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Would You Let an 11 year old Work Unsupervised?

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  • Would You Let an 11 year old Work Unsupervised?

    A family that consists of two parents and an 11 year old girl have moved in to a local co-op barn. Each co-op shift entails bringing horses in or turning them out, feeding hay, grain, checking water and making sure everyone is on all 4 legs, and not colicing or bleeding.

    The co-op has already accepted these people into the barn and now finds that a) they have their very first horse and no prior horse experience; b) the parents are planning on dropping the 11 year old off to do chores then picking her up after; c) they had zero idea what their new horse eats, how much grain to feed, etc. Also it is not uncommon for the person working the co-op shift to be totally alone on the farm.

    Several co-op members see no issue with an inexperienced 11 year old working on her own. I think it's a HUGE liability issue. What do you think?

    BTW-not my barn and I don't board there but a friend does and we are both curious.
    Last edited by eventersmom; Jan. 28, 2012, 11:03 AM. Reason: Spelling
    A horse may be coaxed to drink, but a pencil must be lead.

  • #2
    no way no how.
    but thats just me. I know a lot of people that grew up with : being dropped off, turned loose at a barn and having full freedom from mom and dad all day long.
    Wonderful fun for the kid.

    But as a parent? Nope. Never happened. I was on grounds each and every time my young daughter was around horses and ESPECIALLY when she was in saddle. Again. I chose to have a reduced family income and vs. continuing working, be a stay at home mom, and again (!) I realize not everyone can.

    but it was important to me...and I vowed if she was ever flat on her back, staring up at EMTs, and scared...I'd be the first face she saw and was with her enroute.

    Barn chores? sure...I'd let her work off things and took each opportunity for her exposure to the hard stuff, not just the fluff. But to ask her to do it as an eleven year old without my being there? no.

    again. just me.
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett


    • #3
      HUGE liability issue. How is the insurance written? I'd be talking to your insurance agent to make sure you're protected. I'm not familiar with co-op liability insurance....


      • #4
        at the two barns we used to board at, all minors had to be supervised at all times.....


        • #5
          I am not sure I would want the child and the newbie parent there alone without supervision.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
            HUGE liability issue. How is the insurance written? I'd be talking to your insurance agent to make sure you're protected. I'm not familiar with co-op liability insurance....

            Good question but I have no idea since it isn't my barn. I would hope it is something the owners are researching to ensure they are covered!
            A horse may be coaxed to drink, but a pencil must be lead.


            • #7
              I did it but it was a different time and I was brought up around livestock. By the time I was that age, I was milking cows, was well able to handle the other chores including letting them in and back out. In this case, no way. It is an accident looking for a place to happen. Not only should the child be supervised but also the parents.
              Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

              Member: Incredible Invisbles


              • #8
                NO !!


                • #9
                  If the child had horse experience and very mature, maybe. But then I'd talk to the insurance agent before it actually happened.

                  In this senario? No way, no how.
                  *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                  • #10
                    No, just no. I wouldn't be happy about an adult newbie horse owner handling my horse without an experienced horse person there to teach them either.

                    And my horse is about as polite and mannerly on the ground as they get. I prefer to keep him that way.
                    "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” – Barry Switzer


                    • #11
                      I don't care if the kid is the second coming of Christ....HELL NO!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sk_pacer View Post
                        I did it but it was a different time and I was brought up around livestock. By the time I was that age, I was milking cows, was well able to handle the other chores including letting them in and back out. In this case, no way. It is an accident looking for a place to happen. Not only should the child be supervised but also the parents.

                        If the kid grew up around horses maybe but still theres the odd thing that can go wrong...too anyone.
                        “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                        • #13
                          I also say no. I think the barn owner and all the other boarders need to stage an intervention for the parents. They may be so clueless that they do not have any idea how dangerous this is. If the child had extensive horse experience already (such as 4+ years in pony club) it would be different. The parents need to be advised that one must stay there with the child. If the child were to be left alone however briefly (not advisable) then the child needs to have a cell phone on hand, and a note in the pocket stating how to contact the parents in case of an emergency and details of the child's medical insurance coverage. Sheesh, this boggles my mind!
                          RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                          • #14
                            ABSOLUTELY NO NO & NO.

                            No to a newbie regardless of age. First they need to learn how to handle all this safely. That means having an experienced teacher by their side for quite some time. I've seen way to many terribly clueless adults when it comes to horses.

                            No to a young child. Far too much to expect safety-wise of an 11 year old, even a very mature experienced one.

                            I rarely leave even my own 17 year old, who has 8 years of solid experience, to handle chores alone. I may be in the house, but I'm on alert if things seem to be taking longer than usual even with our own well behaved horses.

                            Even though I do work & ride alone, even as a mature adult I'm very cognizant of what can go wrong and much prefer to have someone else "in the vicinity."

                            This situation is a set-up for a possibly very sad outcome on many counts. I hope everybody steps back and rethinks what is going on.


                            • #15
                              No way in hades! And if I were a boarder at this barn, I would FREAK about these people handling my horses.
                              Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique


                              • #16
                                How did they get accepted into the coop without this information being known???

                                No ... I let my boyfriend's 10-12 year old girls HELP with chores, but would never expect them to be responsible completely. Especially since they are new to horses. They get to help feed, by doing exactly what I tell them too AND I follow up. No way I would let them bring in, and no way would I expect them to know what to look for with injuries, colic, etc. They aren't even allowed in the pasture alone!
                                If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                                ~ Maya Angelou


                                • #17
                                  My friend has a lesson barn where a lot of the kids do some work, but she would not have an 11 year old (regardless of experience) doing a feeding on their own. They can help, but are never the one in charge of it. A feeder is only responsible to feed and turn out there. (water is done by adults who either feed in the morning, or the stall cleaner who is also an adult, kids proved to be unreliable with making sure there was water).
                                  I can't remember what age I was when the barn chores at home became my responsibility (although my mom was home, just not outside with me).

                                  I would not be happy with a 11 year old being there alone, much less a new to horses one. In that case parents would only help so much since they don't know what they are doing either. I would be concerned if I kept my horse there.


                                  • #18
                                    Not only is the legal liability scary, but what about the safety of a child that age being alone at a remote location? This is a really bad idea, and if the co-op allows this they will be legally and morally responsible when something happens. The parents suggesting this are idiots too.
                                    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                    • #19
                                      11 yr old

                                      Hell no! Would not even leave the entire non-horsey family with a new horse there alone!


                                      • #20
                                        I don't think the job is appropriate for a newby, adult or child.

                                        My son is 12, and he is certainly competent to handle any barn/horse chores with familiar horses. He is also 6'1" and 150 lbs, so it's not like you worry about him getting pushed around anymore than anyone. With six years of horse experience, I'd be really upset if he couldn't feed, clean stalls, and move horses around without help. That said, I certainly wouldn't drop him off in an unfamiliar barn and expect him to handle strange horses. I wouldn't want to do that myself, until I'd had plenty of time to learn the ropes, meet the horses and owners, etc.