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Opinions on working in exchange for lessons?

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  • Opinions on working in exchange for lessons?

    From your experience, do you think working in exchange for riding lessons is a fair arrangment? I know that many teenagers, like myself want experience around the barn. But, for the amount of work put in (around 4-5+ hrs of intense hands on barn chores) is an hour-long lesson (worth $40-60) fair exchange?

    Even if the student can't afford lessons, is it fair? A teenager could easily find a less labor-intensive job thats pays the same, if not, better. So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?
    The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. ~Arabian Proverb

  • #2
    Where do you think a teenager is going to find a job paying $10-12/hr?
    Life is hard. After all, it kills you. - K. Hepburn

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, that all depends.

      If you're given access to really nice horses to ride, then it is worth a lot more than just the lesson.

      If you've got your own horse than that is a pretty fair exchange I'd say so long as everyone is keeping track of how much actual work is getting done and the time spent doing those tasks.

      If you're cleaning stalls for 5 hours a day and then getting a lesson at the end of the day, I can see how that might cause some burn out.

      If you're tacking up horses, warming up and cooling them out and cleaning tack, then that sounds more like fun than "work".

      I guess, as in all things horse, it depends.
      Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by foreverdreaming View Post
        A teenager could easily find a less labor-intensive job thats pays the same, if not, better. So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?
        It seems completely fair. If you are really interested in horses, the knowledge and experience you get from working at the barn will be with you your whole life, and be invaluable. Furthermore, assuming "pay" of $10/hour for barn work is VERY fair, especially for people who don't really have a lot of experience or know what they are doing.

        You are kidding yourself if you think there are so many cushy jobs out there paying more than $10 for teenagers. Most pay minimum wage, and aren't very cushy.

        Just do the math -- figure out how many hours you work, and if you get that much in lessons it is fair.
        https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
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        • #5
          Originally posted by foreverdreaming View Post
          From your experience, do you think working in exchange for riding lessons is a fair arrangment? I know that many teenagers, like myself want experience around the barn. But, for the amount of work put in (around 4-5+ hrs of intense hands on barn chores) is an hour-long lesson (worth $40-60) fair exchange?

          Even if the student can't afford lessons, is it fair? A teenager could easily find a less labor-intensive job thats pays the same, if not, better. So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?
          When I was a junior, and YES I am about to date myself. I worked for about 12 hours on Saturdays for a lesson per week and $10 in cash. (1970's) I thought at the time and NOW it was worth every penny.
          The experience I received from the work served me well through the years, plus the wonderful school horses I was allowed to ride in lessons I would have never been able to afford elsewhere. THANK YOU FOXFIELD!!!!!!

          You will realize as you gain more maturity, there is more to compensation than cash.
          http://STA551.com
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          • #6
            Originally posted by sanctuary View Post
            Where do you think a teenager is going to find a job paying $10-12/hr?
            Babysitting pays between $ 10 - 15 cash per hour

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ponymom64 View Post
              Babysitting pays between $ 10 - 15 cash per hour
              I used to baby sit to help pay for riding lessons, but it was 50 cents an hour. But most teenagers are probably lucky to get jobs paying minimum wage. And I did a lot of barn work for an occasional free ride or extra lesson.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ponymom64 View Post
                Babysitting pays between $ 10 - 15 cash per hour

                That's one of the only jobs.

                I'd rather much stalls and would have as a kid.

                True story (i'll make it quick) - I had a working student whose parents didn't think it was "fair" to work in exchange for lessons. Kid ended up quitting and going to work at another local barn for cash. Paid approx the same amount ($40/day). Kid was only mucking stalls, had no other "education" from barn owner.

                Kid had issues in school, social issues, is a good student, but dropped out. Missed the environment at my barn and what she learned. Wasn't getting the same thing at the other barn. Kid has now quit the paying job and is now back with me. Her parents realized she was getting more than "just a ride" in exchange for her work. That what she learned around my barn was priceless. They begged me to let her come back.

                something to chew on...
                Life is hard. After all, it kills you. - K. Hepburn

                Comment


                • #9
                  I guess it would depend. Looking back as a horse crazy teenager (15 to 17 years old) I was the head camp counsellor for a very busy riding school camp and worked every March break, Christmas break and ALL summer long for basically free. I was paid back in one short riding lesson on a late Sunday afternoon after working all week for free on some poor dogged school horse that had obviously done their job with all those kids all week. And I had to pay for public transit to get there as well as bring my own lunch (even though we served nice hot lunchs to the camp kids but definetly none for us). Geez! I cringe at the hours and hours of up/down lessons I provided for the barn owner and tack cleaning, stall cleaning, pasture clean up...the list was endless. The hours long and tiring and all for an hour lesson once a week. I guess I did not know any better and my parents (bless their hearts) were just happy to know that I was working with horses when they could not afford to buy one for me.

