Shortage of grooms?

Sossigpoker

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With respect, you don't KNOW that people won't pay for a quality livery service. I would.
But - here's my experience of 'full (part/non-ridden) livery -

Month 1 - I pay, they do everything delightfully.
Month 2 - I pay, but they no longer pick out horses' feet on way in from field.
Month 3 - I pay, but they no longer pick out feed, nor poo pick field - I end up doing that myself at weekends as it is disgusting.
Month 4 - I pay, but they decide it is easier not to change rugs at night. I turn up at 5pm to see my girls - they have no hay left. 'They are pigs' I am told. One is, but one is really not. It is my hay they are using - at my expense, but filling haynets is a bore.
Month 5 - I pay, but now I have to go up every night to fill haynets, pick out feet, groom, change rugs, and check them.
Month 6 - I pay, but I am now having to totally muck out at weekends (they are skipping out the visible poo in the shavings, leaving the rest if it is hidden).
If you complain- you create atmosphere - and who wants to have to complain all the time? The YO doesn't care as it's in her interests to take your money, but do the minimum possible. You become a 'difficult' or 'precious' livery.
Month 7 - I put my horses back on DIY - the only difference being I am no longer paying for all these services I didn't receive.

Yard owner perspective - no one is willing to pay for full/part livery.
This is sadly a very accurate description. I've paid for full livery and had to muck out ,.provide fresh water, clean haybar etc. Basic stuff that should be a part of the livery. And when I complain , I'm then "difficult "!
I'm now on assisted DIY and lately even those "assisted " bits started to slip , like horse not even turned out let alone feet picked.
Excuse is "short of staff" but I take the view that if you cant provide the service, you shouldn't bill for it.
Yard has a bit of a reputation as an employer and this is probably having an impact on their ability to find more staff.
 

luckyoldme

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The shortage of applicants for any sort of manual work is the result of a perfect stor
I’ve worked with horses since leaving college (now 31) and like others said I have worked with some good and some bad employees. It takes its toll on your back and joints eventually though. I worked really hard all through my 20s. These days I just do riding and clipping and am looking for a career change. Doing my HGV to maybe do some horse transport to keep working with horses in a different way. Yard work at my age is really not worthwhile for the pay you get. If pay was better, I think a lot more older people would stick at it but sadly we have responsibilities and bigger bills that the low wages just don’t cover.
Good luck with your hgv..a lot of female drivers have horses somewhere in their backgrounds.
 

Keith_Beef

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I'm not disagreeing with what you're saying at all, but that's £5833 you have to find, per month (not including holiday and sickness cover) just for two full time grooms.. or the equivalent of 8 liveries at £750pcm just to cover staff costs.. It's just never going to happen.
It's even worse that you think. Yes, it means paying £5833 per month to two grooms (£2916.67 each), but you've got employers NI contributions of (I think) £280 per month for each on top of that.
 

Chianti

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20 February 2008
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636
With respect, you don't KNOW that people won't pay for a quality livery service. I would.
But - here's my experience of 'full (part/non-ridden) livery -

Month 1 - I pay, they do everything delightfully.
Month 2 - I pay, but they no longer pick out horses' feet on way in from field.
Month 3 - I pay, but they no longer pick out feed, nor poo pick field - I end up doing that myself at weekends as it is disgusting.
Month 4 - I pay, but they decide it is easier not to change rugs at night. I turn up at 5pm to see my girls - they have no hay left. 'They are pigs' I am told. One is, but one is really not. It is my hay they are using - at my expense, but filling haynets is a bore.
Month 5 - I pay, but now I have to go up every night to fill haynets, pick out feet, groom, change rugs, and check them.
Month 6 - I pay, but I am now having to totally muck out at weekends (they are skipping out the visible poo in the shavings, leaving the rest if it is hidden).
If you complain- you create atmosphere - and who wants to have to complain all the time? The YO doesn't care as it's in her interests to take your money, but do the minimum possible. You become a 'difficult' or 'precious' livery.
Month 7 - I put my horses back on DIY - the only difference being I am no longer paying for all these services I didn't receive.

Yard owner perspective - no one is willing to pay for full/part livery.
One of my best examples of part livery. Yard I was on was paid to feed, turn in and out and change rugs. I did the bed- which suited me. I frequently was there at turn out and bring in so would obviously do that and changed the rugs. I got there early mornings so made up the feed and gave it. I went every day - twice a day, unless late work prevented. One very rainy Saturday pm I nearly didn't go but did because I didn't like the way they rugged at night. As I arrived I bumped into the yard owner's daughter. To my ' Hello' she replied, 'We love it when people turn up just after we've bought their horse in' and walked off. Would that happen in any other service industry?
 

teapot

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The problem, I think, is that yards are not run as businesses. In no other SME would the owner expect not to do any work at all, to complain about 'difficult' customers, etc. When was the last time you were surveyed about your experiences of livery on a yard? Or asked if you needed anything.
The equine industry needs dragged, kicking and whining no doubt, into the 21st century - it's no longer landed gentry and their servants - it should be a business offering a quality service to meet customer needs, profitably.
YES YES YES -worships at the high altar of Shils-

Have pmed you ;)
 

Birker2020

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Since about mid-December I have seen a constant stream of adverts on my social media looking for grooms, either full time or part time, and for both local yards, equestrian centres, international riders and private yards.

Are there less people willing to work on yards now? or is it a seasonal fluctuation perhaps? Most seem to be offered at £10ph (or those that write it on the JD anyway), would that have a bearing on it now that that is basically minimum wage for a 23yo?

I am in the South East, I would be interested to know if it's the same elsewhere..
Yes I've noticed that too. I have also noticed that a couple of grooms I know personally have given up their jobs to buy and sell on horses to make a quick buck in this mad, mad horse market that we have found ourselves in. And who can blame them?
 

Auslander

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I have been looking for somewhere to basically work for rides, no one is interested.
I can do weekend and a particular weekday days so no, not as helpful as full time but I’d have thought I’d have had some interest.
Basically I miss having my hand in and riding lots of different types, I already freelance but that’s just sh*t shovelling, but I do know my way around a pro yard so I could be helpful to someone I’d have thought to do some mucking out etc in return for some riding (I ride to AM dressage and re-school projects for fun so I’m not totally useless I don’t think?!) 🤷‍♀️
I'd bite your arm off if you were in my neck of the woods!
 

teapot

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I have been looking for somewhere to basically work for rides, no one is interested.
I can do weekend and a particular weekday days so no, not as helpful as full time but I’d have thought I’d have had some interest.
Basically I miss having my hand in and riding lots of different types, I already freelance but that’s just sh*t shovelling, but I do know my way around a pro yard so I could be helpful to someone I’d have thought to do some mucking out etc in return for some riding (I ride to AM dressage and re-school projects for fun so I’m not totally useless I don’t think?!) 🤷‍♀️
Problem is from a business pov is that work for rides is kinda illegal now.

What private people do is up to them but they probably know they can find someone who's willing to pay for the privilege of what looks like a share agreement but is actually work for rides.
 

Parker2010

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I’m also in the south east. Currently a freelance groom, however looking into career change as I’m just getting fed up. Some of my clients are lovely and I really enjoy working for them. but I have worked at yards where you are worked into the ground for minimum wage And barley get spoken to like your a human. I applied for a job a couple of years back, the ad said something about looking for a already insured self employed groom for 3 mornings a week, days, hours, pay etc to be discussed. I ended up up doing a lot more more hours, which I didn’t mind but when they didn’t want to pay and started setting unrealistic tasks to time scales I left Along with others. Needless to say they go through ALOT of staff. It took me 6months to get them to pay me what they owed. There are some lovely employers out there but there also ones that put you off working in the industry completely.
 

Chianti

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:D Thanks for the PM - I think our experiences are the same.

Another yard bugbear - despite paying decent money for livery - why are yard toilets always filthy?
Not only the loos - why are the tea rooms often filthy as well? Last yard I was on I couldn't think why anyone would want to eat or drink in it. Being around horses is a filthy experience but I don't see why the facilities can't be kept clean.
 

chaps89

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I'd bite your arm off if you were in my neck of the woods!
Aw shucks, thanks :)
Shame you’re just a touch too far, if fuel wasn’t so flipping expensive at the moment I wouldn’t mind the time driving over but I’m already spending over £300 on fuel a month 😢
 

blitznbobs

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Not only the loos - why are the tea rooms often filthy as well? Last yard I was on I couldn't think why anyone would want to eat or drink in it. Being around horses is a filthy experience but I don't see why the facilities can't be kept clean.
Now this I have never understood... why is this impossible to manage anywhere?
 

little_critter

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:D Thanks for the PM - I think our experiences are the same.

Another yard bugbear - despite paying decent money for livery - why are yard toilets always filthy?
toilets??
My previous yard was DIY so I didn't mind peeing in my stable, but now I'm on full livery I'm not sure the yard would appreciate it.
Other than the lack of loo, I have no issues with my first experience of full livery.
 

