Hiya guys just an update. Thanks Textan for your message and response - I'm glad it was just a misunderstanding! And thanks to all your responses - they DID help. I was just overly nervous.
So I have spent a week at the stables. And bearing in mind experiencing as an adult is definitely DIFFERENT lol. As a person who has a LOT of animal experience including veterinary (family business) I feel kind of shot down at the place I finally chose to volunteer. I'm not sure if what I'm witnessing is NORMAL for stable yard?? (please correct me if I'm wrong) It's family run since 1989 - there are horses that are just for board, some for the infrequent lesson, some for breeding or just oldies that need taking care of.... I'll list a few points that have me concerned about my decision to volunteer here.
1. On my first day I was asking general questions about horses. Instead of being answered, BECAUSE I asked about "why does he not like his feet being done" I was banned from not only mucking out/grooming but even interacting with them (even to unhook their head collars from their hooks just on the inside of the door). I asked too many questions and now I'm only able to groom/clean for 5 horses. In addition I was then told I wasn't allowed to use a fork/shovel to spot clean (I'm not allowed to properly muck out) I have to use my hands only. I've mucked out horses and other animals before. But that didn't matter. "I didn't know the special technique" and she didn't want to even show me she was that concerned about me wasting straw. And LASTLY, even after a demonstration from both me and the yard manager the owner banned me picking ANY feet because I don't know how to identify foot problems. I guess not looking at feet will help me in that department.
2. Cleanliness. I was impressed initially at the emphasis on keeping the yard clean and the tack. But then I was told to clean the grooming kits properly and I was then given a lesson in HOW to clean the grooming kits on the muck heap. Poo got everywhere but it didn't matter as long as the brushes were clean from dust and hair. When I asked about washing them with water I was told that was "the easy way" and I should clean them as shown between each horse. I was then sent off to groom my next horse with a poo smeared brush. (I mean I wiped it off as best I could, but y'know.... coming from a family with a veterinary background I'm pretty conscious of cross contamination). SECONDLY there is a horse that has an on-going case of conjunctivitis they can't seem to get rid of despite anti-biotics. The daily routine I must adhere to is dipping a baby wipe in her drinking water and scrubbing both eyes, with the same wipe - at this point I'm afraid to ask questions but i can't help but wonder if it's just being exacerbated by the baby wipes in addition to the not so vigilant cleaning routine. She also has a mite infestation on (or rather IN should I say) her lower legs they can't seem to kick. We also have to wash all the horses faces with a baby wipe which seems strange to me? PLEASE correct me if I'm being picky.
3. So I'm volunteering for 3-5 days a week from 10am-6pm. I'm not allowed to do much now other than spot clean/groom the horses listed for me and hay nets (but only after she's printed a weight chart, which I totally agree with). I haven't once got an opportunity to observe a lesson or free schooling as I'm left in the yard on my own to complete menial tasks (I'm not allowed to do much WITH the horses outside of what's listed, but I am ALWAYS KEPT BUSY). I was also told that "volunteers are for the benefit of the owner and her horses, she doesn't HAVE to teach me about them." I joined for MULTIPLE REASONS but I never joined with the stipulation that she HAD to teach me or give me 6 hours worth of horse lectures at all, but I also wasn't expecting to be banned from routine tasks such as picking feet - and then being told there was no point being shown because I'm not to do them. When I asked about others being allowed, how come they have her confidence and where/how COULD I begin to learn about horsemanship she shrugged and answered "not here".
I am volunteering because it's the first real work I've done since witnessing the accident that resulted in my uncles death two years ago. I haven't been able to find a job - so until UNI next year I just wanted to use my time productively and actually invest time in my long lifetime wish to work with and own horses. But not only can I not find a job, it appears I have ended up somewhere that, despite the hours I put in this week alone for free and my good intentions, I've already been donned the "Cape of Worthlessness". I broke my ankle 3 months ago and 1 1/2 years bed bound has made me overweight and slow (man I worked like dog to get things done this week and it wasn't good enough still). Other than the above mentioned the horses ARE loved, ARE cared for (outside of the strange conjunctivitis case I'm aware of) and the two yard women I have worked with have been an absolute pleasure to be around. But as for the owner, who IS the rightful authority.... she's kind of done a 180 and basically said that I wont ever be allowed more than I have been limited to. Is this a TEST? Are these things NORMAL? I am considering giving a full month and seeing how things go - because at the end of the day I am getting SOME interaction but doing 8 hours 3-5 days a week, without ANY kind of progression to look forward to (even if it takes a year!) is kind of daunting.
It's a long post, if you read I give you my heartfelt thanks <3 I guess this more of a blog on "idiot new horsewoman learning how to horse lol". I can't possibly be the ONLY one in my position....