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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2012
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    12

    Default WWYD - boarding situation **update**

    I am dealing with a situation and would like advice. Sorry this is long.

    I found an opportunity to work off board, facility was located close to home, barn owner seemed nice at initial meeting. (I recently moved and have no relationships in the horse world near this area.) We signed an agreement/contract stating the set amount that each hour of work was to be valued at in writing towards board. Expectations included working alongside barn owner to do basic cleaning type chores; BO was not looking for one individual to do the entire facility but rather an additional body to help with the work as the facility is rather large (this was made clear). Perfect - I had the time available and would rather make use of it!

    I have never been late, never missed a scheduled day, and am extremely organized in tracking hours/communicating scheduling. I always put 110% effort into my work and would pick up hours whenever asked.

    Eventually barn owner started to show up late, or not show up at all with various excuses. I would be left to do the entire facility alone, with increased chore requests. I understand life happens and things come up, and I am more than willing to accommodate and work harder if necessary for an unexpected reason. However, this has turned into a daily occurrence. The number of days and amount of hours has continually increased, and physically I am not able to do it anymore. I am exhausted, and often feel unable to function well at my "real" job.

    I expressed this in a very professional and neutral manner, and explained that I will be limiting my hours to reduce the physical stress. Barn owner is now acting out in an unacceptable manner towards me, suggesting that I should not go to the barn to see MY horse on MY time.

    At this point the barn owner is completely reliant on me to run the facility. I am not happy with the arrangement or the way I am now being treated. Financially, working off board is my best option and it is not something that all barns will offer. However, at what expense do I continue to do that?! There is no indication of duration in the agreement regarding me leaving or stopping the work. I have already worked off over a month in advance of full care stall board.


    Question is this: How would you approach this situation to either try to improve it, and maintain the working relationship.. OR, how would you approach ending the working agreement and moving the horse? I absolutely do not want to leave with bad feelings/drama. I appreciate the ability to work off my board and have always worked hard to show that appreciation. I would have to give 30 days written notice to move my horse from the facility, and I fear that those 30 days would be absolute hell if I do not continue to work off board during that time. (However, I have over a month worked off in advance and would like to use that credit!)
    Last edited by wwyd_alter; Jul. 21, 2012 at 05:11 PM.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 26, 2010
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    4,315

    Default

    I would do two things
    1) Spend at least 1 day per week checking out other facilities in your area and within your budget. Look at this as a contingency in case (2) doesn't work out (see below)

    2) I would start with the phrase you used in your last paragraph:
    "I appreciate the ability to work off my board", then continue with something like this "and I am happy to continue with the financial arrangements that we agreed upon in writing. I am currently able to provide X number of hours per week. As it seems there is more work to do then there are people to do the work, please let me know which tasks should receive priority on a given day".

    This is short and focuses on the positive aspect of the arrangement. With people like the BO, you can't say anything remotely negative because they won't handle it well. The last sentence gets at the heart of the matter without criticizing the barn owner. You would simply be expressing an interest in helping and in being conscientious, but without killing yourself in the process.

    If you do (1) in parallel, then you'll have some options should the BO make life miserable.

    Is something going on in the BO's personal life that caused this change in behavior? (ie dropping work at the barn) or does this person having a drinking habit or some other such thing?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2012
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    12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
    Is something going on in the BO's personal life that caused this change in behavior? (ie dropping work at the barn) or does this person having a drinking habit or some other such thing?
    BO had one incident that was completely understandable and lasted a relatively short period of time. That is why I mentioned that I understand life happens and am willing to work around that. However, that incident was resolved in BO's life, and the excuses that are now being used are absolutely unreasonable. My gut feeling is now that BO knows I can handle everything on my own, will do it right, and get it all done on my own if I have to - BO now EXPECTS that all the time and makes excuses to continue avoiding work.

    When I have a personal commitment that is communicated well in advance (VERY rare), it is a different story. The world is ending.

    Not very equitible.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2006
    Posts
    2,857

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    It sounds as if the BO has decided that you can be trusted to carry the work load on your own. It might be time to either give up working any board off and becoming a full pay boarder, or move to another barn.
    Sheilah



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2001
    Location
    up the hill from the little river (that floods alarmingly often)
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    3,610

    Default

    I'd be looking for a new barn, if I were you. But then I have a pretty low tolerance for unprofessional people, especially when they try to take advantage of me.

    You already have a full month of board worked off, so there's your 30 days' notice paid for, right there. You can move your horse the day you give notice, and in your notice letter, remind BO of your work agreement and indicate how much board you currently have worked off in advance. Include a copy of the written agreement if necessary.

    Life is too short to deal with crazy people. Go find a different barn.
    Full-time bargain hunter.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    I have to agree with snicklefritz.

