Switching barns-- Rant/Need advice.
First, some background. I have been at this barn for 2 years now. I work a couple of shifts there in exchange for lessons. Lately the work has been getting to be to much for me. I am exhausted before I'm done with my shift and I am having worsening issues with one of my ankles which makes walking for any length of time pretty painful. (This ankle issue is also making riding extremely painful so I haven't ridden in a few weeks). In addition, I have had a sort of falling out with some of the people at this barn which has made being there uncomfortable for me. All of these things have brought me to the decision to switch barns.
I have checked out one barn in my area that I used to ride at when I was younger. Before going I had been figuring that I would like everything there and want to move to that barn. Now that I have visited there I am not sure that is where I want to be. My main concern is the quality of instruction there. The main instructor there is younger than I am. Not that learning from someone younger than me bothers me, it is just that I am not very old. I don't know a lot and so I question the amount of experience someone younger has. I only got to see her teacher a 6 year old so I didn't really get a feel for how well she teaches and how much she knows. Aside from that, there are a few small concerns I have but I can deal with them if the instruction is good. I want to go back at another time when I can see some more advanced lessons being taught and get a better feel for how good this girl is. In the mean time I have found two other barns that I could check out. I really like the looks of one while the other seems less serious than I would like. I am already torn on where to go and I've only seen one option so I'd like some opinions on the situation.
Also, in preparation for leaving my current barn I informed them I didn't want my shifts anymore. Since I don't get paid with actual money and some don't consider it a real job I was unsure how to do about 'quitting'. So I figured I would just make them aware I no longer wanted my shifts. I guess that was kind of dumb of me. I don't know if I thought they would tell me how much notice they wanted or what. I ended up being told that they would let me know when they found someone to take my shifts. Considering the state of things there, I don't think that will be happening anytime soon. I don't know what to do now. I can't keep working there until they find someone unless it's soon but I've kind of screwed things up for myself by not saying how long I would keep working. I really don't know what to do here.
About the shifts, what "payment" are you receiving? if its board or something along those lines I would just let them know you will pay whatever you owe but will not be taking any more shifts, period. I personally have had problems with doing work at my barn and having them think they owned my soul or something. Finding someone to cover is THEIR issue you shouldn't have to cover for them. I think a few days would be reasonable but nothing more, especially if its causing harm to your body.
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I agree that you need to go back to that barn and watch the instructor teach a more advanced lesson. If you are looking to further your training with your horse where you board then you need to make sure this instructor is suitable for you. You dont want to move and then find out their skills are lacking for your level.
As far as giving notice I can see both sides. Working in a barn is hard work, we all know that, and some barns rely on boarders to help get things done. I can understand that they need to find someone to fill your spot. However, this is what a barn manager does. They are responsible for the care of the horses and the up keep of the barn. They are to pick up the extra work when someone can no longer work their shifts until that person is replaced. This is true in any business. People quit all the time with out giving notice and things still get done. The only thing I would suggest, so you dont burn any bridges, is to tell them to find someone to replace you and in the mean time you'll only work once or twice a week there, or for 2 weeks, which ever comes first. This way you can walk away knowing you've done all you can for them.
Can you take a sample lesson from the instructor to see if you and she are a good instructor/student fit?
TK- The system they use for 'payment' is points. $1=1 point. Each shift is worth a certain amount of points. You keep track of your points in a book and subtract points when you need to pay for things like lessons. I make just enough to cover lessons each month. The book also has other info about shifts in it, including a paper that says you have to give 2 weeks notice if you want to give up your shifts otherwise you lose all accumulated points. When I informed them I didn't want my shifts anymore I thought I would be told something along the lines of "You need to work 2 more weeks or you'll lose your points." I guess when that wasn't what I heard I got a little confused and forgot to speak up when they assumed I would be fine with continuing to work indefinitely. I agree they tend to act as if they own you. My BO always tries to give shifts to me because I'm pretty much the only one who works for points (there is the option of getting money for shifts instead of points).
wetrain- I guess part of the problem is I told the barn manager I didn't want my shifts anymore and she doesn't want to have to do them. I assume if I went straight to the barn owner and said I was done she would tell manager she has to do my shifts. I feel bad about doing that though since I already talked to manager and she said she'd let owner know. If I were to say something to owner now it might seem like I'm going behind manager's back or something. I guess that doesn't really matter much since manager doesn't like me anyway. Mostly I'm just worried about making things worse for myself there. I still have a lot of paid-for lessons to use and as long as I keep working I'm going to have more lessons to use. Manager is the only instructor there so as long as I have to keep riding with her I'd like her to dislike me as little as possible. I'm trying really hard not to rock the boat since I can't just pick up and leave without losing a lot of 'money'.
Red Gate- The barn I'm looking at offers the option of single lessons, so I could just call them and schedule one lesson and see how that goes. I'm thinking of that as an option to see how this girl teaches. I will definitely be going back there soon to either watch or take a lesson.
This is exactly why I don't allow boarders to work off any board here, it just gets so akward some times. I would write a note to the barn manager & cc the owner stating exactly what your are willing to do in the next 2 weeks. For instance if you can't physically handle 2 shifts per week then tell them, "I will be available for a shift on Weds the 14th and one on Thurs the 22nd and after that I will no longer be available to work at this barn." Or, if you're really having problems physically offer them 1/2 shifts and give them 4 in the next 2 weeks and let them know that after a certain date you will no longer be picking up shifts, period. That gives them courteous notice and also lets them know that you are not going to be taken advantage of. Since you're leaving anyhow, I wouldn't worry what the manager thinks, if she already dislikes you that's probably not going to change.
If I were you, I'd go to the BO myself and let them know what is going on. Tell them you have too much on your plate right now and that you can't handle your shifts. The last thing you need is the BM spinning your situation to the BO. He/she could make it sound worse than what it is. You need to cover yourself on this. Go to the BO and say something like, " i've already told the BM this, but I wanted to talk to you about my situation as well...."
Give them written two weeks notice that for medical reasons you are no longer able to do your shifts. Give a copy to the barn owner and the barn manager.
I agree with Always you should treat it like any other job two weeks notice.
They've found people to take all of my shifts. It worked out a lot faster than I thought it would which is good because I'm too much of a wuss to tell them 2 weeks is all I'm giving. The last time I was there the barn manager offered to feel my old saddle for me if I promised to sell her my new one. She said that she knew I was going to quit my shifts a long time ago and that she knew I wasn't going to be riding anymore soon. Actually she said we both knew that and that I'm just in denial about it. Apparently no one understands that the reason I'm not hanging around anymore is because I'm constantly be asked if I'm pregnant and being called a slob and a hobo. Oh well. I'm done with working there so now all I have left is some make up lessons and I'll be done with the place.
I tried another barn out this weekend and it seemed pretty great. I signed up for lessons there so we'll see how it goes.
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