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Where to Find Responsible, Reliable Live-in Barn/Farm Manager

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  • Where to Find Responsible, Reliable Live-in Barn/Farm Manager

    We have a nice, private, 40 acre, 7 horse, eventing and dressage farm. We have had a single person living on the farm taking care of everything for us. Over the last 6 years we have established a very reasonable (to our worker) work routine. We felt comfortable leaving the farm on vacation knowing that everything would be taken care of. Well, our worker decided to leave on very short notice (1 week) that has left us scrambling around for a replacement.

    We renewed our listing on Yard and Groom but most of the interested applicants are either too young and inexperienced to trust leaving in charge all alone for a week or they want to ride and/or teach, neither of which is a workable solution for us.

    Is there another place like Yard and Groom we should be looking? I apologize if this sounds like an inappropriate solicitation, that is not my purpose. I sincerely hope to get some good feedback on where I should be looking to replace our recently departed manager.

  • #2
    I guess sort of obvious, but perhaps the local feed store/tack shops? Also are you saying that you won't hire a person who brings their own horse and gets to ride it or just that you don't want the person riding your horses? If I were to consider a job like that I would want to be able to bring my horse and ride.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Bizbachfan: Four of our seven horses are retired and nobody rides them. The other three are our competition horses that my wife rides. Thus, we have no horses on the farm for anyone else to ride. Also, we don't have an extra stall for a worker's horse. If they want to ride it would have to be "off campus." It's really a matter of logistics. I understand that most want to ride, thus our dilemma.

      Comment


      • #4
        Is there an agriculture school/ tech/ college near you? They might have a placement office that could help.
        They don't call me frugal for nothing.
        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hmm...well, I found my job on Yard and Groom. But I gathered they had to go through a lot of people to find me. I know the job I left also used Y & G and went through a similar thing (I was around during the interviewing process. I know they did far more phone interviews that never amounted to a face to face interview. You may just have to be patient.

          Ads in COTH, your Area website, etc, may also help broaden the search.

          It is too bad you can't make having a horse on the property part of the deal.
          Amanda

          Comment


          • #6
            Yard and Groom
            Click here before you buy.

            Comment


            • #7
              You might have to consider a younger person, at least for short term. Other than that, just word of mouth? Is your area pretty horsey? Do you have any friends who could recommend someone?

              Comment


              • #8
                I understand your dilemma, but what about keeping their horse in a pasture, perhaps build a small run in? I would think if someone could bring their horse it would give you a lot more candidates.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Very few people would want to work with horses if they couldn't have the commodity of enjoying their own. You might want to see if you could be flexible and incorporate allowing the person to have their own horse, as I surmise that may be why your old worker may have been inclined to leave. Like Bizbachfan said, it might be in your interest to be more accommodating as I imagine a bevy of people would be more interested if they could keep their horse there as well. Good luck.
                  AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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                  • #10
                    I think if you're savvy enough to weed through the yahoos, Craigslist can be an excellent resource, and many top employers are using it, as well as small businesses. A major dressage barn in my area has used CL to post for working student positions, I think it just casts a wider net than Y&G.

                    I'm not sure if you are seeking a qualified horseperson or just a very reliable, level headed individual looking for work in exchange for housing (the later may be easier to come by)?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by beowulf View Post
                      Very few people would want to work with horses if they couldn't have the commodity of enjoying their own. You might want to see if you could be flexible and incorporate allowing the person to have their own horse, as I surmise that may be why your old worker may have been inclined to leave. Like Bizbachfan said, it might be in your interest to be more accommodating as I imagine a bevy of people would be more interested if they could keep their horse there as well. Good luck.
                      ^^This. And money. Employers who offer good working/living conditions, and pay well do not have a hard time hiring and keeping employees, particularly in this economy.

                      Problems arise when each party has a different idea of "fair" compensation. There are always going to be a small # of potential applicants that will be willing to sacrifice on their compensation because they are desperate for a job, or they simply don't value their labor very much. In all honesty, you don't really want someone like this for the job, because most people usually wise up sooner or later and they leave you for sunnier shores, which sounds like your problem to a T.

                      Bottom line, if you want good, reliable employees who work hard and stick around, then you are going to have to compensate them for their loyalty and their work. If you think you're already doing that, think again.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If someone is looking at a job as entry level or temporary, they are almost by default going to be looking to move along at some point. Just plain labor is not most peoples' long term ambition.

                        You have to think of some perks, I think. Couldn't one of your stalls be shared with another horse? (one in during the day, another at night, for example?) Could potential trailering to shows with your wife sweeten the pot? Do you offer benefits, a vehicle, use of a horse trailer?

