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hypothetical Q- want your opinion

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  • Original Poster

    Originally posted by RaeHughes View Post
    OP, my apologies for my late response. I have been out and about enjoying the start to my weekend .

    PLEASE note that the analysis of these sort of situations are my bread and butter. You asked a hypothetical question - I made the assumption (my bad) that you actually wanted an answer and not a "oh dear, bad employee! FIRE THEM!". Yes, I do have a different perspective than you - because I have been trained to look under the gloss of the poor communication here (and, phew!, it is poor!) to see what can be learnt.

    The barn employee was in contact wth the horse - she needed to pass it. It is merely fortunate that the horse involved is a well behaved soul - that saint of a horse should be thanked for giving the people a chance to learn. We all know how quick one (or both) of those back feet can come flying out ... and often for the silliest of reasons .

    There was a lot of poor communication here - the barn worker could have asked the boarder to move their horse; the barn owner doesnt want to deal with the issue so is turning a blind eye to a potentially dangerous situation; the boarder for being a little "holier than thou" and playing the innocence card.

    My day-to-day job involves breaking down work processes into the nuts and bolts. The bit I dont like (but do regularly ) is when I have to break down what happened in an incident - and, yes, I have been involved in investigating serious harm incidents. The cause can often be tied back - through asking questions, studying processes, visiting sites etc - to something as simple as a hazard not being clearly identified and "dealt with".

    What you described in your original post was a "close call" - to be frank, these are the best. But to do any growth, you need to separate the employee part from the boarder part of the employee. That person is entitled to a safe work environment. The boarders are entitled to a safe boarding environment.

    Instead of ranting at me for not understanding your question: Have you just asked some simple questions? Did the employee need to go through that aisle to complete the task she was working on or had it become a convenience (as they can so easily do)? Did the employee have communication issues with the other boarder (whether correctly or not)? Should the barn require that certain tasks are completed by a certain time (say 9am) and that boarders should not come to the barn before say 9.30 - in other words, the barn worker was being a little lazy and hadnt got their chores completed?

    Please take a step back - everyone - and look at it from your legal position. I have checked and US Federal Law requires that all employees are entitled to a safe working environment.

    I will not check this thread again as, to be frank, I see that most posters agree that the boarder was the innocent one here. I dont - I think she was oblivious to what was going on around her. Yes, the employee has a lot to learn in communication skills (does she what!) and she could have handled this a lot better, as could the BO, but to call for the employee to be fired is simply not on.

    Yes, I enjoy riding, walking the dogs etc - including getting out of bed in the morning. Just since I have been in my present role, I do look at situations in a different light. I sure always wear my riding helmet now .
    Uh seriously? i was ranting at you? i asked you a question b/c i wanted you to clarify. No one ever said the employee was not entitled to a safe environment, and no one said she was in danger.


    • #62
      Originally posted by Nezzy View Post
      no one said she was in danger.
      I...know? That reply just made me laugh. Passing by a horse that's cross-tied is a dangerous "close call" now? I assume a normal boarded horse (not a saint, a normal horse here) is used to people passing by it; only one of the 6 barns I've been in has tacking-up bays, it was normally always done in the aisles where the cross-ties are (or in the stall, as preferred by boarder).

      A person needing to pass behind the horse's butt might ask the owner to move the butt to the side, but people (workers, boarders, everyone) walk up and down the aisles without any issue. Never have I seen a horse just kick out at a person passing it by in an aisle; I would not be comfortable boarding in a barn that had a horse like that, unless the owner was forbidden from using cross-ties and would always loudly warn everyone to clear the aisle if they had to lead the horse down it. I'd assume such a horse would simply be asked to leave the barn.
      Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


      • #63
        Originally posted by tidy wabbit View Post
        Only solution is for BO to dismiss employee.
        Originally posted by sketcher View Post
        Wow. You live in a harsh world.
        The real problem is that employee is still angry days later after the incident, still angry after the boarder apologizes ... (is willing to communicate that anger but not communicate to prevent the incident in the first place)
        employee may very well end up injured when a horse acts uncharacteristically in response to her tension/anger - so I'll agree with RaeHughes: employee is indeed unsafe
        BUT it's due to her own reactivity.

        If the boarder, I'd try to sort this out face to face, if there is no resolution, I'd arrange for my horse to be independent of this employee's care or move elsewhere ...


        • #64
          Originally posted by alto View Post
          If the boarder, I'd try to sort this out face to face, if there is no resolution, I'd arrange for my horse to be independent of this employee's care or move elsewhere ...
          Face to face with the barn manager, not an employee. In any business, you go to the manager rather then face off with an angry, possibly unstable employee you have absolutely no authority over and has already sent an e mail telling you how to behave. I always respect my grooms/muckers but if they contacted me personally and complained about me behind my back??? I'd be in the managers office and considering being out the gate with a trailer. Once dissent between boarders and the help, another boarder or paid, in a barn gets started? People start taking sides. It never ends well.

