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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
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    Default My barn manager won't feed my horse the way he's supposed to be fed >:-(

    This might end up being just a vent, but if any of you do have some helpful advice, that would be appreciated.

    So what have you guys done when you're boarding somewhere and your barn manager refuses to feed your horse the way he's supposed to be fed per the vet's instructions? I have my OTTB on Purina Ultium, and that stuff is expensive. I also bought 40 bales of hay separate from her stash so that he would get extra hay, and she's not giving him enough of that either. I've also caught her not feeding either of my horses (I have two) their beet pulp, and she's going through my expensive Purina Ultium at more than TWICE the rate of what it should be if he's getting the amount I specified.

    For some reason, I lately have found that all the western people in this area have very different ideas about feeding from what all the english people in the area stick to. My barn manager and our "feed expert" friend tried to tell me that "forage goes to the bottom line, and groceries (feed/grain) are what you need to build up the topline, and you shouldn't feed more than 1 flake of hay per meal and you should heap on the groceries." Every english person I talk to insists that you start with the hay, particularly since it's hay that will provide body heat and grain (starchy and high protein grain) will provide temperament heat/hotness. They also told me to stop riding or lunging him for 6 months, and they recommended a feed that I KNOW is higher in starches (Safechoice) than the Ultium that I'm feeding him, and because they don't know what Ultium is, they insist the Safechoice is a better feed. I've been trying to get another 100 lbs on him because he lost weight due to stress and crappy feed after my last barn manager switched feed without telling me, hence why I moved him to a different barn and started buying my own feed. He HAS gained weight on my vet's regimen of Ultium/beet pulp/rice bran/alfalfa + 20-25 lbs of grass hay a day. He's no longer 800, but probably closer to 900, maybe just shy of it now. I really will be happy if I can get him to 1000 lbs once he gets some muscling, but that will take time. But I'm really starting to get fed up with how my barn manager won't feed him how I specify.

    I have been feeding every evening and she feeds every morning, but I went out of town for 3 days and so she was solely responsible for feeding both of my horses over the Christmas holiday. I had purchased two bags of Ultium just before leaving and brought it by on Tuesday (I fed him that night), then when I came home and fed yesterday on Monday, the bags were about gone except that yesterday evening's meal. So, that was 100 lbs of high fat, slightly concentrated feed that you're supposed to feed less of than normal feeds that she fed him in only 12 feedings. That's averaging to 8 1/3 lbs per meal, and the vet recommended he not get more than 10 or 11 lbs a day since he's only getting light exercise of walk/trot for 45 minutes a day with days off during the week since it's so cold lately. However, since when I fed on Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, and Friday evening I only gave him 5.2 lbs per meal, that's actually 4 meals of 5.2 lbs that equated to 20.8 lbs, so close to 21 lbs. That leaves 79 lbs of feed that was divided over 8 feedings! Dividing 79.2 lbs over 8 meals means she was averaging 9.9 lbs of feed per meal during the meals she gave him in the past week. 20 lbs a day of this stuff is like feeding 30 or 40 lbs of the cheaper, less beneficial, lower quality stuff that they sell at the feed store as a more economical option where they buy their feed at.

    What aggravates me the most is that I have discussed with her repetitively that this is what my primary vet and what another vet that gave a second opinion both agreed on. I feed the ultium, I give 1-2 lb beet pulp per meal, and i give 20-25 lbs of mixed grass hay. She insisted on adding rice bran and I was given a bag, so I went along with it. It appears to have helped, but I'm just as convinced that it was the combination of all of it. At the feed store, they were out of the alfalfa cubes the last time I went and they didn't even carry alfalfa pellets, but I finally found another feed store that does carry alfalfa pellets and grabbed them, so he hasn't been getting any of those for very long. I'm increasing very slowly, only by the handful at a time. He has been slowly gaining weight despite the cold, but I am pretty unhappy about how she's going through my feed so fast since she isn't the one paying for it.

