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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2012
    Posts
    45

    Default Packing the Trailer - Rant/Suggestions Needed

    Posting under an alter to remain anonymous.

    The facts:
    - Been riding at current barn for a lengthy period of time. Love the facility, love the people, love the trainer, love everything.
    - Have one horse on full board, self care (horse is turned out, fed, blanketed but I do all grooming, tacking, untacking, etc.)

    The "issue":
    Our barn has a very big client base - we take 20-30 clients to local and out-of-area shows on a very regular basis. All clients are on self care and are for the most part, very good about helping out with everything. Just a great group in general.

    The day before we leave for horse shows, we usually all meet out at the barn to pack the trailer with everyone's boxes, all the tent stuff, all the hay and grain, bed the trailers, etc. This is orchestrated either by the trainer and/or the barn manager. In the past, a $50 fee was assessed to ones' monthly bill should they be unable to attend this. Fine. Great.

    However, it was recently thought that paying the barn for the work that other clients are doing is a poor idea, as it doesn't really go back to those who are doing the real work. So the newly implemented fee is $20 to every person that is there packing in your absence. (This is meant to be a bit of a deterrent, as they are trying to make it more of a mandatory thing for people to be there to load the trailer).

    I, along with a handful of other clients, have a full time job. The rest of our barn is made up of a very young population with mostly school-aged kids with at least one parent that doesn't work. The packing of the trailer usually begins whenever the trainer/BM are done their work for the day, which is usually anywhere between 3pm and 5pm and understandably, they want to get it done ASAP as they are anxious to go home. This poses a bit of an issue. The younger kids usually have no problem getting out to the barn to help pack no matter what time of day, but for the working contingent, leaving on short notice and having to take time off is not so easy.

    If I'm not able to get away from work early one day, I can't afford to pay hundreds of dollars to have my things (along with the communal stuff) loaded for me. It just isn't financially possible for me. The "just leave my stuff out and I'll load it when I'm there" thing doesn't work either, as the trailer is packed in a very specific way and you miss out on all the tough stuff, like slinging hay bales. We've discussed making load times later, but the people who have been at the barn since 6am (trainer, BM, etc.) don't exactly want to wait around until 6 or 7pm to load a trailer, and frankly, it's the minority population that can't make it out at the 3-5pm time. I and my other working friends have brought this up with trainer, and while she didn't have any better suggestions, was open to any ideas that we had.

    So what I'm asking at the end of this novel of a post is, what do you suggest for ideas for us working folk to present to trainer? We don't want a fight or a huge blow-out - we just want to come to some sort of compromise that doesn't leave us either wasting a vacation day to pack or decimating our bank accounts by having to pay each person that shows up to load (which can be north of 20 people!).



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2001
    Location
    over yonder
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    2,898

    Default

    Can those who can not help with the packing on a workday afternoon do the post horse show packing to come home, set-up once at the horse show or unpacking at home after the show?

    It seems like there should be plenty of jobs to go around so maybe things can be split up into different responsibilities so you don't have to pay.
    Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 30, 2007
    Posts
    2,689

    Default

    Agree with other Rockin horse that would be fair. I would be in your same situation. If there isn't an equitable way to divide the work outside of packing day- Why not charge a set fee for those who can't attend packing day which is divided among those who pack? If you have to pay, that sounds much more fair to me.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2003
    Location
    Middleburg, VA
    Posts
    12,752

    Default

    Here's a friendly, "one big happy family" solution...those who can't be there to help load chip in and supply snacks, sodas, maybe some adult beverages for those who CAN. A way of saying "thanks for picking up my slack." Cheaper, AND the cash that is spent goes to those that are doing the work...not the barn. Take up the collection early in the week, and maybe designate a parent to take the funds and pick up the supplies on the way to the barn on loading day.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2010
    Posts
    850

    Default

    I was also going to suggest- those who can't be there to pack pre-show either do the unpacking or the repacking. Or, alternate. One show they pack at 3pm for the school kids convenience, next show at 7pm for those who actually have to be at work to make the $ to board and ride with the trainer.

    But I think the "you either do the packing or the unpacking" sounds like the best option.

    Even if it means you have to leave the stuff that needs to be packed in a pile somewhere, so it only needs to be loaded, not gathered up too.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 28, 2012
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Can you pay one of the barn kids to pull your trailer duty ? For instance, someone not going to the show?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2011
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    Island of Heart Surrounded by the Sea of Intuition
    Posts
    196

    Default

    Since $50 was the prearranged fee and seems to be a reasonable amount, instead of tacking it on the the board or show bill why not divide it up between the number of people who actually helped get the trailer ready.
    The Love for a Horse is just as Complicated as the Love for another Human being, If you have never Loved a Horse you will Never Understand!!!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2010
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    525

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Momto3 View Post
    Can you pay one of the barn kids to pull your trailer duty ? For instance, someone not going to the show?
    I think this sounds like a great idea.

