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Partially working off boarding fees - anyone done it?

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  • #21
    I do this, but it's treated like a real part time job. I get paid an hourly rate and have set hours on Saturdays and Sundays. I also water and feed hay one night per week, and that is paid a set amount per night. The money comes off my board bill. I would get a check if I made more in a month than board costs, but I don't. This system has worked out great for me. I prefer they just credit my bill, honestly.

    I've been doing this since March and haven't had any issues at all. I also live very close to the barn, and would usually be there anyways - may as well get some board credit to do it! It's also not very difficult work. Weekends I watch the office, answer the phone, take payments from lesson kids (we have a big lesson program), and make sure school horses are all tucked in when they're done. I do simple medicating, like bute or SMZs, and the smalls extras that pop up like handwalking a lame one. During blanket season I make sure anyone that needs one is wearing one. Pretty easy stuff.

    My regular work week makes me crazy sometimes, so I actually really enjoy my barn job!


    • #22
      I think it depends entirely on the situation. The first barn I had my gelding at, I actually worked there and got my board reduced because of that. Board was X because I was an employee, but I had to work a certain number of hours a week (which wasn't a problem as it was my main job at the time). I got an hourly rate for the time I was there and BO was fair about it and paid for the actual time I spent doing whatever (I also didn't play around, worked hard and got stuff done to the best of my ability as quickly as possible).

      In the colder months, blanketing and whatnot make turnout/bringing in take longer, but again, I got paid hourly so it didn't really matter. Also tasks like fixing fences or building a couple of new gates were just included in my hourly pay. I generally got extra hours every week for doing extra projects like that beyond the normal horse care stuff.

      Also, I got paid extra if I exercised a horse or did a training ride. That kind of thing was paid per event per horse. Owner paid BO Y for a training ride and I was paid half. Owner paid Z for an exercise ride and again, I was paid half. Clipping, bathing, that kind of thing all had fees associated. If I did the work, I was paid half of what the owner paid the barn on top of my hourly wage.

      The other barn I was at was run by a friend of mine. I wasn't an actual employee this time, but I did work off board. I was working 3rd shift at the time and the barn was more or less on my way home. On the 5 days I worked, I'd swing by, grain and toss everyone a couple flakes of hay at 6:30am. The horses were then content to hang out in their stalls for an extra couple hours and my friend didn't have to get up as early. She'd get there about 9, turn everyone out. If I wasn't a work, I was usually at the barn either riding my horse or helping with something or another. I didn't really want to be anywhere but at the barn, so at that time, it worked out fine for me. We didn't really have a set contract. I fed on the days I worked and helped out with whatever was needed. I generally helped bring in and feed at night if I was there. I didn't really feel taken advantage of though. Some months I paid board - mostly just enough to cover my share of the feed/hay. Some months she wouldn't accept anything. It generally depended how many extra projects we'd done that month. I wanted to be out there and doing that stuff anyway. The BO was a good friend of mine and I thoroughly enjoyed working at the barn.

      I only moved my horse because I bought a small farm and put him in my backyard.


      • #23
        I have done it, in exactly the way that this entire board would tell you not to It worked however because the barn is small and low-key, the BO is low key and I (along with the other people who did it) am honest and responsible.
        BO pays a flat hourly rate for the feeding and mucking (mucking not always needed). There is nothing in writing and the number of hours vary (I just pick up feedings now and then when the regulars cannot do it- there are others that have set days/feedings). I can see very few situations however where this would work as well as it does.
        There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


        • #24
          I have also worked off board the way that everyone says not to. I got "paid" a flat rate per day for feeding and mucking. I just reduced my board check each month according to the number of days I had worked. The amount was the same whether we had 8 horses in the barn or 4, so sometimes she got the better end of the deal and sometimes I did. We had nothing in writing, but we never had any issues. We communicated well and both upheld our end of the bargain. If I moved back to the town where I was living at the time I had this arrangement, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again, and I know the barn owner would be happy to as well. I would not, however, get into this type of arrangement with someone that I did not trust or communicate well with.


          • #25
            Yup! I work off one horse's entire board, and work off partial board at another barn. BO sets a price for the work, I subtract from my board, and pay what's left. The partial barn has everything written up in the contract... I do evening chores one day a week and morning chores two days a week, times 4 weeks, and that comes off my board. If there's a fifth evening or morning in my board month, it doesn't make a difference. So I end up working a day here or there for "free", but the barn is worth it.
            Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
            Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
            VW sucks.


