run-through (in which I will have lifted and fluffed EVERY SQUARE INCH of bedding in that stall to "see every inch of the mats at least once" so I know that no square inch has gone unsearched), the remaining 2/3 of the wheelbarrow is dry, still ready to absorb and do its job, but slightly cosmetically blemished. And these few cosmetically blemished shavings are blendered in with 85% brighty-bright white ones...
...but if you want the stall looking like the bedding just came out of the bag? Out it all goes.
So, in your barn, yes, I will do it your way.
But if it's MY horse in MY stall at a show?
The stall will be deeply bedded, with the shavings searched top to bottom morning and night, and touch ups performed repeatedly throughout the day to remove poops and wetspots before they can be blendered. But in all honesty, yes there will be a few wisps of clean hay mixed in with the dry shavings. And there will be a few cosmetically blemished shavings, still dry and absorbent, mixed in with a great majority of brighty-bright white ones. I have a grey horse and my measure of whether a stall is clean enough is, "Is it DRY and can he lay down in this and take a nap without getting stained?" not, "Do the shavings look like they came out of the bag 30 seconds ago?"
But they are pasture boarded anyway so fortunately for them the only time they have to live in one of my stalls is at shows.
I clean stalls at the farm where I board several times a week, I grew up cleaning stalls for my mother ( stall warden) I do a good job because for me in a life full of raising kids ( where instant gratification is non existent) cleaning a stall and having it all bright and fluffy and pretty within 10 minutes might be the only bit of instant gratification I get that day LOL!!! I love mucking there is something about a clean and fresh barn that still thrills me even 30yrs later. I think the poster who said you need to find someone who actually CARES that the stalls are clean is correct unless it matters to the person doing the cleaning it wont' really be done correctly. Where do you live?? I could use a stall cleaning job LOL.
Meup- that entire scenario is overblown. I grew up in a fancy show barn, and I've been a full-time mucker in my less-glamorous life as an adult. I've seen it from both ends, so to speak. There are a few barns where shavings are routinely wasted, but a good mucker can pick out the bad and leave the good without all of that fuss you describe. People who don't care don't bother to pick because it's too much effort and either leave big wet spots and poop everywhere, or just toss everything. Of course, there are always one or two horses who are total pigs, and their stalls never look very good, but that isn't the norm for most horses, in my experience.
A friend's horse is at aqua-therapy for his leg right now, and this enormous facility is run by two people, with a few muckers to do the early morning clean. The rest of the day it is just this couple there. None of the horses get turnout because they are all being rehabbed. All of them have deeeeeep bedding. You will never see anything but clean stalls because they routinely go down the aisle and pick, several times a day. It's work, but it pays off. Shavings aren't wasted because the BOs are snotty and want sterile stalls (for the most part)- shavings are wasted because people are lazy.
You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil
I was going to say maybe you aren't paying enough per hour to keep a decent person but damn $15 an hour should be more than sufficient! Hell I'd do it PT in addition to my FT 32h a week job for the extra cash if people around here pay that. I love cleaning barns and it keeps me in shape
Too bad barn workers here only get around $8 an hour.
mrsbradbury, do you have a barn manager? We were in the same predicament until our BO broke down and hired a barn manager. She does the hiring (and firing now and then), oversees the work, works hard herself, and keeps everything running beautifully. She is a wonderful manager, and treats her employees with respect. Some of our workers have been with us for five or six years now. BO says when the manager quits, she's quitting, too.
Originally Posted by SuzieQNutter
The whip is held across your thigh so as you can still hold the reins without spilling your coffee!!