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Boarding Question! Update post 15!

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  • Boarding Question! Update post 15!

    I started boarding my horse at this barn in Jan. However I am a student so from May to mid August brought my horse home. I sort of chanced it on the boarding situation hoping they would have a stall when I came back. And luckily they did.
    But I am going to bring my horse home for Xmas break, which is about a month. At my previous barn there were tons of x-tra stalls and the BO was nice and didnt have me pay at all while I wasnt there for a month.

    I realize that it would be in the realm of 'normal' for the barn to want me to pay some sort of fee while my horse and I aren't there for 1 month. But my board includes $300 to the trainer and $450 for board- so $750, but write 2 different checks.
    I think its kind of dumb for me to have to pay the 'training' fee when I'm not there. And even the whole boarding price is kind of steep considering you dont have to feed or clean a stall for my horse.

    SO I am kind of wondering #1 what I should do and #2 what should expect to pay. I dont want to come off as cheap, but like said, I'm a student and I work my butt off to pay for this place because the cheaper barns in the area caused my horses injuries and illness.

    I don't want to talk to the trainer because she is big on exaggerating (like she will say there is a huge waiting list when there isnt one at all) and she will automatically say that don't have a choice about the training fee (i know this because I had to pay the full training fee when I was boarded for only a half month). Instead I was going to call the Owner of the property and talk to her (after all she is the one getting the 450 check)

    PLEASE help me. I am not that experienced, only 20, and new with dealing with people and their business.
    Last edited by starkissed; Nov. 13, 2009, 05:32 PM.

  • #2
    Ask the barn owner what the dry stall rate is. Don't expect it to be much less than full board though... things like the mortgage, insurance and tractor payments still have to be made even though a stall is empty.

    About all they'll save is the feed, really. If she does want full board paid to hold the stall, then ask for your month's worth of hay and grain and you can use it at home!

    The training, well... on one hand I wouldn't want to pay for training that's not happening, on the other I might just consider it a holiday gift to keep the peace.
    ... and Patrick


    • #3
      Does your board contract address this kind of situation at all? (Particularly when and when not training fees are paid -- what if your horse was laid up for a couple of months and couldn't be ridden, do you have to pay then?)

      Is the owner involved at all? If not -- and there are some owners around here who want nothing to do with the running of their barn, they just want the checks to come in and the trainer/manager to deal with everyone else -- then I don't think approaching them will be successful. On the other hand, if the owner is more hands on, you could try talking to them.

      Sometimes horse pros are unbusinesslike and unprofessional. I hope that's not the kind of person the trainer is.

      I think you can make a very logical argument that the fees should be reduced. They count on a certain amount of income per stall, so you could ask if they would consider you paying board, less feed and shavings, since they will end up netting the same amount of money. But you may find that deducting feed and shavings will only cut $100 off the board bill (since board is comprised of so much more).

      As for the training fees, if your contract doesn't address this, you could say "I understand you plan on X training fees a month, but since I won't be here can I pay for them in December, but get extra sessions/lessons in January and February?" That way, their income doesn't take a hit and you aren't paying for something you don't receive.

      Good luck, you sound reasonable, and like you want to do the right thing. Look at it from their point of view, and see if you can cover their needs; look at it from yours, and cover your needs, and then if they don't go for your reasonable proposal realize you are not out of line, and you are just dealing with difficult people! Again -- best of luck!
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      • #4
        I asked about this when I was touring this week. I was told half the price of full board, or the cost of outdoor board, so long as there wasn't a waiting list. If there was I might be charged the price I had been paying.
        Riding the winds of change

        Heeling NRG Aussies
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        • Original Poster

          I just read through all the boarding contracts (and there are about 10 of them!) most are just about liability and not suing.
          If I only got $100 off board would be thrilled. $350 as opposed to $750 would be fine with me. I realize there are plenty of other costs besides feed, hay, and stall. We have a farm at home, an although not boarding, grain is probably our cheapest expense!

          I just really hope I dont have to pay the trainer fee. I hardly even use the lessons I do get because #1 I don't have a ton of time and #2 I don't really like the instructor.
          But we will see. I just hope for the best!


          • #6
            As a BO, I would probably be reasonable and knock some off your board if asked in a non-demanding way. As for the training, our training contracts are pretty specific, we take a limited amount of training horses, so we would charge for the month unless you wanted to give up your training spot and take a chance there would still be room when you came back. Let's face it, training is where most farms make their money. We also require a minimum of 30 days written notice for changes.