    I heard recently (and this is hearsay, so please someone give me the correct info if this is way off) the hindgut of the horse isn't even designed to handle that much food at one time? Someone gave me a ballpark figure of not feeding more than 6 lbs of feed in one feeding, and that if more than that is needed, to break it up into multiple feedings? I want to say that I've heard other people possibly feeding more than that in one feeding, but I worry about potential colic by feeding quite so much in one sitting. That's a good part of why I'm so pissed that she fed him nearly 20 lbs a day in just 2 feedings, AND she jumped from 10 lbs to 20 lbs over the course of less than a week!

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    I met with a couple of other barn managers today after starting this post this morning. I've decided (unfortunately) that I'm just going to have to move my horses again. I can't risk my horses getting sick given how she straight up admitted she was feeding him more when I confronted her today. I've already found another place that is close to home where I can just do self-care and have full control over their diet. My mare is an easy keeper, but my OTTB gelding requires more care and I can't afford to have a barn manager that violates my vet's feed instructions in such a way in such a short amount of time.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2009
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    Paddle faster! I hear banjo music...
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    Default

    if you're not happy with the way your horses are being cared for then move them.
    "ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."


    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
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    Birmingham area, AL... i.e. crispy crunchy everything land!
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alteringwego View Post
    if you're not happy with the way your horses are being cared for then move them.
    Uh, did you miss the part at the end?



  4. #4
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    Aug. 10, 2008
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    Statesboro, GA
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    Default

    Good for you for moving, and I'm sorry you had problems. I moved from one barn to another when the BO at the first place started to argue with me about wanting to blanket my horse in cold weather.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2003
    Posts
    5,625

    Default

    I baggie all my feeds for my boarded horse. It's way less trouble for the feeder, and it means that I'm absolutely in control of what he eats. His supplements and any meds are portioned into each baggie, along with his grain requirements. If he needs morning and evening feeds, they are labeled "am" and "pm." Everyone knows where they stand, it's my responsibility what my horse eats, and what he looks like because of it.

    I do a week's worth at a time, and if I'm adding something new, it doesn't go in the baggie until we know Mr. Picky is going to eat it.

    Now, one place I boarded, where we all bagged our feed, I was never entirely sure whose baggie my horse was eating. But that was a very short lived situation. At another barn, it was useful to have baggies because I could count them and know whether my horse had been grained or not (another short-lived situation.) I'm sure both of those barns thought I was a complete PITA boarder... I truly appreciate the barn I am in now who actually care about my horse as an individual.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Apr. 11, 2006
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Default

    Good decision. You'll be much happier at a self care facility.



  7. #7
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    Jan. 29, 2000
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    Brownsburg, VA
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    Default

    I think you are making the right decision as well. I'd also be very ticked, as you obviously had this conversation about feed before you became her border, and she agreed to it or else you would not have moved your horses, and bought 40 bales of extra hay to feed them with.

    I like the baggie idea a lot.

    And it has also been my experience that Western barns have a much, much more "simplfied" approach to feeding. I have one broodmare that must foal out at the repro clinic. So every year, I baggie up her food and supplements, leave detailed insptructions for the BM about the bag of beet pulp, and send her off to camp. THe Surgeon at the clinic is from the West, and teases me about my meticulous ration for her.

    The rice bran is a good addition - particularly if you add alfalfa in any form to the diet. I also recommend that you subscribe to FeedXL. They are having a 25% off sale through tomorrow. I would think you can get by with the "lite" version as you don't have breeding animals, and aren't competing at the highest level of sport.

    Good luck to you - and I feel your pain!
    "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2006
    Location
    Albany NY
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    5,490

    Default

    Is it possible that she was feeding your feed to other horses? I guess that would be my first idea, if it happened to me.

    Good luck. I think you should be doing it yourself, I would if I had a place near me, I would feel better. Hope all works out ok.
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    12,517

    Default

    Glad you have decided to move your horses. It does seem like the best solution.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
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    8,428

    Default

    I suspect your Ultium was feeding a few more horses .

    I've been at a self care barn for nearly 10 years and love it.

    All boarders pre-mix and bag their horses rations. It's MUCH easier that way and eliminates confusion.

