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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2004
    Location
    Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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    2,136

    Default Working off board--WWYD? UPDATE First Post

    I am currently working off board for my TB by cleaning stalls 3x a week, doing water & water buckets and sweeping. My SIL is the barn owner. She's been very gracious by allowing me to work off days in advance if I know I'm going to be gone and to make up days if I need to. Worked GREAT this summer when they were in 7 days a week. I could work my 3 and then get ahead or pay off days. She was happy because she had entire weeks off from cleaning stalls and could focus on other things.

    Lately, though, the weather has been nice and the horses haven't been coming in at night. They have plenty of grass in their pastures and so there are no stalls to clean. This means that I'm not only unable to keep up with cleaning 3x a week but also not able to work off the 4 days that I "owe" her from when I was gone this summer...

    I'm not sure how to approach this with her. I know she's content with me racking up a whole host of days that I will have to "make up" later this winter, especially as she's pregnant and due early next year. HOWEVER. I'm also pregnant and due two months after she is, so I'd rather not have a ton of days to make up when I'm heavily pregnant---I'd rather be "banking" those days for when I have my baby.

    We aren't in a financial position to pay for board. I could bring my horse home to live on my MIL and FIL's farm (with our two pasture puffs), however my TB has never thrived there. He's thriving at the boarding barn.... and meanwhile the two puffs got in with the cows this summer and are looking better than they ever have before.... The cow pasture/loafing barn/water situation is MUCH better in the winter time than the horse setup. So I'd love for the two retirees to stay where they are (with the cows and happy), and the TB to stay where he's happy (at the boarding barn). If we bring the TB home, all the horses will have to go back to the horse pastures.... because the TB will lose his mind if he has to live with the bovines.

    So should I just suck it up and deal? Talk to my SIL? It does rankle me a BIT that I'm "paying" (working) off "board" for my horse when all he's doing is eating grass in a pasture. BUT then I remember he LOVES it there.... so I shouldn't be irritated.

    Am I being stupid? I have a sweet deal and I don't want to ruin it... but I ALSO don't want to have 3 months of stalls to make up by the time the snow flies...


    UPDATE: We have it sorted out. Thanks for letting me vent.
    Last edited by RegentLion; Oct. 19, 2012 at 04:53 PM. Reason: Update.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2009
    Posts
    2,202

    Default

    Sounds to me like you have a pretty good deal. Allowing people to work off board is rarely a good deal for boarding barns, who would typically benefit much more from an actual influx of cash. Try to bring things up in a positive way. I think your concerns about doing a lot of barn work towards the end of your pregnancy are valid, so you could discuss that and maybe ask her if there are any other tasls around the farm you could help her with now.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2004
    Location
    Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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    Default

    Thanks.

    Part of the reason I have such a great situation is that she REALLY needed help this summer---she had a lot of horses in training and not enough time to do the barn chores as well as ride all the training horses. So she had the opposite problem of many barn owners--- enough income but not enough time. She doesn't have to "pay" me actual cash and got time enough in the day to do the things that directly generated revenue.

    Now, on the other hand, things have slowed down for the season so I suppose I"m much more expendable...



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2011
    Posts
    1,348

    Default

    You've got a sweet deal, she sounds very accommodating. It also sounds like the two of you have a good enough relationship that you should be able to raise your concerns in a friendly manner without it screwing the deal up.

    You really can't blame her for wanting to get those work days in the bank for the winter when she's ready to pop. You're kind of wanting to do the same thing aren't you?

    Just tell her your concerns. You could also ask her if there is some extra work she wants done now, to get out of the way before the snow starts flying and the babies start crying. Fencing need repairs? Landscaping need tending to? Haylofts need cleaning? Barn need pressure washing? Stuff like that would enable you to get your days in now before you're trying to waddle around in the cold with a pitchfork. Do they even make Carharts in maternity sizes?

    As for the rest, since she's been so good to you and your horse is so happy there helping her work out the logistics of winter help while you both are late in your pregnancies would be the kind and thoughtful thing to do. Can your hubby or someone else in your family pick up days for you? Know a good, dependable teen or young adult that would be willing to work a few days a week on the cheap or for some saddle time? Are you willing to help her find one?

    Now's the time to open up a dialogue with her about this while there is plenty of time to come up with some solutions. Wait too long, winter (and babies) will be right around the corner, and you'll be risking putting her in a tight spot not to mention your horse also since he's in her barn.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2012
    Location
    Fern Creek, KY
    Posts
    3,015

    Default

    I cleaned stalls 2 days before DD was born. I was sooooo slow though. I agree with the above poster, who mentioned seeing if your DH will pick up a few days for you.

    Something to keep in mind, assuming that this is your first, it's not just the tail end of pregnancy that you have to think about. DD was born in mid-Feb and it took me a few months to get into the swing of things again. I was also so wrapped up in the tornado that is a newborn that I didn't have the energy/motivation to get my butt in gear to go to chores. I preferred to spend my time with her, they are only that little once.

