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Can I have your thoughts on Barn Sitting?

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  • Can I have your thoughts on Barn Sitting?

    My DD is a very mature almost 15. She'll be starting college next year and is just a good egg all the way around. And no, I'm not just saying that because she is my kid


    She also has Apserger's. Lot's of social activity can be overwelming to her so she tends to choose activities that aren't akin to a sold out concert if you know what I mean. Barn work just suits her heart and soul perfectly, so she was asking about maybe starting to do some barn sitting. With my help of course since she is so young. She does and excellent job and is just wonderful with horses.

    I'm all for it and would happily help her. But tell me your thoughts. She has over a year of solid horse care under belt, including some sitting experiences. She has some nice references from horse owners too. She knows first aid for humans and companion animals and knows and understands how to spot an equine emergency.

    Would you hire a 15 year old who would be supervised by her mother (I would be there and would lend a hand of course, she can't drive yet so I might as well help as long as I am there) to feed, do stall maintenance and turnout? And what would you be willing to pay?

    Many thanks!!!!!!!!!
    I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

    Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.

  • #2
    Why not? So long as she's good at taking direction, and correction.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


    • #3
      Give it a go! If she's good at it and you let people know that she wants to do it, I'm sure that just word of mouth will get her more business than she can handle! Good Luck!


      • #4
        I would love someone like that in my area, someone who is actually passionate about what they are doing, loves horses and is a good all around kid.


        • Original Poster

          Thank you for your thoughts on it. I just wondered if her age would be a concern. I know kids babysit humans who are younger than she is, but...well...horses are different!
          I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

          Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


          • #6
            One year of horsecare wouldn't be good enough for me, but I am anal about my horses. I would also think I was hiring the mother and not the daughter. I did horsesit when I was 15, but I have owned horses on property since I was 6, I had my C2 and knew these people through Pony Club. They knew I could call anyone if there was a BIG emergency I couldn't handle.

            The thing with hiring someone that young is not necessarily the horses, but the farm. Can she repair a fence? Fix a water pipe problem? Catch a horse that's running down a highway? These things happen...

            When I horsesit depending on how many horses, I charge anywhere from $75-$150 a day. I would never hire a kid though, just my opinion.
            Boss Mare Eventing Blog


            • #7
              I think there are lots of different levels of horse sitter responsibility. I have three horses and have hired the 14 year old girl down the street to take care of my horses when I was out of town. She's had horses and competed in 4-H and junior rodeos since she was 7. She recognizes problems and knows who to call, but her duties are pretty minimal...throw hay, feed grain, check water. My horses can come and go as they please between the barn and their turnout, so she doesn't have to really handle them. I have other people who do the stalls each day.

              For me it's more that she knows when there's something "off" with one of the horses, and has knowledgeable, horsey parents who are just three houses away to provide backup. We use the same vets, and I always let them know when I'm leaving, just in case my horse sitter has to call. So far, that hasn't happened.

              I pay her $25 per day, by the way. If she was doing stalls or taking care of other pets, too, I'd expect to pay her more.


              • #8
                I'd want to know Mom's level of horsecare knowledge since - as OP have said - there are farm emergencies a 15yo might not be capable of handling alone.

                I'm not saying Mom has to have years of knowledge - one of my best horsesitters is my across-the-road neighbor who has never owned horses but is a great listener and has picked up enough from watching/helping me out that I feel comfortable leaving my horses in her care.

                I'd want your daughter to perhaps spend a weekend with me caring for the horses so I could show her how I like things done and assess her skills for my own sake. But then, I do this with anyone I am "interviewing" for the position of horsesitter.

                Another thought:
                I always let me vet's office know who may be calling them in an emergency if I'm going to be away. Will your vet accept a call authorizing treatment from a minor? This could be a liability issue for the vet.

                Also: I pay $10 per visit for my 2 horses and pay for 2 visits a day to feed and check up on them
                Last edited by 2DogsFarm; Jan. 19, 2009, 01:32 PM.
                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                • #9
                  While I wish you and your daughter luck, I have to be honest with you and tell you that we aren’t even going to even ask anyone under 18 to throw evening hay if we’re not around, much less pay for farm-sitting services.

                  A driver’s license and free access to a working car are essential. I remember last winter a kid posting here about being stuck in the position of farm-sitting with a winter storm on the way. Her parents would not take her out to the farm and would not let her drive herself, due to the storm. Poor kid was really stuck and terribly concerned that it was her responsibility to take care of those horses, providing extra hay & access to water with the storm coming on, but she wasn’t an adult and wasn’t free to do what needed doing. So, any farm sitter at our place has to be independent and able to make autonomous decisions about her time and her ability to travel and commit to being there. A supervised 15 year old isn’t there yet.

                  And the liability issues surrounding a minor on the farm are just too great for us to even consider trying it out. Should something go wrong, with her or the horses, we'd have a lot of answering to do to her parents' insurance company, and to our boarders. Did we check her working papers? Do we have a contract (for her services) or a release (from our liability)? Does our liability release cover doing farm work? (No, ours doesn't.) Blah-blah-blah.

                  And, if the answer to all these questions is well, her mom will be here to supervise, then who are we really hiring, and if not the kid, why are we taking on the kid? Muddies the waters...

                  Not saying any of this to be mean or snarky, just to offer a bit of explanation as to why some operations might not be interested in the service.

                  Best of luck to your daughter.


