Is it fair?

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What would you expect to be paid to muck out, fill water and put up haynets in a stable? Would you be expected to be paid per stable and how much? I’m currently doing this a few times a week and get paid per stable. I say paid… it gets taken off my lessons at £2.50 per stable. Lessons are £25. Questioning whether it’s worth it as it takes me about 30 min per stable at the moment. Plus I drive 4 miles to get there even on days where I do not have a lesson that day. Any opinions gratefully received :)
 

stangs

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Sounds like you're a volunteer? In that case, I think 10 stables for a free lesson sounds fair. How many stables do you do on the days you're up at the yard?

If they're setting you days/times where you have to come in even if you didn't agree to, then I'd be a little dubious about the whole enterprise and expect to be treated like a freelance groom.
 

PurBee

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If youre currently being paid £5 per hour to do yard work, i’d go to the nearest supermarket and stack shelves for more money for 10-13 quid per hour!

Some stables are tidy/easy, others a churned-up pit, so if youre given a handful to do, you can average the time it takes and get an idea of hourly rate.
 

Starzaan

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When I was head girl at a very big busy equestrian centre, we did a volunteer programme. The volunteers worked for lessons. Every half day they worked they got a box and four filled boxes got them a lesson, so two full days of work on the yard got them a one hour group lesson.
This worked really well and I think helped teach them the value of hard work. If someone really impressed the staff they could ask me to award extra boxes, and equally I could take away boxes for people who weren’t pulling their weight.
This was a very busy mixed yard with hunters, riding school, polo ponies and full liveries. So a LOT of work.
I think the above sounds fair for lessons, but maybe I’m mean.
ETA / the industry standard is 15 - 20 mins per box for a full and thorough muck out, hay and water, so maybe easier if you work on speeding up. 😊
 

I'm Dun

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Two days work for a group lesson?! I can imagine any other industry where 2 days work equates to £40 give or take.
 

paddy555

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Two days work for a group lesson?! I can imagine any other industry where 2 days work equates to £40 give or take.

but she said volunteers. I guess they choose to do it. They also get experience in stable work and horse handling as I presume they have to groom and tack up. For those just wanting to be around stables but short of money or those wanting experience before they buy their own it sounds reasonable.
 

Starzaan

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Two days work for a group lesson?! I can imagine any other industry where 2 days work equates to £40 give or take.
This wasn’t just slave labour, they also got a lot of free tuition and training in stable management, they got to go to polo matches, the better ones got to exercise liveries, hunters and polo ponies so could feasibly end up riding ten horses over their two days if they were really good helpers.
they got out what they put in. Those keen to learn got more riding, more lessons, and a lot of training on the job. Those who didn’t care or couldn’t be bothered just got tired.
 

MuddyMonster

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Could you afford lessons if you weren't mucking out?

£2.50 a stable doesnt sound a lot especially when you consider petrol but if it is enabling you to to ride when you wouldn't be able to otherwise, only you can decide if it is worthwhile continuing.
 
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Could you afford lessons if you weren't mucking out?

£2.50 a stable doesnt sound a lot especially when you consider petrol but if it is enabling you to to ride when you wouldn't be able to otherwise, only you can decide if it is worthwhile continuing.
Yes absolutely. That’s what I did before they asked me to help when they were short. I also ride outside of the riding school environment a couple of times a week. Hacking with a friend and her horses. X
 

planete

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Personally I would rather do something else for a normal hourly rate and pay for lessons. If they need help because of staff isolating or suffering from Covid I would probably help as a one-off emergency but not otherwise.
 

paddy555

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This wasn’t just slave labour, they also got a lot of free tuition and training in stable management, they got to go to polo matches, the better ones got to exercise liveries, hunters and polo ponies so could feasibly end up riding ten horses over their two days if they were really good helpers.
they got out what they put in. Those keen to learn got more riding, more lessons, and a lot of training on the job. Those who didn’t care or couldn’t be bothered just got tired.
that sounds like a really good structured system for helpers rather than people just hanging around trying to help in the hope of getting an occasional ride.
 

Starzaan

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that sounds like a really good structured system for helpers rather than people just hanging around trying to help in the hope of getting an occasional ride.
It worked so well, and the good ones often ended up becoming full time members of staff when they left school, or part time around school or college as soon as they were old enough 😊
 

ihatework

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Whilst the equivalent of £5/hour is low, it doesn’t sound as though you are an established/experienced groom!

Most yards would plan on 3-4 stables and hour including hay/water/sweep/muck heap.

So the more you do it and more efficient you become, the quicker you will get through it and the higher ph rate you will get.

It sounds like a fair way to work for lessons in a RS situation and I don’t think £2.50 a stable is too bad for that type of set up. Whilst it is just shut shovelling, don’t underestimate how you will pick up skills even doing that.
 

MuddyMonster

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Yes absolutely. That’s what I did before they asked me to help when they were short. I also ride outside of the riding school environment a couple of times a week. Hacking with a friend and her horses. X
I'd go back to paying full price then, if it was me! It sounds like it started by you helping them out & it's no longer working for you. I wouldn't help for any longer than necessary for £2.50 a stable, either.

IMHO, if they think you're good enough to help out when short staffed - they should pay accordingly. Getting a freelance groom to cover would probably cost them more than £2.50 a muck out.
 
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Backtoblack

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No it isnt fair at all. You need to charge £10 for 4 stables plus some extra for petrol. or £10 an hour including travel time there and back. Either get paid properly or get them to knock this off the lesson price. You are being exploited. This happens far too often in the horse industry and had done for many years. Unlerss people start standing up for themselves nothing will change and if places close so be it. You can always do another job and pay for your lessons out of those wages.
 

twiggy2

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No it isnt fair at all. You need to charge £10 for 4 stables plus some extra for petrol. or £10 an hour including travel time there and back. Either get paid properly or get them to knock this off the lesson price. You are being exploited. This happens far too often in the horse industry and had done for many years. Unlerss people start standing up for themselves nothing will change and if places close so be it. You can always do another job and pay for your lessons out of those wages.
So £10 for 4 stables is the same money per hr if it takes an hr to do 2 stables!
Charging travel time is not relevant because a choice is being made to travel that far.
 

SO1

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Is this person an apprentice as if so pay per hour for an apprentice is under £5 an hour?

The experienced grooms on the yard can do 4-6 stables per hour depending on how messy the horse is. Are you having to make up the haynet as well or just hang up a prepared one? How long it will take will also depend on size of wheelbarrow, distance to muck heap, distance to taps to fill up water?

As a comparison how long does it take one of the professional grooms to muck a stable on the yard?
 
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teddypops

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No it isnt fair at all. You need to charge £10 for 4 stables plus some extra for petrol. or £10 an hour including travel time there and back. Either get paid properly or get them to knock this off the lesson price. You are being exploited. This happens far too often in the horse industry and had done for many years. Unlerss people start standing up for themselves nothing will change and if places close so be it. You can always do another job and pay for your lessons out of those wages.
They would get £10 an hour if they mucked out 4 stables which isn’t difficult. Can’t charge for petrol when it is their choice to go there! I don’t get paid fuel for driving to work, do you? I would imagine that the yard pays per stable so the work gets done rather than paying per hour and people dragging out the jobs to get paid more.
 
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This wasn’t just slave labour, they also got a lot of free tuition and training in stable management, they got to go to polo matches, the better ones got to exercise liveries, hunters and polo ponies so could feasibly end up riding ten horses over their two days if they were really good helpers.
they got out what they put in. Those keen to learn got more riding, more lessons, and a lot of training on the job. Those who didn’t care or couldn’t be bothered just got tired.
I don't know how to phrase it without sounding a bit aggressive so please excuse me, but I would be seriously cheesed off if I were paying for full livery, or hunter livery and an unpaid volunteer/child was riding or caring for my horse in return. I would have been paying for someone with experience, insurance and know how, who I would have presumably met in the show round, not just anyone who fancied it
 

Starzaan

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I don't know how to phrase it without sounding a bit aggressive so please excuse me, but I would be seriously cheesed off if I were paying for full livery, or hunter livery and an unpaid volunteer/child was riding or caring for my horse in return. I would have been paying for someone with experience, insurance and know how, who I would have presumably met in the show round, not just anyone who fancied it
I have been a full livery myself and understand entirely. The majority of our hunters were hirelings owned by the centre, as were all the polo ponies. I would never have just plonked a child on one of the full liveries, but we did have some cracking teenagers who rode well, and we had owners who were happy for them to exercise their horses (the vast majority of our full liveries had kept horses at this yard for years. 29 years being the longest term. They were like family, and still are to me even a few years on!).We were a BHS training centre, and Pony Club centre, so we offered extensive training both on the ground and in the saddle to our volunteers. I’m still in touch with a lot of them, and am so proud of them and what they have achieved. One won his first race under rules recently and I sobbed!
These volunteers were never left unattended, and they had to achieve a certain level of horse care before being allowed to help on the yard. When they were old enough to be paid they were paid.
I was so happy working there, and maybe I don’t describe it well but I’m so proud of all the wonderful kids we turned into excellent grooms, who are now all over the world working with horses and achieving their dreams. 😊
 

Rowreach

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I have been a full livery myself and understand entirely. The majority of our hunters were hirelings owned by the centre, as were all the polo ponies. I would never have just plonked a child on one of the full liveries, but we did have some cracking teenagers who rode well, and we had owners who were happy for them to exercise their horses (the vast majority of our full liveries had kept horses at this yard for years. 29 years being the longest term. They were like family, and still are to me even a few years on!).We were a BHS training centre, and Pony Club centre, so we offered extensive training both on the ground and in the saddle to our volunteers. I’m still in touch with a lot of them, and am so proud of them and what they have achieved. One won his first race under rules recently and I sobbed!
These volunteers were never left unattended, and they had to achieve a certain level of horse care before being allowed to help on the yard. When they were old enough to be paid they were paid.
I was so happy working there, and maybe I don’t describe it well but I’m so proud of all the wonderful kids we turned into excellent grooms, who are now all over the world working with horses and achieving their dreams. 😊
And the vast majority of us in the industry would far rather employ someone who had cut their teeth in this sort of environment than the ones who come through equine colleges and end up with a qualification which often serves no purpose and beggar all experience of what working in a real life yard actually involves (before I get shouted at, I was an employer of yard staff for 25 years and spent 8 of those doing supply lecturing at an equine college ...).
 

Starzaan

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And the vast majority of us in the industry would far rather employ someone who had cut their teeth in this sort of environment than the ones who come through equine colleges and end up with a qualification which often serves no purpose and beggar all experience of what working in a real life yard actually involves (before I get shouted at, I was an employer of yard staff for 25 years and spent 8 of those doing supply lecturing at an equine college ...).
Exactly. I would always rather employ the person who worked for their rides and learned practical skills on a real yard, as opposed to one coming from an equine college where things simply aren’t realistic a lot of the time. 😊
 

View

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I’ve been that teenager, working for rides, gaining hands on practical experience. While I was at school, Dad and I had a standing invitation to exercise hunters at a hunter livery yard if we were in the area (the owners were well aware that we were not paid staff, but happy for us to exercise their hunters - in fact they even paid for Dad to go autumn hunting).

I’ve also been one of the paid weekend staff in a riding school. We had two fabulous instructors who had come through the equine college route but both agree that they learnt their practical skills before they went to college. We had some that had been to college and therefore believed that mucking out was beneath them. I had far more faith in the older teenagers keeping the yard running for me if we were short of an instructor or yard manager on a busy day. Our hard working teenagers were rewarded not just with spaces in group lessons but training for BHS stages, riding in the staff lessons during school holidays and vouchers for a local tack shop. Those that didn’t work so hard had a space in a group lesson or hack for completing a specified amount of work. It was up to them how long it took to earn it.
 

gallopingby

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Fluffypony209 it sounds as if you’re quite young? If you’re not experienced in stable management then volunteering can be a good way to learn but you will still need supervision / training / someone to check you’ve done the tasks correctly so if you’re getting paid in kind then l’d consider this a bonus. If you were on a training / apprentice scheme you’d be paid according to your age and considerably less than £10 an hour. There’s no doubt that hands on practical experience can get you further than maybe a college 9.00 - 3.00 course five days a week but maybe you should think about the hours / weeks / months / years people have put in to reach that level often working 7.00 am to 7.00 pm. Would you be prepared to work that length of time 5 or 6 days a week at busy times? Lots of people today benefit and enjoy being around horses but don’t have the means or dedication to commit to anything other than occasional volunteering which is fine and will help you to learn / consolidate any skills you may have but isn’t a means of financing a hobby. The best way forward is to get a well paid job and then pay for your own riding lessons and eventually your own horse. Good luck whatever you decide to do.
 
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I have been a full livery myself and understand entirely. The majority of our hunters were hirelings owned by the centre, as were all the polo ponies. I would never have just plonked a child on one of the full liveries, but we did have some cracking teenagers who rode well, and we had owners who were happy for them to exercise their horses (the vast majority of our full liveries had kept horses at this yard for years. 29 years being the longest term. They were like family, and still are to me even a few years on!).We were a BHS training centre, and Pony Club centre, so we offered extensive training both on the ground and in the saddle to our volunteers. I’m still in touch with a lot of them, and am so proud of them and what they have achieved. One won his first race under rules recently and I sobbed!
These volunteers were never left unattended, and they had to achieve a certain level of horse care before being allowed to help on the yard. When they were old enough to be paid they were paid.
I was so happy working there, and maybe I don’t describe it well but I’m so proud of all the wonderful kids we turned into excellent grooms, who are now all over the world working with horses and achieving their dreams. 😊
You’ve explained yourself very well, I’d be moving my horse tomorrow… have you ever explored the option of being a saleswoman? 😂
 

SO1

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I think these sort of schemes are really important as they enable people who can't afford lessons or a share but are not skillful or experienced enough to get a paid job as a groom where more knowledge about handling horses and riding and basic equine first aid, clipping is needed to help out and in return get some lessons. By being on the yard you also see other activities and can stop and watch perhaps if a vet comes or see someone handle other situations.

This is especially important for perhaps kids who parents cannot afford lessons or don't want to pay for them or perhaps people on low incomes who can't get paid for riding or free rides due to lack of experience. For those people it maybe the only option for them to get riding lessons and stable management experience and be around horses and be part of the equestrian scene. From that experience other opportunities may arise.

However it sounds like the OP can afford lessons and also rides a friends horse for free so might not be the right opportunity for her unless she wants to get some work experience for her CV.

Getting a good reference might be another reason why people might do this sort of role as a stepping stone to a freelance groom role or other role in the equine industry or perhaps if they wanted to get a share if they had this experience as well experience from riding lessons they would be more likely to get a share. This could also count with getting onto a college course which requires some work experience.
 
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