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What do you pay/charge for stripping stalls?

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  • What do you pay/charge for stripping stalls?

    I've come across several threads related to this topic, but haven't found one that really helps answer my question.
    Some background - I own 2 horses that are kept at a family member's private barn. Family member gifted one horse to me after I trained it, I bred the other using one of family member's mares (My marital/financial situation was different at the time). I was told "no strings" "keep them here as long as you want". There are 12 horses there in total, 10 stalls, about 4 acres of crappy pasture and a few mud lots, no indoor, and the place has basically become a gauntlet for horses over the past few years. Didn't used to be this bad.
    I felt obligated to do something in return, so I offered to clean the stalls on the weekends, the only time I can get there. Otherwise, stalls "might" get stripped once per year over a horrible back-breaking weekend or two. Most of the horses are locked inside minimally 12hrs/day, and any day there's a grey cloud in the sky. Needless to say, stalls are disgusting by the weekend. I have to completely strip each of 10 stalls, requiring up to 3 ~150-200lb wheelbarrow loads out to the pile for each, depending upon how much they've been locked up. Been doing this every weekend for 6 years. After the worst of weeks, I can do all 10 in about 3-4hrs, but it really takes the wind out of my sails, especially when the whole mass is one big frozen excrement cookie! I also help family member go get and put up hay, feed and turnout weekends and when they are out of town, general repairs when I have the time to spare...etc. Working toward getting my own horse property, but not quite there yet. I can't afford to board anywhere else at this time. No need to lecture me on getting my horses out of there, you'd be preaching to the choir! I'm fed up with the situation, but it is what it is right now, and if I make a commitment I keep my word.
    So, to the heart of my question... The background provided was to give you an idea of what I'm doing. What is my labor worth in $$? Am I getting a deal or getting taken advantage of?
    Hay is getting down to an alarmingly low level, prices are about double, and I'm trying to get an idea of what I'm already contributing, should said family member begin hinting that I should chip in for the feed costs.
    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    You go once a week for 3-4 hours, and do some miscellaneous stuff on the side? And you don't chip in for any other expenses?

    Yes, you are getting a deal. A majorly good one.

    Going rate for barn chores in my area is $10/hour. So you're "paying" $120-160 a month to board two horses. That is a very, very good deal.

    Comment


    • #3
      No one cleans stalls at all during the week? With the work you are doing on the weekend this is what it sounds like. It's hard for me to think about leaving stalls uncleaned for an entire week as the routine. Am I misunderstanding something?

      Barn labor is about $10/hr in my area too, so it does sound like a deal on boarding. I know people who do 3-4 hrs/day multiple days/week (like 5) to work off their board.
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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Yes, you are correct, nobody cleans during the week. Once a week whether it needs it or not!
        Horses are given a scoop of grain morning and night, and a flake of hay morning and night, sometimes a third flake for the day. Per my calculations, my two horses are getting about $37 worth of hay/grain per week. Besides food and the required labor to feed and fill water buckets, that's about the extent of the room and board they get. I was even told, "it's no trouble to feed a couple more". One is in an overgrazed lot with a run-in. The other is locked in a stall half the day, and free to go outside the other half.
        No other care or attention is provided, typically. No place to keep tack, no safe place to ride.
        I always felt the deal was equitable, as it is exponentially more difficult to clean a stall once/week than to pick it out once a day for 7 days. If I didn't do the stalls, nobody would.
        Just trying to get a feel for what it would cost family member to pay someone to do this job.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd rather pay than do that job. But only if someone cleaned my horse's stall every day like it should be done.

          (Sometimes I don't clean my stalls every day...but my horses are not locked in. If I don't clean stalls for some reason, they don't have to stand in sh!t for half a day!)

          In theory, yeah...barn help is about $10-15/hour (and for $15 I'd expect more than mucking stalls)...and I would charge at least $300 for a stall so that's 25-30 hours of work. But it all comes down to what you want and what they want. I have had boarders who didn't pay anything, but did chores for me, and that was much more valuable *to me* at that time. (But I have a tack room, small arena, etc.)...sounds like you're getting what people around here would charge $175-$200 a month for or so...

          How far away do are you from the barn? If you went daily for an hour in the afternoon, for example - picked stalls and fed/watered, then spent another hour on the weekend...that is a pretty sweet deal for the family barn owner, easier on your back and nicer for the horses....

          Or something like that...maybe every other day stall cleaning and weekend scrubbing water troughs and buckets...sounds like a fair deal for what you're getting.

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          • #6
            First, I wouldn't leave my horse in a stall that was only cleaned once a week.

            I pay $5 where I go camping to have my stall stripped when I leave. I pick it every day, though, and I'm only there 2-3 nights at most. I just don't like stripping a stall when I am trying to pack up and leave.

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            • #7
              I would calculate it just as Gallop did. You are "paying" about $160/month to board two horses. That is a fantastic deal. Yes, it does sound like a rotten job, but you are working the hours at your convenience. Yes, the boarding situation doesn't sound so great with nowhere to ride and very minimal stall cleaning. However, your horses are presumably being fed and watered regularly and have adequate accommodations including a stall and a shed, so although the once a week stall cleaning sounds pretty disgusting, it sounds like your horses are otherwise safe and healthy. Paying $80 per horse for this is a crazy good deal. Personally I think you should be pretty grateful to the BO who is keeping your horses for you.

              Now, not to be harsh but your "calculations" regarding what you imagine it must cost the facility owner to keep your horses are off base. Do you know how much they paid for the facility? What the mortgage payment is each month? What they pay in taxes and insurance? What they pay for labor, including workmans comp, payroll taxes, and accounting fees? Remember, "labor" on a horse farm isn't just the labor to give your horse it's feed and water, it's the labor to keep the facility maintained, mowed, painted, etc. Do you know what the tractor, the mower, the weedeaters etc. cost and how much it costs to fuel and maintain them? The fence? The electric bill? The water bill? If I ran my facility and just charged people exactly what the feed and the hay cost plus the cost of the labor only for the direct care of each horse, I'd go broke fast.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks for the feedback so far. Your replies give me a better idea about the value of my "deal".
                Without going into all of the details of why, I still believe the cost to keep my horses is fairly accurate. BeeHoney, you do, however, point out some things I need to consider. I certainly couldn't keep them anywhere else for this "price".
                I wish I could get there during the week, but I work full-time 40 miles from home. I don't get home til 7pm sometimes, and the barn is 12 miles in the opposite direction. I'm a single dad and the kids stay with me most days, so not much time for anything beyond making dinner, helping with homework, etc.

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                • #9
                  Regardless of the "cost" to board, I think you are being used badly. Not cleaning stalls for a week and making one person strip hundreds of pounds of manure is unacceptable on so many levels - to the horses, and to the weekend help.

                  If there is no way to have stalls cleaned during the week, then I'd want 24/7 turnout.

                  Sounds like a crappy situation all around (no pun intended). If it were me I might consider selling and re-entering the horse world when it is more convenient to your lifestyle.

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                  • #10
                    Yes, I do feel that both the OP is doing an unreasonable amount of work on the weekends because --yuk, muck once weekly? But I also feel when brought down to brass tacks of hourly rate vs. going board in the area, he's okay.

                    That being said, I think the OP might be best served to hire someone to come in on say, Wednesday evening at a rate of $20 per day for all stalls, to muck. Because even if they do a slip-shod job, it'll lighten his load on the weekends.

                    I'm sure that option isnt' ideal either but WOW.. I did that type of mucking gig exactly ONCE in my life. NEVER again.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wdh009 View Post
                      Thanks for the feedback so far. Your replies give me a better idea about the value of my "deal".
                      Without going into all of the details of why, I still believe the cost to keep my horses is fairly accurate. BeeHoney, you do, however, point out some things I need to consider. I certainly couldn't keep them anywhere else for this "price".
                      I wish I could get there during the week, but I work full-time 40 miles from home. I don't get home til 7pm sometimes, and the barn is 12 miles in the opposite direction. I'm a single dad and the kids stay with me most days, so not much time for anything beyond making dinner, helping with homework, etc.

                      I think others posting here are not giving you enough "pay" for the job you do - I suspect that if the owner had to hire someone to come out & "clean" these stalls weekly, NO ONE would stick it out for a paltry $30 - $40/week; more likely they would need to pay someone to come out 3-4X/week & pay a minimum of $20 - $50 each visit depending on travel time/costs.

                      OTOH the owner might find someone willing to trade board (with feed) for 2 horses in exchange for the stall etc duties BUT most places offering this would also have a riding arena or trails etc ...


                      If this situation allows you to keep horses that you love that you would otherwise have to sell, then only you can judge the value of that - if you find yourself filled with resentment or anger, then definitely look for alternate arrangements ... who knows, you may find an equally wonderful (no $$) arrangement elsewhere that does have riding facilities & is closer & etc, etc

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What Gallop and Beehoney said. Your board is currently equivalent of $80/month/horse. If you were getting a better accommodation, you would be asked to pay more than that. Honestly I wouldn't let anyone board at my place for that meager amount of money.