                  • #10
                    How about finding her a barn she can work/working student for a year or so till she can drive then she will know more and I think more people would be willing to have her work for them.
                    www.gypsystoychest.com Adult Toys and Home partys


                    • #11
                      I would be geeked to have a hardworking 15YO as an option for a weekend here or there.

                      Now...I would want to have that person come and do chores with me a few times, then let them do chores a few times while I was around but not helping. And I would want them to be supervised. I would not feel comfortable turning things over to them if I were going to be totally unreachable...I would want to have someone who I could trust to make ANY judgment call for that.

                      But I've met a lot of adults or young adults who had plenty of experience and still did a crap job and had others with less experience who were so diligent and responsible that I've come to realize...it just depends.

                      If you were doing chores for me...it would consist of taking care of 2 horses twice per day. Feeding, cleaning stalls, checking water and checking the horses over for injuries.

                      I would happily pay 25/day for that which would be roughly an hour of work and some commute time.
                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                      • #12
                        It's not age, but the level of knowledge of horses and their illnesses that counts. A 15 yr old who can recognize colic signs and stop a colicky horse from rolling and administer Banamine properly is going to get my vote before an adult who cannot recognize the signs and respond. So a teenager who has been around horses for years and has read all the literature on horse care and illnesses would be fine.

                        I was at one barn where the BO had an airhead woman in her 40s take care of the barn in her absence and that woman, who had had horses at that barn for several years, feed the horses more grain than scheduled because she wanted to "save" the hay, even though we'd just had a load of hay delivered.

                        MY BO pays $85 a day for the care and feeding of 11 horses, including stall cleaning, and the care of 60 show bunnies, the barn cats, house cats and 3 dogs.


                        • #13
                          I started farmsitting just after I turned 16. I think some people will be delighted to have your DD farmsit and others won't be interested. Hopefully as her experience grows more people will be interested! Good luck!!


                          • #14
                            I farmsat for a woman when I was around 15. In return, I got to ride her horses. As long as she can take clear direction, she should be fine. As a note to you, keep your phone on at all times!


                            • #15
                              My farmsitting needs are very general: hay, water, make sure all the horses are still on the property with all their limbs. I am set up so that the horsesitter does not need to handle the horses or enter any enclosures.

                              I have no problem hiring a responsible teen to do that, other than that my last one had the gall to go off to college.
                              If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                              • #16
                                Why not give it a try? I barn-sat at that age unsupervised (my parents are not horsey in the slightest). As Saddleup said, "there are lots of different levels of horse sitter responsibility." A backyard barn owner that has a few horses is more likely to hire than a show stable with 10+ horses. Simply feeding and mucking shouldn't be a biggie, a place that would require medical care (like injections) or facility maintenance would be a completely different situation.
                                Snobbington Hunt clique - Whoopee Wagon Fieldmaster
                                Bostonians, join us at- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Boston_Equestrian
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                                • Original Poster

                                  I appreciate everyone's candor, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear.

                                  I probably should have titled this Horse sit rather than barn sit because no, I would not let her watch over a barn with more than one or two horses.

                                  She can spot trouble brewing and is a rock in trauma situations. She volunteers nearly 5 full days a week at a TR/Hippotherapy facility, and we have a small farm here so she is well versed in handling a repair and keeping cool when there is an escapee, as well as working with special needs peeps and animals together. Basically horses are her full time job if you were to put it into hours each week! She has done both people and animal first aid certs. She is taking heavy coursework in animal science (we homeschool) and is going to start her Vet Tech degree next year and then work her way through her BS and then into Vet School (God willing!). I worked for a Vet for years as an assistant and am finishing up coursework for Tech licensure. So if she needed emergency help either myself or my DH would there in an emergency.

                                  She is offered jobs occassionaly, more lately than ever. But I have held off letting her accept until I heard pros and cons from several others. She has expressed a good deal of interest lately and I don't want her to get her hopes up for steady offers.
                                  I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                                  Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


                                  • #18
                                    Well, all I can say is that I wish you lived here in MI and close to me because I KNOW I could keep your daughter busy between me and my friends if she did a good job.

                                    And I would feel MUCH better with a kid whose mom was involved too and had half a clue and some desire to do a good job.

                                    I would LOVE it.
                                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by equineartworks View Post
                                      I probably should have titled this Horse sit rather than barn sit because no, I would not let her watch over a barn with more than one or two horses.
                                      Ah, well then!

                                      I'm going to update my feedback to say that, yeah, if I had my two at home in a backyard setup and wanted to get away for the weekend, I'd consider her. She'd have to come put in a couple of weekends with me so I could see her with the horses and teach her the routine, but I'd definitely give a kid a chance in a situation like that.

                                      It's just the leaving of the whole farm, the whole livelihood, in someone else's hands that really requires an adult... and really even a semi-professional adult....

                                      ...which is why we haven't had a weekend away in several years...


                                      • #20
                                        I rely on my barn-sitter enormously--when I'm gone, I'm GONE, sometimes out of the country, and so the horses are in her hands, utterly. Mine has proven herself to be one of those "above and beyond" types, and she's worth her weight in gold. If I were going to hire a teenager (and I have done so, on occasion, before I found my current sitter) I'd prefer they had their own transportation, and for a real youngster (15-16) I'd want references for sure. Not that I wouldn't for anyone else, but I can get a better sense of reliability if the potential sitter has a steady job, etc.

                                        I don't think it's your job to get her hopes up or down for steady work--it's the nature of the business to not be 100% predictable or reliable. Let her have a go, support her as much as you can at first, and let her have a go.
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