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Barn workers -- when is it too helpful?

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  • Barn workers -- when is it too helpful?

    So let's just say this happened.

    Barn worker does stalls, turnout, and feed. BW used to ride, but doesn't anymore. BW really likes this one particular horse, who belongs to a boarder. Horse's owner is a junior, does not ride every day, but when she does, comes after school hours, and likely would not see morning BW.

    One day, BW casually mentions that since she hasn't seen horse's owner in a while, she's going to give it a bath because horse is dirty.

    Personally, I wouldn't like it if a worker decided to give my horse a bath without my permission or request, given that it's not a full service barn and it's not part of her job.

    But would you say something about someone else's horse? Suppose BO was at a horse show, and manager was not on site.

    Thoughts?
    "I'd rather have a horse. A horse is at least human, for god's sake." - J.D. Salinger

  • #2
    No. I would keep my mouth shut at this point.

    If BW steps over the line? It will be quickly evident to BO/employer and owner and they ca deal with it as they see fit.

    There is just no way to know what BWs motivation was at this point, no way to know what was suggested or requested by owner or BO. And, really, if a BW goes aittle extra distance with a horse? Do we need go think its automatically a wrong choice assuming other chores were dealt with? Maybe they were just being nice?

    MYOB. If it is out if line? Not your place to deal with and horse is in no danger.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment


    • #3
      BW does stalls, turnout and feed. that's all!! BW may NOT bathe my horse, may not handle my horse except during turn out. Only exception--an emergency. And in that case I hope to be notified ASAP.

      I would advise BW that that really wasn't a good idea. In announcing her plans, she was semi asking for acceptance of her plan from you.
      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

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      • #4
        Well, fine. But it was not your horse that was bathed and who knows what the actual agreement between BW, BO and owner may or may not be? They don't have to share with others.

        Not trying to snark here but... We are talking somebody else's horse getting a bath here? What do you want to have happen if you complain to the BO here? Fire the BW as you apparently don't like them and restrict their contact with your horse therefore should not touch anybody else's? Seems you have a history with this BW?

        Unless they leave crap in the wash stall, forget to put the horse back and leave it in cross ties? What harm to you or anybody else whether you like them or not?
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would tell her that I would be a bit upset if someone did anything with my horse without my permission and knowledge, and that it would be a better bet for her to leave a note to the horse owner volunteering to bathe/groom horse occasionally with the owner's permission, as BW likes the horse and misses such opportunities. It would be a little odd, but as a horse owner, a nice note like that would at least make me want to talk to BW about it and suss the situation out.

          On the other hand, if I came in and someone had clearly done something with my horse (bathe, braid, stuff with apples, etc.) without my permission, I would be hugely pissed. This isn't akin to "the horse came in and clearly had a rock in his hoof so I picked them out," this is "I'm judging your level of horse care and determining that I have a right to play with your stuff just because I want to."

          If as a horse owner I saw this happening to someone else's horse, I'd tell the barn owner.
          "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

          Graphite/Pastel Portraits

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          • #6
            If it were my horse I would be irritated to furious depending on the worker, that's just how I am, I don't like people (unless I know them well) doing anything with my horse other then what I know they're supposed to do.
            Now if they asked me that might be different, while might still say no I know a ton of "weekend riders" who would love to have someone groom or even ride their horse during weekdays or when they're not around.

            I have been to some "fancier" barns where it seems the Barn manager dictates what the workers do with the horses, the owners just stay out of it. Not my thing

            I would mention it to the BW and if she shrugs you off tell the BO
            Please support S. 1406 to amend the Horse Protection Act and Prevent all Soring Tactics to the Tennessee Walking horse!
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            • #7
              Originally posted by SarahandSam View Post
              I would tell her that I would be a bit upset if someone did anything with my horse without my permission and knowledge, and that it would be a better bet for her to leave a note to the horse owner volunteering to bathe/groom horse occasionally with the owner's permission, as BW likes the horse and misses such opportunities. It would be a little odd, but as a horse owner, a nice note like that would at least make me want to talk to BW about it and suss the situation out.