    Time to have a sit down with the BO. And for sure be complimentary in the process. You are thankful and appreciative that she trusts you enough to do the whole barn yourself and if only you could physically do that you would continue but it is limiting your ability to get your full time job done so you need to go back to the original agreement.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2009
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    1,805

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    So you have a job that you have to go to after you get done the barn work correct? You are finding it difficult to function in your "real" job and on top of that the barn owner is "acting out" and "suggesting you should not go to the barn to see your horse on your time." This is after you rationally tried to talk to BO about the issue. I would find another barn. There is possibly a slight chance the BO might wake up if you "quit" and relent and step up but I don't know BO sounds pretty bad. I am betting you are not getting to enjoy your horse between the barn work and your real job so what is the point in the end?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2004
    Location
    Rixeyville, VA
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    I am afraid that you are a victim of your own success. As a BO, I actually like working on my farm and will do all sorts of manual labor, but I realize that not everyone is like that.

    Bravo to the OP for having an agreement delineating everything. That's a place to start. It is time to sit down with the BO and review it. Personally, I would ask to be paid cash when I had more than one month's board prepaid in advance. If the rate that you are working is quickly outstripping the value of board, carrying a large balance is going to be hard to collect if you leave. Keep it to one month and you have your 30 days notice covered, as it as already been pointed out.

    This is business and that's how it should be approached. The BO should know that, but if not, then you know it is time to go. If I were the BO, I would be grateful to have competent help for any period of time and I would treat that help accordingly. I do have a work off board situation at my farm and that boarder is extremely competent. I am lucky to have her and she is treated with a great deal of respect, particularly for her time. So it can work. Sorry that you don't live near me, OP, because I would love to have your help at my barn, too. You can't have enough good people.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2012
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    1,648

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    You already have a full month of board worked off, so there's your 30 days' notice paid for, right there. You can move your horse the day you give notice, and in your notice letter, remind BO of your work agreement and indicate how much board you currently have worked off in advance. Include a copy of the written agreement if necessary
    right. good advice.

    Barn owner is now acting out in an unacceptable manner towards me, suggesting that I should not go to the barn to see MY horse on MY time.
    No point trying to fix this. Time to leave.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2011
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    Default

    You were looking for a barn when you found that one. Just saying.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2012
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    12

    Default

    Thank you everyone, for your suggestions and support.

    My concern in giving notice and leaving is minor events/conversations have set off unreasonable reactions in BO. What kind of reaction will I get when I say I am leaving and no longer working, when they are literally depending on me to run the place at this point? Is giving a two week notice fair and reasonable to stop working? I fear I may compromise my horse's care if I piss them off, but I have earned that full month of board in advance and would like to use it! I honestly think BO may not realize how much board I have already worked off above the monthly value. I have tracked hours diligently, but wouldn't be suprised if BO does everything possible to avoid giving those extra hours as credit.

    What is the most constructive way to go about that? Give two week notice and 30 day notice at once - just lay it all out? Give two week notice then 30 day notice? Best way to word it to avoid an unreasonable reaction or make the situation worse?



  12. #12
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    Aug. 12, 2009
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    Make it very clear in writing how much you have worked off, etc. so there are no surprises. As far as the care of your horse sounds like you are doing all the care? If you fear they BO might hurt your horse guess that is another story.



  13. #13
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    Jul. 5, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
    I am afraid that you are a victim of your own success. As a BO, I actually like working on my farm and will do all sorts of manual labor, but I realize that not everyone is like that.

    Bravo to the OP for having an agreement delineating everything. That's a place to start. It is time to sit down with the BO and review it. Personally, I would ask to be paid cash when I had more than one month's board prepaid in advance. If the rate that you are working is quickly outstripping the value of board, carrying a large balance is going to be hard to collect if you leave. Keep it to one month and you have your 30 days notice covered, as it as already been pointed out.

    This is business and that's how it should be approached. The BO should know that, but if not, then you know it is time to go. If I were the BO, I would be grateful to have competent help for any period of time and I would treat that help accordingly. I do have a work off board situation at my farm and that boarder is extremely competent. I am lucky to have her and she is treated with a great deal of respect, particularly for her time. So it can work. Sorry that you don't live near me, OP, because I would love to have your help at my barn, too. You can't have enough good people.

