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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2012
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    Default Should I be able to move out WITHOUT notice after barn screwed up?

    Not sure if this is the right section for this..but here goes:

    Have a mare boarded at a barn that does daily turnout in paddocks with small groups or pairs. They use 100 percent electric wiring but for some reason have not been turning it on for awhile now and I didn't realize it. My horse figured this out recently and started breaking through to get to the grass on the other side. The first time she broke out, they didn't even tell me about it. I found out days later from a barn worker. Instead of turning the fence on or moving her, they continued to put her in and she broke out again..but this time I was there to witness it. She goes crazy when she breaks out and sometimes ends up back in some thick woods that aren't terribly safe for horses due to mud and steep hills. She gets very stressed and overwhelmed when this happens and yet continues to try because there is no grass in her paddock but lots of it in the woods and other areas.

    I told the barn to stop putting her in this particular paddock because she had clearly figured it out and she was going to get hurt. They kept telling me they would put her back in the paddock only when the fence was turned back on...but they never did. They ignored my request and put her in there again with electric off....and now I have discovered she has a cut under her fetlock and it is swollen and she is limping around and clearly in pain. A knowledgeable friend helped me clean her up but plan on calling vet. I think it is a cut from one of these wires. When I approached barn manager and staff, I get mixed word as to where she was actually turned out before the injury. Everyone seems to be hush hush about it and yet I heard from one person she was in the same paddock..against my wishes...again. (The reason they want her in that paddock so badly is because she keeps her paddock mate calm and her paddock mate freaks out when my horse is not in there..so it is easier for everyone if these two stay together.)

    My plan is to leave this barn but because this was my last straw (other issue was not feeding enough and not enough bedding). I would have to give 30 days notice but since they don't turn electric fencing on (for reasons I am not getting clear answers about)....my horse cannot have any turnout because it isn't safe for her. So..she'll be stuck in her stall for 30 days until I can get her somewhere else. My board at my current barn is due in a few days but I want her out now but cannot afford to pay my current barn and a new barn. I feel under the circumstance, I have the right to break the 30-day rule but not sure if I'm being too unreasonable thinking that way? I'm pretty mad right now so not thinking clearly perhaps.

    Advice anyone?


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Default

    you might have to pay for the 30 days, but you don't have to stay there.

    It's really easy, load your stuff up, put pony on trailer, hand notice as you leave.

    If you have documented proof that they breeched the terms of the contract, you can probably even skip payment, but normally it's a nice touch to hand the check along with the notice, so you are paid up and can't be touched.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
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    Minnesota
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    Totally depends on your contract but most likely: you are still obligated to give 30 days notice.

    Whether or not it's smart to push that and just walk out depends on how amenable you think the barn will be to your leaving. If they're the litigious type, you probably don't want to risk it. If they're not, and if you think perhaps they want you out as much as you want to leave, perhaps it would work.

    You might play up the injury, particularly if they do not have the facilities to care for your horse while she heals. Moving "because my horse needs stall rest" when there are no stalls available at your current place (for example) would probably sting less than "you guys are idiots, we're out of here" (even if that's the real truth.)


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2012
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    Default

    If you have any kind of evidence that your horse has escaped more than once due to the fence being off...text message, email, photo...you would be free and clear in court. The barn manager cannot force you to stay in a contract when they are willfully negligent.

    Would you be forced to stay in a daycare contract if the daycare was allowing your baby to play in traffic?

    As long as you have concrete evidence of negligence...IE a text, email or photo of why you had to leave..you would be all set to go and no court would enforce that contract.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2010
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    2,201

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    you might have to pay for the 30 days, but you don't have to stay there.
    I've done that a few times. Just ate the cost because it wasn't worth staying.

    I also agree with PiberFever- IF you have the evidence to support that the BO/BM was negligent. However, I don't know how you could show that the fence was turned off, without some sort of video of a testing device showing no charge... or video of the horse actively breaking out multiple times.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007
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    Default

    In Contract Law a material breach of the terms of an agreement by one party may relieve the other of performance.

    The barn has a duty, implied if not explicitly stated, to provide appropriate turn out. That includes, at a minimum, appropriate fencing. A failure to do this would likely be seen as a "material breach." Whether or not this type of breach would justify declaring the contract at an end (i.e., move without notice and without paying the 30 days board) will depend on state law. But since you actually may have an injury to the horse proximately caused (i.e., directly related) to the risk created by the barn's failure I'd move and when they asked for their money I'd tell them to sue me.