    I've really enjoyed having complete control over my horse's diet and have learned a lot. When I first moved there I was one of those boarders who had always let the barn choose what my horse ate. Now, having read a lot and worked with a nutritionist, I think my horse has a much better and safer regime (when I first moved my horse was getting 9 quarts of a 14% pellet daily -- I got him down to 2.5 quarts of Strategy/day supplemented by 1.5 lbs of ration balancer and a lot more hay!)

    Just keep in mind that with a self care facility the key to keeping things working with everyone else is to keep it simple (bagging grain) and over communicate!

    Good luck!
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
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    between the barn and the pond
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    14,495

    Default

    Hey Stranger

    Horse peeps are bad about putting their opinions and experience on your horses. It can be hard to find that barn that fits, just in terms of RESPECT.

    I'll tell you a little story that I hope will make you chuckle, about ye olde tack shoppe on 119. When my horse poked a stick in his eye, I needed a Guardian Face Mask, pronto. They are pricey, and they block 90% of the UV rays, something like that. I called her and asked if she had them.

    Nope, but I've got ___ and they're all the same.

    OH, ok, thanks. I really need the Guardian to help manage any injury, but thanks anyway.

    Big, all knowing sigh on her end of the line. No you don't need some fancy mask, they are all the same, they all do the same thing. chuckle chuckle tut tut

    Pause.

    Actually, you're entirely wrong about that, ha ha, but that's ok, it's your right to be wrong.

    and I hung up on her.



    Wherever you go, you have to be willing to draw the line in the sand that demos, this is mine, this is my money, my investment, and it's MY decision.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008
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    4,044

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by erikahana View Post
    I met with a couple of other barn managers today after starting this post this morning. I've decided (unfortunately) that I'm just going to have to move my horses again. I can't risk my horses getting sick given how she straight up admitted she was feeding him more when I confronted her today. I've already found another place that is close to home where I can just do self-care and have full control over their diet. My mare is an easy keeper, but my OTTB gelding requires more care and I can't afford to have a barn manager that violates my vet's feed instructions in such a way in such a short amount of time.
    bravo.
    Worry is the biggest enemy of the present... it’s like using your imagination to create things you don’t want.
    Click for the ideal stocking stuffer for anyone equine!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2002
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    Pacific Northwest
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    Default

    Moving seems to be the right decision. I've been in similar situations before, and in my experience, when you are dealing with a BO/BM with long-running, ingrained beliefs about how horses should be cared for, you will never change them. So if those beliefs aren't similar to your own, there will be conflict.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
    Location
    Birmingham area, AL... i.e. crispy crunchy everything land!
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    Default blankie head butting

    Quote Originally Posted by ACP View Post
    Good for you for moving, and I'm sorry you had problems. I moved from one barn to another when the BO at the first place started to argue with me about wanting to blanket my horse in cold weather.
    Yeah, since I live so far south (central AL), there are a lot of people that don't even blanket or sheet at all, and some people that will fuss if you decide to. I didn't blanket until this year because my mare would grow out like a yak, but when I started showing again last season, I had to borrow some pony pjs for her because we clipped her and it still got cold at night. So I started making plans to invest in a sheet and a blanket so that I could keep her from getting quite so wooly since I want to show again this spring when show season starts, and then I happened to adopt an OTTB that I found on CANTERUSA.org, and coming up from the Florida/Louisiana area, he didn't grow a winter coat this year. So I bought a couple sheets, bought a couple blankies, and a lot of people have laughed but the honest truth is that it keeps my ponies happier to just be blanketed and out playing instead of cooped up under hot lights all winter (not to mention I don't have to pay the barn manager additional electric bill expenses). The barn manager at this barn I'm moving away from didn't have an issue with blanketing since we've had record lows this December, but we've managed to butt heads over almost everything else in the last week or so. I'm looking forward to having them at a self-care place closer to home so that I don't have to worry about anyone else's opinions but mine and my vet's as far as blanketing, diet, etc.



  15. #15
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    Apr. 17, 2002
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    between the barn and the pond
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    Default

    Best wishes Erika, hoping you get tucked in soon



  16. #16
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    Feb. 3, 2000
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    Nokesville, VA
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    Default

    My barn manager and our "feed expert" friend tried to tell me that "forage goes to the bottom line, and groceries (feed/grain) are what you need to build up the topline, and you shouldn't feed more than 1 flake of hay per meal and you should heap on the groceries."

