Well I of course got busy with the spring horse shows for two weeks, then spent one week recovering, and now looked at the calendar and see that it all starts again next week!
One thing that I was thinking about though, as I was talking to another girl that works for a big name farm, is that us white girls are possibly taken advantage of just as much if not more than the other grooms. I’ve been in a situation where I became the nanny/part-time babysitter, just like this girl. You come into these jobs because you love horses, but the employers, whether its a big name trainer or a small private family that we groom for, they ask us to take on extra work that we never thought would be a part of the job.
We end up justifying it with things like, “oh, but they pay for my meals.” Or I’ve heard, “They just help me out so much that I can’t say no.” But I am beginning to think that maybe we should start saying no to ridiculous things like that. Speaking for myself, when I am at a show, I like to be able to finish the day and chose whether I relax in the hotel room taking a nap, go to dinner with whoever I choose, and basically have some time “off the clock.”
I thought I was the only girl that had been left at the hotel for the night watching the kids. Talking to this girl over at the show, she has had the same problem. I guess what bothers me the most about all of it is this- its a lack of respect for your personal life. It’s not that horse shows don’t give you time to have a personal life- its that you can rarely make plans that you can stick to. The most irritating instance that I can remember was when the girl that I groomed for asked when I was going back to the hotel. I said something like not soon enough since I have quite a bit of work to do. She replied with informing me that she would be coming back to the hotel with me (we shared a room- god only knows why. Yes, I had to wake her up some mornings before i left for the show) since her mom decided to go have a drink and have dinner with others. Like thanks for asking…. I’m not exhausted at aaaallllllll. And I don’t want to have a beer.
And if you should ever say no to their requests, get a little grumpy, or even go so far as to quit your job because you are not interested in being a nanny, only a groom, they will act like you are an ungrateful little girl that knows nothing and how dare you- don’t you know how lucky you are???
If you are an employer reading this, I am not trying to offend anyone. I am just trying to make the point that some of us female grooms do this for our love of horses, not for doubling as a baby sitter. We don’t mind watching your kid occasionally, and some extra money is a good payment for that. Not beer, not dinner, not anything else. Money- kind of like overtime pay. It’s exactly what you would have to do with a sitter… We are not going to be free or cheap labor. We have personal lives that we try to maintain in our spare time, so a little respect is all that we ask.