    I would have loved to set-up a cash balance for remaining board. However, in this situation BO could not afford to pay direct cash and I was not expecting to be working beyond the monthly value. I can't change the agreement now, but this is noted for any potential future agreements I sign in similar situations. The rate we agreed upon is extremely reasonable, and is the going rate in this area. I am not overpaid by any stretch of the imagination - the excess board saved is literally due to the amount of hours I have worked ( ALOT! )



  14. #14
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    Jul. 5, 2012
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    12

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    Quote Originally Posted by bizbachfan View Post
    Make it very clear in writing how much you have worked off, etc. so there are no surprises. As far as the care of your horse sounds like you are doing all the care? If you fear they BO might hurt your horse guess that is another story.
    I chose not to detail those concerns in this thread because it is a separate issue from the work agreement. I put in about 95% of my hours in the morning so only a portion of my horse's care is in my hands. For example, horse came in with injury one night. I was not notified. I asked BO about it next morning and I was blown off. It was significant enough that it should have been tended to the night before IMO.

    I minimally expect BO's to take 15 seconds to look over my horse after turnout and send me a text or call about it. I am not expecting care - I am willing to do that on my own. But if I do not know about it, I cannot treat it if I am not there.



  15. #15
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    Aug. 12, 2009
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    Another reason to move your horse then if you don't feel you are getting the care even before you have given notice. Sorry! It is a bad situation.



  16. #16
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    Mar. 24, 2012
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    Just leave and on the way out give her the written notice detailing that you have worked off a months board in advance and that is your payment for one month's board in lieu of notice. If you have not actually worked off a full month, write a check for the balance.

    In this situation, if as you describe, forget about staying around after giving notice. She managed before you arrived and she will manage after you leave.

    Perhaps you don't understand this- PAYing one month's board ( whether by financial means or through working it off in advance) is equivalent to giving 30 days notice which is standard unless otherwise spelled out in boarding contract..



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2011
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    Whew. The more you add the more it just sounds like a hot mess.

    Not calling you about an injury that requires vet care gives you some insight as to the level of care BO thinks is acceptable. So is not even noticing that type of injury if she tries to use the old "well I didn't see it" excuse. What would happen if your horse was down with colic? Would she just wait and see if he got back up on his own? Must not be too bad if he isn't thrashing? Blase about potential injury/illness is NOT a good quality in a BO and a mighty hard one to overlook.

    Add to that you already know how she treats her employees and her true character when dealing with discussion of problems? Well I think she's made her confrontational nature no secret.

    What's more important to you, the money or your peace of mind? Honestly I'd GTFO. As soon as I could find something more suitable. Since you are new to the area maybe you could have some luck asking around local feed and tack shops for some boarding recommendations; those places always seem to have the scuttlebutt on who's great and who to avoid, also who is in need of a little help around the property and might be willing to exchange labor for board.

    Sounds like you've got everything documented on paper with a signed agreement. If you cant' get her to pay up when you leave and you still want to pursue the money issue well there is always small claims court.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2008
    Location
    NY
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    991

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    Quote Originally Posted by wwyd_alter View Post
    Thank you everyone, for your suggestions and support.

    My concern in giving notice and leaving is minor events/conversations have set off unreasonable reactions in BO. What kind of reaction will I get when I say I am leaving and no longer working, when they are literally depending on me to run the place at this point? Is giving a two week notice fair and reasonable to stop working? I fear I may compromise my horse's care if I piss them off, but I have earned that full month of board in advance and would like to use it! I honestly think BO may not realize how much board I have already worked off above the monthly value. I have tracked hours diligently, but wouldn't be suprised if BO does everything possible to avoid giving those extra hours as credit.

    What is the most constructive way to go about that? Give two week notice and 30 day notice at once - just lay it all out? Give two week notice then 30 day notice? Best way to word it to avoid an unreasonable reaction or make the situation worse?
    First of all, have a place to bring your horse in case things don't go very well when you give notice and you have to move immediately. This happened to me years ago when I gave my 30-days notice and it was a very ugly scene that resulted in me leaving that same day instead.

    Then, offer to go onto full board for the 30-day notice so that you don't end up leaving there with $$$ owed to you. If BO is very short-staffed, then you can offer to work for cash. If BO doesn't have cash to pay you and is being reasonable about you moving on, I'd do a weekly work-for-board agreement instead of a monthly while BO finds a replacement - less likely you'll get screwed out of lots of hours of labor that way. Bottom line, ultimately the BO is responsible for his/her barn, not you. The responsible thing to do is to honor the contract and/or give 30-days notice, but if your horse is in jeopardy all bets are off.
    JB-Infinity Farm
    www.infinitehorses.com



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2004
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    OP, the BO was running the barn before you came so she can run it again when you leave. Don't buy into the "I'm indispensible" argument. You are not.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com



  20. #20
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    Aug. 25, 2005
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    I have the feeling that no matter how well reasoned your arguments, or how reasonable you are. And you sound very. This is not going to end well. The BO sounds like a user.

    Before you consider any discussion, make sure you have an alternative. Also I'd very carefully hang on to that written agreement. It's worth a month's free board.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



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