    Every english person I talk to insists that you start with the hay, particularly since it's hay that will provide body heat and grain (starchy and high protein grain) will provide temperament heat/hotness.
    AFAIK, the only correct statement in there is "it's hay that will provide body heat".

    Grain doesn't "provide temperament heat/hotness" any more than "forage goes to the bottom line" or "groceries (feed/grain) are what you need to build up the topline".

    Bu that is really neither here not there.

    Your VET has prescribed a specific diet and THAT is what should be fed.

    Moving sounds like the right decision.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
    Location
    Birmingham area, AL... i.e. crispy crunchy everything land!
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by atr View Post
    I baggie all my feeds for my boarded horse. It's way less trouble for the feeder, and it means that I'm absolutely in control of what he eats... I do a week's worth at a time, and if I'm adding something new, it doesn't go in the baggie until we know Mr. Picky is going to eat it.
    I love the baggie idea! I think I'm going to go invest in some giant size ziplocs since I'm combining a bunch of stuff. It would also help to cut down on the number of feed bins that I need to store out there. That way I could bring my feed bins to the house, then just bring one feed bin with marked baggies for each horse, then bring additional each week.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahf View Post
    I think you are making the right decision as well. I'd also be very ticked, as you obviously had this conversation about feed before you became her border, and she agreed to it or else you would not have moved your horses, and bought 40 bales of extra hay to feed them with.
    Yeah, we had multiple discussions about feeding regimen because I did a heck of a lot of internet research, read nutritional articles, scoured different feed websites (nutrena, triple crown, purina, etc.), consulted 3 different vets... basically the whole shebang. I communicated with her regularly all of the stuff I found out, discussed with her the way I'd be gradually increasing portions of stuff in his diet, and she would talk like she was on board with all my ideas. However, whenever I wasn't there, she just did what she wanted, whether I pre-mixed my buckets or not. I started finding their buckets being routinely left full when I would come feed in the evenings, but there was obviously less ultium in my bin and obviously about the same amount of beet pulp as there had been. We discussed my OTTB's dietary needs before I moved him there because the reason why I moved them there in the first place was because of a feeding issue with the last barn manager that made him drop more than 100 lbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahf View Post
    And it has also been my experience that Western barns have a much, much more "simplfied" approach to feeding. I have one broodmare that must foal out at the repro clinic. So every year, I baggie up her food and supplements, leave detailed insptructions for the BM about the bag of beet pulp, and send her off to camp. THe Surgeon at the clinic is from the West, and teases me about my meticulous ration for her.
    My friend that runs the western barn and breeds Paint/QH halter horses is a little more sophisticated about disagreeing with me, but she makes it well known that she believes in a complete feed and her favorite is Safechoice. The barn manager at my place straight up tells me I'm an idiot and that thoroughbreds need at least 20 lbs of feed a day, especially if they're underweight, yet she's never owned an OTTB or even worked with any. She used to do team penning in her teens, then got back into horses a couple years ago when she could afford it again, and the only thing she believes in aside from feed and lots of it is extra rice bran or oil. When we don't butt heads she's actually a really nice person, but holy crap she's so darn forceful when you disagree with her, to the point of completely disregarding your wishes as I've discovered

    Quote Originally Posted by ahf View Post
    The rice bran is a good addition - particularly if you add alfalfa in any form to the diet. I also recommend that you subscribe to FeedXL. They are having a 25% off sale through tomorrow. I would think you can get by with the "lite" version as you don't have breeding animals, and aren't competing at the highest level of sport.

    Good luck to you - and I feel your pain!
    Thanks for the info, I will go check that out! I went with rice bran over Purina Amplify because it was a much more economical addition. My vet liked the Purina Amplify because he had so much success with an old mare that was underweight last winter, but he told me the rice bran would be fine as well. He recommended adding the alfalfa in small quantities as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogie View Post
    I suspect your Ultium was feeding a few more horses .

    I've been at a self care barn for nearly 10 years and love it.