              On the other hand, if I came in and someone had clearly done something with my horse (bathe, braid, stuff with apples, etc.) without my permission, I would be hugely pissed. This isn't akin to "the horse came in and clearly had a rock in his hoof so I picked them out," this is "I'm judging your level of horse care and determining that I have a right to play with your stuff just because I want to."

              If as a horse owner I saw this happening to someone else's horse, I'd tell the barn owner.
              Exactly this. It's very simple: If it's not yours, don't touch!
              Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
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              • #8
                Do you know the horse owner did not give the barn worker permission? Can you ask worker if they do?

                I would mind my own business but I admit it would really bug me if someone was taking liberties with my horse that they did not have permission to do.
                I hate it that people assume horses are ignored by their owners just because their owners are not there when they are there.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would MYOB. As findeight said, the BO will figure it out soon enough. It is her job to speak to her employee about expectations, as well as boundaries, not yours. Unless BWs actions are directly endangering the horse it is not your place to say anything.
                  "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                  "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

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                  • #10
                    If I came to the barn and found out some BW had taken upon her/himself to mess with my horse without my permission I would not be pleased.

                    If I found out that another boarder/whoever associated with the barn knew it was going to happen and didn't say anything to me (or if they don't know me well, the BO), I would be EVEN LESS pleased..bordering on WTF?.
                    Barn rat for life

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wcporter View Post
                      If I came to the barn and found out some BW had taken upon her/himself to mess with my horse without my permission I would not be pleased.

                      If I found out that another boarder/whoever associated with the barn knew it was going to happen and didn't say anything to me (or if they don't know me well, the BO), I would be much LESS pleased.
                      Would you want other boarders reporting all of your actions to the BO or BW? Or the BW reporting all of your actions to other boarders? I think that sort of thing encourages gossip and unnecessary b*tchiness. Like I said, if I saw something that would directly endanger the horse, then yes, I would speak up. The BW handles this horse daily and so presumably has the skills to do so. As another boarder you do not have the authority to stop the BW from bathing a horse that is not yours.
                      "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                      "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        These are good points. But, when it is not your horse, BW does not work for you and you can't know if other boarders are on the same page as you? And it's a bath for a dirty horse? That's a MYOB.

                        If its with your horse and you specifically declined any such services? Then it is very much your business. Until then? Not so much. If you ever work in a boarding barn, nothing worse then BO saying one thing and owners saying another unless its boarders telling you what to do and not do with horses they do not own.

                        Go to the BO over bathing somebody else's dirty horse if that bothers you.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don't think that barn staff giving a horse a quick bath is objectionable. This assumes barn staff is an experienced horse handler, ie isn't going to be unsafe or teach the horse bad manners. You say would be mad, but maybe the junior HO may be thrilled to know that BW is lavishing all sorts of extra attention on Dobbin. The most I would say to the BW, since she did open up the conversation with me, is "I really think you should get permission. I know you have good intentions but I'd be very upset if someone did that with my horse without asking me first."

                          Beyond that, I'd MYOB.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            But lets just do that 'what if' game. Does the BW know that Dobbin is OK for a bath? Leading in and out for turn out does not make it obvious if Dobbin freaks out if sprayed with a hose. What if Dobbin is petrified of getting a bath? Does Dobbin require a special shampoo (allergic)? Will BW then dig thru Dobbin's owner's belongings to find fly spray to reapply?

                            I am all for sharing my horses. If the BW came to me and asked if I was OK with them love'n on Dobbin I would be OK with it.
                            It is the giving of a bath because BW assumed Dobbin is not getting any attention that bothers me.

                            If this was the type of facility that hosing down the horses and such was a normal activity then it would be a no big deal. But it sounds like this is not that type of place.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A couple of thoughts . . .

                              You don't mention your role here - I think the response would vary depending on if you are another boarder, a visiting trainer, a fellow barn worker or ...?

