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Difficulties getting stable owner/manager to feed enough. Advice?

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  • #21
    I think photos of said horses might be helpful for the opinions you've received.

    Are all the horses at this barn underfed, or just yours? Do they clean up, or is hay wasted and stall maintenance an issue? Would a constantly filled hay net or slow feeder address the problem?

    I think if you make it easy for the feeder and cleaner, the right amount can be delivered. Sometimes it is just hard for them to measure.

    My barn overfeeds, and I know it is because it is difficult to split flakes, so when you need 1.5 you get 2. I have taken to pre-weighing hay in those tugtrubs, and for the days I don't get there, he gets a little more.

    I understand you don't have that luxury, but if you can get to the root problem of why it is difficult to give your horses enough, then at least you can work from there.


    • #22
      You can’t change somebody who doesn’t want to change, it’s a waste of time and energy. And, honestly, she doesn’t have to change if she doesn’t want to, it’s her business and her property. You can’t force her...but you can annoy her and get her defensive or spiteful which can backfire on you and your horse badly, like being evicted. And yes she can.

      There has to be someplace else. If not, you will have to compromise and stay. Personally, I’d pick a different hill to die on, just compromise on something else and move. Ask your vet, farrier and at the feed store.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


      • #23
        I've fought this battle so many times at many different barns. The only way I got my horses fed enough was to bring them home and do it myself. I hope you have better luck!
        Equestrian and Sporting Oil Paintings
        Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
        Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB


        • #24
          OP if you're not willing to move, and not able to take a more active role in supervising the horses' care, what solutions do you imagine you will get here? If you can't go there, why dont' you hire someone to do it. Since you say you are not able to get to the barn, then I assume you have a trainer who is working with your horses--why can't you enlist the trainer?

          Bottom line, if you can't take an active role, you're not willing to search for a new barn, not able to bring them home, and won't hire someone to care for the horses, then it's time to confront the possibility that at this time of your life, you're not in a good position to own and breed horses.

          Sorry to be harsh here, but when you need to change a situation, that means you need to change. You can't make others change.


          • #25
            I've been in this position so many times in my life.

            I've never seen a barn owner change their ways in a situation like you describe, where the problem has been discussed repeatedly. I wholeheartedly agree with those who say your options are either a) to move, or b) to hire someone to feed your horse. And option B comes with its own potential risks and problems, especially when you say the barn owner's ego can cause issue. I know you don't want to move, I understand living in a high cost area, but some situations will never work. If nothing else, I'd at least be actively searching for another barn, even if you don't end up moving.

            When investigating new barns, make questions about feeding a priority. I find the easiest solution is to find a barn that allows you to bring in your own feed, or at least bills for feed separately. Supplying your own hay can be great, too, although that comes with logistical problems that not all barns are equipped to handle (storage, how to hay in the herd, finding a reliable source, etc.).

            If you can't find a place that will allow you to supply your own feed/hay, get hard numbers for the quantities they will feed in the contract-- like "board includes up to 7lbs of feed and 20lbs of hay." Specifically ask what happens if your horse needs more than that amount, and don't accept answers like, "that won't happen, that is plenty of food for every horse." Ask what happens if your horse doesn't do well on the barn's choice of feed, etc. Make them show you how much hay they feed-- not just give blanket statements open to multiple interpretations like "as much as they need," or "several flakes." Make sure they have methods in place to ensure horses get adequate rations, especially in turnout situations. If you can have a friendly conversation with current or past boarders, they will usually spill any dirt quickly, often without prompting.

            Good luck! Having managed barns and cared for horses most all of my life, I have great empathy for the costs and logistics that go into boarding horses. At the same time, I have never understood why a large percentage of barn owners will allow boarders' horses to go underfed on their property. Ultimately, it reflects poorly on the farm.
            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO