Mucking out--can't get it just right - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 25 Old 05-28-2014, 08:21 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: New Hampshire
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I don't know, I'll be the voice of opposition here. I think it's great a 12 yr old wants to know the right way and is still excited and eager to go to the barn-to me, that doesn't say "broken spirit," that says responsibility and dedication beyond her years. So I applaud her dedication (and relate to being a horseless kid who would happily shovel poop to be at the barn, even if not in exchange for lessons.)

Now-sounds like BO has a system but is annoyed at giving continued instruction. You've mentioned other barn assistants being there, but not whether they could help instruct. I get that they might be on the clock and not have time to give a full on lesson. But could your daughter spend a day just watching their technique unobtrusively from the stall door? Could she tape the assistant or even BO doing a stall and study the technique on video? I know that sounds ridiculous to us, but to a really motivated 12 yr old who sounds like a visual learner, I bet it wouldn't sound too arduous, especially if it helped her start to feel like her contributions were more valuable.

Good luck OP-I think we'd be happy to have someone like your daughter at our barn! ;)
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Last edited by egrogan; 05-28-2014 at 08:27 PM.
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post #22 of 25 Old 05-28-2014, 09:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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You know, I get it that the BO likes to have things done to a certain standard, and as a boarder I would totally appreciate that. However, when the help is 'free', beggars can't be choosers. She needs to cut your daughter some slack and just say thanks.
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post #23 of 25 Old 05-28-2014, 10:53 PM
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This reminds me of a bad experience I had back when I used to board my horse. My best friend and I love horses and spending time at the barn. We each boarded a horse there.

The barn owner worked late every day because that was the shift he worked at his day not. No problem, me and my best friend loved horses so much that we fed the horses each and every evening after we rode. Not just our horses, but every horse on the place. We got no discount for such, we just wanted to volunteer and get the horses fed earlier than they would have been otherwise.

So we kept finding mold issues in one particular stack of hay. Our personal horses were fed from this stack of hay and it worried us. So I wrote a note to the barn owner expressing my concern and tore off a smallish chunk of the moldy hay (maybe a 1/4 of a flake) and left the note with the hay sample on his doorstep. The note was not nasty or rude. My best friend's mom even proofed it for me.

Well, hell broke loose the next day because apparently the barn owner came home late a night and tracked hay in his house. Boy was he pissed. He didn't even want to talk to me, he went straight to my parents (I think I was 17 at the time.....still a minor but hardly a child). So it was a big deal apparently to the barn owner. There was nothing bad in my intent.....I just wanted to make sure the horses weren't being fed moldy hay!

So I probably stayed there another month until I found a new place to board and I moved. I didn't have to, but I didn't feel comfortable boarding there after that incident. I didn't even give notice. I found a place to board, packed my horse up and left without telling him. My best friend and her horse followed.

So yeah, no good deed goes unpunished. We were free farm labor for months (maybe longer, I don't remember how long I boarded there) and the barn owner didn't appreciate anything we did.
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post #24 of 25 Old 05-29-2014, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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Update: I watched daughter muck out yesterday. It did take her 22 minutes to complete a stall, but she was very thorough and methodical and worked non-stop. At that point I thought that if the BO wouldn't be satisfied, I'd take my kid and be out of there.

Then I asked the BO to comment on the stall and let us know on how to improve. She was put on the spot and was forced to admit that daughter is doing a good job, and that she's too busy to "praise" and has time only to nit pick--which is what I suspected, but daughter needed to hear it from her. Daughter doesn't really want a "good job" on everything, and as long as she knows her help is valued, she's very happy to work her heart out and doesn't take criticisms personally.

So when that got worked out, the BO offered daughter to do ground work / "natural horsemanship" several times a week with one of the retired horses there. This is my daughter's dream come true, and something we didn't expect to happen at all.

All is well that ends well.
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post #25 of 25 Old 06-01-2014, 10:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Ireland
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Delighted to see she finally got some praise for a job well done :)
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" Tell a gelding,ask a stallion and discuss with a mare" Never a truer saying did i hear
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