            • #26
              I am at a smallish barn and clean two stalls in exchange for part of my board (I board 2). Have had this arrangement for the last couple of years and it has worked out great.


              • #27
                I do it. I work one day a week and have a set list of things that I do each week; in return I get full board at the pasture board rate. It's written in my board contract what jobs I perform and how often, and what the board rate I pay in return is. The only thing that changes slightly is the number of horses, but the barn is full at 16 and we usually have 14-16 horses, so it's not like y work suddenly doubles or BO is suddenly stuck giving me the same discount for half the horses. One or two either way isn't a big deal to either of us. I love this barn and would only be able to afford pasture board without the arrangement, so it works well for me and gives BO a break. Good all around. It would be tough at a bigger facility or one with high turnover, but at my barn, it's been good so far.


                • #28
                  One of my boarders gets $25 off of board per "day" that she works. She usually does M-F
                  We feed and turn out in the morning and she comes anytime during the day and cleans stalls, and cleans and re-fills water buckets, we usually have 7 ponies. We feed dinner, do blankets, hay, ect..
                  This deal has worked great for us, she is retired and watches her granddaughter in the morning and then comes and does stalls, and rides her horse! We just write down all the days that she does and then pay her at the end of the month. She always gets free board + extra


                  • #29
                    This is also what I do. Smaller privately owned barn. 7-12ish stalls depending on who all is in, how many borders, etc. I do stalls 2x a week, occasionally pick up some feedings, farm-sit while BOs are away, harrow arenas when others haven't had the time, etc. The flat hourly rate is taken directly off of my horse's board for the month. For reference, I usually work off $140ish a month (board is only $375 to begin with) unless it's a month when they're away at an event or two, etc.

                    Originally posted by bambam View Post
                    I have done it, in exactly the way that this entire board would tell you not to It worked however because the barn is small and low-key, the BO is low key and I (along with the other people who did it) am honest and responsible.
                    BO pays a flat hourly rate for the feeding and mucking (mucking not always needed). There is nothing in writing and the number of hours vary (I just pick up feedings now and then when the regulars cannot do it- there are others that have set days/feedings). I can see very few situations however where this would work as well as it does.
                    Originally posted by RugBug
                    Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.


                    • #30
                      I've been working off my entire board for years while working a full time job and competing at the same time. Been at 4 different barns and left every barn on good terms. Been at my latest barn for 6 years now and the barn has even been sold to a different owner while I was working there! The joke around there is that me and the barn cat conveyed with the barn! The secret is to be knowledgeable, reliable and responsible and understand it's not your barn so do what the owners want done. It's a small private barn and for a while I was the only boarder. Its a private home and I treat it that way and am respectful of their privacy. I offer my advice only when asked so not to offend and they do ask. I clean the barn 4 days a week for my full board, 8 stalls, and do a little extra every time just to help out. Now they are putting in an indoor and I will be able to maintain the same schedule and have an indoor to use! If they call and need me for anything I do everything possible to make it happen. I've done this at every barn and you will find out its greatly appreciated.


                      • #31
                        I have been working off board for 3 years now where I currently board. I get a set rate ($150/weekend) and just have it subtracted off my board. We have 10 horses total, and all chores total take me about 5 hours a weekend. Yes, sadly, I get paid way more to do the barn than my real M-F job. I've been very lucky, my BOs are fabulous people who know their stuff. The facility is top notch with great boarders (and horses!), top of the line facilities, and everything runs with military precision. This is NOT the kind of place I could ever afford without working board off.

                        I have to say, I don't really have a contract. I mean, I have a boarding contract where my BO wrote in the credit I would receive per day from working there. But, there aren't specific duties listed at all. My BOs and I have a wonderful relationship, so the fact that duties aren't detailed in a contract doesn't really bother me and it's a risk I'm willing take. However, I have known my BOs long before I actually boarded with them, so the trust was already there. If you don't know your BOs at all, then I'd be sure to get tasks detailed in a contract.
                        Last edited by spotteddrafter; Dec. 7, 2012, 02:18 PM. Reason: spelling :(
                        “Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.” ~Emerson


                        • #32
                          I only have one boarder and she works 3 days a week. I pay $5 a stall and we take it off the following months board. She is even more meticulous than I am. I think I am lucky to have her.