    All boarders pre-mix and bag their horses rations. It's MUCH easier that way and eliminates confusion.

    I've really enjoyed having complete control over my horse's diet and have learned a lot. When I first moved there I was one of those boarders who had always let the barn choose what my horse ate. Now, having read a lot and worked with a nutritionist, I think my horse has a much better and safer regime (when I first moved my horse was getting 9 quarts of a 14% pellet daily -- I got him down to 2.5 quarts of Strategy/day supplemented by 1.5 lbs of ration balancer and a lot more hay!)

    Just keep in mind that with a self care facility the key to keeping things working with everyone else is to keep it simple (bagging grain) and over communicate!

    Good luck!
    Yeah, I've been one of those boarders before as well. I figured if their horses looked good, they were doing something right, and my mare has been such an easy keeper that I never had problems with that before, but then I bought Ivan. Ivan shows signs of being an easier keeper eventually, but not until I get the weight back on him. Thankfully he has better feet than I expected him to have, and we're on the road to a better weight now that I've taken his feeding under my supervision.

    Quote Originally Posted by horsepoor View Post
    Moving seems to be the right decision. I've been in similar situations before, and in my experience, when you are dealing with a BO/BM with long-running, ingrained beliefs about how horses should be cared for, you will never change them. So if those beliefs aren't similar to your own, there will be conflict.
    Yeah, so I'm learning! Doesn't matter how many articles you throw at them, or even feed ticket/stickers from the bag! She can't be convinced. I'm just fed up with it. I will miss having an indoor arena, but I'd rather have peace of mind.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
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    West Coast of Michigan
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    36,321

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    There is no comfort in keeping a horse at a place where you are unsure if they're being looked after properly.

    I would be out of there as quickly as I could hook up the trailer. Good luck at the new place.
    Click here before you buy.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
    Location
    Birmingham area, AL... i.e. crispy crunchy everything land!
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Janet View Post
    AFAIK, the only correct statement in there is "it's hay that will provide body heat".

    Grain doesn't "provide temperament heat/hotness" any more than "forage goes to the bottom line" or "groceries (feed/grain) are what you need to build up the topline".

    Bu that is really neither here not there.

    Your VET has prescribed a specific diet and THAT is what should be fed.

    Moving sounds like the right decision.
    See that's what I thought about the body heat part. I will say that a starchier feed does make Ivan more hot. I didn't think that forage goes to the bottom or grain on top because I've seen some fatso ponies grow a 4 inch fatso crest on nothing but grass, no grain in their diet!

    When I tried to argue that my vet and the opinions of two other vets were the ones designing the diet, she tried to tell me to fire the vet, LOL, like she knows better...

    I'm moving them down the street temporarily to my friend's barn, but on Sunday the lady that own's the barn by my house is going to help me haul them the rest of the way (it's about 50 miles away, so I'm getting them out of there tonight since a friend let me call in a favor, but she can't take them all the way to the new place till Sunday).



  20. #20
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    Aug. 5, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by atr View Post
    I baggie all my feeds for my boarded horse. It's way less trouble for the feeder, and it means that I'm absolutely in control of what he eats. His supplements and any meds are portioned into each baggie, along with his grain requirements. If he needs morning and evening feeds, they are labeled "am" and "pm." Everyone knows where they stand, it's my responsibility what my horse eats, and what he looks like because of it.

    I do a week's worth at a time, and if I'm adding something new, it doesn't go in the baggie until we know Mr. Picky is going to eat it.

    Now, one place I boarded, where we all bagged our feed, I was never entirely sure whose baggie my horse was eating. But that was a very short lived situation. At another barn, it was useful to have baggies because I could count them and know whether my horse had been grained or not (another short-lived situation.) I'm sure both of those barns thought I was a complete PITA boarder... I truly appreciate the barn I am in now who actually care about my horse as an individual.
    Usually this does indeed work. However, in my past boarding experiences (notice, I said PAST)....there was one place that would forget to feed my bagged feed several times. I would come in about 10 am and find breakfast still sitting in the feedroom from being bagged up the night before. Pretty sad, when they can't even remember to toss in prebagged food.



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