    Before you do this you'll want to talk to a local attorney. You'll also want to document the barn's failures as best you can.

    In my personal opinion a failure of containment is one of the most serious breached a barn can commit. It puts the horse at grossly increased risk for injury or death. It hazards the community in general. It gives rise to a claim in both Contract and Tort. I'd say it's "material," and how!

    Good luck in your decision.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Default

    You don't have to give notice to move your horse. But if your contract requires 30 days paid notice, then the best bet here is to pay and move and then follow up in small claims if you wish.

    Just make sure you have a place to go BEFORE you do anything else (aside from contacting an attorney.)

    Good luck. If you board your horse long enough, pretty much everyone runs into some kind of similar "gotta get out NOW" scenario. Sucks, but such is life.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2012
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    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PiberFever17 View Post
    If you have any kind of evidence that your horse has escaped more than once due to the fence being off...text message, email, photo...you would be free and clear in court. The barn manager cannot force you to stay in a contract when they are willfully negligent.

    Would you be forced to stay in a daycare contract if the daycare was allowing your baby to play in traffic?

    As long as you have concrete evidence of negligence...IE a text, email or photo of why you had to leave..you would be all set to go and no court would enforce that contract.
    I don't have photos but I have several witnesses and a text message from a stall cleaner telling me how my horse was put back in paddock I had instructed she be kept out of. The fact I specifically said to keep her out of that particular paddock and they ignored me is my focus.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2005
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    Georgia
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    Default

    It would be best to pay the thirty day notice and leave but op said she didnt have the money to pay that and the up front board to the new barn.
    Under the circumstances I'd just move and take my chances. If they took me to court and won then I'd deal with that then.

    I think by endangering the horse they have lost all rights to a thirty day notice and one way or another my horse would be outta there.

    Now for sure any past due board should be paid.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2012
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    51

    Default

    Thanks for replies everyone. May not be worth all the drama to save a board fee. I think it is the principle of the thing now and I'm mad. But I'm learning as time goes on that I would prefer to have my horse in my own back yard! Wish I could!!

    This was a last straw situation. First was my horse was losing weight and hungry all the time. I asked her hay to be increased and found out from a stall cleaner/barn hand that it wasn't happening. So..purchased my own hay for them to use and they still didn't do it! Found the bale untouched after a few days away from the barn. Then noticed bedding had been decreased dramatically and many horses were getting scrapes on their joints from laying in almost bare stall. Crazy, unorganized barn...that seemed fine six months ago. I think the economy is a factor in the breakdown of this place but I'm not sure. I guess if enough boarders leave, they'll get the message. It's too bad. Made some good friends and got into a groove. But time to start again. Found a place closer to me anyway that I like but undecided about that place due to place not having covered arena....but care looks excellent and she'll be close enough that I can check on her daily.

    I do feel like I have a child and I can't find the right daycare!


    Thanks again...


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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Default

    You probably already know all of this, but I didn't when I first was scouting out boarding facilities.

    -look at the other horses. Are they in good weight?

    -check out water troughs and buckets. Clean fresh water available?

    -ask to look at the hay. I know you can't judge quality 100% on looks alone, but you sure can discern whether or not it's being stored properly, moldy, full of weeds, etc.

    -ask about mud season...grass...etc.

    -visit more than once if you can and check out stalls. Are they reasonably clean if they've been done? And if dirty, how dirty are they? Does it look like they're normally getting cleaned?

    -I like to step IN to a stall or two and see what the floor is like. Fairly level?
    -what's the fencing like?

    -turnout situation? How much? With whom? To me, the turnout influences what kind of fence I can "live with". If they really don't have much space to get away from each other and there are quite a few horses in a turnout group, a couple strands of hot wire might not be enough. Depends of course, but it's something I look at.

    -ask open ended questions. "Can you tell me about your feeding/deworming/whatever program?" "How do you handle minor cuts/scrapes? Emergencies? What do you consider an emergency?"

    If you've had specific concerns previously, you might just ask "what if" questions. IE: let's say you see a new place has hot wire. Flat out ask if they keep it turned on all the time. You know your horse tests it, might as well ask.

    If the hay has been an issue, ask how they determine how much to give. Some BOs will say that they monitor the horse's weight and feed appropriately. Others might say that they give "2 flakes" per feeding and anything above and beyond is your responsibility. If you know what you're dealing with, it goes a long way towards preventing problems.

