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How do you put a meter on dedication?

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  • How do you put a meter on dedication?

    I have a 19 year old girl who works at my farm for me, it is a paid position. She rides my young horses and I have given her the ride on a VERY nice Danish mare as well as pay for lessons with a good trainer. She expressed that she would like to do the young rider's program.

    My problem is that she has the weekends off (not the problem) and goes out riding the mechanical bull at a country bar etc., and then comes back in on Monday and is sore and tired. She forgets to wrap the mare's legs for her lesson, doesn't groom the mare afterwards, just basically has her head up her a@# after the weekend.

    I do not begrudge her having a good time on the weekend, we have all been there, but is it reasonable to think she could show some dedication to her expressed goal and be 100% there on Monday?

    I really do not want to throw good money after bad. Am I being unreasonable? Tell me if I am.

  • #2
    I don't think you're being unreasonable at all. And that's all I'm going to say.


    • #3
      Maybe she should have Mondays off and work on Saturday? LOL

      If she is competent the remaining days of the week and this is just a Monday thing, and you haven't said anything -- she might think she is pulling it off okay. Perhaps a simple wake-up call of bringing it to her attention?


      • Original Poster

        Yes, I think a wake up call is in order but I wanted to make sure that I was not being crazy in expecting some maturity out of a 19 year old. It's been a while since I was that age.....not saying how long....and I know that I was a pretty dedicated youngster. I wanted to put the question out there to gain some clarity in my own head before I talked to her about it. Fairness first, yah know?


        • #5
          my $.02

          We have four teenagers that work/ride for us. They are not quite to the bar stage yet, but boys/parties are playing big parts in their lives, so there are some bleary weekend mornings. After being aggravated a few times, I finally pulled them aside and let them know what my expectations were - I simply told them that I really do need 100% of them for their own, and our horses', safety, and if the previous night was too much, then stay home.

          The change has been wonderful, and there have been a few times now when I get a phone call asking if one can come in later on a Saturday, as she has a big Friday night planned.

          As your girl is holding a paid position, as well as riding a super nice horse, give her your expectations and let her know that you don't like the morning-after behavior. It may just be the bump she needs!


          • #6
            Having recently graduated from Kid status, and still having periodic lapses of Kidness, I can tell you, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that kids are stupid, and even the best intentioned often have a hard time thinking outside of their own heads, or even butts.

            Like many have said, a good swift kick in the Reminder will either get her head back in the game, or remove her from it entirely, which would be her loss, and not yours.

            Kudos to you for giving a lovely opportunity to a young person!
            spriesersporthorse.com | farm on Facebook | me on Facebook | blog


            • #7
              There are a couple of red flags here: 19yo at bar? Ignoring your property (grooming/wrapping/etc)? Imho 'dedicated' riders would be working and riding on the weekends even more so (ie twice a day/hack out/etc)........might be talented, but where is the focus?
              I.D.E.A. yoda


              • #8
                Having been at this for a while, I have a system. If you party hard and are late and grumpy, you get to clean tack ( no interaction with the horses). If you are too partied out to come, but call, the next time you come, you get hoof patrol and grooming duty, plus lunging. If you don't call or come, well..... a taylor made consequence hangs over your head, but it may include fowl weather fence patrol. All part of learning the true business of horses, and that riding is a treat, not a given.
                "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you to everyone who has posted so far. I am glad I was just not being over-reactive to this situation.

                  I have to say I was pretty angry when I saw the mare's legs were not wrapped but I am one of those people who has to think things through and not just react (my downfall). I really believe that she has to show dedication to every little detail to become a good horseperson and I think I may have to hold her to a higher standard. As Dressagediosa said, she will either get her head back in the game.....or not.


                  • #10
                    At age 19 I was in my first year of medical school, studying non stop and grateful for an instructor who let me ride her horses on the weekend. I would never have neglected any of the horse duties nor my studies. 19yr olds come in all different maturities, but an employee is an employee no mater what age. She needs to change.


                    • #11
                      not again,

                      wow, i like your system. It is clear, it doesn't lay any moral judgement about their non-barn activities, they know consequences and you give them the opportunity to call without being lectured too, knowing the penalty is drudge work next time.

                      i think kids sometimes get into situations where they are too embarassed to say they are not 100% functional, and then they don't call at all. This is a nice method.


