WWYD? Difficult BO situation- UPDATE #2: The dad went OFF on me AGAIN
After much thought and agony over the situation I typed up a letter stating that I accepted the dad's 30 day notice to move the pony.
I explained to the kid about the situation and how the pony gets mad when she has the muzzle on (and even worse when she is in season) and gets into fights, and how she cannot remaain unmuzzled with full access to hay and grass because she will get fat again and how this is unhealthy. I told her I did not have the facilities to accomodate a pony like that and she would have to find another home. I also told her that it was nothing she had done and I thought she was a good kid, but I her dad was not willing to work with me and I don't appreciate being treated the way he treated me when I tried to discuss the situation. She said he was going to apologize, but I said it didn't matter, I didn't want to potentially be put in that situation again. I gave her the letter and asked her to give it to her dad. I wanted her to understand that it was his behavior that caused this.
Two minutes later the dad stormed out of his house and went off again. Accusing me of destroying his kid's dreams and her life (what? the pony is going to another home, it's not like she won't still have her) and telling me he hoped I could sleep at night knowing what I had done. I told him that it was because of his behavior that it had come to this. He said he was going to apologize and I asked him where he was two days ago. Too little too late he said. Yep.
He then continued to rail on me about how much help the kid has been to me (she has- and I have helped her: let her ride my son's pony regularly; let her ride my horse; taught her about horses and horse care; etc) and he couldn't believe I was doing this to her and how she wasn't allowed to help out anymore. I asked him why he was doing that to the kid and he said I was the one who did it. Amazing.
He then proceeded to call my concerns about the pony ridiculous and said that all I like to do is bitch and complain. Wow. His parting shot was bellowed across the street: "Good luck with the horses" as he violently slammed the door.
He said he was going to do everything in his power to get the pony out of there today. I feel so bad for the kid, but I tried and he didn't want to work with me. Sad.
[I am feeling really stressed out and upset right now].
Yesterday my trainer came out to give me a lesson and I told her about the pony and asked her advice, which was pretty much what I had been thinking: Depo; limit the muzzle to see if she gets less pissy; isolation. I asked the neighbor girl to ask her parents to come over so I could discuss the possible solutions with them.
The dad comes over and demands to know what the problem is. I explained about the three kicking battles in one week the pony was involved in and about how I was afraid that somebody was going to get hurt. Well, the dad went OFF. Yelling that that is what horses do (she has been in the herd for over a month, more then enough time to settle in) and how he couldn't believe that as the horse expert (I am a backyard horse owner, not a boarding barn and I certainly never proclaimed myself an expert) I didn't know that horses acted that way and he couldn't believe that it had come to this and he was considering it his 30 day notice (I never even implied that the pony had to leave).
He continued to rant and rave and proclaim that my horses didn't look hurt. Where were there cuts and scrapes (WTF? I am supposed to wait until there is a serious injury before I say anything?)?
I explained that the mare was exhibiting very 'mareish' behavior and was agressive towards the other horses when she was in season. We could try some Depo to see if that settled her and seperation to see if that helped.
He then went off on what the heck is this Depo stuff and how he didn't have the time or money to deal with making a seperate area for her.
The kicker though was when he started complaining about hay and about the pony being muzzled. He wanted to know where the $100 a month board money he is paying is going. He complained the the pony has slimmed down and, because of the muzzle, he was not getting his money's worth of hay (I feed round bales and square bales spread out around the field). WTF? Let's see, I am charging you $100 a month, you live right across the street so you are saving tons of money (easily $150-200 a month or more) on gas and board and time shuttling the kid back and forth to the barn. I am not doing this to make money, I am doing it to help out a horse crazy kid. When the pony came she was FAT and she had been living in a massively overgrazed field and was not used to lots of grass. I was not going to chuck her out in my field sans muzzle and watch her founder. I had also planned on taking the muzzle off during the day come fall (which I have since started).
I am at my wits end here and I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to tell him to take the pony, especially since I am afraid of how he will react if something really bad happens, like somebody getting hurt. But it's not the kids fault. This sucks. I don't know what to do....
So, say, out of the goodness of your heart you let the horse crazy 10 year old neighbor girl keep her pony at your place.
And say this pony is a 14 y.o. 14.2 h Haflinger mare that is as fat as a tick and said mare needs a grazing muzzle because she is too fat to feel neighbor girl's leg aids when she is riding.
Now say it turns out that Haflinger pony is a wicked pawer and paws huge swaths of grass away creating large bare spots in the pasture because she is pissed about the muzzle.
Pony also is not friendly to the other horses and, even after a month, squeals loudly whenever they sniff noses and spins and kicks out with both barrels. She got the snot knocked out of her when somebody got annoyed and kicked back. Both of them were going at it butt to butt with both hinds. Luckily, it was no more then some superficial scrapes in the end.
Finally, say yesterday, said pony decides to go after the 12.3 h 24 y.o. POA who did nothing wrong. With both barrels, backed into a corner.
Also say that said pony lives out 24/7 with the other pony and a couple of really nice horses.
What does a BO do in this situation?
The Haflinger is in season, so is it out of line to tell horse crazy neighbor girl that she needs to be put on Depo to see if it helps? Stalling her is not an option, nor is seperate turn out. It might be possible to cordon off a small area with stock panels (who pays for that)?
Last edited by Catalina; Sep. 27, 2008 at 10:31 AM.
This BO would have a conversation with neighbor girl's parents, along these lines: "Bob and Sue, you know I adore little Janie and her pony, but it's just not working out. I need you to find another place to keep Fattykins by XXXXX date."
