Why are horse people often expected to work for free? - Page 5

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Why are horse people often expected to work for free?

This is a discussion on Why are horse people often expected to work for free? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        07-11-2012, 01:57 PM
    That stinks Reno :( Sounds like you had a great thing going there. I can totally relate to the heat stroke, I passed out and fell off my horse waiting at the gate to go in for a jumping round once as a teen. Evil judge in shorts, tank & big sunhat but wouldn't let us go without jackets in 100 degree weather.
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        07-11-2012, 02:12 PM
    Worked for a while in an Iberian dressage farm, one of two and extremely in the who is who. Hard work, pay was not all bad. Took care of mares and babies and everything that goes with them. Ten hour days on salary and I had a boss from hell. She actually admitted to being a "recovering alcoholic" with schizophrentic tendencies. Loved the job although it was hard, loved the horses. I could no longer bare being around this woman. I was hired as her assistant, pure hell! She constantly yelled and changed the routine up for no apparent reason. Say one thing and turn around to do another then yell at me for doing what she told me to do in the first place! I am not a young person so I civilly addressed her and well she did not like be confronted. I do not like being treated without a certain amount of respect and I let her know. She liked my work ethic and knowledge but wanted me to be a doormat, NO. I can eat s@$t. I have been there many times but this woman is wacko! I was number eight in trying to find an assistant for her. I was told this by management and management, after I left gave me a highly regarded recommendation. But unfortunately there aren't a lot of decent farms who pay decent in my area.
        07-11-2012, 02:47 PM
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    working for free

    I can pretty much say that it was never so much the work that got me down and never the horses, it was the attitude of the clients that really got to me, some were great but there were enough that were so ungrateful, inconsiderate & rude it really got to me in the end. My husband & I had our own little business for a while with a few full boarders who were all lovely, we did some dealing and breaking/schooling and later on bred some nice foals from a couple of broodmares and they were much happier times and you make more money out of it than working for someone else and you can pick & choose a lot more.
        07-11-2012, 04:17 PM
    Originally Posted by MHFoundation Quarters    
    Going to play devil's advocate for a second. As far as the working student thing goes and being slave labor, I'd say it's a good way to find out (the student) if they have what it takes to make horses a career. When you train/instruct for a living and have your own property, the workload is never ending. IMO if one can't handle working hard as a student wanting to get a foot in the door they likely aren't cut out to make a go of it in a professional capacity in the future.

    IMO it weeds out those that really want it from those who don't. For every one who doesn't want to work their fingers to the bone for the opportunity there are 10 who do.
    I somewhat agree, but also I don't. Yes it's a realistic view of the hard work but honestly what I was doing there wasn't a realistic work day. I'd get all my horse chores done and then be out there digging up weeds in the hot sun for ours, or planting a garden and then having to rip it all out cause she didn't like it.

    I was her little pack mule. Do all the things she couldn't be bothered to do and she dangled a horse in my face (it wasn't Sky.. that was a complete surprise) whom I was schooling at the time. Then I had to lift all the kids myself because the other workers were busy doing other things. The horse part was fine and I loved it. It was just the unnecessary things that wore away at my body and the awful pay. There is no way that I could have sustained any life on that pay.

    At least growing up your farm was right there. I had to drive every day to the barn during the summer and every weekend the rest of the year 30 some miles one way. Talk about a gas guzzling trip.

    The only thing that kept me there were the kids I worked with and a few of the horses.

    That kind of job doesn't encourage people into the horse world, it discourages. Not because they don't have what it takes, but because they end up so mangled and exhausted when there isn't such a need to be.

    Yes farms and ranches and barns are a LOT of work, but I house sat for a week once and I did everything that the horses needed and I wasn't the least bit tired. In fact I rode 5 or so horses a day (she left me a list if I had time lol)
        07-11-2012, 06:23 PM
    Originally Posted by Ian McDonald    
    I'm curious about this. It seems like most of the job offers I see within the industry are looking for people who are skilled with horses but that are willing to work for no compensation as if working around horses isn't demanding of a lot of time, physical effort, and hard-earned skills. A lot of these ads aren't looking for greenhorns either but people will experience.

    What the heck is up with that?
    It's the economy. I just graduated from a legal assistant program and I'm on the point of begging law firms to work for them for free! It's the only way to get experience, and these days no one will even THINK of hiring someone without experience. There are ads on my college website expecting 2-3 years experience from new grads! The way things are now they could ask for your first born and get away with it.

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