    Also. Invest in some sort of carrier/front pack/back pack! It'll be a lifesaver. They are expensive, but we still use ours almost everyday. It made grocery shopping gobs easier and you can zip your jacket over them while you do chores.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 28, 2006
    Posts
    346

    Default

    I'm not sure I quite get your question.

    You have a horse that you board at your SIL. You board there for free, if you clean stalls 3x a week, do water & water buckets and sweep.

    You haven't been doing that, given the weather. At the moment, you are in the negative/red with your board.

    If I were your sil, I too would be banking your hours. Or offering you a monthly bill. Which would you prefer?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2010
    Location
    All 'round Canadia
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    5,994

    Default

    Unfortunately she's most likely to need help at the exact time when you'd rather not be working a lot - when you're close to your duedate, and when you have your baby, because she'll be in the same situation.

    I assume your relationship is good now, so take the bull by the horns and talk about the situation now. Odds are she'll need someone else to help for at least part of this winter, and you want to discuss the issue before she decides you're not helpful enough and slaps you with a bill so she can afford to hire someone who isn't ready to pop or has a newborn.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2004
    Location
    Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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    2,136

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mercedespony View Post
    I'm not sure I quite get your question.

    You have a horse that you board at your SIL. You board there for free, if you clean stalls 3x a week, do water & water buckets and sweep.

    You haven't been doing that, given the weather. At the moment, you are in the negative/red with your board.

    If I were your sil, I too would be banking your hours. Or offering you a monthly bill. Which would you prefer?

    I am in the red. My goal is to get OUT Of the red, not keep digging a deeper hole.... Of COURSE she should be baking my hours... but I guess I was hoping for suggestions of how to talk to her/what to say/things to offer instead of cleaning stalls on days when the horses don't come in...



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2004
    Location
    Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GaitedGloryRider View Post
    You really can't blame her for wanting to get those work days in the bank for the winter when she's ready to pop. You're kind of wanting to do the same thing aren't you?
    Yes.... yes I am. I hadn't thought of it that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Superminion View Post
    Something to keep in mind, assuming that this is your first, it's not just the tail end of pregnancy that you have to think about. DD was born in mid-Feb and it took me a few months to get into the swing of things again. I was also so wrapped up in the tornado that is a newborn that I didn't have the energy/motivation to get my butt in gear to go to chores. I preferred to spend my time with her, they are only that little once.

    Also. Invest in some sort of carrier/front pack/back pack! It'll be a lifesaver. They are expensive, but we still use ours almost everyday. It made grocery shopping gobs easier and you can zip your jacket over them while you do chores.
    This is actually my second. If I have another C-section I'm screwed... took FOR.EV.ER. to come back from that.... and I do have a backpack that I used on my son until recently--he got just a bit too heavy! It takes me half the time to clean without him on my back, I imagine that I'll be equally slow when this baby grows to watermelon size! This reminds me, I've got to talk to SIL about bartering childcare (I am willing to watch her baby while she trains or whatever).... So much to address. ANd my SIL is nice and sweet but very quiet and hard to approach (for me). I really don't want to upset her, she's done so much for us.


    Quote Originally Posted by Coanteen View Post
    Unfortunately she's most likely to need help at the exact time when you'd rather not be working a lot - when you're close to your duedate, and when you have your baby, because she'll be in the same situation.

    I assume your relationship is good now, so take the bull by the horns and talk about the situation now. Odds are she'll need someone else to help for at least part of this winter, and you want to discuss the issue before she decides you're not helpful enough and slaps you with a bill so she can afford to hire someone who isn't ready to pop or has a newborn.

    Yes. you are right... I'm kind of hoping the weather will turn and they'll be in more and then I can at least catch up on days. Then we can just address the when she pops/when I pop issues...



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2005
    Location
    between the mountains and the sea, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,936

    Default

    Things to offer: Tack cleaning, fence painting/anything else painting (assuming paint is pregnancy safe, of course), grooming/preparing horses for her to work & cooling them down after. Does anything need "spring" cleaning/sorting through? Can you sew - what about mending blankets?

    You have a really good situation, you don't want to screw it up, especially when family is involved. Worse comes to worse I'm sure your TB could live with moving to the other farm for a few months before & after your pregnancy.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2009
    Posts
    6,998

    Default

    It does rankle me a BIT that I'm "paying" (working) off "board" for my horse when all he's doing is eating grass in a pasture.
    Well then it's simple, bring him home so he can eat your grass ... oh wait, you said, you prefer he "board" at his present digs ... decide what this is worth to you & then NO RANKLING!



    I'd say you have a v.e.r.y sweet deal even with the banked IOU days.

    When you approach your SIL, just ask her what she'd like/is hoping for - it can really be that simple
    (you might write it out as a letter/notes beforehand so you have it all clear it your mind).



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2008
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow
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    317

    Default

    Do you guys ever communicate by email?
    An auto-save saved my post.

    I might be a cylon



  13. #13
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    Dec. 19, 2009
    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    1,287

    Default

    could you offer other services, such as babysitting for her?



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    Quote Originally Posted by RegentLion View Post
    ANd my SIL is nice and sweet but very quiet and hard to approach (for me). I really don't want to upset her, she's done so much for us.
    Talk to her. You will upset her more if a misunderstanding develops or if the situation becomes stressful for her in some way. It's best to bring it up now and find out if there are other things you can do or even to offer to move your horse for 6 months. You might also want to mention the idea you have that you would like to bank hours so you can find out if she has an alternate plan for barn help or if she was truly counting on you.

    I would guess it might stress her out if you are gone for several months with new baby (thinking that you have banked all those days) and she is left taking care of your horse while having her own new baby. How is that a good arrangement for her? If she is able to do the horse care thing, then you should be too.

    You might offer to move your horse for a while with the hopes of coming back later and see what she says. Hopefully, that would open the door to communication. And hopefully she will tell you it is not necessary to move and then put forth what she is thinking and you can both be on the same page.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    12,976

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RegentLion View Post
    Talk to my SIL?
    You are a married adult with one kid already and you are having to ask a bunch of strangers on the internet if simply talking to your SIL is what you should do? Really?
    Yes, communication saves a ton of hurt feelings for everyone.
    Talk to your SIL right now to figure out what the plan is for when you are both unable to do the chores and they need to be done.

    Quote Originally Posted by RegentLion View Post
    It does rankle me a BIT that I'm "paying" (working) off "board" for my horse when all he's doing is eating grass in a pasture.
    Wow. Just Wow.
    You get a sweetheart deal and you say this. Wow.

    It is not like your SIL is keeping the horses out just so you can not work off your board. She is doing what is best for the horses.

    It has been suggested but is your husband able to fill in for you while you are unable to work? That would be a good thing to have to offer when you have your sit down.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2004
    Location
    Rixeyville, VA
    Posts
    6,733

    Default

    ^THIS.

    Why on earth are you talking to strangers on the Internet when you should be having a conversation with SIL? Does the SIl not know the OP is pregnant, too? I doubt it and I am sure she has considered the fact both of you will be having a baby soon, so this should be an easy conversation.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
    Posts
    4,343

    Default

    So should I just suck it up and deal? Talk to my SIL? It does rankle me a BIT that I'm "paying" (working) off "board" for my horse when all he's doing is eating grass in a pasture. BUT then I remember he LOVES it there.... so I shouldn't be irritated.
    I work to pay for my horse that sits in a field and eats grass. It's called pasture board- helps pay the owners mortgage, insurance, fence maintenance, water, staff. If I decide NOT to pay for board, then I have to pay for a property that has a pasture, likely more expensive then my current house.

    Horses ain't free.

    I suggest talking to her sooner rather than later to figure out how to keep up on what you owe.



  18. #18
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    Mar. 12, 2006
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    By the way, everyone who works to make money to pay board has jobs that become a pain in the ass at times.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2004
    Location
    Upper Peninsula, Michigan
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    Default

    I guess I should have clarified that was never my intent to take months off with a new baby. I was more thinking taking off as little time as possible, but doing days in advance so that while I was off with the baby I wasn't going in the hole just to make it up later.

    In theory I'll be working 7 days a week while her little one is new and possibly more if she has a c-section. I know this thread has made me sound selfish, which was not my intent. But I'd rather a bunch of strangers think I'm a total idiot than mess things up with SIL.

    Yes, I'm a married woman with a child blah blah blah but I did come here for perspective. Part of me was thinking renegotiating our deal for when the horses didn't come in-- so that maybe I only owed 1-2 days a week instead of 3. BUT no one brought that up so neither will I.

    And YES she is doing what is best for the horses (they like being out) but I also wonder how many of you would be irritated that your horse was staying out in the rain and not getting grain/supplements for days at a time? *THAT* part doesn't bother me too much because he does fine, and i'm not paying out of pocket... but I wonder if it would bug me if I WAS paying for a service (horse coming in to be fed 2 grain meals a day plus sups) that wasn't being received.

    This thread has certainly given me perspective. Something I did NOT have a lot of when I arranged childcare for my son and drove to the barn just to discover that the stalls were still clean (horses had not been in) and I had not received any sort of communication that I wasn't needed that day. I came home and posted this thread. Clearly it is better I did that than talk to SIL right then and there. Or else I'd have ruined a good thing.

    Thank you all for helping me figure this out. Now just to figure out what to say.

    ETA: As far as DH helping.... He travels a lot for work so I'm not sure if he'd be able to clean stalls. His schedule is also variable so it is hard to say if/when that would be an option.



  20. #20

    Default

    The question I would have concerning this is are you actually taking a job that someone else would have -- in other words, would she have to pay to have barn help if you weren't doing it -- or is she just creating a job for you so you can "work off" the board?

    It honestly sounds like she's just helping you out with keeping a horse at her place. Which is really very nice of her!

    It's good to have the kind of organization you two have, keeping track of hours worked, and so forth, so there's no misunderstanding. Circumstances sound like they are going to change, so a re-negotiation sounds in order.

    You are one lucky lady to be able to keep that horse in a nice place!



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