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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My daughter started volunteering at her barn, just 2-3 hours a week, mucking stalls, on the day of her weekly lesson. I drop her off at 10am, and pick her up at 3:30, which includes a lunch break and a 1 hour lesson.

Today the barn owner / trainer wasn't feeling well and had to go to a doctor, so my daughter just rode her lesson horse for about an hour (usual lesson time) with an adult boarder in the arena, instead of an actual lesson.

The trainer mentioned on the phone that my daughter would be just riding in the arena. Do I assume we still pay the same lesson fee as for an actual lesson because she was given saddle time? Thanks!
 

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Depends on the trainer and their fee. Usually I've found that paid ride time is average $10-30 less than the lesson (completely depends on individuals and their pricing), because you are only paying for the use of the horse, not that combined with instruction.

Just ask your trainer to specify.
 
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I'm not sure about costs. Yes, she wasn't riding with an instructor but there was still someone supervising her, which I imagine the instructor will have "pay back" somehow.
 

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Was the boarder getting paid to supervise her? Or did they just happen to be riding in the arena as well, and kept an eye on her?

I'd be hesitant to pay for a full lesson when the trainer didn't teach her anything. However, if she had to be supervised during this ride and the trainer paid for it, then you should expect to have to reimburse her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Depends on the trainer and their fee. Usually I've found that paid ride time is average $10-30 less than the lesson (completely depends on individuals and their pricing), because you are only paying for the use of the horse, not that combined with instruction.

Just ask your trainer to specify.
Thanks. I plan to ask, but I don't want to offend the trainer. Her lessons are $50 per hour, but are sometimes group, and sometimes private, depending on what else is going on.

I'm not sure about costs. Yes, she wasn't riding with an instructor but there was still someone supervising her, which I imagine the instructor will have "pay back" somehow.
Was the boarder getting paid to supervise her? Or did they just happen to be riding in the arena as well, and kept an eye on her?

I'd be hesitant to pay for a full lesson when the trainer didn't teach her anything. However, if she had to be supervised during this ride and the trainer paid for it, then you should expect to have to reimburse her.
The boarder normally rides at that time as well, or they take a semi-private together. So on the one hand, the boarder would have been riding there anyway. According to my daughter, they just did their own different things. But of course she would not have been allowed to ride in the arena by herself, as the BO is very safety oriented.

There was already an incident when the trainer had to be away, and her student, not even certified, gave my daughter a lesson. I didn't mind that it was a student doing her 3rd lesson, and first unsupervised lesson, but the lesson was only 20 minutes long, instead of an hour, because the student didn't judge the time properly. I thought we'd be partially reimbursed (as in getting an extra 30 min at some point), but nothing was mentioned, and I didn't want to rock the boat. We do love this barn and the owner.

But I feel a little bit taken advantage of.

However, I'd like to ask the BO without her thinking that I think that I'm being taken advantage of! :lol:
 

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what if you asked the BO to make the next lesson a bit longer, to compensate for the lack of instruction on this last one? same price as before, but just kind of adding some time to keep things in balance?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
what if you asked the BO to make the next lesson a bit longer, to compensate for the lack of instruction on this last one? same price as before, but just kind of adding some time to keep things in balance?
That would work for me, but I'm afraid this will sound presumptuous. Also, her lessons are 1h long and it might be that she will be quite exhausted by the end. Especially as she does 2-3 hours of physical labor before the lesson.
 

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Given that the kid is volunteering to clean stalls for her, if it were me as the instructor I would give her a freebie for just the ride. The other person in the arena was doing her own thing, riding her own horse, not inconvenienced in any way, if the kid has fallen off, she might have had to help her, that's it.

That being said, it's really up to the instructor. If she wants to charge you the full price for the ride, and you want to stick with her as an instructor without any animosity, you'll have to pay up. Doesn't hurt to just ask offhandedly, "So what do I owe you for last Saturday?" or something to that effect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Given that the kid is volunteering to clean stalls for her, if it were me as the instructor I would give her a freebie for just the ride. The other person in the arena was doing her own thing, riding her own horse, not inconvenienced in any way, if the kid has fallen off, she might have had to help her, that's it.
Yeah, I feel the same, but I'm a crappy business person. :lol:

That being said, it's really up to the instructor. If she wants to charge you the full price for the ride, and you want to stick with her as an instructor without any animosity, you'll have to pay up. Doesn't hurt to just ask offhandedly, "So what do I owe you for last Saturday?" or something to that effect.
That's the thing. I want to stay there without any animosity, for a bunch of reasons. But at the back of my mind I have this thought that I'm setting myself for being used in the future, with the now two incidents when I think I should have received some kind of a compensation (like an extra 30 min) or something like that.

