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Reasonable...or unreasonable?

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  • Reasonable...or unreasonable?

    I am an intern at a breeding and small training farm 5 minutes away from my own small farm. I am in my senior year in high school and have been going there and working 3 hours a day (half of my school day and then some) unpaid since January. I love this farm, I love the owners and trainer, and I love working there. I know they really appreciate my help as well, since they can't afford anymore help, and they have made it clear to myself, my school intern counselor, and my dad that I'm the best intern they've had and they love me too. They've asked me to continue working there during the summer if I don't have any plans (which I don't) and if I want to, which I would love. I'm planning on working longer during the summer than I do now, say like 9am to 2pm 5 days a week instead of 11:30am to 3pm like now. So that's all fine and dandy.

    However, I'm thinking of asking the barn owner if she'd consider letting me board my main riding horse there this summer for free or a small fee. This would work out wonderfully for me because I could actually ride him every day when I'm done working, which I can't do at home because the ground is either very very wet or extremely hard. This farm has a ring with footing in it that is pretty good in all weather. I don't think this would be a problem for the barn owner because this way I would still come work for free every day feeding all the horses, mucking out stalls, holding for the vet, exercising one of her homebreds she doesn't want to sell that the trainer sometimes uses, grooming the horses, working with the young horses, and working with the foals. She has severe arthritis so it's almost impossible for her to do all those things, let alone in one day.

    The farm has one main barn with 12 stalls and the washstall, feed room, and tack room, and a 3 stall shedrow type barn very close next to it. They have 12 good-sized fields with plenty of grass and most of them have a run-in shed. The only horses that come inside in inclement weather are the mares with foals (5), the competition horses (2), the elderly ponies (2), and occasionally one of the stallions (1). They only come in the main big barn, filling up 10 stalls. So that leaves 3 "extra" stalls. If it isn't bad weather or broodmare feeding time, the barn is empty except for the various horses brought in during the day for work, then turned back out.

    I figured I could keep my gelding outside 24/7 in a field with these particular two geldings (one for training/consignment/process of being given to trainer, and one they own that's for sale) that are of a similar temperament to mine. Most of the field care horses are only fed one meal and if they're not super easy keepers, they get fed a second meal when they're inside the barn at whatever point to get worked. I figured I would get there in the morning to feed everyone (including my horse), do stalls/baby horse stuff/grooming/whatever else during the day, and then when I'm finished everything that needs doing, I can ride my horse, give him a second meal like he always gets, and then turn him back out. Plus I sometimes take lessons from the trainer, just on the farm's homebred, and would like to be able to do some on my own horse- I just don't have a trailer at my convenience.

    So, is this reasonable to bring up to the barn owner? I think it is, but if it isn't, I definitely don't want to be rude or make things awkward if she isn't up for the idea. She's usually very agreeable with me, and always profusely thankful, so it isn't like she's hard to get along with in the least. Should I offer to use my own feed for him? Or should we pay a small fee? I figure I'd be doing 25 hours a week, that's 100 hours a month. I do the same work the barn manager did when they had enough cash to pay her (I actually did everything for/with her except stalls because I wasn't there early enough) so if I pretend she got paid minimum wage ($7.50?) that would be $750 a month- way more than this kind of board would be (in MD- field board is about $250 here). So...is this reasonable? How should I go about asking this/bringing it up? I graduate in less than 2 weeks (and I'll still work every day) and then I'm taking a week off for senior week at the beach. Should I bring it up before I graduate, then if she agrees ask to bring my horse after I get back from the beach?

    Sorry for the novel, thanks in advance!

  • #2
    This sounds completely reasonable, and it also sounds like they're taking advantage of you a little. Working for riding is one thing, but it sounds like you're working at the cost of riding your horse.

    Comment


    • #3
      Completely reasonable to ask to keep your horse. In fact... I wouldn't even suggest the "small fee" bit, and just ask them upfront if you can bring your horse in exchange for your work. Seems more than reasonable!

      Comment


      • #4
        If you'll be working 25 hours a week for them, for free, asking for free board in exchange is MORE than fair and reasonable. They are still getting a great deal and it would cost them next to nothing, not even the opportunity cost of having a stall unavailable for a paying boarder. I think they'd be foolish not to take you up on this. I also suspect that, with your horse on the premises and you around more, they'd probably get even more free work out of you . If you are there until late afternoon with your own horse, you are there to help them with emergencies and whatever comes up that they need another hand for.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Rel6 View Post
          This sounds completely reasonable, and it also sounds like they're taking advantage of you a little. Working for riding is one thing, but it sounds like you're working at the cost of riding your horse.
          What exactky are you getting out of this deal?
          .

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thank you everyone, any other suggestions for how to bring it up now that I know it's completely reasonable? Maybe just, "I was planning to continue working here during the summer, longer hours actually since I don't have school. Do you think it would be possible to board my riding horse here during the summer in exchange for the work? It'd just be nice to have a ring to ride in since the footing is just so inconsistent at home."

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
              What exactky are you getting out of this deal?
              Well, it's been an internship through my school. Since I did all my requirements and then some to graduate, I chose to take the opportunity to spend half the school day at a horse farm close by instead of doing more classes. Who wants to be sitting inside doing unnecessary classes when you can be outside during the nice part of the day in the spring riding? Most internships through school are unpaid, so that was sort of a given.

