Appropriate Behavior for a Stablehand (vent?)
 
 

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Appropriate Behavior for a Stablehand (vent?)

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    03-05-2014, 10:59 PM
  #1
Yearling
Appropriate Behavior for a Stablehand (vent?)

Hello all! Long time, no posting. This is something I have been thinking about asking for a while, but I decided to see how it would play out.

As of Monday, I just got another job cleaning stalls. I currently work at my neighbors house, cleaning up after three older horses. Two of those horses are complete brats. Their owner never comes out, so they never get worked with. This past month their manners have gotten consistently worse. The mare is by far the biggest pain to work around. I point and tell her to move, and she puts her ears back, puts her butt to me, swats her tail, and finally walks away. If she was my horse, she would have a come to jesus meeting, but she is not mine. I have worked with her before, with permission of course, but I am not willing to work with her. The ground is icy, and I don't want to even risk injuring her or myself, but I don't want to have to deal with her bad manners. Should I carry a dressage crop with me now? Send her off more aggressively?

My new job has a bigger problem. There is two Arabian trainers there, so there is a couple of pretty hot horses. Already hot horses+High energy food+stall=Scary Hot horses. I have to move them from their stall to an empty one while I muck out their stall. One of them I can barely manage to get a halter on, get half dragged by them to the stall, and then rip the halter off, spin around, and close the door before he attempts to rush out. It's not that I'm intimidated or scared handling them, I just hate doing it. They are in flat leather halters, so I really have no control at all. Would it be wrong to bring a rope halter so I at least have some type of control? (I would tell the BO that I would prefer just using one halter so I don't mix up their halters) Or at least voice my concerns? I just really, REALLY, don't want to deal with this every day.

So what is the appropriate behavior for a stablehand in both of these situations?
     
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    03-06-2014, 12:13 AM
  #2
Started
Nothing, I would find other more appropriate work. I've worked as a stablehand, groom, assistant, w/e else you can name it. I've never had anyone ask what I had to say about their horses, and they don't want to hear it. You pretty much learn to be a "hand" and toughen up and muscle your way around the psycho ones. But if it's putting yourself in danger, I would quit and find a quieter place to work. It's just not worth it for the small amount of pay.
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    03-06-2014, 12:44 AM
  #3
Green Broke
My wife works at a barn with a few difficult horses. The BM was impressed with her about handling them. She puts them in their place when needed. Your safety is utmost important. Then the horses. Allowing the horse to behave badly is compromising safety of both. It's not if an accident will happen but when.

I helped her out when she worked at another barn before we moved. I wasn't even an employee but I won't put up with bad behavior. I don't care if it's icy, snowy, rainy, or extremely hot or cold out. If they are going to misbehave, they will get corrected. I'll do what I can to minimize them getting hurt but they should behave. If someone has a problem with that, they better fix it themselves.

I was working on loading a horse for a friend. It was slippery out, a little ice and compacted snow. The horse wouldn't listen so I made the mare work. The owner was standing there watching. While working with the mare, she slipped and fell. I felt bad but kept going once she got back up. It wasn't mean. It was what was needed.

If an owner can't or won't take enough responsibility to deal with their horse, the barn has the right to do what is needed or the owner can move their horse if they don't like it.
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    03-06-2014, 12:59 AM
  #4
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by usandpets    
My wife works at a barn with a few difficult horses. The BM was impressed with her about handling them. She puts them in their place when needed. Your safety is utmost important. Then the horses. Allowing the horse to behave badly is compromising safety of both. It's not if an accident will happen but when.

I helped her out when she worked at another barn before we moved. I wasn't even an employee but I won't put up with bad behavior. I don't care if it's icy, snowy, rainy, or extremely hot or cold out. If they are going to misbehave, they will get corrected. I'll do what I can to minimize them getting hurt but they should behave. If someone has a problem with that, they better fix it themselves.

I was working on loading a horse for a friend. It was slippery out, a little ice and compacted snow. The horse wouldn't listen so I made the mare work. The owner was standing there watching. While working with the mare, she slipped and fell. I felt bad but kept going once she got back up. It wasn't mean. It was what was needed.

If an owner can't or won't take enough responsibility to deal with their horse, the barn has the right to do what is needed or the owner can move their horse if they don't like it.
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I will most likely start enforcing the older mare-even if the owner didn't like it, she wouldn't know about it anyways. The biggest problem is the new barn. The guy that owns these horses is a national level rider.. But we all know these great under saddle horses don't need any manners on the ground...


How do you and your wife discipline these horses, and how would you go about the ones I am dealing with? I will be there tomorrow, and I think if the one tries dragging me again, he will find himself backing the length of the isle. I also think that I will have to put them in their place soon so I don't get pushed around more. The one figured out not to try to rush out the door when my arms began to helicopter in his path... The poor thing had no clue what was going on (I know one horse that never learned about personal space).