            • #7
              Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
              As a BO, I would probably be reasonable and knock some off your board if asked in a non-demanding way. As for the training, our training contracts are pretty specific, we take a limited amount of training horses, so we would charge for the month unless you wanted to give up your training spot and take a chance there would still be room when you came back. Let's face it, training is where most farms make their money. We also require a minimum of 30 days written notice for changes.
              It doesn't sound like she actually wants to ride with the instructor... but that it's a requirement of the barn to either have your horse in training or take lessons.
              Custom Painted Brushes: spcustombrushes@gmail.com


              • Original Poster

                Carolina- yes that is correct. The fee I pay to the trainer is required-even if I don't want the training(which is like 5 lessons a month or something).

                I'll call up the owner, maybe today, and ask her.

                I guess I will just say something along the lines of: I'm going home for break (1 month) and want to bring my horse back with me to ride. However I do want to keep and reserve my place at the barn for my spring semester. Is there some way we can negotiate the price for the time when my horse is not stabled?
                And would it be possible to waive the training fee while my horse and I aren't there?

                sound good? Thanks again!


                • #9
                  You're paying $300 a month for 5 lessons? Depending on your location must be a really great trainer! In essence, you're saying your board is $750 per month. Is that reasonable with other barns in your area (if you really don't need the lessons)?


                  • #10
                    Starkissed, you are being ripped off, find another barn!
                    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                    • Original Poster

                      LauraKY- For me I just package the whole amount- 750, into board. Its a very nice barn with excellent full care board. At home, board of that quality costs that much.

                      Unfortunately- the trainer is kind of useless. Her clients love her, but they show local at like 2ft. I get the lessons when I can because I already paid for them, but I could take them or leave them.

                      sdlbredfan- trust me- the price PAINS me! however I only have 1 more semester to go, and I can afford it until then. And very unfortunately, all the other barns I have been to (3 others) have been about half the price- and it was at least half the care! aka horrible fencing/nails, or no hay, or drunk workers. just a mess. So even though this is really pricey for me now, I have a job that can pay for it and I just will keep working for it until may when I graduate. My horse means a lot and this place gives me peace of mind. If I could find a cheaper place that was safe and my horse was taken care of, I would take it in a second!


                      • #12
                        That is good to know, "this place gives me peace of mind" - that makes it seem a good value for the money. You are blessed to be able to afford it.
                        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                        • #13
                          It never hurts to ask! The worst that could possibly happen is the BO says pay it all or lose your stall.

                          I personally feel you shouldn't have to pay the training fee while you're not there... but then again they may make it black and white, yes or no, only because they could end up with boarders saying they dont want to pay for 2 weeks of the month because their horse was on stall rest, etc. It makes the business end of things complicated and unpredictable.
                          Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by starkissed View Post
                            My horse means a lot and this place gives me peace of mind. If I could find a cheaper place that was safe and my horse was taken care of, I would take it in a second!
                            Good for you. Peace of mind is priceless! That's why we have a long waiting list...we take care of boarder's horses like they are our own.


                            • #15
                              I think you put it very nicely in your previous post. Compliment the barn, then present your request in a reasonable manner. Most businesses value their good clients and would be happy to work something out.


                              • Original Poster

                                Here is my update!

                                I called the OWNER of the farm and asked her about paying for the stall over a month in the winter. etc. She was really vague and it was obvious she didn't know what to say. So she just told me to call the TRAINER (who I was avoiding) because she deals with the money primarily.

                                So I procrastinated....but I figured I better cut to the chase since I have break in one month.
                                TODAY I talked to the trainer and I thought I was pretty clear, saying
                                "I am going home for break, for a duration of one month, and I am wondering if we can work out a price for the board while my horse is not stabled. But I want to make sure I can bring him back in January"

                                clear right? Well she went on to say that currently I am really lucky because there is one stall open and the 3 horse/2 people that were on the waiting list are stalled for the moment as far as moving their horses. One lady was coming from NJ and she is no longer bringing the horse. And the other lady who was bringing 1 then the 2nd in the spring is caught up in something so most likely she won't be moving her horses for a few months.
                                Additionally, she said it would actually be convenient not having my horse there for a month because they are re-doing stall mats and all that and moving everyone around.

                                SO- she didn't say explicitly that I had to pay X or didn't have to pay X. But I am left with the impression that I don't have to pay because there is no demand for the stall. hmmm?


                                • #17
                                  Thanks for the update. I would be really clear with the trainer. Can you send her an email, so it is in writing? Something along the lines of "I am glad we talked about my holiday break. Just to confirm, I will be taking my horse home on December X and bringing him back on January Y. I will not be paying board for December, but will mail you January's check." Or something like that. I wouldn't leave it vague.
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                                  • Original Poster

                                    yes thank you, I think I had better get something in january. I'll have to do it in person (eww) b/c I dont think she has email. or maybe I'll leave a voice message. haha.