Friday, 29 January 2010

The (Not So) Great Dane

On Monday, the Polo Player and I picked up the farm's newest member of staff. A fellow backpacker; The Great Dane arrived having wangled himself a job here for the next few months.

Firstly, I should explain the reason for this slightly ironic (blog-use only, I'm not that mean) nickname. Our new addition hails from Denmark and stands at around 5 foot 1 inch tall. Maybe 5 foot 2 at a push, I'm not sure, I haven't measured. All I know is that he's smaller than me and has the strangest collection of facial hair I've ever seen. He speaks and understands English extremely well. Unfortunately, he has all the horse-sense of a toad.

Anyway, I'm all for equal opportunities in the workplace. But if there's one workplace where being vertically and horse-ily challenged might be a hindrance, it's on a polo yard where most of the work involves putting saddles, bridles and yourself on fairly sizable horses. Never mind riding them 5 abreast around a field. But you know, I'm an open minded girl and if the boy can do it, he can do it. Right?

Right. Except...the extent of his riding experience was a year at boarding school 'where there were horses'. He puts saddles on closer to the horses tail than their neck. Yesterday, he spent at least ten minutes trying to take a bridle off, before I had to come and remove it for him. I raised my eyebrows when the Polo Player tasked TGD with leading a mare and her foal to another field. Having spent the day re-doing every strap and saddle TGD had done up, I proposed a bet with the equally frustrated Polo Player.

"Five dollars says something goes tits up" I said, as we sped away on the quad bike to relocate some other ponies. "Done" he replied, and we returned to the field 20 minutes later to find The Great Dane with a 'sprained finger' and a story about how a three week old foal jumped a wire fence. "Five dollars" I mouthed to the seething Polo Player, once he'd finished spraining The Great Dane's ears.

Ok, so maybe I'm being overly critical. No matter how much experience you have, there's a learning curve at the start of every job and I am certainly no exception. I do things wrong. Then I listen, I learn, I make every effort to put it right the next time. So try to understand my frustration in having to say the same things over and over again, showing someone how to do something multiple times, only for them to still mess it up. Even the simplest of jobs requires repetition, because every time the Great Dane is given instructions you get the same initial response: "WHAAART?"

Case in point:

"TGD, can you pick up that water bucket and fill it, because the horses are going to be in all day."
"The water bucket in that horse's stall is on it's side. Can you pick it up and fill it?"
"Oh, yes"

At this point, The Great Dane picks the water bucket up, turns it upright, and walks away to resume staring into space. You take a deep breath.

"Ah. No. TGD, wait...I said to FILL the water bucket up. The horses are in all day. They will need a drink"

(Oh dear God. Breaaaathe.)

"THE HORSES...will be in their stalls...ALL DAY. They will need a DRINK OF WATER. Can you FILL the WATER BUCKET up, using the hose OVER THERE."
"Oh, yes"

It's one thing having the horse sense of an amphibian. It's another to be completely lacking in common sense or own initiative.

Me and The Great Dane are not going to be best buddies.


I said...Oh, sod off.

And it's pardon.


Anonymous said...

TGD must need a set of step ladders to get on each horse!

The one good thing about his arrival is that I sense a good supply of blogging fodder on its way.

not twitter said...

One way or the other, I give him a week. Tops.

Ellie said...

Oh Shit. Do you think he'll last?

Elaine said...

This is hilarious!
How much of it was the language barrier, and how much of it was the fact he's a numpty?

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Perp - He would need a step ladder, yes, except he prefers to insist on trying to get on on his own, leaving us waiting for 10 minutes while he tries to jump on the horses back. Then he gets on, lets go of the others and...oh, I'm boring myself.

not twitter - I give him a week after his demotion to non-horse farm duties only.

Ellie - In 3 words, I hope not.

Elaine - Oh his english is fine. He's just got the intuition of a turtle. And is very bad with horses.


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