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Poll - boarders and employees

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  • Poll - boarders and employees

    The "hypothetical Q" thread had me wondering.... how many of you are at a barn where boarders are boarders, and employees are employees, with no overlap? If you're a boarder, you pay your board, do your thing with your horse, and are not responsible for any barn work. If you're an employee, you are there for the sole purpose of doing barn work, and you do not own/lease a horse on the property.

    My barn has no "exclusive" employees. Everyone who does barn work also has a horse (or two) boarded there.
    Yes, boarders are workers.
    No, boarders are not workers.
    Something else.
    Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
    Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
    VW sucks.

  • #2
    The last few barns I've boarded at have employed workers who do not board, and it is my favorite scenario to board in. I've found the "boarders who work" barns tend to have issues with work not done/not done properly/not done in a timely fashion due to BWW "issues/drama". There is a certain amount of favoritism by the BO toward the BWW, which can cause friction amongst the boarders, as well. A good BWW is wonderful...but rare.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


    • #3
      As a boarder, no, I am not responsible for barn work. I'm not required to clean stalls, sweep cobwebs, clean water buckets, etc.

      I am responsible for cleaning up after my horse in the aisles, keeping my tack and belongings tidy and where they belong, picking poop out of the arena when necessary, and various other horse-related responsibilities that come with being a horse owner and using someone else's well-kept facilities.


      • #4
        I answered yes because I am a boarder and worker at my barn. I work as much as I want, which right now is three weekends a month, and it is "reimbursed" (taken off my board) at an agreed-upon and signed-off-on rate.
        “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


        • #5
          I work on the weekends where I board and we have not run into any problems. BUT... we are an "older", mature group of boarders in that none of us are younger than 40.
          Alis volat propriis.


          • #6
            Every barn I have ever boarded at had either all or some of the work being done by horse owners.


            • #7
              The places I have boarded that had boarders who were also workers were complete disasters. It always causes problems. Always. It is much better to have a clear line and to have the people who work there be employees ONLY.


              • #8
                My barn has all three - employees, boarders as workers, and people who just board. Not sure what that makes us in this survey, but it's probably not that unusual in the horse biz that folks work off part of their board or trade work for lessons. Maybe fancier barns have only workers and boarders, but those sorts of barns aren't that common around here.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cataluna View Post
                  As a boarder, no, I am not responsible for barn work. I'm not required to clean stalls, sweep cobwebs, clean water buckets, etc.

                  I am responsible for cleaning up after my horse in the aisles, keeping my tack and belongings tidy and where they belong, picking poop out of the arena when necessary, and various other horse-related responsibilities that come with being a horse owner and using someone else's well-kept facilities.
                  This is at my barn. I am not a worker but I do help out when needed. My BO is away for a few day this week so I am feeding for her. But I don't work there I board there and help when and where I can. To me this is part of owning a horse.
                  My life motto now is "You can't fix stupid!"

                  Are you going to cowboy up, or lie there and bleed


                  • #10
                    I have never chosen to be in co-op situation (mainly because I don't think I could meet my own standards for care, day in and day out).

                    So I voted "boarders and not employees."

                    But I also was raised to get itchy if I seeing someone else doing work while I sit around. I have always helped out at barns where I have boarded..... more than once cleaning/feeding/watering on a snowy Xmas day so that the BO or regular staff could have a day off.

                    I will say that when I put on my "barn staff hat" I do that like an employee. I care for all horses as asked and check my opinions or whatever else at the door. Being an employee is being of service.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat


                    • #11
                      The barn I boarded at for 17+ years allowed us teenagers/young adults to work off board, which was the only reason I was able to continue riding through college and my early 20's. It never caused any issues, but then, the BO was a stickler and everything was very cut and dry.

                      I work at a barn now which is "high end" and none of the boarders work there. There is a team of employees/grooms/instructors, and then there are boarders.

                      The place where I ride and board is much the same, several employees (mainly college girls from the local IHSA team that train there) and I don't believe there are any boarders working. However, during the show season, I do think the BO offers to allow boarders to work off a little board by covering weekend chores etc. when she is out of town.

                      I do think there are a LOT of barns around here that allow boarders to work in exchange for a reduction in board... which is really nice. Dunno if it is our locale, economy, or what.... but IMO it is a good thing, if you have a low-drama place in which people can get along and not be weird about it.
                      We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                      • #12
                        Anybody doing the "board traded for work thing," just make sure you do your homework as to whether or not this kind of "barter" agreement runs you afoul of any State or local child-labor, Workmen's Comp., withholding or unemployment compensation laws or invalidates your insurance policy. It can also make a huge difference whether or not the worker is a minor.

                        More's the pity, because there are fewer opportunities to be "barn rats" today, and that's how most of us really learned back when. But it isn't worth having that kid's parents owning your place if she gets tromped on.

                        Bummer, but there it is.


                        • #13
                          I no longer board, but have been in both situations. The quality of care usually increases when the staff has something vested (like their horse). But, without solid up-front agreements and contracts, the lines can often get blurred. There's the potential for people to end up feeling taken advantage of on both ends of the spectrum.