I really just don't want to overstep and end up getting fired. I enjoy the trainers there, and don't want to create any unnecessary drama.
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    03-06-2014, 01:37 AM
  #5
Green Broke
If a horse tries to run off or drag me along, I would give their face a few bumps and Jerks if needed. Then I would get them to disengage their butt to face me. You have more control of a horse going backwards than one trying to run off. If they want to be backed up the whole way, so be it. That still will develop more respect than just trying to hold on.

If you are unsure if how you deal with them is inappropriate, ask the trainers how they want you to deal with their issues. Or just let them know you are having issues but want their opinion on how you want to handle it.

With a horse that wants to rush out of a stall, I will open the door and stand there with a whip or stick. They would get whacked each time they try to rush out. That is if they don't have a halter and lead rope on with a halter and lead, I would have them go back in and out until they walked through nicely.

If you aren't getting enough response from the horse with their normal halter, there's nothing wrong with using a rope halter. If that doesn't work, start thinking about using a stud chain.
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    03-06-2014, 02:50 AM
  #6
Trained
I wouldn't take the time out of your life to specifically work these horses to establish your control of the situation, but in my experience of working at a stable is that being firm but fair works well, depending on the personality. If I have a horse turning it's butt to me and pinning its ears, I'm going to raise my voice and push it back over (in the safest possible spot in the event that the horse does actually kick out). If that doesn't work, it'll get a swat. It doesn't usually take long for them to figure out that it really is just easier to cooperate.

As for the hot Arabians, if it got to the point where I was that annoyed, I am fairly certain I would ask the BO or its trainer if there was any specific ways to handle it with the least amount of stress on both parties. If they offer no suggestions, I'd ask about the use of a different halter.
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    03-06-2014, 03:39 AM
  #7
Foal
Talk to the trainer on how he wants the horse handled. The last thing you need to do is to get after a reactive horse and have them flip over and get seriously hurt. And that is a REAL possibility. Sometimes, calm quiet energy is needed until they learn who you are so they don't overreact. But TALK TO THE TRAINER!!!
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    03-06-2014, 06:25 AM
  #8
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by usandpets    
If a horse tries to run off or drag me along, I would give their face a few bumps and Jerks if needed. Then I would get them to disengage their butt to face me. You have more control of a horse going backwards than one trying to run off. If they want to be backed up the whole way, so be it. That still will develop more respect than just trying to hold on.

If you are unsure if how you deal with them is inappropriate, ask the trainers how they want you to deal with their issues. Or just let them know you are having issues but want their opinion on how you want to handle it.

With a horse that wants to rush out of a stall, I will open the door and stand there with a whip or stick. They would get whacked each time they try to rush out. That is if they don't have a halter and lead rope on with a halter and lead, I would have them go back in and out until they walked through nicely.

If you aren't getting enough response from the horse with their normal halter, there's nothing wrong with using a rope halter. If that doesn't work, start thinking about using a stud chain.
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I will try bumping them back and see if that makes a difference. The BO just snickered when she told me my directions on what to do for cleaning. She fully recognizes that some of them are wacked out.

Next time I see the trainer around, I might just ask him how he handles the draggy one. I just don't want him to walk in with me disciplining his horse and have him fly off the wall. But I don't want to look completely helpless while handling these horses. It's not that I don't know what to do, it's just I don't know if I can do it. The stock horse trainer there was watching me struggle, and looked at me like I was an idiot.

I most likely won't do the whip thing. I could see definitely getting into trouble with that. I almost think that after the horses get my waving arms in their faces enough, they will get the point.

Would it look bad to bring my own halter to use? I just don't want to look like that person.

Thank you for all of your responses, they are very helpful
     
    03-06-2014, 06:35 AM
  #9
Started
Having worked in different yards for years, one thing that I always found was that by demanding respect from the horses, I in turn got respect for the trainers.

Yes you will get the odd " don't hit my pretty pony" owner - but for the most part trainers want you to put up with ZERO crap because they will put up with zero crap. Toughen up, put the horses in their places and if your boss says anything about it tell them the horses need manners and if your way isn't good enough they should show you the better way to handle a naughty horse. In a yard situation you can not be soft, you must in control. They will want to see somebody who can take charge, somebody who they feel they can trust with their horses. You'll work your way up from stable hand to barn manager if you should the ability to deal with situations, be willing to learn and ask plenty of questions.
     
    03-06-2014, 01:52 PM
  #10
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maple    
Having worked in different yards for years, one thing that I always found was that by demanding respect from the horses, I in turn got respect for the trainers.

Yes you will get the odd " don't hit my pretty pony" owner - but for the most part trainers want you to put up with ZERO crap because they will put up with zero crap. Toughen up, put the horses in their places and if your boss says anything about it tell them the horses need manners and if your way isn't good enough they should show you the better way to handle a naughty horse. In a yard situation you can not be soft, you must in control. They will want to see somebody who can take charge, somebody who they feel they can trust with their horses. You'll work your way up from stable hand to barn manager if you should the ability to deal with situations, be willing to learn and ask plenty of questions.
Okay (: I will update you all after work tonight.
     

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