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Talk to me about your barn's staff

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  • Talk to me about your barn's staff

    Just doing a little research....how many horses at your barn and how many employees are there on a daily basis? Not counting grooms or working students - I'm talking feeding, turnout, cleaning stalls, dragging the rings, and general barn chores.

    Are workers there 8hrs a day or do they work in shifts? Is there a different employee that does night check? Different staff on weekends?

    Any idea if employees are paid hourly or are on salary?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I have 1 guy ...he mucks 7 stalls a day, feeds, Hays,waters, turns in/out, General farm chores & maintenance, mows, weed whacks, grooms, tacks/untacks, cleans tack, clips , bathes etc ...we provide housing and he generally works 6 days/week and sometimes 7 if he wants extra money ..we pay him $100/day ..this is at our small private farm
    R.I.P. "Henry" 4/22/05 - 3/26/2010 We loved you so much....gone but NEVER FORGOTTEN...i hope we meet again

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    • #3
      I don't personally board, but my niece works at a barn, so I will tell you about that. There are about 20 horses there. They have one person who works a full shift starting at 8:00 and usually works till 5:00 or 5:30. Another person comes in and works maybe 10:00 to 3:00. I think the owners do night check, but there are no employees that work after that day shift leaves. They are paid (not enough in my thoughts) hourly. There are maybe 4 or 5 employees who rotate those shifts. This barn doesn't have grooms. The workers do a quick hoof picking and that's about it. They do blanket/unblanket. They also don't drag the ring, as the owner is possessive of his tractor, haha. Board is around 600.00 and we are in middle TN.

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      • #4
        These numbers are as of around 2010.

        My former big barn of 17 years was based on 45 stalls in main barn, 6 in a converted garage about 100 yards away, space for up to 12 more in shared paddocks actual number varied between 40 and 70 at any given time with the higher end numbers only on a temporary basis. Mainly a show barn that traveled.

        One head trainer who owned the property and the business. Ideally two assistants, one traveled , one stayed home. No idea what they made but it was salaried and they got annual, merit based raises if they stayed and some personal days/vacay and basic health insurance.. Our grooms were full time employees paid hourly, started around 10 an hour, raise to 12 after 6 months then yearly to up around 18. They also were on the basic health insurance and got personal time based on longevity. Light mucking only, they had a couple of muckers every morning 7-10, hourly contractors but must have been more then the other barns as these guys stayed for years.

        BMs either didn’t last or stayed many years and were making 45 ish if they did stay, same benefit package.

        Usually had a couple of WS who got $10 an hour credit off lessons and show services only, not off the board (the hay guy wouldn't knock their credit off his bill). They had to keep a time sheet trainer signed off on and could be “fired”.

        Barn had,posted hours and the groom shifts had 2 openers who unlocked, turned on the lights and started feeding at 6 and a closer who threw hay, locked up and turned off the lights left an hour after the barn closed at 9 so 10pm. No further night check between 10pm lights out and 6 am opening shift. If there was a sickie, somebody stayed and slept on the couch in the office,they were paid and shifts adjusted plus generally the owners kicked in some extra as well.

        Retirement barn had 12 stalls and a 12 hours in, 12 out schedule. There were a few that lived outside. BO was the manager, worked a day job. Did the bringing in, putting out, feeding and AM/ PM blanket changes. There was a single hourly mucker weekday mornings for 2 hours. No idea what he made but he stayed for years. An hourly gal came in for a couple of hours mid day for a check, noon feed, meds on weekdays. No idea what she made either. Barn ownerr did a night check around 9pm. Another if there was a need.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Where I board the chores are split up (turn out, stalls, and turn in.) Usually the person who does turn in does stalls as well. Usually just one person working at a time. If there was more than one person at a time they would split the pay for that shift.

          ~25 horses on the property, 14 of which have stalls for over night. A few of the outdoor horses require feed.

          I haven't done chores myself in a while (because it wasn't worth it) but it used to take me 2-3 hours for turn in (bring horses in, feed, relocate square bales for next shift, rehay/rewater horses in for the night, other misc tasks that come up.) Morning feed and turn out used to take me a bit more than an hour. Stalls, hay, and water usually took me 3-4 hours.

