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questionable boarder-WWYD

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  • questionable boarder-WWYD

    Long story, sorry
    I recently had to kick an employee out of my barn for doing things with clients horses against the clients permission. As happens with every angry fired employee she went on a rampage and tried telling the world we were a horrible barn. No one really cared and ignored her, BUT...
    One boarder was friends with her and even though things have calmed down I really don't trust this boarder. Maybe I am being paranoid, but she makes comments about other peoples horses that really shouldn't concern her. Examples are, saying they are skinny, or have thrush, or that their feet need trimmed. Horses she says that about are either new horses that have just moved in, or horses that are in the process of being treated. We really don't want to jump to conclusions, kick her out and loose money, but It worry's me that she is not just minding her own business. I really want to keep drama out of my farm. Would you sacrifice the money and head it off at the pass, or just watch her for a while and see what happens? She claims she is happy here and wants to stay and is genuinely friendly when I see her.

    Also: My lawyer advised me that it might be a good idea to have routine inspections of the farm by the local humane society to keep our reputation clean, especially since we just opened. Has anyone ever done this?

  • #2
    Is she otherwise a good boarder?
    have other boarders mentioned her remarks?

    as to the humane society, I'm thinking your lawyer wants to create a proof trail that you aren't whackadoo. That will help keep the law from confiscating horses, but probably not do anything for your reputation among the horse community
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    • Original Poster

      So far no one has mentioned her remarks, not sure if she has said them to anyone's face yet other than me.


      • #4
        [QUOTE=manentail;5683629Also: My lawyer advised me that it might be a good idea to have routine inspections of the farm by the local humane society to keep our reputation clean, especially since we just opened. Has anyone ever done this?[/QUOTE]

        Keep in mind that the humane society, although not legally connected to HSUS, likely has many people with the same or similar agendas, whether concious or simply part of their belief system....and that the end goal for their agenda is no use of animals by humans for any reason. They get donations by making pleas for help after being involved in dramatic/spectacular seizures of animals and they consider a BUSINESS based on animals to be the ultimate target, gathering lots of horses and getting lots of publicity and donations as result.
        Colored Cowhorse Ranch
        Northern NV


        • #5
          I don't believe the USHS has an inspection program that certifies that farms or other facilities with animals are "clean'." It's not like they award the Goodhousekeeping Seal of Approval to people. I think the lawyer is not a horse person as he is inviting trouble to your door.

          As for the boarder, I've had some boarders who could have engaged in more MYOB, but unless the boarder is actually doing something or can be traced as the source of some gossip, I would let it go for now.
          Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


          • #6
            I would not get too worried. Jmo. I have a boarder who
            Is like this, makes comments to me, unsolicited advice about other horses. Some people just DO that. If she pays her board and is just mildly abrasive to you personality wise- I would keep her and just monitor the situation.
            Come to the dark side, we have cookies


            • #7
              You do not say where you are located, but some states have a boarding stable licensing and inspection program (see an example of Maryland's here: http://www.mda.state.md.us/licenses_...ense/index.php ) If you have such a process in your state, make sure you are in compliance and that a copy of your license is posted in a high-traffic area for all to see.

              If you have questions about specific horse-keeping issues, I would recommend working with your local Extension Service and your vet, rather than any 'animal control' or 'humane society' group -- you need to be working with horse and horse-industry knowledgeable people, not dog-cat-gerbil folks who may have little to no knowledge about good horsekeeping practices.

              "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
              - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


              • #8
                New York State has come kind of minor "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" for barns. Take it for what it's worth.

                I'd wait until you see any real consequences from your boarder, especially because you are a new barn. Don't make anything a bigger deal than it needs to be. Boarder, who won't ever think she has done anything wrong, will tell plenty of other people about your firing of an employee and then a boarder with no apparent reason.

                Just keeping doing your job well and don't do anything to add to whatever drama exists.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you for your advice! I am in OH, do they have any kind of inspection/license program?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
                    I don't believe the USHS has an inspection program that certifies that farms or other facilities with animals are "clean'." It's not like they award the Goodhousekeeping Seal of Approval to people. I think the lawyer is not a horse person as he is inviting trouble to your door.
                    I agree. I would NOT have the HS out to your farm on a regular basis. That's opening a can of worms - not to mention how it will LOOK to have them on your property on a regular basis.

                    As for the boarder, it's your decision. Remember that drama that isn't fed, usually dies down eventually. If she's happy there and you keep doing what you do (and do it well!), she'll get tired of trying to stir the pot.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by manentail View Post
                      Also: My lawyer advised me that it might be a good idea to have routine inspections of the farm by the local humane society to keep our reputation clean, especially since we just opened. Has anyone ever done this?
                      Perhaps pay an extra call by a vet and have it billed as "barn wellness check." or something.
                      Don't ge the state/gov involved nothing good can come from that. Unless you like permits, licenses fees and fines all to please a griping boarder.
                      A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                      Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'


                      • #12
                        Well , you can always 'kill her with kindness', as in keeping her involved in your some of the daily goings on. Nothing too in depth but if you see her 'sizing up' a horse, ask her opinion (in front of an audience/witness). You will be able to nip the negative talk in the bud.
                        Years ago (long LONG ago) I was a lifeguard at a public pool. I was warned by some of the regular swimmers that a few trouble makers always showed up to 'stir the pot'. Well, on my first day I figured out who the punks were and shocked them by asking them to help me keep an eye on the 'riff raff'. I even gave them whistles. I never had a problem after that.
                        Obviously, if she's just a bad seed and wants to cause trouble, send her packing.
                        R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
                        36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever


                        • #13
                          I've yet to find any boarding barn without at least one of the variety of common troublemakers: the know-it-all, the self-proclaimed vet/trainer, the impossible to please, the natural/barefoot guru, the my-horse-is-more-special type, etc.