I like the phrase suggested above, thanks. I pay 4 lessons at a time, so I already paid for the next 4 weeks. I might ask whether the last lesson counts as a full lesson?

I feel that this is how barns are run--get used to some degree of abuse. I love a lot about our barn, it is truly a great place--the BO is a gifted instructor, it is close to home, it doesn't have a conveyer of students, it is very friendly and positive, the horses are treated really well, my kid gets the volunteering opportunity at an earlier age than in most barns and she loves it. So the idea is that I should suck it up.

In every other activity that my kids participate in, a missed lesson or a mostly missed lesson would be at the very least discussed with the parent, and some kind of reimbursement or a make-up activity would be suggested.

Is this really how the horse world is? This is our 4th barn, and the best so far. I should be grateful that my kid got to shovel manure, and that she got some saddle time. Sigh...

I think I should really suck it up, but I don't like myself for this.
 

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I would just ask, politely. Every trainer has different policies on how they handle lessons/hacks.
When I would hack out lesson horses, it wasn't usually at a cost to me, and it didn't count for a lesson.
 

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It's sad that it seems to be hard to find truly decent people in the horseworld. I'm lucky to have found a gem in my coach. If she were in the position your instructor were she'd probably try to find a way to PAY YOU for her missing the lesson. At the very least she wouldn't take your money and would probably try to offer your kid a few extra rides to make up for the disappointment.
 

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I would not set yourself up to be taken advantage of. One incident is one thing, but you should be expecting to get a full hour lesson from the trainer. Especially since your daughter is providing free labor. Not that there's anything wrong with her learning in this way, but I think that given that situation you should not be getting the short end of the stick with regards to lessons.

Also, how old is your daughter? She may get to the point in her riding career when she wants to take lessons more frequently, or even lease a horse. Unless you are planning on paying for this, then working off lessons or board at the barn is a wonderful way for her earn these opportunities. It may be difficult to make such an arrangement one day if the barn owner is accustomed to having her work for free.

I think that teaching kids the hard work involved in horses is a great thing. But, I think that letting things slide will make something like that difficult in the future.
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I would not set yourself up to be taken advantage of. One incident is one thing, but you should be expecting to get a full hour lesson from the trainer. Especially since your daughter is providing free labor. Not that there's anything wrong with her learning in this way, but I think that given that situation you should not be getting the short end of the stick with regards to lessons.
It is great to hear the range of opinions, as it makes me more comfortable raising the issue with the trainer. I'd like to have at least some reimbursement, and anything, really would work. If DD could get another "just a ride" for free, or an extra lesson, even if a shorter one.

Also, how old is your daughter? She may get to the point in her riding career when she wants to take lessons more frequently, or even lease a horse. Unless you are planning on paying for this, then working off lessons or board at the barn is a wonderful way for her earn these opportunities. It may be difficult to make such an arrangement one day if the barn owner is accustomed to having her work for free.
She's almost 12, but yes, she's really looking forward to the time when she could do more work in the barn in exchange for more lesson or riding time. It is a good point that you are making, that I'm setting up expectations of us being "too nice" and letting things slide. I didn't think about that this way.

I need to switch my mindset a bit. My daughter was told at first that she could volunteer when she turns 13, and that was fine with her, though she really wanted to. Then several months ago, I overhead the BO talking about losing barn help, and then as I was talking to her, she said how mature and responsible my daughter was, so I asked the BO when my daughter could volunteer--it fit into the conversation. I truly expected her to say in 2 years, but she said, "She can start next week."

My daughter was thrilled. She did volunteer at a different barn with a group of kids when she was 9 and she did a lot of mucking there. She's a hard worker. She did require more supervision in the beginning, and she had to learn the standards of the barn, but now she tells me that she's left to work by herself, and that the BO doesn't re-check her stalls anymore. So I'm sure she provides a decent amount of work for the hours that she's there, even if she might be a bit slower than an adult or an older teen. She does free the BO to do other necessary things in the barn, instead of mucking out on that day, as there's no other help in the barn that day.

But in my mind, I still see this as a great opportunity for my daughter to do what she loves and to get the experience she will need one day when she has her own horse or wants to work in the barn and earn her lessons this way. I have to remember that it is not only an opportunity for her, but also some free help to the BO.

I think that teaching kids the hard work involved in horses is a great thing. But, I think that letting things slide will make something like that difficult in the future.
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This is a great thought. Thank you. I just assumed that by volunteering now, my daughter will pave the road for having more opportunities in 2-3 years (and she loves working in the barn and wants to do it). On the other hand 3 years is a long time away, and we might not even be in this barn! :lol:

On the other hand, if the BO said she wouldn't make up for the missed lesson, my daughter would still want to volunteer there, as she loves it so much, and I don't want to sour the experience for her.

But it really helps to know that at least in some places she would get either another lesson, or would be charged less for the ride.
 
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