When I first talked to my previous BO I couldn't have been more explicit - I asked him what the standard of care was (what I should expect in terms of feeding, hay, horse cleaning, tack cleaning,...) and I told him what I wanted (unlimited hay, good bedding). He gave me a price for what he thought was fair, which I paid month after month. The horse, however, wasn't being given any extra bedding or hay, so I was basically paying for an extra I wasn't receiving.I know hay is expensive, and thats why I was paying extra - standard at that time was 4 slices per day, I was paying the equivalent of a full bale (which has roughly 30kg, which is impossible for a horse to eat in a single day). I do know its a lot of work, and that's why I asked him what he would charge me on top of the basic fee so everything would go nicely. If he, at some point, decided he was charging too little, he should've come to me and asked me to pay more. He doesn't get to make the decision of not providing a service I am paying for without even a chat! Specially when its detrimental to my horses health (the 600€ of Abgard I've already spent on this 2nd treatment are his complete fault for leaving my mare without hay for hours on end, yet they are coming out of my pocket).
Since you have had issues at several barns, perhaps you could change your "approach" in the way that you negotiate for the extras, and have a realistic expectation of what that will cost you.
My current BO has many good qualities, one of which is she is very organized in terms of accounting, so when the invoice comes every month everything is specified. The issue is the information lost (or added) between the grooms who actually feed the horse and the BO who charges me. I pay everything separate (there is a fee for box rental and grooming services, another fee for tack cleaning and then feed and bedding is added to that, which I don't mind, as long as I am being charged for what she actually is using).
It strikes me as interesting that you feel you are being "overcharged" every month by your current BO, but out of the other side of your mouth is the desire for an upper level standard of care. Unfortunately, good care is not cheap, and I realize that bad care can also be expensive, but from a BO's view, don't ask for extras then complain about the cost.
The contract stipulated the horse would have hay at all times. If I get there and she doesn't have hay, do I have to ask for permission to use something I am paying for? Yes, I shouldn've touched the hay, but not because I couldn't, but because it should've been done in the first place, since I was on full board!´
it appears that the "fact" that the hay was being removed from the horse's stall after being put there (by the OP? maybe that was not in the contract?) appears to be a third-hand comment from a former employee, who may have left under less-than-happy circumstances.