    I'm probably not nearly the active rider you are at this point in my life. Care is WAY more important to me than facilities--aside from things being safe. I would rather not ride and know that my horse is being well cared for than have to worry every day. And I've done the latter. Having to drive an hour each way just to make sure the horses had water. (it was a temporary situation...and it was stressful.)

    Good luck OP.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2009
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    Ok, so your mare has had multiple escapes and an accident resulting from inadequate fencing, and the fencing has not been repaired (had electric restored)? Based on what you have shared, without the benefit of the other side of the story, I think that it would be reasonable for your BO to NOT expect 30 day notice. I think getting a lawyer would be over kill, I'd just have a polite but frank discussion with the BO. Horses breaking through fencing and getting loose is a serious matter. A BO does have a responsibility to maintain fences in a reasonable manner. If the fence is solely electric, that fence better be reasonably reliably charged. That is a reasonable care expectation that was not met.

    Accidents happen where horses are concerned...but when the same accident happens more than once because no measures were taken to correct an obvious problem such as no electric to a completely electric fence, that's concerning.

    FWIW, I'd recommend moving to a place where the care they give is what your horse needs without needing to ask them for basics like enough hay or bedding as an "extra."


    2 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeeHoney View Post
    Ok, so your mare has had multiple escapes and an accident resulting from inadequate fencing, and the fencing has not been repaired (had electric restored)? Based on what you have shared, without the benefit of the other side of the story, I think that it would be reasonable for your BO to NOT expect 30 day notice. I think getting a lawyer would be over kill, I'd just have a polite but frank discussion with the BO. Horses breaking through fencing and getting loose is a serious matter. A BO does have a responsibility to maintain fences in a reasonable manner. If the fence is solely electric, that fence better be reasonably reliably charged. That is a reasonable care expectation that was not met.

    Accidents happen where horses are concerned...but when the same accident happens more than once because no measures were taken to correct an obvious problem such as no electric to a completely electric fence, that's concerning.

    FWIW, I'd recommend moving to a place where the care they give is what your horse needs without needing to ask them for basics like enough hay or bedding as an "extra."
    That's how I feel too, BeeHoney! But when I get upset, I don't always make clear decisions so I wanted to bounce it off some horse people. Even putting finances aside (the board fee), it's still the principal of it that bothers me. I want him to know he cannot treat boarders this way but I want to do it in a way that is reasonable and calm.


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  14. #14
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    Jan. 27, 2012
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    51

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    And..I agree with you too, BuddyRoo. This barn met all my standards originally and all the horses looked happy and healthy. Things started changing about eight weeks ago. Not sure what happened but I suspect it's economic. Other boarders have been buying their own hay..and coming out daily to make sure their horses are okay. I have young kids and cannot get away every day, unfortunately! But with the new place, I will. Very small and private. Just will have to give up a fancy indoor arena! But my horse will be in horse heaven



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    If the barn is screwing up feed, bedding and care because they are going broke, then

    At best, it won't matter if you teach them "the principal" that you can't treat boarders badly. The lying and not feeding your horse the hay you bought is bad, but the rest of it sounds economic. So even if they agreed with your and/or welcomed being enlightened by you, they could not afford to do otherwise.

    At worst, you are trying to teach them their business (uninvited) or getting a stall cleaner in trouble.

    I have had situations where I have had to wait out a 30 days' notice. It's a PITA, but I go to the barn, give the care I want, act pleasant and tell myself that the end is in sight.

    Oh, and this kind of experience reminds me to pay market value for board and show my appreciation to BOs and farm workers who care for my horse. Even at market-rate board, they aren't making a lot of money.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  16. #16
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    Mar. 9, 2006
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    I'm not normally one to advocate skipping out, but in this situation it probably makes sense. A loose horse is a danger to others. It sounds like she's been heading for the woods so far, but she could easily end up on the road instead. At that point the problem becomes a public safety issue - your public safety issue, since she's your horse. I'm assuming your horse is breaking out because she's hungry. The bad fencing just makes jailbreaks easier. You have tried to remedy the hungry part, and the barn isn't cooperating. You have tried instructing the barn to put the horse in more secure fencing, and the barn isn't cooperating. So, since your less drastic attempts at mitigating the issue have failed, it now makes sense to get the horse moved ASAP. You don't want the horse getting loose and injuring a third party.

    OK, you don't have the money to pay board to two barns. If someone has to get screwed, who deserves it more: the folks who aren't taking proper care of your horse, or the random motorist who has a loose horse run into the side of her car? I personally would side with the motorist.