          The fact it appears this employee is also a work off client makes this extra messy. Maybe you don't need to move the horse but, when crap like this goes on to where you are uncomfortable and lose enjoyment of your barn time? Maybe moving is a possibility, IME some let this stuff fester forever and never ever let it go...maybe moving needs to be considered. By one party or the other.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #65
            I'm not saying the employees need to tip toe around the clients, but I am saying that the whole email exchange was just handled wrong. Employee shouldn't have b*tched out the boarder to another boarder even if she had her own boarder hat on, and boarder shouldn't have emailed employee even if it was an apology. One email leads to another and the mess just gets deeper. Drama in action.
            If working boarder had a problem she should have taken it up with the BO, her boss, or better yet asked politely if boarder could shift down to another, open, set of crossties. (If that was the problem)
            I suppose it's possible that boarder didn't HEAR a request that was made and working boarder got a little irked by that, but she still doesn't own the barn and doesn't get to speak for the owner, that's the manager's job. (and that is why I asked if she had somehow become the de facto manager).
            Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
            Incredible Invisible


            • #66
              As someone who is in the same position as this thread's "employee" (I work off board by cleaning stalls), I'm inclined to cut employee even LESS slack.

              Here's why: As someone who is obviously familiar with horses AND familiar with the horses she boards with in what sounds like a relatively small barn, she should know what horses will be OK with sweeping/wheelbarrow, etc., and she should have a good enough/friendly enough relationship with the boarders to be able to say:

              "Hey can I sweep around your horse?" Or, "Mind if you move Beauty over so I can get the wheelbarrow past?" OR whatever.

              When I clean with boarders present (sometimes happens due to scheduling), I often am chatting/friendly while I clean. If we aren't talking and they are in the way of sweeping or whatever, I just wait until they're done. If I'm ready to go and that's the last thing, I'll ask them to move the horse. No biggie.

              I also know the horses and know what ones will tolerate a wheelbarrow going by in our (admittedly very wide) aisle. (There is no other place to tie in our barn other than the aisle.)

              If I EVER contacted a boarder directly and snarked at them, particularly about an event that took place while I am acting as "employee" (even if I AM ALSO a boarder), I know my BO wouldn't be impressed. Actually, the reverse is true.... as a 'boarder' I won't be snarky to my fellow boarders because I'm ALSO an employee. I've felt like it sometimes, and often get my BO involved more than probably necessary, but rather that than the alternative.


              • #67
                I was at barns that didn't allow boarders to arrive until 8:30 AM. The barn workers knew they had till that time to clean and do all they needed. Seemed to work out as long as the workers started on time and the boarders weren't wanting to ride at o-dark-thirty.
                "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                • #68
                  Alto is right. When someone is angry for days over some minor incident, then there's something wrong with the angry person.

                  As a boarder who often voluntarily helped out (without pay or board reduction) at barns, I know that there are a lot of people with serious personality disorders working (and yes, boarding) at barns. It's one thing for a boarder to be totally inconsiderable of the staff, I've seen that, but it's another thing for staff to deeply resent boarders. Boarders pay for services. Staff won't have jobs without boarders.


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by tidy wabbit View Post
                    Alto is right. When someone is angry for days over some minor incident, then there's something wrong with the angry person.
                    Yeah. And, the relationship between the two people doesn't really matter...staff/boarder, whatever. The real issue is that someone got angry because someone else was in their way and they decided to suffer silently rather than politely ask for accomodation. The someone else didn't successfully use their super powers to read their mind and mood and behave accordingly to pacify them. So, the offended person fumes silently, holds a grudge and engages in passive aggressive behavior and STILL doesn't let their manufactured "hurt" go, even after someone else has apologized (which I NEVER do when confronted with passive aggressive behavior, that just encourages it).

                    It's not a boarder/staff issue, it's a maturity issue, a communication skill issue and possibly even a mental health issue. This kind of thing happens everywhere, every day, nowhere near boarding barns...it happens in families, in workplaces, between neighbors.


                    • #70
                      RaeHughes, yes, employees must be guaranteed a safe working environment, but that responsibility relies majorly on management shoulders, not boarders'. Therefore, if situations like this arise and employee feels her safety is threatened, he/she should bring it up to the management, not the client. The only responsibility the boarder has is to makes sure he/she does not "intentionally" and "wantonly" endanger the employee. Since the boarder put the horse at a designated area and went about her normal tacking up business, the boarder had not intentionally put the employee in any danger.

                      On the other hand, if employee refuses to change his/her way of working, like cleaning another stall, using another route, watering now and mucking out later, etc, and insists on pushing wheel barrel through a narrow aisle next to a horse without asking to be given a wider space from the boarder, it is the employee who intentionally and wantonly endanger the boarder and her horse, not the other way around.

                      Regardless, what this employee did was extremely unprofessional and spoke poorly of the management of the barn. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior from my employees.