                          I worked off my board from middle school age into my mid-20s. I enjoyed it at the time mostly, but, I much preferred just being a paying customer when I finally got to that point in my life. It would be hard for me to go back.
                          Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                          • #14
                            I voted something else, because a couple of the boarders do stalls on weekends, but that's it. Normal day to day work not done by boarders.

                            In my previous barn there was total separation. The 2 staff were long-termers (small barn, BM lived on-site; did not have a horse) and care was superb. Both barns in question are smaller non-show/ non-training barns (both allow trainers to come in to give lessons, but there is no in-house trainer), with the boarders being mainly adults, just doing their own thing.
                            Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


                            • #15
                              If you are going to let boarders work off part of their board, I recommend you "pay" them by the task, not by the hour. I.e., they get a certain amount off board for performing morning feed, turnout, hay and water in the pastures, mucking X number of stalls, etc.

                              "Paying" by the hour gets dicey, because some people can stretch mucking one stall into a 45 minute extravaganza, and then the hard workers get irked.

                              I can ride my horses without a sharps container.


                              • #16
                                My barn has boarders that work off their board.
                                Not everyone has to work off their board (I and a few others don't) but several do. My friends are the main stall cleaners (they clean 5 days a week, and might pick up an extra one or two days) and they do that to work off living on the property & paying off stalls for their horses.

                                It is more than the BM who pitches in around the barn and gets things done. Boarders help feed, turn out, bring in, etc. so it's a group effort, but no strict employees are only employees, and vice versa.
                                Originally posted by katarine
                                I don't want your prayers, tiny cow.
                                Originally posted by Pat9
                                When it's time for a horse to go to a new person, that person will appear. It's pony magic.


                                • #17
                                  I do some chipping in, and missed an opportunity to work off a lesson this morning because I was at my REAL job, argghh! Stupid real job!

                                  I've been in both kinds of places, where boarders are boarders and employees are employees, and where there is the occasional boarder works off some board or some lessons by doing something. Hell, I'd love to be able to work off some board or even an extra lesson by doing something, but I work a three on/three off schedule, so it's not like I can say I'll feed every Sunday morning, because I'll be working some of them.

                                  But none of the places have been "disasters," as long as the BO/BM/boss person stays on top of things and doesn't like anyone get...well...higher than their station. I can't think of a better way to word it. But I've seen both boarders and employees try to make changes they think are necessary, and it turns into a mess. And I've seen both boarders and employees do what they've been shown to do and no deviate, and it work out just fine for all involved.
                                  COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                  "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                                  • #18
                                    In the hypothetical Q thread, I have yet to reply to the OP.

                                    In my job, I need to make this distinction almost every day. Even if you have a horse boarded at a place, if you do work, then there is a duty of care for the barn owner to provide a "safe" place to work.

                                    You should not assume that because a person boards their horse there, that there is any reduction in this "safe work environment" requirement. Indeed, as a worker there, a boarder should be extra vigilant to provide the right protection for barn workers.

                                    How often do I read on COTH about "bad" employees, "nutty" BOs etc. To be frank, I consider that most people can not separate out the impact that their hobby has on the work environment of other people - even if they are boarders as well.

                                    I will be even more frank, I was one of those people - until I started in my present HSE role. Believe me, the first time you go through an incident investigation and ask "what was the root cause" ad infinitum it is an eye opener. My first 10 were with a retired Detective Inspector who was brought into our company to work with investigators to "teach" us the right questions to ask - as well as when to call a stop. A classic incident was quite a savage bite on one of my technicians. This guy was a very experienced hunter - pig, duck, deer etc and most with dogs. I asked him what did he do - "oh reached down to pat the beautiful old dog", when asked how, he demonstrated three of the worst behaviours for meeting a strange dog. Yes, a very experienced dog person with awesome dogs showed majorily incorrect behaviour. I knew the biting dog personally (which is why I was quite shocked!) - this was an elderly (15yr) lab bitch who is mostly blind and deaf. She has always been a bit on the hesitant side with strangers and he bent over the top of her and patted her firmly on her shoulders. When I explained what he had done wrong (the DI had been a dog handler as well!), my technician was mortified.

                                    And, I got to draft training notes for my technicians approaching strange dogs.

                                    Please I think that the "hypothetical Q" thread should be taken as a wake up call to all - BOs, Barn Workers and Boarders. Please consider what you are doing - you may actually save a life and it could be yours. I am not a killjoy - I love riding and my horses and the farm etc - but I do take another look these days.
                                    Still Working_on_it - one day I will get it!


                                    • #19
                                      I was the working boarder and I will never do it again. Awful experiances! I did work at a barn seperate from where I boarded and recieved an actual pay check that worked seamlessly.
                                      --Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity--


                                      • #20
                                        Some, maybe most? boarders at my current barn work off some of their board.

                                        I pay full freight, since my horses are pretty much retired. That said it's pretty strict at the barn and I will be informed if I left something out, didn't sweep and dump all manure or violated an unwritten rule. With so little time at the barn, it's hard to ever feel in synch. I have been at barns with straight employees and a full service barn, that was more "comfortable".
                                        P.S. What's withe math on this poll? 30,000%?? I think some decimals wandered..