          It's an awful system. We have very high turnover as a result and BO doesn't seem to understand how much work it is for one person. Expects morning staff to be done by 11 at the absolute latest. Part of the issue is how inconvenient everything is. Lots of time spent walking back and forth, moving stuff to and from one location... Lots of, in my opinion, untrustworthy horses so not many I personally would feel comfortable leading in pairs.

          That turned in to more of a rant but hopefully you find it helpful in whatever you're looking for.

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          • #6
            Where I board the chores are split up (turn out, stalls, and turn in.) Usually the person who does turn in does stalls as well. Usually just one person working at a time. If there was more than one person at a time they would split the pay for that shift.

            ~25 horses on the property, 14 of which have stalls for over night. A few of the outdoor horses require feed.

            I haven't done chores myself in a while (because it wasn't worth it) but it used to take me 2-3 hours for turn in (bring horses in, feed, relocate square bales for next shift, rehay/rewater horses in for the night, other misc tasks that come up.) Morning feed and turn out used to take me a bit more than an hour. Stalls, hay, and water usually took me 3-4 hours.

            It's an awful system. We have very high turnover as a result and BO doesn't seem to understand how much work it is for one person. Expects morning staff to be done by 11 at the absolute latest. Part of the issue is how inconvenient everything is. Lots of time spent walking back and forth, moving stuff to and from one location... Lots of, in my opinion, untrustworthy horses so not many I personally would feel comfortable leading in pairs.

            That turned in to more of a rant but hopefully you find it helpful in whatever you're looking for.

            Comment


            • #7
              Totally depends.

              I worked at a a top h/j barn 5 years ago. We had 20 horses in full training and another 5 that were retired/brood mare and foal/yearlings that only got groomed and turned out.

              We had one stall cleaner for the entire facility who did barn maintenance the second half of the day.

              Then we had one groom for my boss’ horses and if a client couldn’t groom their own for some reason he would do that.

              We always had a working student to clean tack and do other barn chores and an assistant (me) to make sure everything was getting done (blankets cleaned, laundry, help with lessons, turn out, groomed my own rides, pack for shows, etc).

              Everyone, including my boss worked from 8-5ish. No night check per se as I lived on the property and could hear anything.

              We all worked on a salary.

              Comment


              • #8
                We have around 45 horses/ponies at my farm. I'd say about 8 of them live outside in a paddock and the rest live inside.

                Usually they try and get 3 people to work -- the whole day. That's 7AM to 3:30PM typically They stay until the job is done for the most part.

                They are paid hourly and it's not a very good rate. So people call off or don't show up or just quit often.

                We have 3 people that work only Monday through Friday primarily. And then we have 3 or 4 more than primarily work weekends and during the week here or there.

                We then have the trainers and the owner, whom often get stuck doing some of the chores due to people now showing up! One of the trainers is salary, everyone else is hourly with a timeclock.

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                • #9
                  Large multi-discipline equestrian center with 74 stalls, indoor, outdoor, round pen. Nearly full occupancy, I think only two stalls are open at present. All horses get turned out daily for half the day into private turn-outs -> there is a lot of time spent leading in and out.

                  One barn operations manager who lives on site. Does lunch and pm feeding most days. Does night check, some turn-out/in, and cleans about 1/3 of the stalls six days a week. He also does arena grooming and manure management, moving hay around, overseeing deliveries. Great guy, been there a while, definitely a huge asset to the facility.

                  Two additional barn workers are involved daily, they mainly do turn-out and stall cleaning with some feeding at times. I think they each get a day off or a couple of part days off a week.

                  All three of the above get paid hourly but don't know rate. Know that housing is part of the manager's compensation.

                  The owners are a husband and wife, he does a lot of the major projects around the place (improve footing, aerate the holding pond) but is not around full time. She does the billing/bookkeeping/office stuff but is not actually on site very much - maybe 10-12 hours a week?

