What's it like being a Jillaroo/Jackaroo/farm hand ? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 7 Old 04-08-2013, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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What's it like being a Jillaroo/Jackaroo/farm hand ?

Ok so I want to travel eventually, and get a job while living at my workplace and I thought perfect a Jillaroo but than I got thinking what if you are the only girl working as a Jillaroo ? Is that Dangerouse ? Are there many Jillaroos ? I really love hard work, and I love being around horses/animals and love being around country people and I love the country and I love peace and yea.

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think,
The wise reject what they think, not what they see.
-Huang Po
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-08-2013, 08:49 AM
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There are a lot more jillaroos out there than you would expect. A girl I went to school with is currently living in the Northern Territory droving cattle to the ports up near Darwin.

I've never done it myself, but I know enough about it to know that it is tough work. If you're a weak minded person, it probably isn't for you. You'll have to be able to rough it when necessary, and I would think that complaining would be severely frowned upon. All the jill/jackaroos I've met have all been very straightforward people.

But, if you're just planning on working on a farm, it isn't quite as difficult. The work is still hard, for sure. I spent a day working with my sister as a farm hand on a pony stud, and by the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted. Apart from lunch, there was hardly time to stop to take a breather. You gotta be fit and strong both physically and mentally.

I really admire those people though. It's tough work.
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-08-2013, 07:23 PM
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We've had some jillaroos come to the States as polo grooms and taking part in an agriculture exchange program as ranch hands. But, they got their starts on large stations.

I've been a ranchhand/cowboy (gender neutral term) and loved it. I learned more and developed more skills than I ever imagined! A little bit of heavy equipment operation, some electrical skills for vehicles and buildings, plumbing, etc. And then there is the livestock handling, veterinary skills and animal husbandry. Incredibly interesting all of it. I still do day work and am in pretty good demand.

In the States, anyway, there are women doing this type of work. I partly raised my three daughters in cow camps that were pretty remote and am glad I did.

In all the years I've worked with horses, I only met two fellows that I kept a real eye on. Turned out my instincts were correct, but they didn't bother me personally, or my family. I still travel to ranches and race tracks alone and don't have trouble. Avoid alcohol and drama with co-workers. Those two things seem a recipe for trouble.
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-08-2013, 09:07 PM
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I don't think I would go as far to say that its "dangerous" but you may encounter gender discrimination or inappropriate behaviour I think for a job like that you really have to have the personality to go with it - if you can't stand up for yourself people will take advantage of you.

I was looking into doing something like that over one of my breaks but from the positions I found a lot of them required people experienced with various aspects of cattle handling, at the very least. The more general farmhand roles often called for basic mechanics, livestock management and general farm maintenance (fixing fences etc). This wasn't a skillset that I have (although you might). I'm just saying I don't think many farms are looking at taking on inexperienced workers so if this is something that you really want to pursue then you might want to look at doing some training.

I don't know - I didn't end up pursuing it but it does seem pretty interesting. However, I also think its a job that a lot of people have a romanticised view of - the reality of the job and what you expect are likely quite different.
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-08-2013, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Where would I get the training with cattle, could I get a job over the school holidays doing cattle work ?

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think,
The wise reject what they think, not what they see.
-Huang Po
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-08-2013, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by OliviaMyee View Post
Where would I get the training with cattle, could I get a job over the school holidays doing cattle work ?
You generally have to start at the bottom. Doing chores. Then you eventually get called in to help with the stock. Feedlots are often looking for help and are willing to take on temporary workers here.

There are some clinics here in the U.S. That claim to teach stock handling. I haven't seen a good hand, or even a somewhat useful person, come out of them.

But, don't be disheartened. Many of our good cowboys/girls come from very urban backgrounds (I don't know if you do). If you have the desire and the willingness, you can probably make a hand, too.

Oh. And the jillaroos I've met, only one was born into agriculture (she built awesome fence!). The rest thought they'd like it and learned by doing.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-08-2013, 11:37 PM
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One of my best-est friends has and does work on stations, she loves it! But it is hard work, no different than doing it here in the US. I had met her while she was here in the states on a work visa working horses for a cutting horse trainer. I have met a few Aussies this way and they had all previously worked on stations. They all have been very hard working and fun loving :)
I say at least try it, either you'll love it and stick with it or you won't.
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I DON'T LEAD 'EM AND FEED 'EM, I RIDE 'EM AND SLIDE 'EM.
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