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Can I have your thoughts on Barn Sitting?

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  • #21
    When I hire a new babysitter for my kids, I have them come over when I'm home, hang with the kids, etc. Then I take a trip to the store or something w/ new babysitter at home....if all goes well, maybe I'll go out for the evening w/ babysitter at home next time....

    Same with horses. I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE a teenaged kid to come help with barn chores on weekends when I'm home. I'd pay $8-10/hour for good solid work with me....meaning poo picking pastures, mucking stalls, etc. If that worked out well, I'd definitely consider expanding job duties for when I may not be around.

    When we are away we often have a house sitter (e.g. my parents) who are not horsey, so a person like your daughter could really be useful. It's not truly "barn sitting" since I have two adults on the property who can also be eyes and ears, but I'm not going to ask my mom to muck stalls. So a "small-time" horse sitter would be greatly appreciated at small barns like mine.


    • #22
      Based on what you posted about her knowledge level and yours, I would use her services if I were in your area.

      And I think that once she has one or two satisfied clients, word of mouth will take care of the rest.

      That is the biggest issue for me, finding someone reliable to stay with the house/horses/dogs, or even to just to barn chores (when the rest of the non-horsey family is home to care for the house/dogs) and feed the horses. I have not had anything more than a 3 day vacation in years!
      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


      • #23
        For the backyard horse owner who wants to get away for the weekend, the biggest barrier is that the teen who can drive to get to your place is already driving to get to a 'real' job at McBurgers. So if the parents are guaranteeing transport, that's a real plus.

        Ditto what other posters have said about coming out once or twice beforehand to learn the routine. On top of that, make sure the horse owner leaves a written to-do list, phone numbers for the vet, the backup vet, any other vet they've ever heard of, and at least 1-2 farmer neighbors who can come help in case of horse-related but non horse-sitter-chore emergencies (like fence repair).
        Incredible Invisible


        • #24
          We have had both good and bad experiences with both young and old horse sitters. When my mother passed away and my husband came east for the funeral we had a 14 year old and a 12 year old looking after about 60 horses including 2 studs and 8 mares and foals. These were extremely experienced, smart kids that grew up on horses. They quickly realized one foal was not herself (was very quiet and that wasn't normal for her) and called one of our emergency contacts and then the vet. Filly had a stick poke under her front "armpit" and ended up with blood poisoning. I dont' know if someone not used to horses would have figured it out.

          Had another 18 year old that left horses in stalls without food and water for over a day and my yearling gelding managed to rip his face wide open on the bucket hook. Found it when we got home.

          So, it really depends on the person. For us we always have them out to learn the chores, they have to have some good horse knowledge and we leave them our cell phone numbers and a list of people to contact if they have a problem. Several horse people, 2 vets and a person or two to contact for fence/waterer, etc. problems.

          I would certainly look at having your daughter come especially if you are only looking at a small farm. Especially with your help and supervision.

          Good luck,


          • #25
            When I was 15 I was farm sitting. 34 horses, but only 9 were inside (the rest 24/7 turnout). For me at the time that was twice a day feed and water, walk the feilds to check the turnouts, and some other little things. It would be for no more than a day, just when the owner wanted a day off pretty much. She was still around.

            I still farmsit for the same person, but now its for a week or more at a time. I move in to the apartment there and still do the same work.

            If I were looking for a sitter I would want someone with a driver's licence. Someone who is responsible and has a good dose of common sense. You need to be able to identify when something isn't right and know when its out of your scope. Its not age, its knowledge and experience.

            Your daughter might want to look into the boarding barns in the area to see if they are hiring weekend staff. The more experience she has the better, and the more people she knows the better references she has.
            Riding the winds of change

            Heeling NRG Aussies
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            • #26

              To the original post, I'd have to know the child (?) and have a good sense that she was sufficiently knowledgeable and responsible. By your description, it sounds as though she might be.

              My experiences with farmsitting have been positive with the exception of one aspect. A little background first: I am in my mid 30s, owned/ridden horses for 25 years, work in the horse industry. I farmsit for only one couple but the last couple times I committed it had become more and more frustrating because she won't pay me anything above $50. For that sum, I have to look after 10-15 horses, 2 donkeys, 4 dogs, and 4 cats. Some of the horses are usually in for part of the day (depending on the season), so there are stalls to clean. Sometimes there are foals (usually two to four) that must come in during the day for extended periods or at least long enough to eat. I have to walk the dogs around the farm, and I usually do this when I am checking the waterers. If season dictates, I might have to throw hay to the horses and donkeys. Of course, I have to stay in the house, collect mail, take out trash, clean litter boxes, etc. I would leave work and come let the dogs out at noon and throw hay if I had to. I did it all. Always with a smile and a cheerful heart.

              To top it off, there is only ONE way to do things. The wife's way. Not a problem, as I understand meticulousness. Well, I did it for years (maybe seven or eight) and then I was stupid enough to do this: ask for a raise.

              The wife does not work off the farm but the husband has a VERY lucrative job, and it's obvious from their lifestyle that a fee more in line with the work would not be a hardship. And their young horses sell for lots of money (racehorses, think hundreds of thousands). She refuses to entertain an increase. Period. End of statement. She has asked a young lady to start helping, and I think she considers me a useful "reserve," should the new farmsitter be unavailable. I guess, in some weird way, it hurts my feelings that she's moved on because I worked hard for her for years and quite frankly I am getting a little old to be farmsitting. Yet, I thought I would be rewarded for the dedication.

              We're still friends, of course, and she can make me laugh out loud but she's so tight she squeaks.

              The point of this, you ask. Don't allow yourself to be underpaid for a lot of work, no matter your age.