05-08-2011, 01:22 PM
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Agreed, make sure you're very clear. I've had it work wonderfully for me, at a professional Dressage barn where I basically took over as a "manager" of sorts and just became her right hand woman and trusted individual to handle affairs while she was gone to clinics and such. However, I dedicated myself as a regular worker, so basically instead of wages it paid for my board on two horses.
For Shay-la, it ended disastrously, with the woman taking ridiculous advantage of her. Nothing was agreed upon, just a random 10 hours a month to cover board and basically it just turned into the woman giving us some sob story why she couldn't do chores, or unload hay or work with a dangerous horse and every single time we went out to ride, Shay-la got roped into doing chores because of it (and I'd end up helping to make it go faster).
So yes, a lot of smaller barns are grateful for the help, often a chunk of your board is above and beyond the actual cost of food and if they don't have stable hands, it's nice to get that extra help to relieve some of the pressure of them. Just make sure you're VERY clear about expectations!