                      • #12
                        Can I come work for you?!?!? I would kill to have those oppertunities!!! I would say she needs a wake up call,, and if that is not enough, find a new rider!!
                        "Energy efficient vehicle. Runs on grass and oats. CAUTION: Avoid exhaust!"
                        I think we should eat trolls.
                        Troll meat. Now that's good eatin'.
                        by Hiddenlake


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                          There are a couple of red flags here: 19yo at bar? Ignoring your property (grooming/wrapping/etc)? Imho 'dedicated' riders would be working and riding on the weekends even more so (ie twice a day/hack out/etc)........might be talented, but where is the focus?
                          If they're in Canada, 19 is the legal age up here.

                          And guess what? 19 year olds are stupid. It comes with the territory. It's just how "stupid" is managed.

                          I agree with the approach that if she's too tired/sore to do the job properly, she's too tired to ride. I'm sure there's some other (preferably gross) job that needs to be done
                          "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


                          • #14
                            Actually I think the reason we see older teens as still stupid is they are not being held to high enough standards. And I am not talking about their grades in school, but their common sense, responsibility, attitude towards others, thinking beyond themselves, yadayada, the qualities that make a "good" and "decent" human being.

                            But if we we just toss the lack of those aside to age then we will continue to have "stupid" teenagers...who grow into "stupid" adults too for that matter!!


                            • #15
                              Actually, up in Canada, we can be legal at 18
                              But anyways, speaking as someone who just got out of that age group not 2 years ago, its not acceptable. I worked in a barn for a while, as well as a regular job after I gave up the barn, and I was expected to be alert. I might not have been chipper, but my responsabilities were the same and I was expected to perform them as well as I did during the week...if I didn't, I would have gotten fired.
                              So if I was stupid enough to go out until all hours of the night and drink, then i made sure I wasn't working the next day or responsible for anything.

                              It's not fair to make the boss, coworkers or horses suffer because of her desire to go out and party. There's nothing wrong with partying - even if she wants to be an avid equestrian - but not on the nights before she is supposed to work
                              In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.


                              • #16
                                In my early twenties, I worked for a trainer that started young TBs for the track. He was very difficult to work for and many of the people who did work for him, hated dealing with him. I managed to get along with him pretty well, but one day I came in hung over after one of those nights out, and he put me in the tack room rolling bandages and the others did my horses. We always covered for each other when someone was off for whatever reason, so it sort of went into that category with them.

                                Later he came around and wanted to know how I was feeling. I said better, and thanks for letting me get my head together. He said something to the effect of : It wasn't for YOU. I didn't want you around the horses. One of them might have gotten hurt. If it happens again, you are fired.

                                And that was that. I never went out drinking again when I was due to work the next morning. I used to ride mechanical bulls, too, but I don't recall it making me sore...unless she's falling off of it a lot? I wouldn't go near one these days, though.

                                So, no, you aren't unreasonable at all.
                                Freaky Farm Hermit Clique
                                Mighty Thoroughbred Clique COMH Page: Tory Relic


                                • #17
                                  "Bull riding", eh? That's a good one. What year in college is the bull?

                                  Managing working students and young barn employees is very difficult. It may be some's first job of any kind. They may have other priorities. They may come from 'backyard' barns where how one does things isn't very important.

                                  At one place there was a girl like that, she thought wrapping was 'babying' the horses, it infuriated here that we were 'ruining' the horses by wrapping them, every day she refused to. We had another who wouldn't clean horse's feet, 'They stink'. The horses in her care got thrush. Another refused to lead the horses with a chain shank, instead she led 2 at a time by the halters, so she was drug and her knee dislocated. At quite a few barns they also are jealous of eachother and there are squabbles. At one place the horses weren't fed for a few hours if the ladies were moved to have a prayer meeting first.....It's very hard on an employer and on the customers and their horses.

                                  Some people just aren't good workers. You have to follow them around all the time, and even then things won't get done. That can be a very chronic condition no matter what you do.

                                  Some don't really realize what duties are important. Others need a little pushing once or twice and get it together.

                                  Some people feel they're being treated unfairly so they lose enthusiasm. If she gets conflicting directions from several people, if some of the tasks are overly picky, if she feels she doesn't get enough lessons...some of these people do better if these things are fixed. But some are just bad workers.

                                  I think it's only unfair if she hasn't been told that's a non elective part of her job.

                                  At work we were taught how hard it is to convey just what a task is. We had to do an exercise, define a simple household task, what is 'finished', 'finished with excellence', etc. It was extremely difficult. Every person had a different idea of what the task was. I think it's very important to define the task very clearly, let's all agree what it is and that it is not done unless xyz is done. What does 'grooming' mean to you? It might mean something very different to her?