                  But I still remember this experience to this day and that has served me well. And shame on the owner of this farm that is still around (some 35 years later). I just hope he is not exploiting the next young horse crazy girl that comes around!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As someone who works in childcare, I find people are less and less willing to dish out 10-15 bucks an hour cash especially to a teenager who may or may not have any actual childcare experience. I have a HS certificate and an AA in early childhood and class hours working toward elementary education as well as several years of work experience in babysitting and a center setting. People looking for babysitters and nannies are looking to either hire stay at home moms, professional nannies, or they want to pay the equivalent of what they'd pay to a daycare center ($80-160/week) for full time. Not even close to 10-15 bucks an hour although I have seen people willing to pay for that for a sometimes babysitter who comes maybe a couple of times a month.

                    Anyway that's my soapbox and it boils down to this: you will not find a job that will give you the cash and the experience that a good barn setting will. I used to muck stalls with no pay just for the privilege of being around top level horses. Work harder than any of your peers and your BO/trainer WILL notice and if they are old school they will give you opportunities to advance - riding more horses, coming to groom at shows, setting you up with their connections for catchrides, etc. it's worth it if you want to be a horse person. If you don't, go work at McDonalds, but you won't get 10 bucks an hour flipping burgers.
                    "to live is the rarest thing in the world, most people merely exist."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Fair? It is when both parties feel like they are getting a good exchange. Horses are labor intensive, and for someone who wants to ride, but doesn't have the money for lessons, it may be too much, but I would not use the word "Fair".

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by foreverdreaming View Post
                        But, for the amount of work put in (around 4-5+ hrs of intense hands on barn chores) is an hour-long lesson (worth $40-60) fair exchange?
                        Yep. More than fair, especially given the job market. Where I live (rural Ga.) you'd be VERY hard pressed to find anything else that 'pays' better. Plus, that's your take-home pay, if you will. No taxes/social security have been taken out.

                        Just don't think of it as 5 hours = 1 hour. Think of it as 5 hours = $50.

                        So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?
                        It all depends on what you're doing while you're there and what your tolerance level is. If you're just going to be mucking stalls all the time, you may get burned out, even if the pay is good. But if it involves other horsey tasks, then yes, it's great horse experience.

                        That being said, the trainer/BO may stat you out mucking stalls, and eventually let you branch out into other areas, once you've proven you're serious about working and that you are competent. So don't run away if you've been giving mucking chores when you first start out. It could lead to better things.
                        The dude abides ...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This irritates me so much, I was just discussing this with my trainer. Since when did students feel like they deserved to be paid for every little thing they do?

                          IMHO it is a privilege to work and learn, getting lessons is just a perk.

                          For me I am happy when I am working at the barn whether it is grooming, mucking, or anything. I really appreciate the trainers in my life who have taken the time to teach me as I've worked about horse care, barn management, and riding.

                          To the OP, it's not about working in order to make money or even to break even, it is about LEARNING. It just makes me so cranky, this is why the horse industry is dying, young people just have no appreciation nor work ethic.

                          If anything it is a lesson that in the horse industry you will always make less money than the effort put into it is worth (ask any professional), get used to it.

                          /rant
                          “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

                          !! is the new .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by *JumpIt* View Post
                            This irritates me so much, I was just discussing this with my trainer. Since when did students feel like they deserved to be paid for every little thing they do?

                            IMHO it is a privilege to work and learn, getting lessons is just a perk.

                            For me I am happy when I am working at the barn whether it is grooming, mucking, or anything. I really appreciate the trainers in my life who have taken the time to teach me as I've worked about horse care, barn management, and riding.

                            To the OP, it's not about working in order to make money or even to break even, it is about LEARNING. It just makes me so cranky, this is why the horse industry is dying, young people just have no appreciation nor work ethic.

                            If anything it is a lesson that in the horse industry you will always make less money than the effort put into it is worth (ask any professional), get used to it.

                            /rant


                            Perfect example...took a student to a horse show a few weeks ago. Spent 8 hrs there waiting for her division to go. This was 8 hrs after I had finished with my Baby Green. I had spent from 8am- 12midnight at the horse show (including driving, i don't get paid shipping, that goes to the BO). Had I not stayed for her division, I could've been home to my family by 5. I made $45, so...even without "my time" in the ring, I made just over $5/hr. Is that "fair" or is it taking advantage of a hard working dedicated trainer? To me, it all equals out in the end, as this client also has helped build my entire jump course, and helps out around the barn when schools out.

