All men, and I mean all, learn from an early age. The look!!! When we see the look we know to run and hide. It's that glare from the eye and the curling back of the side of the upper lip (Stella, and she who must, know how to do that one)
When I first went to work in a jump race yard, the lads were very resentful that I was in charge of them when I had little experience of the horse racing industry.
They made my life hell, being belligerent and as awkward and rude as they could be. I ignored it all and bided my time. (The trainer said she would have a word with them over it all but I would not let her as I was taught to fight my own battles!)
One day they pushed their luck a little to far and they knew it! I heard one of them say to the other "Watch out, she is about to blow - she has 'The LOOK'!"
They thought they were clever in getting into my rooms and hiding my bed in the hay barn. What they didn't know was that there was another mattress is the walk in attic so I pulled that out and slept on it. When the bed was exposed as the hay went down I just warned them that if the Misses saw it they would be in deep water. It was immediately returned.
People who win thousands for sexual harassment have never worked in a racing yard. You give as good as you get and never turn a hair.
The lads worked hard and played even harder. Practical jokes were the par but often could get out of hand. One lad, who was more ignorant than pig sh1t, was terrible and so the lads he shared a house with got him drunk and then carried him, and his bed, into the middle of the stable yard and left him there overnight. I found him in the morning when I started to feed, frost on his hair, and left him there!
I drew the line at bullying. One young lad was fine with the banter but another was upset by it so they did it even more. One evening when we had finished for the day, they got him, stripped him off and covered him in hoof oil and purple spray. I didn't know it was going on until he ran into the house where I lived, with four other lads. I was furious and told them so. The lad locked himself in the bathroom. I got him a towel and told him to scrub himself. WHen I went to check if he was OK he had unlocked the door and climbed out the bathroom window thinking the lads were still in the house.
A few days later most of the lads were off to a party. I wasn't going as I had to be up at 4.30 a.m. To feed.
I decided it was time for revenge. I went to the house where some of the lads lived and took the key to the French doors knowing they would test if it was locked but not if the key was in the lock. Later, along with the bullied lad, we let ourselves in.
I had bought some cheap nylon wool and we wound that around everything in the living room.
The kitchen was also rigged so that when they walked in they would pul all the pans off the shelf and drawers from the units. We removed all light bulbs as we went.
In the bedrooms we sewed up every
pair of trousers and jodhpurs. Three places in each leg. Lots of tiny stitches on top of each other.
We sewed their bed clothes to the mattresses with upholstery needles.
The bathroom was a loo and a shower - not a lot we could do with that except to cling film the loo.
I knew they would return home worse for drink and the poor lad was terrified they would go after him. I knew that it would be me they were after so had prepared for defending myself.
I moved my bed from the normal place. Took the landing light out, balanced a bowl of water on top of the door and took a bucket of water with some sponges by the side of my bed.
I also took my old dog upstairs. She awoke me growling. I silenced her and two of the lads came charging into my room, throwing water and flower at where my bed had been. I threw the sponges at them and the dog gave chase. One lad part fell down the stairs and broke his toe.
The other two who lived with them had both been to drunk to take revenge. They had both peed on top of the cling film.
In the morning they were late, not only because they were hung over but because they tried all their trousers and jodhpurs!
I had little trouble after that. I did get two other lads that pushed their luck with practical jokes. It took me a couple of months to get them - one thought he had escaped because he was working elsewhere but he was mistaken!
They still played jokes on me - like the time I got into my car and it wouldn't move away. It sounded OK but would not move either forward or back. They had jacked it up so the back wheels were actually just off the ground. Only when I saw them peeping out the windows laughing did I realise what they had done.
I started work there in September and by Christmas had them all eating out of my hand. They knew 'The LOOK' all right!