    Now, having been screwed out of 30 day's board, what can your barn do to you? Most likely, take you to small claims court. If you are lucky, the judge agrees with you and says you don't have to pay. If you are not lucky, the judge sides with the barn and tells you to pay your board bill plus some penalties. Either way, your horse will already be in a better situation, and you will have some breathing space to figure out a payment plan.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
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    Upper Midwest
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    My horse was injured at a previous boarding barn and they didn't notice it for a week and it became infected with proud flesh (the vet is the one who said the injury was old, not me). This was very expensive to treat, btw, as I had to have her x-rayed, sedated a couple times (emergency vet calls), on stall rest and wrapped/medicated for over a month--paying someone to treat her when I couldn't make it out. It also ended up disfiguring her leg, although I'm hopeful she will grow into the lump, since she is only two. I got back from a work trip and brought her in and her ankle was at least double if not triple in size, plus the infected, oozing wound.

    I gave my thirty days notice shortly thereafter in person and with a written letter, when I brought in my next board check. I was going to move her in a week regardless if I ate the money or not, just was waiting for an open stall, because she was on stall rest. The BO went on for a long time about how it wasn't really his fault because others hadn't noticed it either (??) and he was very sorry and he couldn't accept my check. He said this is a personal service industry, yada yada and it is better for his business if a dissatisfied customer leaves sooner rather than later. I felt that was fair and thought we left on decent terms. When asked about the barn be others, I simply said I wanted my horse to have mare-only turnout (the only true, but non-nasty thing I could thing to say).

    I found out two weeks ago from my new BO, that he is bad mouthing me for not giving thirty days notice (you have to be kidding me!) and saying what a high maitenance boarder I was (I wanted to pay more and have her have continual hay access while on stall rest to avoid boredom/ulcers) and a trouble maker (you have to be kidding me, I never saw anyone out there). I almost sent him a demand letter (I'm a lawyer) but decided it wasn't worth it. Anyone who knows me and knows him will figure out the truth. If I hear about it again, however I will follow up legally.

    It would have been easier if he had taken the da*n check.
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

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  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    When I first moved to MI, I had a really bad boarding experience. The very day my horses arrived, I started looking for something else. Several things that I was told were done daily (like turnout) were not. My normally friendly gelding started backing up quickly in his stall whenever it was opened--found out that one of the barn workers was poking the horses with her pitchfork to back them to up clean stalls rather than moving them. One of my mares got hurt after she went through the hot wire fence of her run in after such an episode and they demanded payment. I got in trouble for cleaning my own stall. They weren't cleaning them well at all so I did. I wasn't using more shavings or anything, just cleaning. Got a fairly psychotic hand written letter from BO about that. It was kind of like Crazy Crayola Trainer Lady. Anyway, I didn't have a lot of $$ to pay double board at the time for 3 horses, but I found a place, hired a hauler to come get them, etc. Hauler told me to call the sheriff because she had moved horses out of there before and there had been physical altercations. So I did. They told me to call if there was trouble.

    I was going to give my notice AFTER I got my horses safely on a trailer. Best laid plans and all that....

    BO came out, threw my bags of feed around, shoved me up against a wall, berated me and the hauler the whole time--lots of profanity and screaming.

    THEN she sued me for another 30 days of board (for 3 horses) and the damages to the fence and some other invented damages.

    I was getting ready to go overseas to work--like in two weeks. Her attorney kind of lied to me but I was young and dumb and didn't know any better. They told me that there would be a bench warrant out for me if I didn't pay or show up at the court date and I was quite literally going halfway across the world for a job for a bit.

    So I ended up paying about 1200 bucks IIRC.

    After that, whenever there's been a need to move and on less than perfect terms, I've just paid for another month and avoided the drama. Was NOT worth it.

    But if I had been a little wiser at the time or had more time available, I probably would've gotten an attorney and pursued it.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2006
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    Virginia
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    About 2 years ago I moved my horse out of a place without notice and I didn't pay the 30 days either.

    The barn screwed up BIG time and my horse suffered for it. I did pay for the extra feed they "supposedly" were giving her, but I told them flat out I would NOT pay for failure to give notice when they had clearly broken the contract regarding caring for my horse.

    I think the BO felt bad that it was her staff who messed up, so she never came after me for the money. I don't really care if she bad mouthed me either. She's lucky I didn't come after her for the vet bills that barn cost me!

    It also helps that I am related to a lawyer - people seem to suddenly be extra nice to me once I mention that.



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