                        And no, your own calculation is only enough to "feed" your horses, not to "keep" them, not even on your own property.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think that if someone was being paid hourly to do a stall stripping job, the majority of workers wouldn't be able to or willing to do the job in a mere three or four hours. Most people would take there time doing it to stretch it out and make more money, especially if they were being paid by the hour. Our guy here isn't being paid to do it, he's doing it based off it's what the horses need and no one else is doing it. He's doing it becuase he knows it's best for the horses and because it needs to be done. That's his motivation. Just paying someone, a random worker, someone that doesn't have a horse or is'nt caring for their horse, isn't generally going to care as much to put a good effort into it. Not sure if this makes sense, it's pretty late and I've been up for a while. :/

                          However, I do agree with the calcs on the board - I could never afford to let someone keep a horse here for that little cost. There is SO much more, so many more costs associated with keeping horses than just the feed. If it's a crappy rundown farm and they never make any improvements or fix things that get broken, maybe it's a little ridiculous. If it's a place that actually cares about the horses (which it kinda doesn't sound like it too much based off the stall thing), then they're going to have a lot of other horse-related expenses that go into boarding cost.

                          That being said, I knew a huge boarding facility that never cleaned stalls, but just stripped once a week. I hated it, I always went out and cleaned my horse's stall two or three days a week when I could get out there. But it is a fairly common thing, I've been at several places that did that.
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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            equinekingdom, yes, your first paragraph makes sense and is correct. I was never asked for anything in return for keeping my horses here, but in addition to the feelings of obligation to family member, I knew the horses needed it to be done. Although only half bag of shavings once a week, at least they get 2 or 3 days of semi-dry and clean bedding to stand in.
                            Re: the comments from some on the cost of board, I do understand where you're coming from. I guess my thoughts were that my 2 horses were no additional overhead to family member other than the cost/effort to feed/water them while he's feeding/watering his own 10 horses. Without going into details about the condition of the place, suffice to say, about the only other thing adding to that overhead is that my own 2 probably do their share of carpentry work on the barn/fencing. I hadn't considered that aspect of the "costs" involved before, so I appreciate you folks pointing it out. Some additional perspective is always good

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              1/2 a bag of bedding once a week? and what then standing in there own filth the rest of the time? sounds like very little hay/feed and the chewing is likely from lack of hay. could you possibly sell/give away one horse so you could afford to board the other elsewhere? it sounds like a very bad situation, boarding on neglect.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                IMHO, I think you should sell/give away these two horses and get them out of there asap. It isn't fair to them and it would give you more time and money for your kids.

                                There is no valid point to keep, at this point in this situation, these horses in their filth 6days a week. Please do yourself, your kids and your horses a favor.
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                                • #17
                                  The OP appears to be trying his best with a fairly appalling situation. Be that as it may, I can't resist emphasizing, for the benefit of any neophytes that may be reading this forum, that the general practice of imprisoning horses 12 hours a day in insufficiently bedded stalls that are cleaned only once a week does not merely border on neglect, as one commenter suggested; it constitutes full-on abuse. I can't even imagine what that place must smell like on Day 6. What about their feet, their lungs? The mind reels that anyone could believe for even 2 seconds that a situation like this is OK.
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                                  • #18
                                    I was on board with you until you mentioned 1/2 bag of shavings/week!!

                                    All those horses must have terrible mat sores on their hocks if they lie down in those stalls.

                                    My stalls are bedded with about 12" if shavings and the sides are banked high. I could see the tie an effort involved in that situation - it takes time to sift though all the shavings and take out the soiled wet stuff, then rebed with shavings from the sides. But taking a shovel and scooping out 1/2 bag of shavings plus manure -- how do you get 3 - 4 wheelbarrows of muck from each stall?

                                    Ewwwww. I would think the min you would find someone to do that is $10/stall. x 12 stalls is $120/week x 4 = $480/month. Round up to $500 for the 5 week months.

                                    I think you could find a place for 2 horses for that. Even it if it is field board and they just throw feed 2x/day.

                                    Based on my calculations, I would say that you are breaking even --> getting a slightly good deal, especially with hay costing so much.
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                                    • #19
                                      Find a pasture to board them in somewhere, just about anything would be better than keeping them in those stalls. :/
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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by equinekingdom View Post
                                        Find a pasture to board them in somewhere, just about anything would be better than keeping them in those stalls. :/
                                        As per OP :
                                        I can't afford to board anywhere else at this time. No need to lecture me on getting my horses out of there, you'd be preaching to the choir! I'm fed up with the situation, but it is what it is right now, and if I make a commitment I keep my word.
                                        What about the commitment to your horses?
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                                        Originally posted by LauraKY
                                        I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
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