    I also like the idea of having some other chore to do if you can't make the packing time. $20 to each person seems so extreme and I know I couldn't afford it!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 8, 2005
    Location
    between here and there...in Arizona
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    587

    Default

    [QUOTE=- we just want to come to some sort of compromise that doesn't leave us either wasting a vacation day to pack or decimating our bank accounts by having to pay each person that shows up to load (which can be north of 20 people!).[/QUOTE]

    So they want you to pay the barn up to $400 to have your stuff loaded? Wow, no way I would agree to that. That is crazy!

    I think the swapping times and buy snacks for the others is way better.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
    Location
    Keswick, VA
    Posts
    7,868

    Default

    I feel really sorry for your barn manager. I can't think of anything worse than 20 clients helping to pack a trailer. If it were me, I'd want everyone to pay $50 and let me do it myself with one strong employee.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2001
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    Usually too far from the barn
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    8,705

    Default

    Twenty to EACH person there packing, from each person showing but not packing? Wow! I could make a small fortune just packing every weekend! If 10 people don't show up to pack, I could make $200 in cash loading trailers! Where is this barn????

    A $20 surcharge per show-er who doesn't pack, divided between those that do pack makes sense. Otherwise, you could be adding several hundred dollars to your show fees.

    Another option (if it's not always the same people unable to pack) is to put the contributions toward something used by all the show riders. Maybe a new tent or cooler or rolling dollies to assist in packing/unpacking would be handy? Maybe start a fund to buy communal pre-made horseshow lunches?
    F O.B
    Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
    Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Posts
    3,297

    Default

    The OP noted in the original post that the barn is trying to make it mandatory for everyone to be there and the function of the fee is to be a deterrent to not helping out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Koniucha View Post
    So they want you to pay the barn up to $400 to have your stuff loaded?
    This would certainly serve the function of being a deterrent to not being there.

    If the barn is trying to make it mandatory for people to be there, then it isn't about being fair. It's about raising the stakes high enough that make the consequence of not being there higher than losing a vacation day at work.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 10, 2009
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    NC piedmont
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    Default

    $20 per person seems pretty excessive. I agree with a rotation set ahead of time, say, Susie, Johnny, Sally, and Martha pack the trailer on Friday, and Jill, Sandy, Katie, and Bobby unpack it when you get back Sunday and clean out the shavings. Set each schedule at the beginning of the month so that everyone has an equal number of helping sessions scheduled. Then if someone can't do their time for some reason, you are all responsible for finding someone to swap with. If someone doesn't get a sub and doesn't show up, a flat fee could be assessed and used at the end of the year to either distribute among those who never missed a session, or to throw a small party with snacks and drinks and give little trophies/ribbons/horsey gifties to all who never missed.

    This way, you also avoid having 20 people tripping over each other every Friday trying to get everything loaded. If everybody left their things that were going on in a designated location by a set time, it would reduce walking back and forth so a smaller number could get it done. If everybody does one or two work sessions a month it avoids the resentment from the working adults who can't come out and would have to pay as well as from the crowd who is there every week without fail. If scheduled ahead of time, it can be worked out so the full-time workers have a time when they can be there.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2012
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. To address a few answers:

    The "you guys pack, we unpack" idea would work on some occasions, others not so much. The not-so-much time would be when we take 35-40 horses to a show and only 3 people can't make it to loading time. This then leaves either 3 people to pack up, or some people having to do double-duty again (packing AND unpacking) and creates sour grapes. We literally need all hands on deck (or close to it) for our bigger trips. It's a lot of stuff to pack and that's why I understand this is a sensitive issue with some people.

    I like the previous idea of each person who misses out pitching $50 TOTAL and then using the money to buy pizza or snacks one day during the horse show. I also like the idea of trading off the job of loading for another job during the show, but sometimes that can go unnoticed and then it opens the debate of what is an equal value job...feeding an extra morning? Feeding an extra 3 mornings? Feeding every single morning? I just feel like that could get a little out of control and the non-packers would end up forever indebted to everyone else without a predetermined worth placed on helping load the trailer vs. something else.

