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When did working student become title for UNPAID BARN SLAVE....

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  • #61
    I did a year of WS in Germany a long time ago.

    When comparing with my friends who did the same thing I realized that this was heaven.

    Worked 5 1/2 days a week and 1/2 a day the BO paid for me to go to school in Lubeck to learn german properly.

    Worked from 7-5 with 1/2 hour breakfast and 1hr lunch, rode 5-6 horses per day, groomed another 2-3, fed 30 horses (very well setup so no hauling haybales or carrying heavy buckets of grain) in the morning, did the grooming at shows. They had a guy to help that did the mucking out and feeding (except morning), I had to do 4 stalls though in the weekdays.

    Took lessons at least three times a week and had a retired 3* horse at my disposal, I rode him 5 times a week so every time there was a trip to XC to school I could take him along. He was a professor when it came to XC and D so I learned a lot from him. I also rode him for the trainer who came to the stables to teach BO´s children (they were top JR eventers, one won the german championships).

    2 hot, really good meals a day and my own apartment above the stables.

    I had access to car when needed. Did not pay for gas.

    Plus enough cash to have fun on my day off and do/buy some stuff in the week..
    Last edited by LucyShow; Jan. 17, 2013, 05:03 AM.

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    • #62
      The guy that has competed my mare in the jumpers (1,40) has a big stable with around 70 horses. Everything from mares and foals to S-klass jumpers (incl stallion). The whole family incl grandma and granddad works at the farm. They usually have at least two WS there. They share a really nice apartment, get 2 hot meals per day, can have 1 horse boarded, 750 USD/mth, rides with BO all day and gets help/teaching from horseback, at least one proper lesson a week, get ride in truck to competitions and coaching at shows.

      Superplace to be a WS at with really nice people but you´ll have to be prepared to work hard and stay positive, it´s not for the fainthearted. Yesterday it was -16C below here. Business as usual there..

      What it really comes down to is - who has 750USD left when all is paid for (apt/food/boarding/training/etc) when you´re let´s say 20? Not many...

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      • #63
        Texan - the program you describe sounds more than fair ....what surprises me is that you have had trouble finding people to stay. Off the top, I could name 15 or so WS that have stayed in positions with less benefits for over a year....

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        • #64
          Originally posted by loshad View Post

          Also, since when are unpaid internships illegal (other than in CA)? If I recall correctly, the requirements aren't exactly all that stringent.
          I think you are right, I never found anything about unpaid internships being illegal.
          In my industry, students look at it from a different angle:
          - most of them are students from Europe, internships are part of the requirement to validate their degrees
          - it's their dream company they get a chance to work for during a couple of months, they get to learn a job and improve their language skills
          - not to mention the whole cultural experience of living in the US.

          Some students actually make their parents pay a lot of money to spend summers abroad partying and having fun. Unpaid interns are just smarter and less of a financial burden for their parents, since really it's rare that they don't get accommodation and transportation paid.

          Also let's not forget that we are talking about young adults, they are always free to walk out of a situation where they believe they are being taken advantage of.

          However, having been there myself, I consider that every job deserves a salary so I actually always compensate interns even though I get a lot of requests from people looking for unpaid internships. Many times it comes as a surprise to them so they really work hard and enjoy their time with us and the extra cash...


          https://www.facebook.com/VoltaireDesign

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          • #65
            *** not legal advice
            Unpaid internships actually are quite illegal under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act if they don't meet specifications- either getting college credit, or the intern is getting way more out of it than the employer. In basic terms, meaning, if the intern is doing work that benefits the employer, that the employer would otherwise have to pay someone else to do, then there's a good chance it's illegal.

            There are plenty of people who still offer unpaid internships that are diverted would-be paid labor, but just because the Department of Labor hasn't found them out doesn't make it legal.

            http://www.insidecounsel.com/2012/04...paid-employees
            Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors

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            • #66
              Originally posted by MILOUTE55 View Post
              .....

              Also let's not forget that we are talking about young adults, they are always free to walk out of a situation where they believe they are being taken advantage of.

              However, having been there myself, I consider that every job deserves a salary so I actually always compensate interns even though I get a lot of requests from people looking for unpaid internships. Many times it comes as a surprise to them so they really work hard and enjoy their time with us and the extra cash...
              Actually ... While they may be young adults, most do not feel they can simply walk away... The horse world is small and if they want to stay in it, they worry about what will be said.

              I also believe that every job deserves a salary.... I have always wondered whether it would not be make sense for trainers and working students to have a frank discussion about value.... Ie the value for the barn work you do on a monthly basis is x(calculated by number of hours per day at market rate times number of days worked per month) and the value of what I am providing is y (board plus lessons Lu's housing depending on what is provided). This approach is straight forward, honest, and sets up reasonable expectations for each party to the agreement.

