Well, it's her horse.. so sadly, her wishes on many things are what goes.
but, i wouldnt pick up the extra feed, tell her, hey.. if you don't want to feed A, B, or C.. you have to supply it yourself.
If you want horse to have xtra (however much) hay daily, you will need to buy it.
As to the deduction for barn chores.. ughh. I know it's nice to work off your board for people, but i really hate when it happens because it seems to either happen 2 ways.. 1. They do way more work then the cost of the board and eventually resent it, or 2. they do the job half assed.
It's sad about the mare, but I think you are making yourself haggard over a pushy, unreasonable individual.
However, if the horse really has ulcers, move everything from feed to hay to water onto the ground. Studies of racehorses have proven that eating/drinking everything off the ground helps reduce and eliminate the ulcers.
However, in this case, since she isn't even paying full board, and isn't paying for the extras you are giving the horse, it should be "my way or the highway".
co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!
Seriously. At our barn one horse gets senior feed (as he is a senior and needs the weight.) His OWNERS, not the BO, buy it and bring it. Tell your boarder she wants the extra purchased and used just for her horse, either she buys it and hauls it in herself or she pays you extra to do it. She doesn't like it, she can go somewhere else.
If you aren't happy buying extra/different feed for her horse, don't do it. Make it her responsibility. Tell her that starting on X date, her board includes the following, and list exactly what you are OK with offering. If she wants something different, she can supply it herself. If you wait on her to offer compensation for your extra time and effort, you will be waiting a long time.
If she doesn't do a good job with her barn chores, then revoke that privilege. It is a privilege to get a discount on board in exchange for work, and she doesn't seem to appreciate that. So decide whether you'd like to have a conversation with her in which you point out she is getting a discount in exchange for doing chores, she's not doing them the way you'd like them done, and you'd like that to change. I'd bet it won't go well.
Sometimes charging "high-maintenance" people (more) money for providing services is the best way to not feel taken advantage of.
This sounds like a high maintenance boarder. If you care if your keep this boarder then you need to find a way to make it work so YOU dont stress out on the boarder and YOU dont atay agitated about everything she does
If it were me and it was making me as crazy as she seems to be making you . . .
then I'd figure out what she does well about any of the cleaning and either accept that for the reduced board OR ask for that two days a week and forget the rest. OR just say that the reduced board for cleaning just isnt working for you - your cleaning styes ar too different and so you arent offering her the reduction as of (say) next months board - or something like that
As far as asking for a feed that you don't normally use . . . that one is easy - tell her either she has to supply it (figure out what board reduction you would make for her supplying feed) or she has to pay a premium for your time in getting a feed NOT AVAILABLE at your regular feed buying place. To be helpful, you need to give the boarder a clue of how much you need of her feed per month and/or tell her -with enough time to get more in- when she is running short on feed.
And to keep your own sanity - you need to get over yourself a bit and recognize that many people DO know their own horse and DO know how to keep it healthy. AND that their practices may not be the same as yours. I can totally understand how an owner of an older horse, that appears not to be involved in high level showing, doesnt want to get involved in the expense of gastrogard etc.
Let her stick with what she is comfortable with but tell her what is really disrupting your management practices and that anything extra comes with a cost - hay, feed, special turnout arrangements.
And since she doesnt meet your standard of barn cleaning - try to find a nice way of droppng that.
If this all means that you lose this boarder - then accept that too
It may be what you really want - deep down
Last edited by Drive NJ; Aug. 10, 2011 at 12:04 PM.
You've made a few mistakes at the outset (not sticking to a 'policy' about providing different grains/hay,) but primarily it sounds like you just lack the experience to make the judgement call that you and this boarder do not see the barn/horses the same way.
I loathe, loathe, loathe the profusion of 'grain' products in the world today. It is not uncommon for a 40 horse facility to feed 15-20 types of grain.... Dear God, every horse has to have a special grain, and then the boarder wants 1/4 + 1/2 this week and next week it's 1/3 scoop of this 1/8 of that and 1/4 of the other.... They want it wet. They want it 'cooked.' They want it steamed. They want it whisked with an egg beater and then fed to the horse with a dosing syringe.... Shoot me in the head. NOW.
If you play it their way and charge up the wazoo, you can make some coin off of these folks and get yourself a good education in what's available and what 'works' at the same time !!
Seems to me like you are taking in boarders to offset the costs of your own horses, and maybe to help decrease your own workload in taking care of the horses/barn. So if these goals are not being met, then tell the nice lady you are very sorry but it is not working out for you. Buh Bye Darlin' Then make sure to hang up a sign offering boarding on your next trip to the feed store.
I would inform the boarders (include both even though the other is no problem) IN WRITING that as of (Date) Board will include the grain you feed, the hay you provide, and X pounds of alfalfa pellets daily.
Something like this:
"Due to increased costs, as of September 1, 2011, we will no longer be able to provide grain other than XXX and XX. We will continue to provide quality hay as needed and X pounds of alfalfa pellets daily if necessary. We will continue to feed another brand of feed if requested, but boarders will be responsible for the purchase and transportation of all other feeds, and of supplements, including extra alfalfa pellets. Likewise, boarders are welcome to purchase their own hay if you would like something different from what we offer, and we will store and feed it free of charge. The rising cost of these items as well as the fuel required to procure them has forced us to make this change. We regret any inconvenience to our boarders and will work with you in finding what you need to ensure your horse's best interests."