                  Interestingly, about half the boarded horses on the property are owned by a "rescue" which employs a couple of additional people who are onsite daily managing those horses (mixing feed, filling hay nets, meeting vet/farrier, providing in-hand exercise as those horses are not ridden ever).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We have around 23 horses in boxes and a further 7 who live out year round. We normally have one person who mucks boxes and feeds. He works M-S and our manager feeds Sundays. He also turns horses out and brings them in. Blankets normally get changed by our rider if people pay but that’s not a normal occurrence.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I’ve worked at several barns and been a boarder, so I can speak for a few.
                      30 stall barn: usually wasn’t at full capacity and averaged around 22-28 horses. 3 full time grooms. The turnout was a PITA and a lot of time was spent walking horses in and out of turnout. The grooms got free housing and were paid.
                      20 stall barn with another 7-8 horses on 24/7 turnout: 1 groom working 6-noon and 3-4:30 or so. The owner did PM grain and they hired a guy to help with morning turnout and around the farm fixes. Full time worker got free housing.
                      9 stall private barn: one live in worker who worked a few hours morning and evening, one stall cleaner, and one part time groomer for the horses.
                      8 stall boarding barn: BM who dragged arena and did morning turnout, and boarders doing evening stall cleaning and feeding in exchange for reduced board.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Barn where I boarded last winter has ~50 horses and 4 workers that rotated days (so 6 days of the week had 3 workers, then one day was only 2 workers -- each worker had a set 5 days they worked). They did all the cleaning, feeding, turning in/out, minimal blanket changing, arena water/work, mowing and grounds maintenance, and other clean up/maintenance of barns/fencing. They did staggered shifts so each one was working ~8 hours (one would feed early am and leave by 3 pm while others started later and were there til 5 pm to feed dinner). One guy lives on site so he does the night check walk through even on his days off. I believe they are paid hourly but the head guy that lives there might have a different deal since he does more and lives on site. A couple years ago they were making ~$15/hour but I don't know what the pay is now. All are paid workers - not "trade for board" like some barns.

                        It is a lot of work and they burn through staff fast. When I was there last fall, I got to where I didn't bother to learn someone's name until they lasted at least 2 weeks as there was so much turnover! I see ads constantly for workers for barns in our area, so it isn't just this particular barn with staffing issues.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have a 20 stall barn on 20 acres. I'm a one man show. 😂
                          http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

                          http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thank you for the replies, very helpful! I like the idea of having a dedicated stall cleaner, curious to hear how many stalls you all think is reasonable for one person/per day if that's the only job they have, cleaning stalls and adding shavings? 15 stalls max? 20?

                            A second employee would then be responsible for grain, hay, water, and turnout...

                            Again, I appreciate hearing how each barn does things, thanks for sharing!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              25 stall barn, usually about 20-22 horses. 3 workers full-day most days. A couple of days with 2 full day, 2 half-day. (A day is 8 to 5.) . All share morning mucking, afternoon stall picking, turn-out, blanketing/unblankering, booting/unbooting, etc. Nice bunch who "share the wealth", e.g., there is one grouchy horse who intimidates one worker, so the others just automatically take care of him.

                              A couple of workers and the owner share manure cart dumping, ring dragging, etc. (in other words, jobs requiring the tractor.)

                              Workers leave at 5. Barn owner throws night hay and does night check.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                15 horses in stalls, 8 field boarded. One full-time worker (~6 hours, 6 days a week) mucks half the stalls, does AM feed/turnout for all horses, arena maintenance, mowing, misc facility work, etc. One hourly worker mucks the other half of the stalls. A second hourly worker does the job of the FT employee on her day off, plus PM feed/turnout. PM feed/turnout on the other six days is split between other staff. (The facility is run by a nonprofit, so there are workers whose primary duties are not horse care)

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by SugarCubes View Post
                                  Thank you for the replies, very helpful! I like the idea of having a dedicated stall cleaner, curious to hear how many stalls you all think is reasonable for one person/per day if that's the only job they have, cleaning stalls and adding shavings? 15 stalls max? 20?
                                  There are a lot of variables.

                                  Is there a gator hauling a big manure bin or is someone having to use a hand wheel barrow?
                                  Are tools in good working order or is someone stuck with broken tines and cheap equipment?
                                  Barn aisles wide and paved or rutted and narrow?
                                  Is the dumping site nearby and low effort or is it across the farm and up a hill?
                                  Are horses 12/12 or in 18+ hours a day?
                                  Mats or dirt floors?
                                  Shavings, pellets, paper, hemp, straw, flax, something else?
                                  Are stalls well lit with fans to move air or dark with stale air?

