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Is this a firing offense? Opinions sought

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  • #21
    Wait a minute--why on earth would any of you make ANY kind of recommendation about VET SCHOOL!?
    The kid made a mistake! She didnt dissect the horses, she put them in the wrong stall! Why on EARTH would you INJECT yourself into someones life? The kid wants to be a vet! If she can get through Undergrad and get IN TO VET SCHOOL, then so be it--leave your opinions to yourself about saving money.

    sheesh, tough crowd tonight [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]

    Evalee--I'd love to see you walk up to someones parents and tell them that their daughter couldnt do something. Gimme a break.

    Little surprises around every corner, but nothing dangerous!
    CANTER West Virginia


    • #22
      First night on her own...first mistake?
      I would find out HOW and WHY she made the mixup, explain how serious it is and if she doesn't "get it", then let her go. One mistake does not a future of ineptness make. Perhaps she is not ready to be on her own yet...she is only a teen, remember. Give her more supervision and another "practice run" on her own, but this time check things after she's finished...don't wait until the next morning, sacrifice the time to do it that same night, and if there are problems, explain to her...either she'll get it or she won't and you should be able to tell in short time. Good luck!

      ***My horse bucked off your honor student!***


      • #23
        But here's my opinion. Remember, I'm not flaming you FlightCheck! It's just the way I see it:

        1.) Your ship sounds as if it's pretty tight. Tight ships are good. The only thing I could recommend you do better is take a digital photo, laminate it, and place it on horse's stall.
        2.) Have you done all of the work during this "training" period? You say she's been "supervised." But you also sound like a control freak (it takes one to know one!). Learning is a repetitive process. If you've done everything along the way, having her watch, it's unfair for you to blame her for not doing it correctly.
        3.) Since your organizational skills sound impeccable, you might want to do a better checklist, in a simple, bulleted format. I cannot imagine that the work you're expecting her to do is rocket science, but if you're giving her too much information it might just be overstimulating to her.

        I agree that there's no way we can predict whether this teenager will make it to vet school.


        You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
        When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.


        • #24
          I have to say I agree with your decision. A mistake that is harmless (leaving equipment laying around) vs a mistake that can potentially injure a horse (wrong feed) is a big gap.

          To help your next worker, try what I'm doing as I'm preparing to leave my horses in someone else's care for a week.....I took digital pictures of each horse showing their markings. Printed them out at 3x5 size and tacked them to the stall. Hopefully this will help sort out "who's who".

          good luck with the next help.....it's almost impossible to find around here...
          Far Away Farm


          • #25
            Give the kid a break. Although someone as up tight as you must be hard to work for. Your horse is Not going to founder by giving them the wrong grain. I have worked on the A circuit for a 2 time Olympic rider and I have seen mistakes far worse than that happen. People Make mistakes.


            • #26
              Oops, you beat me to it, Robby. But it does make it a "no brainer".
              Far Away Farm


              • #27
                But want to add one more thing...

                Just because I know every horse within days of entering a barn (to me, they are like people, distinct faces), doesn't mean everyone can tell them apart as quickly. Mr. C used to infuriate me because he'd always mix up the two identical chestnut mares. To me, they looked distinctly different, to him, they were both red with a blaze. He eventually got it.

                Just a thought.

                - Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at a bar. -


                • #28
                  Your horses are color coded? I would have RUN from your barn! You seem to have very high standards for yourself, and they may be unrealistic for a teenager working her first barn job.

                  You probably don't realize it, but horses can all look the same to someone without a whole lot of experience. Also, SHE SHOWED UP! Give her another chance. Run through it with her again, and tell her to call you while she is still at the barn if she is confused or has any questions.

                  As to those saying she should not go to vet school, shame on you. I hope someone tells you not to bother trying to qualify for indoors, the medal finals, or whatever becuase you are too stupid.

                  It is not uncommon for vets to treat the wrong horse. It's your own fault for not being there when the vet showed up. The vet is probably returning your call while driving, and it would not surprise me if he gets the description of the horse wrong. Most vets are trying to stick to their scheduled appointments while returning phone calls and dealing with emergencies.
                  Man plans. God laughs.


                  • #29
                    I can't believe your post! Explain to a young woman who wants to be a veterinarian the problems relating to feeding horses the wrong feed? Come on! This generation has a major problem with the "no big deal" attitude. We've given up on trying to use them in the barn. They DON'T CARE! Showing up every day for work or on the scheduled time ....well only if they don't have some pressing engagement with their FRIENDS. They really, really, don't want to work for anything because their parents, for the most part, give them everything they need or want.

                    I look back on the responsibilities I took on at her age and it was what most kids did back then and it was way beyong this effort. And as far as Vet school FORGET IT. It's more competitive than applying to Med School and have a mind for details and recall is imperative in the business. I think the telling factor was that she apparantely wasn't even upset or remorseful!


                    • #30
                      Gee--you all have a whole lot of insight into a girl you DONT KNOW!

                      OMG...I'm with Flash--I think i'd RUN from a barn like this.
                      So, Beans, all the obnoxious kids in the world are exactly the same as every other obnoxious (or non-obnoxious kid) in the world!??

                      The wrong feed wont kill a horse. It was a mistake, and flightcheck stated the kid understood the severity of it! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]
                      As for the original poster, I agree with most folks--if you want perfection in barn help, then go pay for it and dont expect it from a kid.

                      who STILL cant get over those VET comments!

                      Little surprises around every corner, but nothing dangerous!
                      CANTER West Virginia


                      • #31
                        No, not a reason to fire the kid. You have to realize that she's only doing this twice a week, which is basically 8 times a month. As with any job, much repetitive work is a must in the beginning to get the job done right. Eight days of work and a mistake like this isn't enough to get rid of the kid.
                        Secretplace Farm - Raising fine paint hunters since 1987


                        • #32
                          I like the color coding idea (I'm remembering working in a barn with 35 boarded horses PLUS the 50 the barn owner had).

                          As far as whether or not to fire, I would look at how she reacted when you talked to her... I would have been horrified if I had done this. Was she upset, or did she shrug it off? I think it is a big enough mistake that she should have taken it very seriously. I think if someone cares about the job and makes a mistake it is different than not caring/not paying attention - it is more likely to happen again.

                          Second (or third, or fourth) the vet school thing. A lot will happen to this girl before she gets to the point in her life where she is applying for vet school. She will probably be a completly different person, so how can we tell now what kind of vet she would make??

                          ~Chestnut Mare Extraordinaire~

                          My Equines:::
                          Flower: http://www.eqbydesign.com/flower.htm
                          Quin: http://www.eqbydesign.com/quin.htm
                          Half Magic: http://www.teamwindchase.com/Half_Magic.htm


                          • #33
                            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Flash44:

                            As to those saying she should not go to vet school, shame on you. I hope someone tells you not to bother trying to qualify for indoors, the medal finals, or whatever becuase you are too stupid.

                            Thanks Flash & Fairweather for pointing out the totally unforgiving nature of these people. Sheesh.

                            One mistake = too stupid to live.

                            Someone said they wouldn't want someone in their barn if they screwed up after a month, then goes on to tell of leaving SMB on overnight and it was 'a disaster.' Guess they should've been fired, too, and called stupid, ditzy, hopeless for vet school, and have their parents told not to waste any money on their education!!!!!

                            What a bunch.


                            • #34
                              I can only think of two reasons for mixing those two particular horses up. One is that she honestly couldn't tell the difference, the other is that she didn't care enough to bother. If she can't tell a small black horse from a very tall brown horse after a month, she's an idiot. If she does not care enough to look, presuming she understands that a horse could become very sick from getting the wrong feed, then she's definitely fireable also. The only excuse would be if she knew NOTHING about horses, and no one had bothered to explain to her the importance of consistent feeding, and she thought you were just being picky or something about which stall who went in (in which case her failure to comply is merely obnoxious), and she was sorry and upset once the significance of her mistake was explained to her.

                              Personally, I agree with everyone who says teenagers get too many allowances these days, and I'd fire her.

                              Third Charm Event Team


                              • Original Poster

                                She presented herself to me as a "horseperson"; went to farrier school this past summer and then worked out west at a dude ranch in the stable; knew the difference between chestnut, bay, blazes and stripes; and during training seemed to have a good grasp on things.

                                Robbie, no, after day 1 SHE did the work; I'd be in the barn for questions and help and "double checking". I'm going to take your advice on the photos!

