It's a tough life for some!
Double page article in todays Racing Post on stable staff shortage. It makes interesting reading.
The empathises seems to be about wages. The wage maybe considered poor in the industry, but wages are also poor, for example, in Tesco, The Post Office and lorry driving. In life you get nothing for nothing, too many folk think they are entitled to this, that and the other when in fact no one is entitled to anything. If you want something you have to work for it. If that is a pay rise one needs to prove they are worth it day in day out. The wages set out by the BHA are guide lines only, a trainer can pay their staff what they choose as long as it isn’t below the wage set out by the BHA for the individual’s experience. I pay all my staff well over those guide lines set by the BHA, they all deserve it, work for it and I don’t resent it one bit. On occasions, some lads get away early to go schooling for other yards, I don’t dock their wages or expect them to make the time up on other days. If they have rides they get away in plenty of time and the aforementioned applies. Most trainers have some knowledge of running a business and most can do simple arithmetic, those that don’t or can’t don’t survive long. A racing yard is a volatile environment, trainers are under pressure they live and breath the job and the successful ones want everything done properly - it is called passion! To have good staff you have to pay the best wages you can without putting oneself out of business. The government have just given every employee a pay rise by initiating the compulsory pension schemes – not something I agree with. In return for paying good wages, I expect loyalty and for each staff member to be willing to go that extra yard when needed. I expect the job to be done corrcetly to a high standard on a daily basis. If they need it, for whatever reason, I would like to think all my staff would ask me for help and I would help them. Not so long ago I paid the down payment on a house rental for a member of staff and they paid me back over 3 months. I’m not a bank but I am willing to help any member of staff for all their hard work and loyalty. Would Tesco do this for their staff – I doubt it? Reference is also made about giving staff more time off than a day and a half / fortnight. I used to give every lad one afternoon a week off but it didn't work. It wasn't too long before they wanted 2 afternoons off a week so I stopped it. I would love to pay the staff more but the books wouldn’t balance. There is only so much one can charge for a horse in training. I think my fees at £40 / day are too low but that seems to be the accepted rate. Believe me, I make no money from training racehorses. By the time you’ve accounted for wages, bedding, feed, rates, electricity, insurance, employers tax, income tax, rugs, rug repairs, gallop/building maintainace, tack and equipment etc etc there’s not a whole lot left. I could make money by cutting a number of corners but that would compromise the horses wellbeing and the business. The pleasure I get form winning a race far out ways any amount of money. I don’t think the wage is the main contributing factor to the staff shortage. I think it is more the intensity of the job. The industry hasn’t helped itself - Sunday racing and summer jumping for starters.
I do it because I love it and I know nothing else. A life without horses would be a boring one.