Sunday, January 11, 2009

What Is It Really Like? Part II

I mentioned in my first post on this topic that I hear from many people that I have their dream job. For that matter I have MY dream job! However there are times when it feels a tad bit less than dreamy. This morning was a great example.

We've had tons of rain the last few weeks. The mud in the traffic areas by the gates and water troughs is ugly. Thankfully the pastures are holding up ok away from the traffic areas. It would sure help a lot if the horses didn't gallop around digging their hooves into the ground and then do sliding stops and destroy the grass roots but I digress . . .

Today I was thinking about a discussion that Jason and I have been having about finding more help. We have some great help now (you know who you are!) but we've talking about adding some more. I was writing the recruitment ad in my head as I was working this morning and here is what I came up with:

Help Wanted
Horse retirement farm in middle Tennessee is seeking a horse lover to assist on the retirement farm. Do you like working outside in the rain for 2-3 hours at a time? Do you like to work outside when it is cold and windy? Do you like to work outside when it is hot and humid? Do you mind getting mud all over you and having no shortage of dirt under your fingernails? Do you enjoy scrubbing water troughs, even when the water is freezing cold? If you enjoy exercise this is the job for you! You must be able to walk extensively through pastures and up and down hills. You need to be able to lift 50 lbs.

This job will require you to work on holidays, weekends, birthdays, when you are sick and when there is a family emergency. You need to be willing to put on and take off horse blankets and sheets, even when it is windy and the blankets are blowing around like kites as you are trying to put them on the horse. You will especially love this part of the job when the blanket has caked, dried mud on it that blows all over you during this process! You need to enjoy cleaning and rebedding stalls, scrubbing and refilling water buckets daily and sweeping the barn aisle. You will stack more hay bales than you ever thought possible in the spring.

In exchange for being wet, cold, hot or sweaty as dictated by the weather you will have the opportunity to spend time with horses from all over North America. These horses will all have unique and interesting backgrounds that you can learn about. You can tell them how pretty and special they are as you groom them (after you've done all of the hard labor of course). You will also get to be outside when the weather is perfect, the sky is blue and your surroundings couldn't be more beautiful, but please keep in mind there is a lot of cold, wet, windy, hot, etc. weather in between these days.

In summary the pay is not great, the work is hard and never ending, and no one will care if you are sick, hurt or otherwise incapacitated. You will work in whatever weather conditions happen to be present each day. The horses will act like you are their long lost best friend every morning at breakfast and again at dinner. You will be able to chat and catch up on all the local gossip with the vet and farrier as you will see them regularly, and in fact you will become friends with them. You will be able to put on and take off blankets in your sleep. You will be dirty most of the time. If interested please respond to blah, blah, blah.

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Do you think I would have any takers?

6 comments:

Sport's Mom said...

I am wishing I lived in Tennessee. If I did I would take you up on the job in a millisecond!

ezra_pandora said...

lol. I think there are a lot of crazy people out there just like yourself who would love to put it all on the line to do that, but it doesn't mean they can hack it like you do :)) You do a terrific job.

Sully said...

I would help if I lived closer for free, just so I could spend some time with the horses.

Jason said...

Melissa and I are truly blessed in our career and we mostly enjoy what we do. But it sure isn't for everybody.

I'm not referring to any of the posters here when I say this, but I think there are lots and lots of people who would be very eager to give it a try and would remain enthusiastic for a few weeks. Once they realized that they were going to be (literally) outside in the weather with very limited time in the barn and no time at all inside from 7:30 am until 5 pm in the winter and until 7 pm or later in the spring, summer and fall, weekends and holidays not excepted, I think it'd be a quick egress for most of them, and I don't blame them one bit !

There is a WORLD of difference between looking after a couple of your own horses at home and overseeing any type of boarding facility simply because every one of your clients is effectively your boss. This means that tasks that might get put on the back burner at your home facility are front and center at ours. We spend hours and hours every week on farm maintenance issues like fixing fence, (re)painting various structures, limbing trees, clipping pastures, seeding pastures, fertilizing, weeding in a timely manner, securing and making quality hay (sometimes both at the same time), vetting sick or aged horses, communicating with our many excellent clients, and doing a whole bunch of things that don't have much to do directly with loving on horses (although we do plenty of this as well). And we have to sandwich all of this activity between morning and evening chores which occur at exactly the same time every day which means leaving the farm for more than an hour or two needs to be planned well in advance.

The farming part and being outside doesn't bother me a bit...I grew up that way. However, it has been a steep learning curve for me adjusting to running an "open to the public" farm business. In my former life, anyone who didn't like the way I maintained my farm and animals was welcome to beat a path down the laneway, not forgetting to let the gate catch them in the rear on their hasty egress to the public road !! :)LOL !!

~*~Amy~*~ said...

This is my slow season & I am more than happy to help you guys out. I would love to! I have the attire to do so & I know your routine! :D

I have someone who helps me now, so I could just pass along more work to them. I already work in all weather & the holidays.

Lemme know! :D

P.S. Playing in the mud is fun....and I don't even mind being sprayed in the face with blue iodine!

ezra_pandora said...

Jason, I'm sure you are totally right. Our house is in shambles with just our own two horses. That someone ELSE feeds twice a day. I definitely wasn't speaking about myself when saying there are plenty of people willing to do it. I think most people would treat it like kids. It's fun to play around with for awhile, but we're relieved to be able to give it back and walk away. lol