New to boarding and shocked!
We are new to boarding and are saddened and shocked by this and are hopeful it is not the norm. At the facility where we board there is a barn worker who does all of the turn out, feeding, watering, stalls, etc. for 12-14 horses. He is an older foreigner who is now a U.S. citizen but does not speak very good English and is not well educated. This man loves horses (he says they are his children!) and takes very good care of them. Being older he is not a fast worker but he works very hard. He is kind and as honest as they come. Our horse really likes this man and, to us, that says a lot.
Unfortunately he is required to work 7 days a week 365 days a year and to finish his work he is there about 9-10 hours a day. No matter what time we show up he is at the barn working. It has been made clear to him that they will give his job to someone else if he doesn't like it. He makes less then $40/day and if there is any missed "piles" in the paddock/pastures he will not receive full pay for that day. He rarely receives his full salary even with his job done well for the month. The poor man is obviously lonely but thinks he has no options and must work at this barn and is basically "stuck".
My daughter and I enjoy barn work and like to do our part to keep the barn clean and tidy and we like to leave it clean as possible. Yesterday I asked if I could clean our horses stall and he almost said yes but was very nervous about it and then said he'd get in a lot of trouble if I did any work because that is HIS job. Apparently we are not even supposed to sweep the aisle! He proceeded to tell me about how much he appreciates our efforts and that most other boarders won't even pick up after their horse if they poop in the aisle. The attitude at this barn is boarders pay money and shouldn't have to do anything other than ride and groom their horse. This is not a really high priced barn - I'd say they are on the low end of mid-range but a lovely facility overall.
I am appalled at how this man is treated. This is the man that takes good care of all the horses and should be valued. Anyone who treats another good, honest person like this should be ashamed of themselves. We thank him often and he clearly isn't used to that level of respect which is very sad.
I hope all of you reading this take some time to think about how you treat your barn help and what they do for your horse every day. These people are taking care of the horse you love and should be respected - regardless of their age and education. I'm sure that there are many dishonest and uncaring barn help out there, but I doubt that they last very long and any one barn. Next time you are at the barn thank them for what they do and give them a little help - their work is hard and I'm sure they would appreciate it!
On another note - even with the horrible treatment this man gets at his job he absolutely LOVES America. He votes in every election and is so happy to be living in this country. I'm thankful to be reminded for how fortunate I am to be living in the U.S..
Wow that is no good at all Is he paid under the table or how do they work it out?
he has rights and I am sure there has to be something to help.
If all the boarders feel he is doing well Maybe the boarders can to to the BO and talk to them about getting him a raise or something.
I manage a barn and it is Hard but rewarding work. I and my daughter do all feeding and cleaning.
I feel terrible for this man..He can come take care of my barn when I get it for atleast double what he makes there!
I'd ask all the boarders to get together or try to help him find a legality thing where he can find something better for himself.
I know at our barn, everyone helps out, all the time. I've had people pick up after my horse if I was out smoking a cigarette or be willing to make sure she doesn't go too far if there's no tie spots left and I leave her ground tied (she's about 85% on that still lol). I've helped the BO feed, turn-in/out, etc.
Just because I pay for someone to do something, does NOT mean I can't help them out on a bad/stressful day, if I have extra time, if I'm feeling generous, etc. Everyone does favours for everyone-it's all returned.
I came to have a thing against anyone foreign after where I worked for about 6 months..But I have respect for those who come here legally and TRY, which is exactly how this man sounds.
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Slip him some 20's
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I'm pretty sure he works under the table. I'm assuming with his lack of education and age (in his 60's) he just took any work he could find. He also does not speak good English which is not in his favor. It is also my understanding that he agreed to a salary wage but has no recourse if the wage is not paid and that is being taken advantage of. He has no access to a computer or any knowledge of them so finding other work is very difficult for him.
Treatment of this man was the first red flag for us at this barn and there have been a few more with this place so we have decided to move our horse and are currently looking. We feel a bit like we are abandoning this man though!
Oddly, we are at the barn about 4 days a week and only have met two other boarders on one occasion each. My daughter liked one right away but the other was really rude and I have absolutely no doubt she thinks of herself "above" any hired help. We don't know either well enough to talk about any barn politics.
Good lord.....sounds like one of the jobs I had years ago....hope he gets a better position elsewhere.
I'm not trying to 'generalize' here, but after years of working in many different horse related disciplines I've found that quite a few employers will take advantage of their workers 'love for horses'. One of my first horse jobs required well over 60 hours a week of hard physical labor....my starting pay was $186 a week....boy was I naive.
if he is also getting a place to live on the facility, that should be considered when valuing his pay.
you are sure he is legal? usually the help gets treated like doo-doo when they are illegals (and they are tons of them in the horse industry) and they cannot complain or they'll get turned in.
It really does stink when you see how many horse people will pay big buck for their horse to be kept in a fancy place, hire and pay a lot of money for a trainer, have the best of tack and so on, yet could care less about the staff that work right under their noses.
I have always tried to get to know the workers at the barn a bit. Being able to speak Spanish makes that easier. They have names, families, histories and problems that would make me cringe to have to deal with. I always start a Christmas fund a couple of weeks before Christmas so that all the boarders can put in a year end tip. it's not much but it's something.
If you get to a new facility, you could always mention that you know of a really good worker. Maybe they would have a good job to offer that man.
He does not live on the facility and drives to work every day.
Honestly - I don't know for sure if he is a legit citizen. He talked about voting so I assumed as much but for all I know he could have meant how he would have voted if he could. I was under the impression that he did vote in the past few elections but don't know for certain. I do know that he is a good hearted man and takes very good care of the horses. We just appreciate our horse getting good care and we really value what he does - I just wish others did the same.
I would slip him some cash and clue him in on other positions if you hear of anything. Hopefully the way he is being treated is not the norm.
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