Give a copy to both boarders, even if the other one doesn't use extra or different feed so that the rules are the same across the board.
As for the ulcers, unless there is a clause in the boarding contract that you can call the vet when you deem necessary (some do have this) if the condition warrants, then you probably can't do much about it, unfortunately. Ditto the saddle fit. Perhaps you can get a good poster of body condition scale with good pictures of each and hang it somewhere where people can see it, or when vet is out for shots, ask him in front of boarder if the horse looks in good weight (say she's gained a few pounds lately as saying she lost will probably make boarder fussy). It's an old horse, so some loss of topline is going to happen and it's not necessarily a weight issue.
It's sad about the mare, but I think you are making yourself haggard over a pushy, unreasonable individual.
Yes, it's YOUR BARN and as such, you may do whatever you please. I'm assuming you have a boarding contract that covers what you provide, and at what cost?
Her horse means HER HORSE. I'd be mighty PO'd if my BO complained about having to feed what I requested and then flat out refused to feed my horse more when I thought it necessary. It seems everyone has a different idea of what "healthy weight" means, and obviously you two disagree.
If your contract doesn't say what services you provide for the amount she pays, update the contract. You've let it become acceptable, and people will take as much as you let them. Add a surcharge for having to pick up/feed anything besides what you offer. I've even had many contracts as a boarder that specified how many flakes/lbs of hay were included in the 'base' rate.
Ditch the cleaning for a discount - that just sounds like bad news!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
lies with in us. - Emerson
I'm moving to a small private facility this weekend, and I want a different type of feed than what they provide (they give an oat/sweet feed, I want an RB). You know what I did? I went out last week and bought two bags of RB.
Also, tell her to get a board reduction, she actually has to clean something. If it's not clean, no $ off. So sorry.
Ok. I think if the lady refuses to change then you kick her out. HOWEVER, it doesn't seem like you've really had a "come to jesus" meeting with her yet, and most people deserve one as a sort of warning. you've been telling her no on tons of seperate issues, and then letting the issue drop- to me this just encourages her to keep pushing for things until she finally gets a "yes."
Schedule a meeting. sit down and lay all of this on the table. A few things could happen:
1.) she will get offended and leave. Problem solved.
2.) she will change. Problem solved.
3.) she will not change.You then give her notice after she doesn't change. Problem solved.
It's really a no-lose situation if you talk to her, unless you get nasty. Just be rational and explain everything to her, and you might end up retaining a boarder, thereby offsetting your bills, and having all of your concerns addressed!
I've been a BO, and you are not without options, but, as others have said, unless you took this horse into a training program with the stipulation that you are controlling all of her care decisions, there are limits to your legitimate authority.
If you don't want to provide feed beyond your chosen program, that is your prerogative. When I boarded, I kept a variety of top-quality feeds and did NOT allow outside feed for several reasons. If a horse's needs couldn't be met by mixing and matching what I had available, I was probably not the best place for that horse. You are well within your rights to make this a barn rule.
With regard to work, the employee who is working for barter (e.g., reduced board) is held to the same standard as the one working for a paycheck. You do get to dictate how tasks are to be performed and to what standard. In this, you need to treat the boarder/worker the same way you would an employee you had hired off the street.
As far as the ulcers, saddle fit, etc., you may be right, you may be off the mark, but you cannot dictate to the owner of the horse how to handle these things. Age, years of experience, phase of the moon are all irrelevant. The owner of the horse is responsible for making all these decisions in the way she thinks best.
Now, that said, I always told people that they could care for their horses how they liked, but if I didn't like it, I certainly didn't have to look at it every day. Translation: If you have serious issues with a boarder's behavior in any aspect, you are free to give that boarder notice.
Again, though, you need to be upfront about your expectations. Do you want boarders who are going to take your advice and go along with your program? Then make sure that you are upfront about this when interviewing potential new clients and that this information is included in your boarding agreement.
While I agree that the owner of the horse has her own rights, I still think that the barn is under your ownership/management. If she doesnt like it, she can leave.
She wants special food for her horsey - she can buy it, pick it up and drop it off. She wants different hay for horsey - she can buy it, pick it up and drop it off. She wants to say she cleaned the barn when its obvious she either didnt or did a crappy job - show her how you want it cleaned or go back to full board and tell her not to bother.
Now, while you really have no say in the medications the horse is on, you are trying to be a good BO and a good person by trying to explain to her the different options she has. SHE is the one saying NO to everything. I would almost be inclined to have her sign an addendum to her board agreement stating that the mare is known to have ulcers and the owner of said mare is aware of the situation and has declined any and all other methods of treatment recommended by the BM. (I have been burnt by something like this in the past, hence my recommendation for this. Mare got hurt. Owner refused to follow vets rec's. Then said I was intentionally trying to hurt her mare by not following her directions. )
Bottom line is this. If it isnt working out, its a business, make the business decision to let her go. If your anything like me, you feel bad for the horse. But just remember, humans are so much harder to deal with than the horses.
Not her barn. If she wants to be that demanding and picky, then SHE gets to pay extra for it, or it's "boarder meet curb," as Schune said.
At all the barns I've boarded at, if I wanted feed that wasn't the barn's normal feed, I paid for it and either picked it up myself, or paid them to. If I wanted added supplements, etc, I paid for them and picked them up. Still do. It's my horse, and those are my "demands" so why make the BM deal with the hassle of getting them and paying for them, especially since they're already having to measure out the blasted things at every meal?
Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.