                              It would also depend on if the horse has a sensitivity to certain products, or is being treated for a skin issue, and BW would not be aware and aggravate or cause a problem, especially if BW and Junior are at the barn at different times.

                              I can see both sides. When we started taking lessons, there was a very sweet older (20s) bay gelding whose owner maybe came out once a year, maybe - and it had been this way for over 10 years. Owner was punctual about paying board, vet, farrier - just never came out. My daughter and I always said hello to the old boy and gave a few scratches, as his stall was directly across from the indoor arena. The asst BM and BM allowed us to groom him from time to time (he was just bombproof and SOOO sweet and gentle), and Old Boy really appreciated it. He has a very old, held-together-with-duct-tape halter so we bought him a spiffy new halter and matching lead rope for Christmas, which Old Boy LOVED. Old Boy actually moved up in his herd order, because he had people now

                              Fast forward a few months: owner comes out, asks where Old Boy's falling apart halter is. BM explains that a lesson student bought a new one since the other one was barely usable. Owner said "no one should be handling my horse", and within 6 weeks, gave Old Boy to friends with property. DD (especially) and I were heartbroken, and I felt HORRIBLE that we had cost BM a steady, reliable, long-term boarder BM never said anything, and had a waiting list, so the stall did not stay empty. I understand the owner's reaction was completely within their purview, although a little odd since they NEVER EVER came out. So I understand getting attached to a horse that appears to be ignored or seldom used.

                              Perhaps a discreet word with BM when she returns? She will know both personalities, and the wishes of both. Perhaps BW has permission from the horse's owner, and it's just not public knowledge around the barn?
                              "Let's face it -- Beezie Madden is NOT looking over her shoulder for me anytime
                              soon . . . or ever, even in her worst nightmares."


                              Member, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous

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                              • #16
                                Depends on the person and their relationship with the horse owner. I would have zero issue with some of the barn workers I've known giving my horse a bath, but if others had done it? Helllllsss no.
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                                • #17
                                  Bathing, mane pulling, etc are part of "full care" in some barns.
                                  Last edited by libgrrl; Jun. 10, 2013, 04:07 PM. Reason: stupid Oxford comma

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My general thought is, "heck no! don't you dare touch my horse." That person might not know all the quirks. For example, my pony would not let you bathe her, pull her mane etc without effort and stress, and was allergic to some shampoos. I would be beyond pissed if I found out anyone had done anything with her without asking me first. They could have set me back months, if not years, of work with her. Heck, I set her back months accidentally. She was extremely sensitive.

                                    However, a mare that shared a pasture with mine's owner hadn't been out in months. It was spring, she had cushing's and desperately needed a going over with a shedding blade. I did it, just standing out in the pasture with her. But, I knew the owner well enough to know that she wouldn't care if I groomed her horse.
                                    Pam's Pony Place

                                    Pam's Pony Ponderings

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                                    • #19
                                      I agree with the MYOB camp. You don't know the entire backstory with the boarder and the barn worker. Best to stay away, in case there is drama down the line.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        If the BW takes it upon herself to do something to one horse, what about any other horse the BW "likes?" I'd be worried that the BW might want to "help" my horses when I'm not there. So I would want to know if someone else is doing something to one of my horses. I'm pretty tolerant of some things that others want to do with or to my horses. But I want them to ask me in advance. If my horses are hot and sweaty from running when the BO's idiot husband is mowing by a paddock, and the mower is throwing objects into the paddock, then it's OK to hose down my horses. Otherwise, no it is not OK. I've had BWs tell me how much they enjoyed feeding my horse(s) a bag of carrots when I have specifically told them my horse(s) cannot have the starch and sugar in a bag of carrots. Plus they get nippy and pushy when they are hand fed in a paddock with someone standing there feeding them.

                                        I'd want someone to tell me if a BW washed my horse(s). Especially since mine will roll in a stall if they are put up wet. If someone wants to groom mud and sand and dirt off of my horses, OK anytime. But a bath, no. I use special shampoos and a tearless shampoo on their faces.

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