                            This is a hard business. Anyone who wants to get in it, needs to learn that from the beginning.
                            Life is hard. After all, it kills you. - K. Hepburn

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              To answer the OP's question, no it isn't fair--for the trainer. I run a barn and I wouldn't pay a teenager $10-12/hr. for barn work. Sorry, but work done by a teenager is nowhere near as valuable as the work done by professional barn staff. A teenager has to be trained and supervised, and more than likely they would expect to be doing the "cherry" jobs like grooming, cooling out, cleaning tack, etc. when they had time to, which might or might not coincide with when I actually needed them to.

                              If someone is offering this to you, it probably is a good deal. My only caution would be to have it be very clear between you and the person you would be working for exactly what your duties were when you were working and exactly how many lessons you would get for how many hours worked.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Absolutely agree with sanctuary. When I was a hard working student, I made $2 an hour for mucking 4 big stalls an hour and it got taken off my board bill. I never saw a penny.

                                I tell you what - it made me physically solid as a rock, and ready to ride anything they could throw at me.

                                Look at it as a great workout with benefits.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Here's another perspective ( and by the way 5 hours of barn work at minimum wage = $36.50 so at a barn where the trainer charges $40 per lesson - you'd still owe)

                                  Many college students take on internships during school breaks (or if possible during school) WHY - to learn about the business they wish to pursue. Some of the internships are paid, some are not paid, some may earn them college credits, others will not.. but the bottom line is what they gain in knowledge and experience from their internships will hopefully give them a good edge when they hit the job market.

                                  My barn normally has one or two working students... one of which didn't know how to ride when she started... she never ever missed a day of work in 4 years... she went from not knowing how to post to being able to ride/exercise nearly every horse in the barn...and tried out/accepted for her school's riding team. She learned to clip and braid and did a great job. She was good at both and got paid directly from us to clip & braid our horses. The working students at my barn also get coaching at shows in addition to lessons...

                                  it also depends on the barn situation.. as mentioned the WS at my barn learn a great deal more about horses than what they get in lessons

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Horse crazy teen here!

                                    I have done the working student thing and also the "work for lessons" thing. I think both, done right, are extremely valuable and have been great parts of my riding experience. I really didn't try to look at it as "earning $x/hour." I saved that for babysitting (which just fyi, I earn $10-$12/hour doing and use towards show fees) I looked at it as an oppertunity to learn SO MUCH and get perks from time to time, one of the major ones being trusted & looked at for leadership by my trainer. I learned how to do every little random thing that has made me invaluable at the barn (everything from wraps to conditioning a rehab horse to feeding porportions to cramming-drapery-in-a-trailer-for-a-show) and a better horsewoman overall. I got lessons, yes, but I also just plain loved working at the barn and the great variety of things I got to do. Yes, sometimes I was scraping paint and mucking, but I also got to exercise horses and help with small kids lessons/tacking up and more "hands-on" stuff. I agree that it's not for everyone, and it could have DEFINETLY gotten tedious if I had just been doing menial work 100% of the time - really, you can only learn how to muck so well - but my trainers have been great about making it a constructive, productive atmosphere.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by foreverdreaming View Post
                                      From your experience, do you think working in exchange for riding lessons is a fair arrangment? I know that many teenagers, like myself want experience around the barn. But, for the amount of work put in (around 4-5+ hrs of intense hands on barn chores) is an hour-long lesson (worth $40-60) fair exchange?

                                      Even if the student can't afford lessons, is it fair? A teenager could easily find a less labor-intensive job thats pays the same, if not, better. So do you think this is a great way to get horsie experience, or is it just taking advantage of a hard working student?
                                      As someone else mentioned, someone is getting a bit of a raw deal, and it's not the teenager.

                                      And can I just say that I detest this attitude in teens? It's more than a bit obnoxious and it SHOWS in the ones who have it. They think they are too good to do the hard, boring work that makes the barn successful. Why a teen thinks they deserve more than minimum wage is beyond me....unless they are some sort of superstar.


                                      Originally posted by ponymom64 View Post
                                      Originally posted by sanctuary View Post
                                      Where do you think a teenager is going to find a job paying $10-12/hr?
                                      Babysitting pays between $ 10 - 15 cash per hour
                                      For real? Oy...no wonder teens think they are special flowers. I remember the time I tried to get $5/hour from a babysitting job. My mom grounded me for taking advantage of the family. These days, I woud've been called entrepeneurial.

                                      How does one afford to be a parent these days and still enjoy some time away from the kids?
                                      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I guess it depends on the area where this is being done, because minimum up in Ontario is $10.25. Personally I wouldn't work for riding lessons, I would prefer the money, and probably seek a less labour intensive job. But that is just my opinion.

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