If I needed to separate Fattykins in the interim, I would figure out the best way to do that and just absorb any necessary costs. (I would personally create a hotwire paddock for Fattykins rather than buying stock panels.)
If you don't want to invest in any type of separation fencing, and she will be terrorizinig your horses for a few more days until she can be moved, call around and see if a neighbor will allow you to borrow some panels.
If you want to keep making the kid happy (and speaking as a former horseless horsecrazy kid) you can isolate Fatso in your sacrifice area and keep hay in front of her that she can get at w/o the muzzle.
No sacrifice paddock?
Then I'd fence off a place for Fatso where she can be by her nasty self and let that become your sacrifice area as she paws it to dust.
But if doing all the footwork is more annoyance then you need, I'd go with coloredhorse's suggestion to let the parents know mare has become Equus non grata (and why) and give them a date to remove her.
Could you keep her separated from the rest of the herd until then?
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
This is really is difficult. I feel bad telling her that her Fat Monster has to go because she (horse crazy neighbor girl) has been a tremendous help to me over the past year or so and it makes her world to have her pony right across the street instead of 30 minutes away. But.... I can't have this thing going after my horses and nailing them repeatedly just because she is such a be-atch. Especially my aged pony. Uh uh .
I am charging the parents essentially the cost of hay only to keep the pony here- they are not going to find a better deal anywhere. Is it out of line to ask them to buy some stock panels to make a seperate area for the Haflinger? They can have them when she leaves?
Should I just take the muzzle off and say 'fine, be fat' and see if her attitude changes?
Should I have them try Depo or something?
Why not just lay it out for the parents: "This has become a problem. I am happy to have her here under ordinary (non-dangerous) circumstances, but we have to either find a way to separate the pony on this property, or she has to leave. Solving it without having to move pony is going to cost $XX. You will not find a better boarding deal for pony, and your daughter is happy to have her so close. Would you be willing to pay for this panel / fencing improvement to keep pony here?
I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09
It seems like there is definitely a way to work this out. I would talk to the parents and not the kid. Give them the option of paying for panels if that will work. Maybe they would be willing to put up some fencing so the pony can have her own paddock. If they can't/won't, then tell them that the pony cannot stay for the safety of your other horses. Offer to help them find somewhere else or advise them about setting up something at their own house.
Hey L! If you need to make a seperate paddock let me know - I have a way easier/cheaper way to do it than panels.
What about putting her in that little seperate field? Or in the riding ring?
I sent you an email about lessons - did you get it? Can do this Friday if you'd like!
I didn't get your email , but Friday around 4:30 (?) is cool. We can discuss fencing then .
I don't want to put her in the paddock because she was in there for the first week and destroyed a good portion of the grass and Mr Catalina says (and I agree) it is too close to the house to become a dust/mud bowl. Same thing with the riding ring.
Last edited by Catalina; Sep. 24, 2008 at 02:07 PM.
Fatty fat fat pone pone needs a dry lot anyway. So why don't you call the parents, let them know that pony is not doing well in the herd situation AND would probably be happier on a dry lot of her own sans the muzzle so you'd be happy to help them construct a small lot for the pone with some hot wire and t-posts if they're interested in keeping her at your place.
It's not expensive, it's not permanent, and as long as they're willing to chip in on the cost and labor, you're not out much.
Seriously...I would probably say something along the lines of:
"Hey Bob and Sue...I was really hoping this would work out better, but fatty fat fat just isn't getting along very well with the herd. I'm afraid that she's going to get injured or injure someone else--and that's a risk I just don't feel comfortable with. Plus, she's hating this muzzle and would be happier I think on her own dry lot. Problem is, I don't HAVE one of those. I'm sure you understand that I'm trying to keep costs low for you guys but I just can't afford to make this modification out of my own pocket. Would you be interested in picking up some t-posts, caps, tape and a charger and helping me create a little private lot for her?"
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
I think you need to separate the bully right now, and if that means they have to find another boarding barn then that is their problem. If something happens to one of the other horses because of this horse than you will never forgive yourself, and you could end up with a very expensive longterm problem from damage she'll do to your other animals-or you could end up with a dead horse because of her. Unless Depo or some other drug works immediately you will still have to isolate her.
I agree with JanM and Buddyroo. Fatty needs to be sequestered for everyone's safety. In the meantime, if you don't have to worry about Fatty foundering just take the muzzle off and let her get fatter until you get her living quarters settled. Hopefully, her attitude will improve and the injury rate will go down.
There is the homeopathic stuff to give her, Valaria root, calming effect. seems to work good. And since this girl has been such a help to you over the year why not use this as a teaching experience for her. Explain that its a problem and have her come up with the reasons why and how to solve, actively involve her in the process. It's up to us as adults to educate the younger generation. Then you can both approach mom and dad and explain the process. Parents are much happier to fork out money if the child is learning something.
I am definitely leaning towards the seperate area for Fatty. Question is: what about shelter? I don't have a stall for her, so she would need shelter of some kind. I could put a paddock up against the wood line and behind the barn that would offer some protection. Would this be enough? Or would it be better to bulid one, which means more $$$?
I really want this to work out because she is a good kid; I'm just not digging the pony's behavior at all.
My ponies in Upstate Ny were kept pastured at all times, no run in etc. They had woods for shelter. They came in for freezing rain. so woods and barn wall should be ok, also its a Halffie, they are tough. maybe there is a spot in the woodline that you could make a 3 sided shelter with using the trees? that would help keep expenses down. Good luck