I have a boarder that is now sneaking extra hay from MY horse's stall - and I'm the BO! He pays extra to get additional hay (which his horse does receive but when given too much, poops, pees and sleeps on it), extra feed (gets it), extra bedding (stall stripped everyday), blanket changing, hold for vet/farrier/saddle fitter, etc.
I know he has been "backfeeding" for a few months. During the summer the horse was out for 8+ hours on lush pasture. Now there is grass but I am also feeding 2nd cutting hay outside. The horse is not starving by any means and the owner commented that this is the best the horse has ever looked. I have tried to hint to him that his horse does not need it. I've made comments that I've cut back on the horse's hay because he's wasting, that I give additional hay after 9pm if the horses are out (I really do), put notes ON THE HAY BALES asking not to feed additional hay, hidden the wheelbarrow with hay in another part of the barn in a stall and tied the stall shut. But he just isn't getting the hint.
Yesterday I guess I couldn't take it anymore. I had noticed that one of my horses was devoring his hay in record time and my DH even said that it looked like our horse was short of hay. So I've been counting flakes and writing it down. Sometimes I get bales that are from 2 different fields and even though they're the same cutting, have different textures and it's obvious to the naked eye the hay is different. I checked the horse's stall after me doing a training ride on him because he brings the horse in and puts in the stall for hours at a time. He usually leaves 1 flake in the stall and puts the others in the stall next to it. I could see that the original 4 flakes of hay I put in the horse's stall were in the stall next door, but additional hay -from another bale - were in the stall and the horse had been eatting it. So I checked MY horse's stall and sure enough, 2 flakes had been taken. How do I know? I put shavings at the front of the hay as a marker and the hay was gone. So I said to him, BTW I put the hay you took out of my horse's stall back in it and put your horse's hay back in his stall. He looked dumbfounded. He tried to say he put the additional hay in the stall next door, but I said it was from a different bale and I counted flakes. He clammed right up and wouldn't talk to me after that. He hid in the tackroom for 10 minutes and by that time I was riding a different horse. He left without saying goodbye and then I started feeling guilty.
I called and left a nice message (he wouldn't answer his phone) that basically said maybe I handled this the wrong way but that if he didn't think his horse was getting enough just to say something to me. then I left a text message that I know he read but didn't respond to. I don't want to loose a boarder over something stupid, but I felt violated. In my own barn. I guess I thought it was rather ballsy to take from the OWNERS horse's hay, not another boarders.
Any thoughts or comments? I know I should have said something MUCH sooner and maybe my method wasn't good but it just slipped out. No one else was at the barn so he shouldn't have been embarrased since I made my comment and then totally changed the subject.
He did answer a text this morning about a totally unrelated topic, so that's a good sign. How far backwards to I need to bend as a BO?