    I think the reason the price is so high is that a few people were taking the service for granted. There was a higher instance of those that could manage to come out to pack but instead just chose to pay $50 because it wasn't much change out of their pocket to spare. This was leaving a smaller number of people to pack (and often the same people always packing...those with less expendable income). I almost always find a way to swing it and make it on time - but one missed time could kill me if it costs me $400) This is accompanied by a larger number of people sitting at home at their leisure because they could afford to pony up the $50 and do better things with their time, which I find to be in poor taste at a barn that doesn't offer full service.

    Unfortunately though, this high-priced deterrent is targeting the wrong group. It doesn't punish those who were choosing to pay rather than lend a hand, but instead punishes those that sometimes don't have a choice.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2012
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Twenty to EACH person there packing, from each person showing but not packing? Wow! I could make a small fortune just packing every weekend! If 10 people don't show up to pack, I could make $200 in cash loading trailers! Where is this barn????
    Haha - thus far since the rule has been implemented, no one has missed a packing day for fear of the outrageous charges, so you might not make as much money as you may think. Us full-time workers are just a bit frustrated that if there is one instance that we just.cannot.leave.work to come pack, we are going to be severely monetarily punished. I feel mostly for the couple of nurses I ride with - you can't really ditch out in the middle of a major surgery because you have to go help pack a horse trailer.

    As for not wanting 20+ people there packing, it actually works quite well for our situation. One group loads hay, one does tack boxes, some get feed together, other groups get buckets, etc. It's well orchestrated and frankly, we've been doing it with that many for so long that a complete system overhaul that cuts our numbers in half would probably equal system failure. Because our barn is self-care and run as a very tight ship, there are no ditzy teenagers standing around - mostly everyone has a very good work ethic.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
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    3,297

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    Quote Originally Posted by alternativename View Post
    It doesn't punish those who were choosing to pay rather than lend a hand, but instead punishes those that sometimes don't have a choice.
    It sounds like originally, in an attempt to be equitable, a fee was put in place for people who could not get out to help to compensate those who were there.

    However, it sounds like this has now morphed into people feeling it is optional to show up OR pay the fee.

    Honestly, if people feel this is a legitimate option, I don't think there is anything wrong with people paying it if they choose to.

    The barn needs to un-make this an option if that is what the problem is.

    If there are people who legitimately have to work and who cannot get out to the barn then those cases can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2012
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    45

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Come Shine View Post
    It sounds like originally, in an attempt to be equitable, a fee was put in place for people who could not get out to help to compensate those who were there.

    However, it sounds like this has now morphed into people feeling it is optional to show up OR pay the fee.

    Honestly, if people feel this is a legitimate option, I don't think there is anything wrong with people paying it if they choose to.

    The barn needs to un-make this an option if that is what the problem is.

    If there are people who legitimately have to work and who cannot get out to the barn then those cases can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
    This is sort of how the discussion went that ended with this new fee being implemented. Basically, people were saying, "Hey. We don't have grooms or hired help. We do the work. People are sitting at home making it harder for us, and we see nothing of that mysterious $50 fee that's being implemented. Why should we always be the ones coming to pack other people's stuff while our barnmates consistently don't show up?"

    So the barn's response was to give the fee back to the clients that DO show up to help (which I wholeheartedly agree with) and then made the fee drastically more expensive to discourage people from taking this route. However, that $50 fee was definitely a handy "out" for the 1 out of 50 times that one of us full-time workers couldn't come out.

    I WISH the outcome of this had recognized us full-time workers on a case-by-case basis, but people who don't work office or "regular non-horsey" full time jobs don't always see work as something that you absolutely cannot miss. They can stop their work day to pack a trailer, so they don't always realize that not everyone else can too.

    Sorry, I feel like this is getting more complicated as I go on. Just trying to get everything out there and try to come to the trainer with an idea that doesn't punish us working class folk but doesn't let people take advantage of the opportunity.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2000
    Location
    San Diego, CA
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    812

    Default

    It seems that most folks can _usually_ make it out sometime during the packing interval, and the real problem for the OP and other like-minded folks is the rare time when work truly gets in the way - how about a system where each person has a certain number of "excused absences"?



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2002
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    Indiana
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    But it WAS optional. It was either help pack or pay 50 bucks.

    I can't imagine 20 people trying to stuff a trailer full of things.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2012
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    45

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjoytheride View Post
    But it WAS optional. It was either help pack or pay 50 bucks.

    I can't imagine 20 people trying to stuff a trailer full of things.
    Yes, it was. I believe they have since realized the flaw in that design and are now working to rectify it, but what I'm saying is, they've inadvertently targeted the wrong group with their new solution of deterrence.

    The 20 people thing happens. We have two 15 horse trailers. Believe it.



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