                                  With the right set up I think someone can rip through 20 stalls if they are fit and everything is super ergonomic . With a bad set up 20 stalls can be completely unrealistic for one person.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The place my horse is boarded at has two "shifts"- AM people and PM people. The barn is primarily a boarding facility that also does some lessons and training. There are about 35 horses kept there. One person arrives at 7 and feeds everyone. Another 2/3 people arrive at 8 and begin mucking pastures/run-ins while the person who fed finishes up feeding and begins turn out. Sometimes someone will help with turnout. The all 3/4 people clean stalls, fill water, and do hay in the barn. After that everyone cleans up (sweeping, washing grain pans, and doing miscellaneous things). It usually takes until noon.

                                    Typically 1 person does PM chores. They arrive between 3-6 depending on the time of year and when sun sets. They prep grain, turn everyone in, feed outside horses, top off any waters and clean up. This usually takes about 2 hours.

                                    The on-site barn owner/manager does night check around 8/9 pm.

                                    Personal opinion: I don't like the idea of designated stall cleaner and designated hay/water person but that's just me. I understand that barns often hire people who don't necessarily have a ton of horse experience and are happy to do the non-horse handling side of things and that's fine. But when I work at the barn, I like skipping in between different things. It keeps my mind fresh and if I dealt with a particularly gross stall, I can take a break and toss hay in it after cleaning before moving on to the next and that somehow makes all the difference!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      We have 12 horses. We've done it 2 different ways:

                                      1. 3 full-time employees responsible for everything - stalls, feeding, turnout, grooming, tacking, untacking, and sometimes lunging or hacking.

                                      2. 2 full-time employees responsible for everything but stalls. 1 part-time person who comes in just to clean stalls.

                                      Full-time is 7-4, plus 2 night checks. Days off rotate.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I've worked at and boarded a few barns, and can tell you its highly variable based on just how the barn operates.

                                        Barn 1: 45-55 horses, all have stalls. 1 Full time on-site worker. He feeds (no feed prep, just a cart with all the feed/supliments) hays, and then starts turnout. 2 more workers join at 8:30-9am to help with turnout. Some of the feilds are quite far. They all 3 dump water, bring hay bales in, drag rings, muck (using a large cart down the aisle, then dumping in spreader outside) add shavings, etc. Extras depend on the day, but holding for vet/farrier, cleaning, laundry. They take blankets/boots on and off. Horses come in at 4 or 5pm, fed, hayed, spot mucked.
                                        I can say that barn was EXCELLENT. Lots of work, as horses are, but everything got done without workers rushing around, hurting themselves. Barn was spotless and perfect. Workers payed attention to horses health. No one batted an eye if they napped on the hay or chilled with the boarders since they had the time to do a good job. Everyone was paid hourly except the live on site worker. He'd check on the horses at night and lived in an apartment anove the indoor ring and had a window he could see the whole barn from.

                                        Barn 2: around 35 horses. 2 full time (8am to 4:30pm) workers + part time mucker. Not all the horses had stalls, but ALL horses HAD to come in to eat/be available to be ridden. Everything was always rushed. Not enough feild space to accomidate all horses, so there were FOUR daily turn in/turn out sessions with blankets taken on/off or swapped for lighter/thicker each and every time. We fed round 1 horses, blanket, turnout/turn in (having to juggle up to 6 horses cross tied in order to even do the swap since all fields and stalls were full) feed round 2, un-blanket, hay, dump water, prep food, turn in/out round 2, hay, blanket, barn chores, turn/in out round 3, hay, blanket, exactly 30 minute lunch break (luckily, food provided) get hay from hay barn, afternoon feed round 1, blanket, turn in/out round 4, blanket, afternoon feed round 2, hay, refill water, clean. It was an absolutley horrible schedule. There was no room for breaks and for taking it safely and slowly. If someone came to ride a horse, the whole schedule is up-ended and a massive re-filing of horses must be undertaken. Workers were paid hourly at $10 which is highly not good enough even for a relaxed stable hand job in a low cost of living area.

                                        I've been at many barns inbetween, but I just want to emphasize that number of workers doesn't necissarily line up with number of horses. Its all about the organization! Its faster to muck empty stalls than full ones. Its faster if you can unload hay from a tractor. One thing you could try is 1 full time worker all day for feeding, mucking, barn chores, and give a boarder or 2 a cut off board to help with turn in/out morning and afternoon, water and hay.

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