OK so I read the other thread and disagree with Meup's summary. IMO the cherry-picked quotes do not reflect the tone of the thread at all. The question there was essentially " I'm leaving but do I have to pay my last month's board?" The responses there were probably 98% that "lack of water is completely unacceptable and yes leave now." The verdict on whether she should honor her contract and pay the last month's board was mixed, but that is a totally different question. Aside from the watering problem, most of the other offenses that OP described were not justification for not paying board. They were communication issues, different standard of care, etc. All valid reasons to leave the barn, but they did not seem to be breach of contract, by any stretch.
I saw that a couple posters started to question whether that other OP was perhaps being overly dramatic about what was actually going on. In all 8 pages, maybe one or two ppl suggested it was not a life-threatening situation if a horse has emptied his bucket and had to wait an hour or two before it was refilled. Had the OP's other complaints not seemed a titch overblown, I bet no doubts would have been raised at all. (Example: What a highly sensitized boarder calls "gashes", another might see pretty superficial pasture scrapes that just need a little salve on them. No vet care was mentioned, so doesn't seem like they were serious. The lack of a phone call is a failed expectation about communications-- not breach of contract. Same with the lameness--different standards of what needs immediate phone call and vet care. Even the OP was ok with waiting 5 days for a routine vet visit, rather than an emergency call.)
BR's situation sounds a lot more extreme to me. Totally agree that immediate departure is necessary, and also that it's worth a conversation with the BO that basic needs were not being met, and the next month's board should be waived, and see what they say. (But I'd be willing to compromise and pay partial board, similar to a dry stall rate for when a horse is out at training, if only to avoid the Bad Boarder rep) Based on what I read in the other situation, I'd also say leave immediately, but that OP had a weaker case to not pay for the 30 days notice period.
I hadn't chimed in on either thread, but I do think the perception that COTH takes a schizophrenic view of whether water is vital, solely based on popularity of the OP, is pretty far off base. A poster's perceived unreliability in presenting the facts [I]does[I] tend to influence replies. I think that's different.
GG, I'm 14 miles SW of DC proper...near where 495 and 95 meet up on the SW side.
The barns I looked at in MD would be a little further than what I'm driving now...probably closer to 2 hours away with light traffic.
The place I'm moving to is about the same distance away as the current barn so it's a hike, but it's doable.
I live very very close to you. I know of at least 3 barns that take good care and are a 45 min to 1 hour drive. All three in PG County Maryland. Let me know if you are interested. Most have 24/7 turnout with access to a stall in inclement weather (like the freezing weather we've been having). I just sold a horse out of my barn today so I know there's a stall open.
As a BO that has 9 of my own horses and 4 boarders, it makes me sick to hear how badly so many BO's neglect horses - including their own. We keep our horses on 24/7 free choice hay or grass (when in season), they have access to a LOT of water 24/7. They all have two buckets in their stalls, heated buckets in the winter.
I've been in a lot of situations before I got my own place like the others have described - places where my horses were left up in 100+ degree weather with no water, weren't being fed or turned out, no hay or grain....made me sick. I just do not understand how on earth people can LET this kind of stuff happen!!!!
Kudos to everyone that is pitching in and taking care of the poor neglected horses. I wish everyone was as conscientious about taking care of horses as you all and I are.
I'm 15 minutes from mine, and in such a terrible traffic area I feel really lucky. It's a huge consideration when we think about moving, and I really don't want to leave my barn.
I think part of what makes it so tough for a lot of horse people out here is that in order to live, most of us have to work in the city or in the "burbs." As you said, traffic is bad here everywhere, almost every day. For most of last year, I lived only 20 minutes from my barn, but I still worked in DC (I live in southern PG County), so while my commute to the barn was great, my commute to work typically sucks. However, it was way better than living an 1+ hours from the barn and having to make that trip to/from home after work. Before, I used to take the metro or commuter bus to/from work, pick up my car, then drive to the barn. On those days, I spent a minimum of 3 hours a day driving or commuting. It was horrible.
Now, my horse is an hour and half away from me again, but it was worth it to get him good training rides with my trainer and to get away from the nutso barn manager at my last barn. I'm hoping that I can find a job somewhere further north, then find a place to live up there so that I can go ride during the week. For sure, this area is a Catch 22 in regards to having horses. Lots of horsey activities, but the trade-offs are traffic and urban sprawl. You are incredibly fortunate to have a place you love so nearby. God willing, I'll be as fortunate by the end of the year!
I'm glad that BuddyRoo is getting her mare out of that barn. I don't care what anyone says - it's really hard to find a decent, well-run, reasonably priced place to board in this area. I hope her new situation works out much better!
"Promote what you believe instead of bashing what you hate."
My horses are at full care facility and my daughter checks on them frequently. Several months ago when there was another worker on the farm, she found dry buckets/troughs and/or slimy ones. I went ballistic on the BO, identifying myself as a water nazi and let him know on no uncertain terms that all vet bills associated with dehydration would be sent to him. There is now a new, responsible worker who lives on the premises and actually frequently tops off buckets and feeds night hay, which was not part of the routine prior to his arrival. With the checking up, I feel much better about their situation but I would still prefer to care for them myself.
I've seen enough boarding situations that would be better run by trained monkeys than the yahoos who cheat horses left and right. And Buddy, I know exactly how you feel because I was in the exact same situation several years ago. Got my horses out of there but worried so much about the horses still there that I made myself a wreck. It was very, very hard to walk away from them, but I had spent years advocating for a ..gher standard of care and it all fell on deaf ears. All you can do is what you have done and hope that someone listens. It sucks that you care more about the other boarders' horses than they do.
It's still 68 here at 7pm. Horses should've not had winter blankets on. But oh well. Told BO about the downed fence, the loose horse, the low tanks, and the blankets and she still seems to want to defend her helper. So....oh well. You can only do what you can do and I guess I've done what I can. They were there before me and will be there after. The good news is that MY critter is in a happy place and is getting to enjoy her stall tonight in all this crap. I got a pic from new BO and Miss Mare is quite pleased in her new digs.
She'll be okay.
She rolled quite a few times after I got that blanket off...I didn't want to go there w/o backup just in case yesterday. So I'm a jerk for not making sure her blanket was off. But she's going to be okay.
I feel SO FREAKING BLESSED.
I'm not going to "out" the fellow COTHer who took me in but I am so bloody thankful.
And will sleep well tonight.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.