Otherwise

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Not only the loos - why are the tea rooms often filthy as well? Last yard I was on I couldn't think why anyone would want to eat or drink in it. Being around horses is a filthy experience but I don't see why the facilities can't be kept clean.
Because it's one more chore for the grooms to do when they're already understaffed and overworked.
 

teapot

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Because it's one more chore for the grooms to do when they're already understaffed and overworked.
Or perhaps liveries/clients should just wash up properly, and not abuse facilities?

We may have hidden the milk on more than one occasion after clients used and abused the free tea and coffee.
 
Last edited:

mariew

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Not only the loos - why are the tea rooms often filthy as well? Last yard I was on I couldn't think why anyone would want to eat or drink in it. Being around horses is a filthy experience but I don't see why the facilities can't be kept clean.
Lol as long as it's warm and wet I don't mind but rather not have things floating around in my tea.. I kind of think it's impossible to keep toilets or tea rooms clean and tidy on a yard but if they are exceptionally dirty why not help out and spend 5 minutes wiping down the worst. Of everyone did a little it wouldn't take long.
 

Otherwise

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Or perhaps liveries/clients should just wash up properly, and not abuse facilities?

We may have hidden the milk on more than one occasion after clients used and abused the free tea and coffee.
Having to collect and wash up mugs that clients had left around the yard was always mildly irritating, especially if they'd left them somewhere a horse could knock them off. The amount of broken mugs we cleared up over the years was ridiculous.
 

Sussexbythesea

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I’m on a DIY yard and most of us chip in to keep communal areas decent and provide loo roll, milk, loo cleaner, soap and towels for dying hands (we’re quite civilised) Someone provided a fridge and I’ve just bought a microwave. I guess though if I were paying full livery money I wouldn’t expect to clean up others mess although I’d always clean up my own.
 

teapot

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Having to collect and wash up mugs that clients had left around the yard was always mildly irritating, especially if they'd left them somewhere a horse could knock them off. The amount of broken mugs we cleared up over the years was ridiculous.
Oh completely! I do think though regardless of what they're paying, basic manners of washing up a cup, or flushing the loo is not a huge ask of clients.
 

gallopingby

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I would suggets that there has been a decrease in the number of people who wish to work as a groom on a yard as a lot more people wishing to work within the equine industry go on from school to further education and do an equine related course. Having qualified they can find higher paid jobs within the equine industry such as teaching, working for insurance companies or equine supply companies etc. where the positions are better paid and with more prospects of promotion. In the South East I would suggest that an entry level employed groom working a 5 day week (8 hours per day) needs to be on a salary of no less that £35K per year minimun which is about £17 per hour.
If this was the salary for an entry level groom l’m sure there would be more interest as this exceeds the starting salary of many university graduates especially those working in health professions!
 

little_critter

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I think you employ grooms they have to have acess to a toilet.

When I was on a DIY yard we didn't have a toilet but at the part livery one we do. It would not be right to expect yard staff who are there all day to not have a toilet or a tea room to sit down in for their break.
There were no staff on the diy yard. I think the staff (only 1 groom) use the owners loo at the full livery yard.
 

Shilasdair

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If you use a gym, or have been a member of a sports club, do you expect toilets?
Do you expect to clean them once you've used them?
In no other industry would this be even considered a solution.
Livery yards need to budget for the provision, maintenance and hygienic cleaning of toilets, and communal facilities such as kitchens.
 
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I worked as a groom for 12 years. Worked for some amazing riders, groomed at CDIs, rode some equally amazing horses. I moved closer to home after 8 years, found qhat seemed like a good place to be - worked into the ground, rode some very dangerous horses without prior knowledge from employer. One sent me in an air ambulance- they'd left it in the stable for 3 days, no turn out etc never told me and the mare exploded. There's many more things which happened but I was paid well below my level of experience. So I left, got a job now which fits in around my horses and I'm earning 52k a year.....the equine industry needs to rethink how it treats its grooms
 

Shilasdair

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Many years ago, I looked at customer satisfaction with riding schools/livery yards in Scotland. I started by interviewing the owners. They all assured me that their customers thought their facilities were amazing, and that the main issue they had was their unreliable, difficult, and customer-unfriendly staff.

I then interviewed 200 customers across a range of yards.
Guess what the customers rated most and least on every single yard?
 

teapot

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Many years ago, I looked at customer satisfaction with riding schools/livery yards in Scotland. I started by interviewing the owners. They all assured me that their customers thought their facilities were amazing, and that the main issue they had was their unreliable, difficult, and customer-unfriendly staff.

I then interviewed 200 customers across a range of yards.
Guess what the customers rated most and least on every single yard?
Stop giving me ammo for my next bit of writing (though we're on the same line of the same page anyway!)
 
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