Help! Volunteering on a farm - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 18 Old 11-29-2012, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Cacowgirl, Thank you so much! What hospitality!!!
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post #12 of 18 Old 11-29-2012, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Aaldari View Post
Great advice, thank you!

When you say "acting oddly" what kind of behavior is that I should be looking out for or will that come with experience?
It will vary a bit from horse to horse. As you get to know them you'll see what's normal. Biting, kicking or staring at the stomach, lying down and refusing to get up, lying down in odd places (like if a horse is lying down at feeding time and ignoring food), repeatedly getting down and standing, excessive urination, excessive farting - all are things I've seen off the top of my head. These are some of the ways horses display colic.
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post #13 of 18 Old 11-29-2012, 04:16 PM
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Just thought of this, when I first became a working student...my notebook and pen became my best friend. I almost always had it with me. I kept To-Do lists, some of the horses' pet peeves, and any important tidbits the BO told me about. Anything you can think of, write it down and go over it when you get home. I don't know what I would of done without my handy-dandy notebook!
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post #14 of 18 Old 11-29-2012, 04:34 PM
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^^^
If you're given multiple tasks, write them down.
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post #15 of 18 Old 11-29-2012, 05:04 PM
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I agree with the notebook! I always did this and it helped immensley especially if you have a lot of horses at the barn. You can write down their habits, and what you learn about them plus a list of chores! Saves you from wasting time trying to remember what you were told to do, always used to happen to me when I first started out. If you don't know something or want to know something, ask! There is no such thing as a stupid question.

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post #16 of 18 Old 11-29-2012, 05:25 PM
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LOL, XD *Prays not working for this guy*

Hey now, I was also a lot of fun.

Part of my job as manager of the property was to make sure all the adult "toys" were running. So the teenagers that worked for me got to play once a week on the jet skis to make sure they ran properly. I taught all of them how to water ski, to make sure the boats ran properly. When ever we had a big job like painting, or washing the 1200 ft PVC fence, they all asked their friends out and I hired them for the day too. I always scheduled them around their school, dates, and sports.

I was fun most of the time.
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post #17 of 18 Old 11-29-2012, 06:10 PM
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You've been given a great opportunity, OP! Not every stable will take a complete horse newbie (and I mean that in the nicest way possible. You're going to have so much fun!) to work for lessons.

I second the advice to never stand idle. That is my BOs biggest pet peeve and she'll really tan your hide if she finds you lollygagging. I work at a farm in exchange for personal ride time on their horses, use of their cart, and and a discount for boarding my horse, and I'm busy 110% of the time. I started out just like you with no real experience with horses, so I'll give you my experience as well as some advice that I've found helpful.

One big thing that helped them even CONSIDER me was my book knowledge of horses. While I hadn't had any real experience with horses, I knew basic horse colors, anatomy, genders, how to measure their height, basic care (theoretically at least), different types of tools for grooming/cleaning/tacking and what they are used for, a few major breeds, etc. They'll most likely teach you this as you go along but it will not only show them how much you want this, it shows them that you're already working hard to learn. Just don't sound like a know it all. Don't go around listing things just because you know them. Ask intuitive questions, be a good listener, remember what they tell you, and if they ask you something that you already know, don't be afraid to answer them. My BO loved that I already knew all of this information because it made it easier on them when they were teaching me. Remember though, book knowledge and experience are two different things!

When I first started working at the farm, my basic jobs were to clean the pasture and stalls (as well as rabbit kennels/turkey pen but I'm sure you don't have that! ICK), scrub water troughs and buckets, clean tack, sweep, and re-set barrels, poles, etc during other people's lessons. As I got more experienced I was allowed to help rug and fly mask the horses, turn them out and bring them in, tack them for lessons, teach kinds to tack the horses, and feed.

I've been at the farm now for 4 1/2 years, and now I have just about every job you can think of xD I do all of the chores that I first mentioned (though I don't do much mucking anymore. The newbies get to do that because I'm too busy!) and I also help tune up the lesson horses, exercise the ranch horses, run birthday parties as the hostess, do basic medical care on horses that just have a scratch or something, bathe, assist with lessons, repair fences, and a few other things. I can't tell you if you'll ever have those kinds of responsibilities though. I'm only 16 so I feel VERY priviledged to have all of the jobs that I do. I'm also the head of our therapy program and am in charge of most of our horse's nutrition and worming scheduals. It gets pretty crazy!

One thing that I would of wanted to know when I first started that I didn't know though? Its EXTREMELY addicting! LOL. I now have 2 horses and am out at the barn every moment that I get, even when I'm not working!
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post #18 of 18 Old 11-29-2012, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by xlionesss View Post
I don't know what I would of done without my handy-dandy notebook!
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Somebody's a Blues Clues fan. Haha.

I had a similar experience to yours! Congrats! This first step is so hard to come by! You're in! (the horse world, I mean) I started at a kids camp. I helped get horses ready for lessons and worked my way up to Lead Riding Instructor.

My first piece of advice- start learning the horses. I had 70 horses to learn most of which were just 'sorrel'. If you can, take pictures of the horses and write their names down, quirks, special treatment. Oh my goodness, I felt so overwhelmed trying to remember which horses were safe to tie and which weren't, hoping I caught the right horse in pasture (Please tell me this is Bon Bon?), which horses had separate grooming tools due to fungal things going on, the list goes on and the sooner you learn it, the more helpful you can be!
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