              The farm had to let go of their manager because they're on some difficult times and couldn't afford to pay her anymore, So I'm pretty certain they can't afford to pay me for doing everything I do, but I truly love the barn and people and haven't found such a relaxed drama-free barn that I'm part of and they depend on. I've been neglecting my riding because we haven't been able to afford good quality lessons and I can't haul out, add that to sucky footing at home and my horse isn't getting ridden. So I love that I get opportunities to ride and get free lessons in a new discipline, I get to work with some great horses, and they've asked me if I'd like to show their young stallion when he's ready (who I adore and if I must say, I'm his favorite person). So I guess I get lots of fun out of it, and for the summer, I hope to get more opportunities to ride my own horse.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think it is fine. If they hesitate, offer to bring his hay and grain with you so they are really just out the grass he eats.

                Comment


                • #9
                  i would recommend putting something simple in writing - ie free board, including stall and turnout, in exchange for xyz. they should agree to this even from a liability standpoint.

                  even though you're doing a ton of work you'll be low man on the totem pole if they get more paying clients.

                  anyting worth doing well is worth getting paid for - however you want to define 'payment' is up to you.
                  www.TackMeUp.com
                  'What's in your trunk?'
                  Free tools for Trainers and Riders

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                  • #10
                    I think it sounds very reasonable. During your internship it sounds like you have proven yourself to be a reliable worker, willing to work a regular schedule, plus you now know the farm/the horses/the work that needs to be done. I absolutely agree that whatever the arrangement is it should be put in writing: i.e. you will work X hours per week in exchange for X board/feed/care etc. and if you are unable to work for some reason what the board amount would be.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks again for all these suggestions- I will have to bring this up.

                      As for other paying clients? They have one old TB mare on permanent retirement field board there, her owner never comes, just pays the bill every 3 months. They have one mare there on year-round field board whose owner pays them to take care of her and do all the breeding work for whatever stallion they chose, then she takes the foal after its weaned. They have another mare that's just here until she is confirmed pregnant with their stallion, then she's being sent back. Another horse just came in last week to practice in-hand stuff and get cleaned up for Upperville, then she leaves. Lastly, they have a horse there the owner wants worked and sold if possible, otherwise she just wants to give it to the trainer. The trainer keeps his retired pony there and his competition mare he bought from them, plus pay. So there really aren't many paying clients- they don't offer public boarding, just those few horses there for either retirement/babysitting the yearlings, the rare mare in for a few months to be bred, and one once in a while for training.

                      I don't think I'll replace any paying clients, but I'll definitely have it all in writing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If your internship was arranged through school it is over when school ends. If they would like your help over the summer I think your request is more than reasonable.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think its MORE than reasonable. Considering you could get a summer job (paid), and if they didn't have you, they'd have to pay a worker to do the chores or do it themselves, they are getting a GREAT service from you.


                          I'd approach it in a way that kind of makes it so they know you mean business.

                          "I would love to continue to work here this summer, and also continue to further my riding. In leu of compensation, I'd like to see if we can work out a free board agreement"

                          And if they say no, be prepared to decline the offer if that's what you want.

                          If your internship is over, then there's nothing to "gain" on your end, except more experience. But even still, there should be some sort of trade-off.

                          This isn't a rescue. This is their business - they are getting paid, you should too in some respect. In training/boarding/lessons, etc.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Very reasonable .. but if BO is in rough times financially are they going to be able to flip the $ for your horse? Grain, Shavings, Hay?

                            You got this intership at this place because they need free help and want you to continue being free help.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Ozone- they are in rough times financially BUT they ALWAYS provide for their horses- no matter what. They always make sure they can purchase the grain, bedding, and hay, although they hardly go through any bedding when it's nice out like now and so few horses actually come in for more than an hour.

                              I figure if he's outside 24/7, like now, he will only need the grass/pasture and grain provided for him by them. He does not receive (or even want to eat) hay in the summer when he's out 24/7. I think it's very reasonable, so I'll bring it up next time I'm alone with the BO.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Good luck but as suggested be willing to walk away if they don't offer you something reasonable.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Totally off topic...

                                  OP - you are a class act and clearly mature.
                                  It frustrates me to no end to read text-talk posts by teens who seem to think the world owes them a living.

                                  I appreciate your thoughtfullness, your well constructed posts, and your willingness to work your tail off for nothing.



                                  Good on you, kiddo.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Burgie View Post
                                    Totally off topic...

                                    OP - you are a class act and clearly mature.
                                    It frustrates me to no end to read text-talk posts by teens who seem to think the world owes them a living.

                                    I appreciate your thoughtfullness, your well constructed posts, and your willingness to work your tail off for nothing.



                                    Good on you, kiddo.
                                    Ditto!
                                    Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Burgie View Post
                                      Totally off topic...

                                      OP - you are a class act and clearly mature.
                                      It frustrates me to no end to read text-talk posts by teens who seem to think the world owes them a living.

                                      I appreciate your thoughtfullness, your well constructed posts, and your willingness to work your tail off for nothing.



                                      Good on you, kiddo.
                                      Double ditto! The maturity and thoughtfulness that comes through in your posts is very refreshing.

                                      Boarding your horse at this farm sounds incredibly reasonable. It sounds like you've thought everything through and are on the right track.
                                      Every one of them had that look of a girl infatuated with horses, the happy, fated look of a passenger setting sail on the Titanic.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
                                        Thank you everyone, any other suggestions for how to bring it up now that I know it's completely reasonable? Maybe just, "I was planning to continue working here during the summer, longer hours actually since I don't have school. Do you think it would be possible to board my riding horse here during the summer in exchange for the work? It'd just be nice to have a ring to ride in since the footing is just so inconsistent at home."
                                        Change the 2nd to last sentence to "Do you think it would be possible to board my riding horse AT NO COST TO ME during the summer in exchange for the work?"

                                        Make sure they don't think that you want to know if there's space for a paying boarder.

                                        And get it in writing (free board, what's included re stll/pasture/hay/grain/etc, and what you will do for work/how long in exchange.)

                                        Comment

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