I'm contemplating offering an exchange of board for help with farm chores. Does anyone do this (either as the farm owner OR the working boarder)?
Here is the deal. Right now I heave a broken ankle and my poor husband is really getting tired of doing barn chores alone. We just have a private farm with two horses. I have an outdoor riding arena with decent footing and jumps. I have three paddocks and an 8-stall barn, but only five are completed. I am only using two of them. The barn still needs a few finishing touches, but it is serviceable. The wash bay is half way done, and we need to concrete the aisle.
Anyway, what would you offer in exchange for what? I would love someone to clean my two stalls, feed either a.m. or p.m., turn out or bring horses in maybe five days a week. I'm just brainstorming at the moment. My two horses are easy to handle, and honestly it doesn't take much time. Would you charge for feed?
Any ideas would be appreciated. I'm looking into my insurance first. It has been a while since I have boarded a horse.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
¯ Oscar Wilde
Paradox, my barn exchanges chores for practice rides, breakfast/lunch on weekends, and on, occasion, board. We currently have 16 at my barn and my weekend "job" for several years as been weekend feed and turn out. Then three or 4 of us get together and do stalls. I would think the issue would be finding someone who could do it often enough to make it worth your while. Even if you had someone to help hubby with the chores, that would be beneficial. My BO does not charge extra for feed and hay.
I am in a situation where I can choose to work the price off of certain services from the facility. Leasing OR boarding, and working off some lessons. For me the agreement was that board is worked off down to feed, hay and bedding. I still have to pay the amount for those. I am a working student, but I had a job offer at a boarding barn that was 15 hours a week in exchange for completely free board.
Honestly, more barns should think of this. Obviously not advertising it and offering it to everyone who wants to board, but there's always one barn rat who's willing to put extra effort in to help get by. One thing though is that when I do see those scenarios, the person is always working at least part time if not full time for the BO, there every day mucking or feeding in the morning, etc. That stops other boarders from going "I wanna work off my board too" because it's a huge enough commitment.
I am incredibly blessed. My BO and her fiance like to go to Atlantic City A LOT. I get free board for farmsitting one weekend a month. The only thing I pay for is grain.
It's a pretty easy gig. 4 horses (including mine), 2 mini donkeys and 3 dogs, and barn cats all get fed twice a day. Horses are on 24/7 turnout with access to stalls, but they rarely come in. The only time there's much of a mess to clean up is when the weather is bad.
The mini donks offer enough entertainment that it's really worth while, regardless of the free board.
I know a few barns that do this. It works out really well for all parties, but the only thing I can stress is outline exactly what chores equals what reduction of board. It will make the whole process smoother.
I have done that for 4 years, but this year we decided to change things up. I work 5 days a week doing AM chores. Turnout, clean stalls, bring a few in, rake, dump waterbuckets ... 12 stalls. Takes me 3 hours a day. WAS just doing a flat out "work 3 days a week for board, work 2 days for $$", but now we're going to do a flat $10 per hour deal. It was starting to get a little hard because when the farrier comes, I hold horses for him ... for 5-6 hours at the time. Was only getting "paid" for 3 hours since hours weren't actually TRACKED. This way should work out better
Set a price for board. Then, either pay/take off $X per hour worked, or decide how much each individual task is worth ($X per stall cleaned, $X for feeding, etc). Keep a good log sheet of how much has been earned toward the board OR pay the person outright and let them apply the money right back when they pay you for board.
Put everything down in writing. These deals can be great if done right. They can also go very sour when either the worker or the owner feel they aren't getting what was expected as far as hours worked, quality of work, or compensation.
At my barn it is mandatory (co-op situation). On top of my weekly shift I also work an AM shift to help cut down on my monthly board.
AM (worth $15 towards board): grain 8 stalled horses, change blankets as needed, turnout, dump water buckets, grain outside horses, drop hay in pastures, prep grain for PM shift. About 30-70 minutes total depending on time of year (worse in winter with blanketing)
PM (worth $30): muck 8 stalls, drop hay, sweep back stalls, blow out barn, clean wash rack, fill water buckets, bring in, grain 8 horses, feed outside horses, change blankets, fill outside water troughs, prep grain for AM, check to make sure everyone ate and is settled, close up barn and leave. A hour and a half to two and a half hours depending on how fast you muck.
For the AM and PM shift we have very clear To-Do lists and everyone holds each other accountable. Working extra shifts or switching shifts is recorded in multiple locations so Sally knows who to text about leaving Billy in his sheet overnight.
Having a set amount for specific chores instead of by the hour reduces the likelihood of someone dragging their feet to make more money.