See if you can save up the extra accrued lesson time to use later. For example, I worked for my trainer one winter. Each hour worked = $10 toward lessons. I was working 6 hours a week ($60) and only taking one lesson a week (using about $35 of that). So we kept track of the additional money (credit toward lessons) earned. That way I continued to have a free lesson each week for awhile even after I wasn't working for her anymore. Once all the 'credit' was gone I went back to paying.
If they won't do that for you, then I'd leave and find a place that will actually give you what you've earned.
West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
furlong, she's already not receiving lessons for which she's worked, because the employer is making excuses that lesson horses aren't available. I can't see that it'd do any good to "save up" lessons, since she's not likely to get them.
OP, leave. Now. If you're that in love with the job, tell them that you'll work enough (six hours, was it?) to pay for one lesson, and that's it. If they push for more, smile, rinse, repeat. Don't let them guilt you into anything else; just be politely insistent. If they have a problem with that, give them instant notice and ditch them; they're not worthy of notice. Personally, I'd just ditch them and not go back. They're clearly not interested in properly compensating you for your work, so they don't deserve you.
Basically you are giving them your labor for free. Stop doing it. I am not a fan of "work for lessons" situations. It is never an equal proposition. The barn gets free labor and the worker gets, essentially, nothing. The trainer is either "too busy" to teach the promised lesson, or the school horses "are being used by PAYING students."
If you're working at a barn, you should be paid in dollars per hour, not in "lessons" which, as you've found out, don't happen. Cut your losses and quit, or tell them that you're changing the rules and will only work for cash. It sounds like you're really being taken advantage of.
I like the work for 6 hours for 1 lesson deal. You can sell that one pretty easy (other job, school, too busy to work more, etc) and if they come up with more lessons you can work more.
Not for lessons but a "friend" and I were trading not long ago. Only trouble was she would NEVER be there to do what I need ed done. She wasnt working or she quit early or...She ignored txts to schedule but was right there after a txt to pick up her stuff from me.
I finally told her I couldnt work for nothing and thats what I was getting out of it. Oh she was made but there you are.
People can only take advantage of you if you let them.
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker