We all know it is hard to find good help, especially in the stable. An Ohio horse trainer took to social media last week seeking barn help for his business.
William Keim operates WK Training, LLC and posted this help wanted ad on his Facebook page:
I have no problem working seven days a week, rain, shine or holidays, but on the off-chance I fall off a horse and break my face, or my foot gets stepped on, or I come down with SARS, I need someone who can work unsupervised and not kill all the horses and burn the barn down on the first day. We’re a modest, mixed discipline operation with somewhere in the neighborhood of 16-21 mostly lesson and sale horses, with some boarders. You may be wondering if I even know how many horses I own at the moment, and the answer is of course, no. No I don’t. Once you get over nine it hardly matters anymore, so I save my mental energy for the things that do matter. Like remembering to eat breakfast and wear clean socks.
If you have show grooming experience, that’s a huge plus. If you can ride, that’s great too. If you can’t, no big deal. We have a pro here and that’s more than enough diva to go around. If your idea of barn work is showing up to kiss a horse, Show Sheen a tail, and ride all day long, then please don’t bother responding. I mean it. I’ve been through more than four hires in the last six months who are great at texting on the job, feeding out treats, and not much else, and frankly, I can’t spend another minute of my time explaining how to lead a horse and muck a stall and not get your head kicked in for being a chump.
I need a second in command to feed the horses on time, turn them out, and clean 10+ stalls before 11 a.m., and also to deal with the professional, because I do and she basically comes with the barn. Seriously. I’ve tried to get rid of her, and each time she turns up the next day like nothing ever happened to throw her shade, leave her stuff all over the aisle, and give me the stink eye. She’s like a bad penny, but she’s part of the package, so plan to deal with her for as long as I have to.
Speaking of pennies, the money is sh*t. It’s $9 an hour, and the chance to hack a horse or two when your work is done if you want to. Don’t ask for more money because there is none. Most weeks, you’ll already be making more than me because I don’t take a salary and I’m working for free until I either win the lottery or make good on a couple of these freeloading sale nags who literally do nothing but hang around and kick at the lesson kids and eat me out of my retirement. Seriously. My retirement is a barn full of hay, and every day I sit here and I watch it slowly disappear into their young, eager mouths, bale by glorious bale.
I do things the way I do them here because, after 40+ years of trial and error, I’m still alive, most of the horses are, and the place is still standing. I’m probably going to keep doing it my way. I will listen to all your New Age, $100K-for-an-equine-science-degree ideas about footing, hayfield management, and fancy overpriced tack, but if I don’t like them, we’re not doing them, and that’s it.
If I’ve got leftovers, you can come up for lunch at the house after we’re done, and I may even spring for some Coronas after work, but I’m serious about the pay. It’s five days a week, eight or nine hours a day if you want the afternoon shift too, and it’s $9 an hour. That’s all there is. If teaching lessons is your thing, we may be able to work that in too, and down the road there might be an opportunity to make a little extra pony camp money on the side. But not right now. Don’t make me like you at the interview and then whine to me about bankrolling your horse’s OCD surgery or your outrageous student loans for the zillion dollar degree you could have done better and for free if you started here four years ago. I don’t want to hear it. If you work hard, you’re good with the animals, and you’re not a total twit, we’ll probably be best friends and you’ll have more nice horses to ride than you know what to do with and plenty of free schooling and cold Corona (with limes, because I’m not a total degenerate).
Do you have a car? You’ll need a car. You should probably know how to drive a truck and trailer too, but I can help you with that if it works out. If your car is routinely on the fritz then PLEASE don’t bother applying for this job. I have enough fussy horses and one tractor that currently requires a screwdriver to start and no time or money to deal with either or anything else that takes expensive parts or supplements. Don’t call me at 6:55 a.m. and tell me you can’t make it or you’ll be late because your car broke down, because I can promise you at that very moment, my horses will be breaking down the barn because they’re hungry, and I’ll be pissed.
I don’t care if you’re a social butterfly or you barely speak. I don’t care if you’ve got big holes in your ears or you only shave in March or you don’t like people at all. Most days, I don’t either. All I care about is that you show up on time when you say you will, and you don’t take 40 minutes to muck out one stall. And you have to know what you’re doing with the horses, or they will smell it and chew you up and spit you out like two-week-old meatloaf.
Besides the professional, we’re all pretty nice here. The lesson kids are great. The parents are fine. I’m tolerable on most days. I promise I’ll be fair, I’ll give you holidays off, and I’ll have your meager paycheck to you on time. And you’ll learn a lot while you’re here. Trust me, I know how awful this industry can be, and how most people will say they’re into helping you, and then work you to the bone and take you for all you’re worth. (Even if you want nothing to do with this job, I just saved you from a lifetime of naivety and regret, so you’re welcome.) But I’m not one of those people. It’s a hard job, and I know that better than anyone because I do it every day. Four months out of the year, it’s really great to be up early, outside in the sun, working with horses. The rest of the time you can drink like I do.
Just kidding. If this sounds like it’s up your alley, shoot me your resume and some semblance of a cover letter, if you can. Literacy isn’t a requirement for this job, but I’d prefer it because, well, reading. Don’t say things like “star multitasker”, “team player”, or “results-oriented” in your cover letter. You’re taking care of horses, not dealing in municipal bonds, and I would rather be hit in the face with a bag of hot nickels than to ever have to read those words on paper again.
If you think I’m a real ____bag, you’re probably right, but I won’t take it personally. You haven’t met the professional yet. After her, I’m a peach.