                          From time to time I'm pretty sure I've even been guilty of demonstrating many of these behaviors. Other than the natural stuff. Nobody's perfect, we all have pet peeves and a well-developed sense of how we like things done.

                          If she's just mouthy and generally complaining, I might just have a word with her: "You seem unhappy and I can't help but hear your complaints about th
                          e care we give here. Is there something you want to see changed?"

                          People piss and moan when they're pretty sure nobody in authority is listening. As a BO/BM, you sre the authority. Show that you are listening. I don't mean that you should be Big Brother, but if you respond DIRECTLY to
                          comments like hers, you will either hear a legitimate complaint that she may really think needs addressing, or she will shut up if her claims are groundless. You have thereby done your job.

                          The unwillingness to confront one another, both on the boarder's end and the owner's, is almost predictable in these situations. What is so terrible about a
                          simple face to face conversation?

                          And I would pass on the inspection. With no guidelines, no standards, and no authority, such a thing is next to worthless.
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            I don't think ANY boarder needs to do more of the MYOB stuff. Any boarder that wants to make comments is an opening to educate - about horses in general, or what you are doing for any particular one with an issue. It is an opportunity to blow them away with just how much you know your 'stuff", while helping them to be better horsemen/women.

                            The more my boarders want to discuss other horses issues, the more likely I can make a long term person who is in my corner, but also the better I can send them off at some future date to be more knowledgeable themselves for their future equines.

                            I always like to show them that most issues are not black and white, but more gray. A thinner horse that is older and having some lameness issues may be a lot more comfortable a bit thin, etc.


                            • #15
                              I definitely wouldn't have the HS or AC out, since you never know what their experience and education is, and what their agenda is. In some cases it might be the same as inviting PETA to drop in, which is a horrible idea too. You'll have enough problems with people reporting sleeping horses as dead, and horses wearing fly masks as blindfolded.

                              The only thing that will get you a good reputation is running a good operation, with happy boarders. I agree with Deltawave's approach about asking her directly about it, and then if she says nothing directly to you, but keeps on sniping then you know you have a problem that might have to be asked to make other arrangements.
                              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                              • #16
                                just a heads up, some one is posting on cl every few days asking people to email them to bad mouth your farm. No idea who it is or how they tie into this drama.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by CPO614 View Post
                                  just a heads up, some one is posting on cl every few days asking people to email them to bad mouth your farm. No idea who it is or how they tie into this drama.
                                  I know, that is the person I had to ask to leave. Not really sure how to make her stop but she has been doing this for a week now. Everyone at my barn is really happy, and all the accusations she is making aren't true.


                                  • #18
                                    Sorry, I misread the last post and had to edit my reply. I would talk to the boarder to see if she has concerns and then keep an eye on her. Chances are she's saying much worse behind your back.

                                    Regarding the person posting on CL, you might want to ask your lawyer about what constitutes libel and have the lawyer write up some kind of cease and desist letter. Good luck.


                                    • #19
                                      I wouldn't do anything about the busybody unless she seems unhappy at your facility. I'm glad when my boarders care about the horses, and I'm more than happy to explain why we do things the way we do and I'm happy to refer them to the vet, blacksmith, or nutritionist if they want more info. You don't need to be defensive if you aren't doing anything wrong. I completely agree with deltawave that it is very important to consider and respond to any complaints.

                                      In terms of defending yourself, having someone out to inspect your farm is probably pointless. Instead concentrate on running a safe and professional barn and make sure there is no truth to what anyone is saying. It doesn't matter if your place is fancy or not, make sure horses have clean fresh water, plenty of hay and bedding, and regular feedings, and that these things are obvious to customers.

                                      It is also a good idea to photograph your facility and the horses on it regularly. I photograph all horses when they arrive and after any injury or incident, and before leaving. Keep detailed farrier and vet records on every horse.

                                      FWIW ending relationships with employees can be a bigger minefield than ending relationships with boarding clients. I don't know any of the details of your particular situation, but I have seen situations where farms were sabotaged by angry ex-employees--horses being let out, etc. So it pays to have some caution.

                                      Oh, I just wanted to add that once my home farm WAS inspected by a volunteer from a dog rescue group so that I could adopt a dog, and they were initially very concerned with my horse care--they thought my fly masks were blinding the horses, and they were worried as to why a foundered horse was in a dry lot with no grass to eat! Of course they were fine once I explained those things, but that's probably about what would happen with a humane society inspection if those are even done!


                                      • #20
                                        Wow, Manentail, you really have a whackadoodle on your hands. Posting on CL to find people to bad mouth your farm?!?!? Bad deal!

                                        I agree with the people who say to invite the MYOB boarder to become your disciple. This is 180* opposite from asking her to leave.

                                        Under the old saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer", the last thing you want is someone who might be unsure or a little disgruntled to be kicked out and then REALLY badmouthing you when you have no control over what she says or who she says them to.

                                        This is a lemons/lemonade situation. By taking this boarder under your wing, you can teach her a lot about horse care and horsemanship. You can also convert her (if she needs converting) into a cheerleader for your team, so she is not being influenced by your ex-employee.
                                        "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                                        Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump