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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2009
    Location
    Texas Hill Country
    Posts
    592

    Default Livin' the dream: if I don't find a horse-girl soon I'm havin' a psychotic break

    Contemplating your own little farm? Hear my tale.

    Three years ago I was a bright, effervescent young thing, blooming with charm and beauty, intelligent and urbane, up on current events, conversant in films, art, restaurants; all in all quite the witty, carefree bon vivant.

    Then I brought my horses home.

    In the mirror this morning I didn't recognize the greenish, demented old hag looking back at me. Who was this faded ghost, this frizzling specter? Not me, surely! But yes. It was none other than. Quickly I averted my gaze to the window, only to espy the mounds of frozen manure awaiting my forkulations. I thought, "No wonder I've gone mad and resemble the undead. I haven't had a single day off in three years. Upon a suitable part-time horse girl I would lavish princely sums and heap craptons of respect. If only I could find a horse girl!"

    By "horse girl" I mean a more or less adult female who can reliably perform rudimentary equine-related tasks. Also, she doesn't do too many hard drugs too often. She's not a trainer per se, but knows the difference between a botfly and a bog spavin, can help a crone load a horse in trailer, and can lunge a couple of fat Arabians for 15 minutes without turning'em into foaming basket cases. She would would do these things, in addition to the care and feeding of the aforementioned horses (electrogrooming, lite mucking, wound-spotting, and colic-noticing as needed), a couple of days a week, either mornings or evenings, so that I could go into town and do a little shopping and maybe even have dinner at a nice restaurant for crying out loud before I EFFIN' LOSE IT COMPLETELY.

    With this in mind, I put these questions to the group:

    1. If you have a horse girl, how did you find her and what do you pay her?

    2. If you are wise on the subject of horse girls, and were thinking about advising a deluded crone on same, what might you say?

    3. If you are a horse girl, how much do you hate your current employer, what is your hourly rate, and how soon can you relocate to Cottonmouth County?

    Note: I realize that I will never find my horse girl. This post is part deranged fantasy, part desperate cry for help echoing feebly through a sorrowful fog.
    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life


    57 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2004
    Location
    Left coast, left wing, left field
    Posts
    6,322

    Default

    OMG, I could have written that. Except I can't really AFFORD a horse girl. I may have to resort to kidnapping. Or... better still... do you think a mail order bride would be horribly disappointed to find me and my motley crew at the end of her journey rather than an expectant (and perhaps hideous) hopeful hubby?

    We had a horse BOY for a while. Not much horse experience but quick to learn and eager too. Stall cleaner was how he started -- with me handling the horses. Ended up that I trusted him to move horses and do pretty much everything horse and construction related. Well no. REALLY how it ended up was that he moved 1,000+ miles away. There were so many great things about him that I couldn't have (a) put in an ad or (b) recognized when making the hiring decision, and as a result I've been reluctant to try an ad again. Sigh.

    But yeah -- I've aged in dog years since starting "self care" (not to be mistaken for "caring for oneself"). Worse still I am in too much pain to ride.
    Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf

    Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?


    6 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,269

    Default

    Having been a lithe young horse girl (told to wear sun screen every day by my crone horse lady) and now looking crony myself despite all her help, I'll speak from that perspective.

    You must pay horse girls with horses and responsibility. Why? Because that is the currency that bona fide horse girls want. Regular old cash doesn't do it, at least at first. And also never, because you won't have enough dough to buy the kind of labor and loyalty you want. In fact, you'll know that "this is going to end badly" when the horse kid seems open to cash and the amount you offer. It's a bad sign.

    Now a favorite passtime is ragging on the kids of today.... their lack of work ethic... their greed.... their laziness. IMO, this is both dead wrong and sort of like masochistic mental masturbation: You could be right all day long and get off on that, but you don't actually fix the problem, which is to find the right bait that lures the horse kids to you but also identifies the real ones.

    So pony up crone: What kind of bait do you have?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    10 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2011
    Location
    Central Va.
    Posts
    691

    Default

    I hear you Crone. I feel your pain.
    You crack me up. Please, please publish your stories. I will buy your books. We'll all buy your books. Then you could afford a slew of horse-girls.
    Movie deal for your book? Just saying.


    28 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2006
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    2,329

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
    With this in mind, I put these questions to the group:

    1. If you have a horse girl, how did you find her and what do you pay her?

    2. If you are wise on the subject of horse girls, and were thinking about advising a deluded crone on same, what might you say?

    3. If you are a horse girl, how much do you hate your current employer, what is your hourly rate, and how soon can you relocate to Cottonmouth County?

    Note: I realize that I will never find my horse girl. This post is part deranged fantasy, part desperate cry for help echoing feebly through a sorrowful fog.
    With all you have to do, when do you find time to do your column? Surely you have one. If not, you should. I am a horse girl. At least temporarily.

    1. I advertised my services on craiglist.

    2. Check craigslist.

    3. I love my current employer. I was pretty sure we'd get along when I arrived at her barn and saw the Obama - Biden sticker on the back of her SUV. She's great. She pays me $25 for what is supposed to be an hour visit, but which generally runs more toward an hour and a half, hour and 45 minutes. I don't mind this much. It's pleasant enough work, gets me some exercise in the great outdoors (ask me much I enjoy that next month).

    I AIN'T GOIN' TO TEXAS but I hope that you are able to find your own horse girl soon.
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    12,168

    Default

    Are there any lesson programs near by that you respect the trainers at?

    If so why not ask one of them if they have a kid who has more work ethic and drive than funds to support her riding habit. That would work out well for both of you.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    7,947

    Default

    Recently retired horse sitter here.

    Call your vet. Ask if he/she has anyone registered with them (that they trust) or in their office who can do the chores daily or can be scheduled for horse sitting. Ask the same of your farrier, equine chiro, masseuse, dentist, the competing vets, etc. If they come up empty, then call the local large and small boarding operations/trainers, FFA, Pony Club, 4-H groups, Ag. Colleges/vet schools, etc in your area. Someone should be able to help you out.

    ETA: some of my best accounts came from folks in this type of situation. One guy actually went 25 years without taking a vacation until he finally caved in and called his vet for a reference. His vet was my vet, I was registered at the office for horse sitting. Fifteen years later, I was still working the account regularly throughout the year for long weekends and vacations. Give it a try.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

    http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/


    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
    Posts
    4,082

    Default

    My horse "girl" (she's 31) was referred to me by my trainer (we both ride w/the same trainer). She was the only one my trainer would recommend. She started out farmsitting, did an amazing job and really liked my farm, then moved one horse here and now two horses.

    She regularly feeds in the evenings, and since I just broke my ankles is stepping up and feeding twice a day every day she isn't at her day job (as a prison guard). Of course I pay her, plus I'm taking her and the other boarder who's pitched in out for dinner this coming Friday.

    What about getting in touch with your local Pony Club? They may have horsecrazy and educated teens who'd be a good fit.

    I fourth keep writing and collect everything into a book!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
    Location
    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
    Posts
    6,804

    Default

    Crapton is my new favorite word!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    11,372

    Default

    1. If you have a horse girl, how did you find her and what do you pay her?
    I do not have a horse girl, never did, but when I did need a break, I had horse friends and we traded horse sitting/caring with each other. However, if you can't get away to the local pub to MEET a friend who can be your horse friend, it's hard. I met mine because I was half leasing one of my horses. It went from there.

    2. If you are wise on the subject of horse girls, and were thinking about advising a deluded crone on same, what might you say?
    I'd say...do you have a horse to half lease? Or space for one more that a horse girl as we're calling her, might be able to bring one of hers and trade part of her board for doing chores? PART, not all.

    3. If you are a horse girl, how much do you hate your current employer, what is your hourly rate, and how soon can you relocate to Cottonmouth County?
    I wasn't from TX but I got there as quickly as I could and then had to leave. So I can't come. BUT....I enjoyed working off part of my board when I moved from leasing my own place to boarding with aforementioned friend. We kept it separate. I paid monthly board. I did chores on Sunday, some holidays, for their vacays, etc and was paid "by the job" if you will. So for 5 horses, I basically got 10/hour to clean stalls, feed, turnout, dump poo, etc. 5 stalls took me about an hour so it was 10 bucks a pop. It fulfilled my desire to be out working in the barn and it gave my friend a break at least one weekend day.

    Good luck!
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2009
    Location
    Silvana, WA
    Posts
    957

    Default

    1. If you have a horse girl, how did you find her and what do you pay her?

    I have a horse girl, and wish I had the funds to use her services more often. She is 18, lives across the street, and started out cleaning stalls and turning-out (read opening the pasture gate) for me 3 years ago. At the time she knew cows but not horses.

    She's still no expert, but she's more than capable of grooming, feeding, mucking, turning in and out, and watching for injury. I pay her according to what she's doing and how long it takes since she only has to walk across the yard. So - $8 to clean two stalls (15 minutes max), $10 if she also feeds dinner (another 5 minutes), $15 for all of the above plus breakfast (another 5 minutes). When I had two horses at home I would also take her for trail rides on the weekends.

    We leave her in charge for weekends, but have a more experienced horse girl (read older, more expensive) to come stay at the house with the dogs when we're gone for more than 3 days.

    2. If you are wise on the subject of horse girls, and were thinking about advising a deluded crone on same, what might you say?

    I'd look for a girl with a driver's license (since you live in EBF) that has farm animal experience and a willingness to learn. Start out trusting her with little stuff (muck, feed what you've already prepped) and take it from there. Must be someone within 20 miles?

    3. If you are a horse girl, how much do you hate your current employer, what is your hourly rate, and how soon can you relocate to Cottonmouth County?

    No such luck lady. You crack me up but I've seen enough of TX to know I'm not coming that way.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2006
    Posts
    877

    Default

    I did that in college & do some work in exchange for part board now.

    It roughly comes out to $10/hour. Right up there with my one part time job petting cats for $11/hour. I don't do it for the money, I do it because I like it.

    I don't like my real job nearly as much so they better pay me a lot more (microbiologist).

    In my case, I found people by calling and asking for boarding. Not sure how to find one the other way besides word of mouth. I do know a horse boy in Wisconsin here that does almost exactly what you're saying for $9/hour. Plus he's strong enough to stack hay to the sky which is an advantage over say, me. Apparently he found his employment via craigslist.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,591

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    You must pay horse girls with horses and responsibility. Why? Because that is the currency that bona fide horse girls want. Regular old cash doesn't do it, at least at first. And also never, because you won't have enough dough to buy the kind of labor and loyalty you want. In fact, you'll know that "this is going to end badly" when the horse kid seems open to cash and the amount you offer. It's a bad sign.
    This is false. As a horse girl, I can fully assure you that the cash is where it's at. I already have a horse (or three...) that I can ride whenever I want. Unless you have a particularly nice horse, I don't want to ride your trail pony. Already have one of those.

    My most favorite-est horse job started out as a farm-sitting job (she found me on craigslist) and grew into a real position. She paid me $12/hour, with generous bonuses for helping with live cover or doing the whole she-bang on holidays. Plenty of mucking, tempered with plenty of time to help train the babies or learn how to handle a stud. Plenty of extra hours whenever I needed them. She sent her herd of boisterous teen boys to my barn to help stack hay. I showed up to her house in a hurricane, and loved every second I was there.

    I have had many other horse jobs that I've thoroughly enjoyed; one wasn't cash, but lessons, which was quite lovely.

    My current horse job is making me unhappy. It's just on the side, to help work off some of Miss Baby Mare's training/indoor board. There are set prices for tasks, which often doesn't work out in my favor, particularly once gas is factored in. I covered the whole day on the last major holiday and didn't even get an extra $10 tossed my way. A significant percentage of the horses are a PITA. (Nothing sours a horse girl faster than rude horses!) I am currently weaning them off of me, and regret not listening to the wise boarder who casually mentioned the VERY high turnover rate of barn help...


    9 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2000
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    10,594

    Default

    Crone, I read your post out loud to my husband, and he nodded in commiseration.
    With the accent on the 'misery' part.

    I see your 3 years and raise you another 3 on top of that - since I have been on a vacation. Or even got away from the farm overnight..
    We bought a house on the ocean four years ago, and I have never been, yet.

    Obviously, I don't have any of the answers to any of your questions.

    I did have a wonderful horse 'girl' - she was English (actually she still IS English), the wife of the Huntsman of the local hunt- a terrific rider, hard worker, great with horses both youngsters and the stallion.. kind and fun to be around. And she can clip and braid.
    When she first started working for me I could not believe how lucky I was.

    Sadly her husband got a job with another hunt an hour and a half away, and despite my entreaties to her to leave him and let us ADOPT her, she moved away....

    Since then I have not been able to find anyone responsible and reliable.
    There are plenty of young girls who 'love horses' - but I haven't found one yet since my wonderful English girl, who I could actually hand the keys of my house, and the well-being of my horses, over to and drive down the driveway.

    So I will be reading this thread with interest.
    And if you are a reliable, responsible person, and live near me, give me a call!!

    I have cookies! Really!
    A FINE ROMANCE - JC Reg Thoroughbred - GOLD Premium CSHA - ISR/OLDNA Approved
    CSHA Brickenden Stallion Award Winner - for Performance offspring.
    Please visit A Fine Romance on FB!


    7 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2008
    Location
    Glenelg, MD
    Posts
    638

    Default

    Second the recommendation to check with your vet ... we are lucky enough to have a few "horse girls" to watch over ours and we're lucky enough to get out of town at least quarterly. DO IT! Your sanity depends on it. Although to be fair, when not getting ready for traveling I ignore the mirror that would otherwise often tell me I need a haircut, a facial, a mani-pedi, and some clean clothes. : )



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,269

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by starrunner View Post
    Right up there with my one part time job petting cats for $11/hour. I don't do it for the money, I do it because I like it.
    Ooh, a cat petting job. How'd you get that gig?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2006
    Posts
    877

    Default

    I am the "go-to" weekend/holiday veterinary assistant person for a veterinary clinic. However, there are rarely hospitalized pets on the weekend (small clinic) so my job is to pet the kitties and keep them company for a while. Double-time on holidays as well...

    I think the clinic owner likes me since it's hard to find someone reliable for such infrequent and variable hours. I don't mind variable since it works around my other job and I sure do enjoy petting kitties! Now, dodging cranky cats and giving fluids is fine too, but the petting is far better.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2003
    Location
    somewhere. out there.
    Posts
    2,403

    Default

    I just found a horse girl. She started on Tuesday (yesterday) and I love her already.

    I don't really mind doing the small amount of work around my farm. What I mind, and what my employer minds, is my single-minded need to BE HOME AT 5 AT ALL COSTS! My horse girl is relieving me of this need, and the need to muck stalls three days a week.

    Day 1 of horse girl went swimmingly. I found her because she bought one of my horses earlier this year. When I decided I needed a horse girl, I emailed her mother to put the word out with the local Pony Club. You can imagine my delight when her delightful daughter actually WANTED to come work for me for $15 per visit. Now granted...its pretty easy work that takes 45 minutes or less. But I love her.

    I hope this continues to work out.


    6 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 1999
    Location
    Midland, NC, USA
    Posts
    7,246

    Default

    I have three :-) one 'full time' who does about five days/week and two who cover chores the other days. Compensation is $10/hour, one works off her apt (over the barn) and board for her horse, one works off lessons and hauling to shows on her own horse, and also rides a greenie for me (green but fancy and talented, so a win/win), and one works off lessons and practice rides/show use on a school horse (this works when your school horse is a fancy mover, quiet, and will jump 4' in gorgeous form with a monkey hanging around its neck). One started off as a lesson student, one came looking for a part time working student gig, the full-timer I found by posting on the local horsey Facebook page (but I actually already knew her).

    Jennifer



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2009
    Posts
    266

    Default

    As an aging horse girl, I am sorry to report that you may have to "raise" your own. Don't write off a horse-crazy teenager, some of them are quite responsible and can be "trained" your way.

    I am currently a horse girl for an aged woman who needs someone experienced and dependable. She pays $10 per hour for mucking and yard work, and considerably more for actual training. I actually love my job and employer.
    Last edited by hank; Dec. 12, 2012 at 09:32 PM. Reason: another thought



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