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              • #67
                A friend of mine in Ireland (who has started Olympic horses) take working students. They do the barns, ride a bunch of horses, help her with the youngsters, foxhunt, show, work 6 days a week, and have a great time. She pays them a small weekly stipend, lets them live in her house, feds them, and doesn't ask the to do anything that she doesn't also do (she is the hardest working horsewoman I have ever met!) They learn a LOT, and the better they ride, the more they get to ride. Yes, they ride under supervision/have lessons.

                If I were significantly younger, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
                co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!

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                • #68
                  Completely OT, but I checked out the link to Jacque Couture in your signature. Love that stuff! Will be getting new dog in near future who will be needing new gear...

                  Oops! Meant to reply to Satin Filly. My apologies.

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                  • #69
                    My daughter received the opportunity to be a working student at age 15 through the connections of another working student. She spent entire summers and school breaks riding and showing ponies, junior hunters, jumpers. She did not have to clean stalls, but helped out with grooming and the summer camp. Everything was provided for her. Once the summers was over, she was asked to catch ride at shows whenever her school schedule would allow. My only expense was airfare. The first day she arrived at the farm, she was put on several ponies and horses with not much direction, just to see how she handled strange horses. My daughter has a strong work ethic and was never treated like a grunt. The clients loved having her there and treated her to special things like attending parties and sporting events, buying her gifts and spa days. It is sad that so many working students are treated so poorly.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by PaintedHunter View Post
                      *** not legal advice
                      Unpaid internships actually are quite illegal under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act if they don't meet specifications- either getting college credit, or the intern is getting way more out of it than the employer. In basic terms, meaning, if the intern is doing work that benefits the employer, that the employer would otherwise have to pay someone else to do, then there's a good chance it's illegal.

                      There are plenty of people who still offer unpaid internships that are diverted would-be paid labor, but just because the Department of Labor hasn't found them out doesn't make it legal.

                      http://www.insidecounsel.com/2012/04...paid-employees
                      Thank you. I bolded the FEDERAL part because it is not just the law in CA...it's in the entire U.S.
                      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Rel6 View Post
                        I haven't read this entire thread so excuse me if this point has been made. Where I am from, board can run easily around $2k a month. If a working student is working full time, 40 hour weeks, and working for say $10 an hour...they are only making $1600 a month.

                        So at the right facility this arrangement sounds amazing. I say that as someone who has a horse and would NEVER be able to afford board at home (my horse is at school) and who would kill for a working student position with your stated arrangement at many barns located around me.

                        But I get that I live in an expensive area. That arrangement wouldn't work for an area where board might only be $400 or $500.
                        Also the $2000 per month board is based on the barn staff doing the blanketing, turn-out, stall cleaning, feeding for your horse. A WS is likely providing that labor for her our horse plus others. Yes the barn still has the expense of the grain, shavings and hay. However with a WS it is no longer full board it becomes a hybrid of self-care and full-care. Therefore they are not really working off the full value of the $2000 in full board. Also most working students are working much more than 40 hours per week.
                        If you read through the thread you will see most are expected to work 6 days per week. They would only need to work 6 3/4 hours per day to get to 40 hours. However it frequently is more like 10 hour days. If they are helping as shows the hours may be even higher.
                        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by OneGrayPony View Post
                          Right - which is why Wal-Mart's strategy sucks, but an unpaid internship actually rocks...because the intern is getting more value out of it than the employer ever will.

                          If we think about it horsey terms (to keep it horse related) - a working student that I have to teach everything to essentially makes me slower, makes me liable for their mistakes (that's fun...no really, it's fun...), and can potentially damage valuable equipment (like tractors, sprinklers, barns).
                          This last sentence of yours gave me pause. I agree it takes time (and therefore lost money) to teach a WS. Heck, vet friends of mine tell me that a newly-minted DVM costs a practice money in her first year out of vet school. As a client, I have paid for bad diagnostics done by a wet-behind-the-ears DVM.

                          But the trainer accepting liablity for the WS's mistakes? Show me what that looks like. In a few decades of doing this, I have *never* seen a trainer compensate a client for a horse of theirs that was injured or crippled on the trainer's watch.

                          I suppose some people litigate for this kind of thing. But I can't picture a trainer paying a client out of pocket for some mistake a WS or other member of the barn staff made.

                          Do y'all have counter examples? Am I wrong?
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by PaintedHunter View Post
                            *** not legal advice
                            Unpaid internships actually are quite illegal under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act if they don't meet specifications- either getting college credit, or the intern is getting way more out of it than the employer. In basic terms, meaning, if the intern is doing work that benefits the employer, that the employer would otherwise have to pay someone else to do, then there's a good chance it's illegal.

                            http://www.insidecounsel.com/2012/04...paid-employees
                            Understood. In my posts I was referring to internships for which students get college credits, so unpaid seems legal in this case... Again, not saying that it's right and I personally don't do it!