                                  I know it seems obvious, but does she know these things aren't elective subjects? Does she really know what her duties are? How many hours does she work to earn one lesson? I would make that very clear, it's a certain number of hours of work done to your specifications. You are also free to be quite honest with her, 'I was very angry when I saw you rode Missy without wraps. I want that horse wrapped when you ride her'.

                                  I would recommend that you forget about having her work Mondays unless she agrees to chage this her weekend frolics into something compatible with working Monday. If she doesn't work Mondays that should include fewer benefits as well. Alternately you could tell her she is not getting lessons until she comes in on Mondays ready to work, and wraps the horse and grooms it as you require. You will watch her work on Mondays and determine when she can start lessons again, she will be on probation for 2 weeks while she proves to you that she can cut it or she's out. She has to do something to earn those lesson, something fair and consistent, but something.

                                  I think the worst thing for an employee is when the boss seems to not like what they're doing, but they don't know what it is the employer doesn't like. Being clear can help, whatever way you choose to change the situation.
                                  Last edited by slc2; Feb. 3, 2008, 06:19 PM.


                                  • #18
                                    If you give her Monday off, Tuesday will just become the new Monday.


                                    • #19
                                      No other employer would find this acceptable. She's not a kid, she's an employee.

                                      I've just finally, after making every excuse in the book for her, let a young employee go because she was always "sick" on Mondays. Wake up calls were ignored, further and even lamer excuses were offered, and I just had to bite the bullet and do it. I hate, hate, hate this part of my job, but I really do hope it was a sufficient eye-opener to her that she develops some sense of responsibility.

                                      It's an impossibility to run a business unless all pull their weight as required.


                                      • #20
                                        Being older and gaining alot more common sense along the years I'm just going to state what may be going through the students head.
                                        ****Please don't think I am pointing fingures or saying you are wrong at all, as I feel you have every right to feel the way you do, and everyone else has said what I would have said***

                                        I have been a working student for many trainers/barn in the past years, from GP trainers to small show barns, along with being "just a client" and not a worker. At one particular barn that I LOVED, the trainer made me feel as if she truly appreciated my work. Always complimenting how clean the barn was and she loves when I come to the barn and just a very cheerful lady. Seeing that she appreciated my hard work (other than just riding) really helped motivate me to want to do my best and to really take care of the horses. I even went to the extent of scrubbing water and feed buckets when given the time, grooming horses just because, cleaning tack (the pony club way, lol) that was hanging there. I honestly tried to put 145% into it.

                                        At one moment I had a pony I was able to ride whenever I was there and received very very helpful lessons, so that also helped me want to do my best. But basically, knowing I was appreciated helped me be on time and really put forth all of my effort towards the horses.

                                        Then I had barns where I felt as if I wasn't appreciated, wasn't getting paid much, being used and taken advantage of just because I knew I had to take what I was given. And after all those barns, I decided to quit and just pay for lessons, board, etc.. because I had no motivation and it truly took the fun out of horses. I figured why make horses a job and not fun for me anymore? That destroyed the purpose of me being with the horses.

                                        Many would say it was because I was lazy or being a teenager, but I truly lost interest in horses for a moment and honestly could not find it in me to even give 75%, because it was not fun anymore. Felt more like I was being forced to do chores for something I did not want to do anymore, so I started to put the other activities I enjoyed first, because that made me happy. Yea, I'm still young and am into boys, cars, partys, etc.. but its not hard at all for me to put the horses first if I feel it is going fun and if I want to. I did give the horses what they needed to be "happy" but I didn't do the extra things I normally did, because I just didn't want to.

                                        I'm not saying that is your student's case, but that sure was mine, and as silly as it seems, all I truly needed was to feel like my work was being appreciated by the trainer and horses, not just the horses. If she wasn't always forgetting things on Mondays when she first started working, then maybe there is something on her mind that needs to be talked about. If she has always been like this, well, tell her whats on your mind and that she needs to straighten her attitude.

                                        Hope this helps!!! Because I sure wish I knew what I know how, wayy back then. Would have saved alot of barn changing lol.
                                        Last edited by How Bout No (Karrie); Feb. 3, 2008, 06:43 PM. Reason: wording
                                        I Ride A Pony,
                                        Because I'm Too Short
                                        For A Horse