                        Do you really need a "manager", or simply a laborer?

                        And pardon my prior response which was quick and posted without reading the whole thread up to that point.
                        Click here before you buy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          vets can be good people to ask. They sometimes have bulletin boards, too.
                          Intermediate Riding Skills

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well I am impressed that the OP kept the same person in this position for 6 years. Really, that's a pretty amazing record in an any job setting these days, much less a farm setting. While the one week notice seems a bit odd, I am assuming it was not due to some issue with the OP. If it was, then consider it a learning experience on how to address the issue if it comes up again.

                            Can't offer any help except advertise and word-of-mouth. I'm looking for another farm tenant soon enough myself and I am amazed about the number on non-horse people who apply even though the ad says MUST have recent horse experience. Those words seem to be translated into "I saw a movie with a horse in it recently."
                            Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                            http://www.ironwood-farm.com

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Good points, even if all are not exactly on point.

                              We pay good wages along with providing very nice living accommodations (every applicant we've spoken with has agreed that the wages offered are more than fair). We have supplemental help two days a week to keep the "heavy lifting" to an absolute minimum. We have a neighboring farm, which could board a horse but we simply are not set up to have another one on our farm. Truthfully, with just the one worker here, we're a bit worried about the distraction caused by them taking time to ride their own horse off property, but maybe that concern is without merit.

                              My original post was not really about the position but where to look to find appropriate candidates. Again, thanks for all the input, it's all helpful.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                hope i'm not to late for consideration, but have you thought about using your local pony-club or 4-h websites/email newsletters as an advertising source? the two groups may not have members in your age range but it would be a word of mouth source.
                                And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Another possibility would be to find someone who has been
                                  displaced recently and would appreciate your offer. Could
                                  see if the unemployment office has any places to list a job
                                  (if you want to wade through those applicants). Another
                                  place would be to talk to people working with battered
                                  women (some would leave their spouse if they had a
                                  place to go). And another possibility would be to talk
                                  to area church pastors who may know of a widow or
                                  widower who might want to take a new job or someone
                                  recently divorced or someone coming out of military
                                  service seeking a new opportunity.
                                  Last edited by Robin@DHH; Feb. 9, 2013, 10:43 PM.
                                  Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                                  Elmwood, Wisconsin

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by tlw View Post
                                    Good points, even if all are not exactly on point.

                                    We pay good wages along with providing very nice living accommodations (every applicant we've spoken with has agreed that the wages offered are more than fair). We have supplemental help two days a week to keep the "heavy lifting" to an absolute minimum. We have a neighboring farm, which could board a horse but we simply are not set up to have another one on our farm. Truthfully, with just the one worker here, we're a bit worried about the distraction caused by them taking time to ride their own horse off property, but maybe that concern is without merit.

                                    My original post was not really about the position but where to look to find appropriate candidates. Again, thanks for all the input, it's all helpful.
                                    I know you're not looking for input on the job itself, but the bolded section is something that I'm a bit confused/concerned about. Do you expect this person to be available 24/7? If your worker has off hours why would it worry you if they used that time to ride their horse at a different location, and where does the distraction lie? Seems to me that it would be like any other job and your worker would be able to leave your property to ride whenever she's not "working". I guess I just don't understand what you mean by that statement.

                                    And I will echo others and say that tack store bulletin boards, vets, Craigslist, local horse related publications, and Yard and Groom are all good places to advertise.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      As far as people being 'too young,' I was left in charge on farms since I was a teenager. That's more a question of personality. Someone who wants to 'do the right thing' will make the effort no matter what their age. (They knew I was a horse hungry sucker....)

                                      Some folks aim for people retirement age applicants when they want someone so inert that they cannot leave the farm! Then again, some go for a person who has lost their license from DUI, they ain't going no where!

                                      But in all seriousness, usually a farm management job entails someone being available at many odd hours for, whatever..... (vet/hay/disaster showing up at the end of the day, etc) in exchange for that, the person is often allowed a few hours a day to go do something else. Ride their own horse, whatever.

                                      Sure, it is reasonable to ask them to NOT drive 2 hours away to visit their cousins on the weeks when you are out of town. But otherwise, one does not generally (admit in public, anyway) that they intend to chain up the employee in their 'off' hours.

                                      If you find someone who is honest, reliable, and trustworthy, then you should be flexible on the other stuff.

                                      I have known people to fire liked, reliable staff over silly 'rule' infractions (really disagreements on a tough call.) Big mistake, in my opinion.
                                      "Friend" me !

                                      http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        IronwoodFarm, I just PM'ed you about possibly hiring someone who could work here part time.

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