                            https://www.facebook.com/VoltaireDesign

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by MILOUTE55 View Post
                              Understood. In my posts I was referring to internships for which students get college credits, so unpaid seems legal in this case... Again, not saying that it's right and I personally don't do it!
                              An unpaid internship may still be, and often is, illegal even if the intern is receiving college credits. Read the article PaintedHunter linked to...it's all right there.

                              Originally posted by mvp View Post
                              But the trainer accepting liablity for the WS's mistakes?

                              I suppose some people litigate for this kind of thing. But I can't picture a trainer paying a client out of pocket for some mistake a WS or other member of the barn staff made.

                              Do y'all have counter examples? Am I wrong?
                              You're not completely wrong, you're just not thinking broad enough.

                              The professional often "pays" in reputation or lost clients, etc. Just as anytime a company suffers because of what it's employees do incorrectly.
                              Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                              Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                I will say that I think an internship/working student opportunity in the horse world is not equivalent to one in a more traditional or corporate job place. From my personal experience, just asking around in the horse world produces leads and I know of many people who have worked as a WS and then were later hired by the barn or the BO/trainer found them a job with someone else. With the internships, yes, you're paying, but it says that with a 2 year commitment they will aid you in finding a job.

                                Personally, I do not know a single friend who recently had an internship position in their college field that turned into a job. I worked as an intern for 3 years and got ZERO leads or professional help. I then switched majors to Anthropology/Archaeology and those internship positions are even more ridiculous. You pay to go on a dig (travel costs are your own + $$1-3K to cover your other expenses) and you pay the college for credit because you have to take a class along with it. All in, you're looking at $3-6K and NO chance for a job--just a resume filler.

                                One aspect I appreciate about the horse world is that it is still very much an apprenticeship type profession.When you think about it that way, it makes the WS positions way less abusive and worthwhile compared to most internship opportunities offered these days.

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                                • #76
                                  My internships in marketing/PR (which were amazingly paid), absolutely DID help me get jobs out of college. The experience was phenomenal, I could show what I was capable of, and the letters of rec. from a real-world setting were invaluable. i still work the connections I made in those internships, and those were up to 15 years ago.
                                  Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors

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                                  • #77
                                    But the trainer accepting liablity for the WS's mistakes? Show me what that looks like. In a few decades of doing this, I have *never* seen a trainer compensate a client for a horse of theirs that was injured or crippled on the trainer's watch.
                                    Not a trainer, but I just did that very thing in my business when an inexperienced contractor screwed up my client's work, and I missed it. I was supposed to be watching. Lost $10k (that I refused to charge the client) and now have a major relationship issue to fix.

                                    Just because you haven't seen it in court doesn't mean it doesn't happen. A good boss will take the fall and y'all will never know about it because the client walks away, satisfied.

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                                    • #78
                                      Some of the internships posted about look amazing. Texan's is definitely fair, as is the arrangement in Germany.

                                      Putting in my 2 cents: I'm a recent college graduate who was struggling to find a full time job. I have a solid work history and excellent recommendations to back up the fact that I AM a hard worker and stay committed to things for a long time, the job market just sucks.

                                      So I started looking in the horse industry. I figured if I could break even on my daily expenses and use my saving for anything "extra", it would be a better way to spend my time than sitting at home or working bad p/t jobs. What I found was definitely more along time lines of the barn slave side.

                                      In college I always took a full load, ran our equestrian team, and never worked less than 2 jobs (but usually 3). I have no problem with working long hours or 2 jobs. Unfortunately, the only way I would be able to take the available positions I found was if my parents were paying all my expenses. Cover my housing, 1-2 meals a day, and give me a tiny food/gas stipend? Awesome! Expect me to be on call 24/7 (so I can't work another job) for a lesson a day without any other benefits... I just can't make that work any way I look at it.

                                      Fortunately, I found an AWESOME job in the industry my degree is in. It pays crap (think less than $3 an hour), but they cover my housing, give me a small food stipend, and pay for my flight there and back. I'll probably be losing money off of the job, but I'm getting enough benefits that I can at least get by for the length of my contract.

                                      I will never understand the "but you get to work with ponies so I shouldn't have to pay you anything" philosophy that's so rampant in this industry.
                                      Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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                                      • #79
                                        Originally posted by OneGrayPony View Post
                                        Not a trainer, but I just did that very thing in my business when an inexperienced contractor screwed up my client's work, and I missed it. I was supposed to be watching. Lost $10k (that I refused to charge the client) and now have a major relationship issue to fix.

                                        Just because you haven't seen it in court doesn't mean it doesn't happen. A good boss will take the fall and y'all will never know about it because the client walks away, satisfied.
                                        I think this does happen in some businesses. I'm just saying that I have never seen it done in Horse World. Is your example from Horse World?
                                        The armchair saddler
                                        Politically Pro-Cat

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                                        • #80
                                          No, mine is not (as I mentioned).

                                          However, I do not believe that all trainers are "bad bosses". Just because we speak of the bad ones here quite a bit does not necessarily equal a 100% sample.

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