Working off board - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-26-2014, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Working off board

I currently work off part of my board at the stables in Northern NY. I am just curious about how it works at other barns and how much board it worked off from feedings. I feed Two nights a week after working fulltime at my day job. There are about 18-20 horses. It takes me about 2 1/2 hours to do the night feeding. This includes turn out, throw hay, graining, checking/ filling waters, sweeping each barn, getting grain ready for the morning feeder and doing stalls. I get $15 each time I feed. Which when you break it out is about $6 an hour. This really doesn't seem fair to me. When I started I would throw hay, do grain turn out and sweep. I have gained more and more responsibilities and haven't got anymore money.

Anyone else work off board?
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-26-2014, 10:58 PM
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My former instructor offered to let me work to pay for lessons, she paid at that time minimum wage, which was about$7 an hour back then, it's been several years back now. I was allowed to work off one lesson each week and then pay for the other. The work involved everything that you're doing and possibly more.

Does the barn have other paid employees? If so see if you can find out how much they make. Then see if you can get the BO/BM to write out a contract for you, that way they can't accuse you of not paying board if something goes south in the end.

The contract should state how much work- x number of hours each week, is required to pay off X amount of board. That way you can factor in how much you are being paid/ deducted from there. When on paper certain things look a little more reasonable or not depending on the amount of work expected.

If it does not seem reasonable ask about other options they might be willing to offer. My instructor would offer discounts to her students if they allowed her to use their horses for lessons. They could chose a reduction in board or a reduction in lesson prices in accordance with how much their horse was used that week.

You could also see if other boarders would help you out in some way, if you have the time and the skills, offer your hand at braiding/banding, clipping, grooming, et cetera for a fee. I know groomers around here make $40 or more for mane braids and $70+ for tails, clipping can go as high as $200 for a really good job. This could all be applied to your board fees.

To me it seems somewhat reasonable, but I do not know the full cost of your board and how much it reduces it by. If I knew those factors it would be easier to determine. Either way it is up to you to decide if it's worth continuing.

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post #3 of 8 Old 08-26-2014, 11:29 PM
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This is why it often seems crazy to me that people work off their board. I could go get a job at McDonalds, work a single 4 hour shift a week and earn $10.25 an hour minimum wage. Then I'd still have 6 days a week after my regular full time job to go and enjoy my horse and I'd make $160 a month to help with my board.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-26-2014, 11:30 PM
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I used to work off board. I was given a per hour wage ($10/hour) and however much I worked was what I got off board.
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-27-2014, 02:21 AM
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I work at my barn 3x a week. I clean 4-5 stalls, bring in some horses, feed/water, clean the paddocks and sweep the barn. I get one fees lesson per week, and lessons are about $35, so I'm probably making around $4 an hour, so I understand. I feel like I get more responsibilities each day, but I understand that times are tough so I don't mind, but it doesn't seem fair to you OP. Maybe have a chat with your BO?
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-27-2014, 02:38 PM
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I used to work off part of my board doing evening feedings as well. It involved doing two separate feedings- one time around with grain and then about 2 hours later with hay & mash. For 75 horses. I got $30 each time I did it.

At first the barn wasn't completely full and I had time to ride my horse between grain & mash/hay. I figured "I'm going to be at the barn anyway, might as well make some money while I'm here," but as the barn filled up and more boarders had special requests for their horses, the time I had to spend with my own horse disappeared. It stopped being worth it to me, so I handed my feed nights off to someone else.

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post #7 of 8 Old 08-27-2014, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by kenda View Post
This is why it often seems crazy to me that people work off their board. I could go get a job at McDonalds, work a single 4 hour shift a week and earn $10.25 an hour minimum wage.
The minimum wage is much less than that in many places.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-27-2014, 06:40 PM
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True, however I would imagine the going rate for working off board would fluctuate according to the minimum wage for your area as well, in a general way. IE, in my area working off board might come close to $10.25 an hour (although it seems that most people end up getting taken advantage of and working more then they are paid for), in another area where minimum wage is lower, the rate for working off board would be lower as well.

My point is less about the wage you are making, and more about the fairness of it. I can go to work at McDonald's and if I work for 4 hours, I get paid for 4 hours. Whereas at a barn I might get told that my job is to feed two evenings a week and that it should take 2 hours each night. Than, as in a previous poster's situation, more horses come in, or more duties get added, but the compensation doesn't increase. It's so easy to get taken advantage of because you think, oh it's not really a big deal, it's only two more horses. And then next month, there are another three. And then next month, the BO asks you to pick the stalls while you're there. And so on and so on.

Last edited by kenda; 08-27-2014 at 06:41 PM. Reason: grammar
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