Working in a barn, positions, pay... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-13-2013, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Working in a barn, positions, pay...

So my dream job would be to work in a barn. Of any sort really, boarding, hunter/jumper, lesson barn. Anything as long as it's well run.
Though I can't really single out what I would be working as. I would want to be physically working with, caring for, cleaning the barn, tack and things like that.
What positions are there that you could get in a stable?
What would the general pay be for that?

Specifically I am probably going to be living in California, not sure where at, in the future. If that affects the pay or anything else.

Money isn't a huge issue for me, as long as I can live comfortably on it.
I would much prefer having a job I love than a high paying job I hate.
If anybody has any experience I'd love to hear personal stories of how working in this setting was.
Thanks in advance

Falling Maples Homestead
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-13-2013, 11:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Check places like for job listings.

Most barns around me don't pay their labor very much if anything at all. There's a plethora of open "working student" positions and very few paying jobs. The ones that pay don't pay much - like $25k a year. I live in MD and making under $40 a year would be a paycheck to paycheck struggle to live alone. Some places include housing, which helps. When I was a barn manager, if I wasn't married I'd be living in a bad neighborhood in a crummy apartment with at least 1 room mate, and I'd be collecting food stamps.

I had FUN at work and I loved it, but I couldn't ever afford anything extra without asking my husband for cash. I'm incredibly lucky that my horse didn't ever have a non routine medical issue. When gas prices went up and even more boarders lost their jobs, I lost a good chunk of income when people stopped paying for services for their horses (clipping, training sessions, lunging, etc). I eventually came to the point where I was just making my flat $1000 a month paycheck and started falling behind in my share of the bills. I had to quit and take on an office job.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-13-2013, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
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I do have a back up plan. (Cosmetology) I will have my license when I graduate next summer. So I'm thinking if I also have a side job of that it would help with the money.

I am planning on having help with payment (rent and such), as I'll be living with my boyfriend should everything work out. Though I don't want to count solely on that, of course.

What was your work schedule like?
(thanks for the reply, by the way!)

Falling Maples Homestead
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-14-2013, 12:25 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
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When I worked full time with horses, here is an example of hours and pay....

TB racing barn strapper/track rider NZ: 60-70 hours per week, starting pay $186.....
TB racing barn FOREMAN NZ: 60-70 hours per week, $500 per week.

Show jumping barn, pro groom, sole position, approx 16 horses to manage: 60-80hrs per week (yes - 80!!!) $350 per week.

Warmblood stud hand: 60-70hrs per week, $250 per week

Cowhorse Ranch/boarding barn hand: 50hrs per week, $450 per week

Reining trainer help: 50hrs per week, $500 per week (this was my most favorite job, got to ride ALL day!!!)

I garnered a wealth of experience from all these jobs, and appreciate having all the knowledge that I do......but sometimes I wish I had gone on and practiced as a veterinary nurse (I went to university and became qualified but never practiced....duh!) and made more money, saved my back and joints and took it a little easier on my self. Hindsight is 20/20.......

Remember that young strong bodies are only young and strong for such a short what you NEED to do, but have a good back up plan, and don't stay with the horses so long that your cosmetology qualifications are not current (ie. the industry and techniques and products change so much that you are unable to enter a job feeling confident or get a job at all!).

I got my vet nursing diploma 13years ago.....can hardly remember much, am not current on the new procedures, drugs, diagnostic imaging techniques etc.....I don't think I'd be able to re enter that world again unless I went back to school to brush up........
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-14-2013, 12:44 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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When I'm boarding horses and have enough work to justify a barn helper, I pay $8/hr to start. Generally, they work about 4 hrs per day, picking stalls, bedding, laying feed, watering and grooming the horses. I have them work 4 days one week and 3 the next, and then have a 2nd person who works opposite that schedule. If I get enough boarders to pay for it, I offer the barn helper at the time more hours and have them do some maintenance chores when I can afford it. Of if there's a big project, say dividing up a pasture and doing the fencing, I might offer them XX amount to help get that particular job done, on top of what they're already doing.

Next spring, I want to run water to the barn, so I'll rent the back hoe, buy the supplies and then offer the barn helper a chance to earn some extra by running the backhoe and laying the pipe for me. Then my husband will do the finish work. I'll probably offer a flat fee for that job because it won't take long, as it's not a huge job, but it will be a lot of heavy work.

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