                                MB, I'm not sure how the "founder" question came about; I didn't mention it. Yep, I'm uptight about barn help and doing things right, especially feed. But that's why the barn is always full with a waiting list for boarders - and thank GOD it wasn't a boarder's horse!

                                As far as vet school goes, that's not for me to judge.

                                Again, thank you all; I am giving it a few days so that I can make an informed, business-like decision. I may telephone her today after school and ask for more details - was she confused, was the work too difficult, what can we do to avoid this in the future (with her or someone else).


                                • #36
                                  <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Evalee Hunter:
                                  She would NOT necessarily be weeded out in vet school...
                                  I guess I need to add, that when I volunteered as a foal sitter at U of P (New Bolton), vet students would be foal sitting & studying for exams--on such questions as COLORs & MARKINGS of horses. It was pretty scarey to meet vet students who were totally clueless about horses & even downright afraid of them.


                                  Ever stop to think about the fact that those might be small animal folks? Not all vet students have an interest in horses, other than what they need to know to graduate and pass the boards.

                                  I had a professor who used to handle venomous reptiles who was petrified of horses.

                                  I'm clueless about rabbits, and I take my ferret to a vet who knows ferret medicine.

                                  My vet student story:
                                  My best friend and I were checking the World's Most Expensive Free Horse in to Tufts for tieback surgery. The student taking the history asked the routine questions about age, breed, diet, etc., then brightly inquired, "and what color is she?"
                                  Karen shot me a horrifed look and said, "Chestnut."
                                  As the student departed to find the surgeon, Karen grabbed my arm and asked "They *are* going to have someone supervising the students, right?"

                                  Later that year, I ran into the same student in the small animal ICU, where my Irish setter was recovering from a splenectomy. She was an incredibly good small animal person, far better than I was at the same stage in my education. She asked me if I remembered her, and then told me how much she had enjoyed taking care of Ella, the horse, and how, for the first few days when she checked the mare's digital pulses, Ella would whip her feet up, and the student thought she was trying to kick. Then she realized that Ella was offering her feet to be picked out. "She's such a nice horse," she told me.

                                  Unashamed member of the Arab clique...just settin' on the Group W bench.
                                  "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                  ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                                  • #37
                                    You people are so quick to cast of this teenage girl as being inept, clueless and unsuitable for veterinary school because of one mistake you did not witness??? None of you know her. My God you are infuriating.

                                    (breathe...must breathe...)

                                    I manage a large boarding barn and YES i have put horses in the wrong stall. Not because I didn't know who each horse was....but because as I am hurrying to bring 30 horses in, I made the first left in stall number one instead of the second left into stall number two. Naturally it only took me a moment to realize I had made an error, but I've been doing it much longer than this kid.

                                    Maybe she shouldn't work for you, since you seem to be too anal (in a good way mind you...barns should be run in an organized fashion). But since you questioned her staying around after one incident, it's obvious that your mind has a work ethic that doesn't allow for ANY mistakes. Do the work yourself, or good luck finding someone completely infallible.
                                    Remember...though eagles may soar, weasles never get sucked into a jet engine.

                                    Soar like a weasle my friend.


                                    • #38
                                      Sorry if this was already said.

                                      Two times a week over a month only makes her time at the barn 8 to 10 days. Not a whole lot of time IMO.

                                      It takes me a long time to get to know horses, though once I know them I can't believe I ever got them mixed up. Since this is something I would do, I'd be more forgiving.

                                      However, she doesn't sound like a good match for your barn.
                                      Member, Equine Artist Clique


                                      • #39
                                        The quality of mercy is not strained.
                                        It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
                                        Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
                                        It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.

                                        "If you ain't got it in ya, you can't blow it out." Pops


                                        • #40
                                          I (along with all of you) would have been fired from every job I've ever had. It is normal to make mistakes. I can't endorse the idea that this is a terminal offense. There is no such thing as a person who will never make an error. If my horses' lives depended on the kind of food they were fed, I'd be feeding them myself. Something that crucial and important, I would never delegate. And guess what? Then I might make a mistake. Come on guys! It happens.

                                          In this situation, I think there is some cause for concern because she might have been careless. If you let her know that she needs to be more careful and she shapes up, good. If it continues to be a problem, then I'd say it is grounds to let her go.
                                          See those flying monkeys? They work for me.