Helllo! I’m new to this forum so hopefully I’m putting this in the right place! Sorry for the long post I haven’t gotten this out of my system yet but it’s been on my mind the past several months. Thank you to whoever takes the time to read it …
I’m a lifelong rider in my early 20s. I took some time off from riding due to financial reasons but recently started back up 2 years ago at a new barn. At first the barn and my new trainer were awesome. I loved everything about it and that my trainer was very thorough and kind at first. I had a regular food service job at the time but horses were always my passion and I always dreamed of a career involving horses my whole life.
So a year ago when she offered me a job helping out around the barn I was estatic. I figured it was a great way to gain some valuable experience and get my foot in the door. I took this up and my tasks involved mucking, cleaning, turnout, feeding exc. She agreed to pay me slightly above minimum wage and also offered me free riding time and lessons.
However, as soon as I started working I found that my lessons were thrown onto the back burner and eventually became non existent. At this point I offered to pay for the lessons because I wanted to continue my growth as a rider but she insisted that a perk of working there was that I didn’t have to pay. Although my lessons still have stopped and I haven’t had one in 7 months now I decided to not make it a big deal. She was always very nice to me in the beginning and always mentioned how much she appreciated my hard work.
I have since quit my other job and work at the barn all week. She mentioned to me multiple times months ago that once the summer came and the high school kids would be around during the day that I would get to lesson and ride more. She even said that by then she would just have me manage the summer camp they run and I wouldn’t be mucking stalls anymore. Now it is the end of the summer and all I have done is stalls and only done all of the manual labor still. However I never complain and am very easy going.
I have also started riding her daughter’s horse (the daughter has no time for him and he has sat for 2 years) as a favor to them. I am the only rider she has that can handle him and I got him slowly back doing wtc. Because of this I have had to give up my jumping which was my main focus of riding because I only ride this horse now. I don’t particularly enjoy riding this horse but it was very important to her that he started being riden again so I was agreeable to help.
Recently the owner/trainer has been in a very bad mood due to personal reasons and has been taking it out on the people helping out in the barn including me. Over the past few months I’ve been screamed at and verbally abused for things out of my control. However she is elderly and a lot of times she will tell you to go do something , forget, and then yell at you for doing it. She gives conflicting instructions constantly and has been very mean as of late. As someone who has always worked hard and does many favors around the barn I feel like this treatment is unfair.
Her daughter who is very spoiled finally came down to barn to ride her horse the other day and all she said was that I had a lot of work to do. She apparently wasn’t satisfied with her horse’s progress. I felt insulted. I agreed to ride him as a favor to them and gave up my riding time to work with him. And all of my riding with him was with her mom(the owner) present and directing us so his lack of progress isn’t necessary in my control. I thought he was doing well considering how long it had been since he had been riden. I felt so disrespected as I never asked to ride this horse and I was expecting a thank you rather than criticism. Of course the owner sides with her daughter.
Anyways I have been seriously considering going back to a regular waitressing job and then taking up lessons at a different facility. I feel like I would make more money that way as well as progress as a rider. I feel like I’m not gaining anything by spending all my time mucking stalls and riding the daughter’s horse for their benefit. I’m not sure how and if I could leave at this point. I’m the only one she thinks is capable of riding that horse and I’m the only one she has to muck the stalls during the week. Since all the high school kids are going back to school this fall she really has no one else who can do it. I know leaving at this point would really really screw her over but I also can’t handle being screamed at any longer for ridiculous reasons and having my riding not improving. Please I need advice