We are new to boarding and are saddened and shocked by this and are hopeful it is not the norm. At the facility where we board there is a barn worker who does all of the turn out, feeding, watering, stalls, etc. for 12-14 horses. He is an older foreigner who is now a U.S. Citizen but does not speak very good English and is not well educated. This man loves horses (he says they are his children!) and takes very good care of them. Being older he is not a fast worker but he works very hard. He is kind and as honest as they come. Our horse really likes this man and, to us, that says a lot.
Unfortunately he is required to work 7 days a week 365 days a year and to finish his work he is there about 9-10 hours a day. No matter what time we show up he is at the barn working. It has been made clear to him that they will give his job to someone else if he doesn't like it. He makes less then $40/day and if there is any missed "piles" in the paddock/pastures he will not receive full pay for that day. He rarely receives his full salary even with his job done well for the month. The poor man is obviously lonely but thinks he has no options and must work at this barn and is basically "stuck".
My daughter and I enjoy barn work and like to do our part to keep the barn clean and tidy and we like to leave it clean as possible. Yesterday I asked if I could clean our horses stall and he almost said yes but was very nervous about it and then said he'd get in a lot of trouble if I did any work because that is HIS job. Apparently we are not even supposed to sweep the aisle! He proceeded to tell me about how much he appreciates our efforts and that most other boarders won't even pick up after their horse if they poop in the aisle. The attitude at this barn is boarders pay money and shouldn't have to do anything other than ride and groom their horse. This is not a really high priced barn - I'd say they are on the low end of mid-range but a lovely facility overall.
I am appalled at how this man is treated. This is the man that takes good care of all the horses and should be valued. Anyone who treats another good, honest person like this should be ashamed of themselves. We thank him often and he clearly isn't used to that level of respect which is very sad.
I hope all of you reading this take some time to think about how you treat your barn help and what they do for your horse every day. These people are taking care of the horse you love and should be respected - regardless of their age and education. I'm sure that there are many dishonest and uncaring barn help out there, but I doubt that they last very long and any one barn. Next time you are at the barn thank them for what they do and give them a little help - their work is hard and I'm sure they would appreciate it!
On another note - even with the horrible treatment this man gets at his job he absolutely LOVES America. He votes in every election and is so happy to be living in this country. I'm thankful to be reminded for how fortunate I am to be living in the U.S..