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Boarding issues, whats fair to both?

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  • Boarding issues, whats fair to both?

    Have been at my barn for 5 years. It is a smaller facility, very well kept and I was the first official boarder. Care was excellent, price was excellent. Every detail was tended as if my horse was at home. Never worried about going away. Happy Happy! As more people started moving in, BO started getting disgruntled at the amount of work. Some new things needed to be built to accomodate the increase in horses, etc. Prices went up and things that had been included (blankets, etc) now became ad ons in addition to the price increase.
    In the last year she has built even more paddocks, etc. What was once designed for 9 horses with turnouts is now packed with 20 horses and the turnouts are now live-in pastures. Prices have increased to close to double what I originally paid and care is considerably less. The arena is not impeccably maintained-but it is still well maintained and probably the best in the area. Barn aisle is cluttered, stuff is left laying around, pasture fences are not being repaired/replaced as needed. Hot wire is often down. Blankets are not being taken off/put on as regularly as needed. Pastures are full of squirrel holes (this has been promised to be fixed for several months). Feed quantity has gone down (but not for her own horses).
    BO and I have a pretty good relationship. In the past I have talked to her about different things, as she has with me. She has alot of personal stuff going on right now and I'm hoping this will all change when its over. BUT, I have been saying that for months now. I have pretty much taken over my horses care and make sure I'm there at least once a day, I have a friend check if I have to go out of town. I'm filling in squirrel holes, buying DG for stall, etc.
    Do I just start looking for another place (kinda have been and its all frying pan/fire). Do I keep waiting for her life to settle down and then talk to her or do I sit her down now? I guess the only negative to talking to her now would be getting kicked out?
    I have been there a long time and consider her a sort of friend. There aren't alot of other places in town. I want to be fair to her, but at the same time am not feeling like I'm getting my moneys worth. Advice?
    Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!

  • #2
    It sounds like you already know the answer... time to go.

    If the only reason you're considering staying is out of some sense of loyalty/friendship, that's not good enough for your horse if his care is suffering.

    Are there better options in the area? I think it's easy to say "get out of there yesterday," but you have to weigh the options. For instance, I'd be more inclined to keep my horse at a place very close by if the care was so-so (but not BAD), because it's close enough that I can be there quickly, drop in to keep an eye on things, etc., as opposed to a barn an hour away where I could only get to a few times a week.

    Also, I don't think I'd talk to BO about considering leaving, at least not until you have a back-up plan in place in case she tells you to hit the road.
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

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    • #3
      Yep, move. You're paying way more and getting way less and it sounds like it is now dangerous for your horse in regard to fencing and the ground.

      Comment


      • #4
        As you said, it may be that you are on the best place for your horse. The deciding factor for me would be safety. Arena, blanketing, act is important, but down fencing and holes are huge. Some things may never change - she's not going to be a neatnick overnight. Could you prioritize and talk to her about the safety issues immediately? And how do the other local options compare in safety?

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        • #5
          As others have mentioned, maybe you are in the right place, given your other options. It's easy for people to say "move" but they may not realize it's either where you are now, or drive an hour for something of equal care and pay through the nose.

          It sounds like her hobby turned into a business and she wasn't ready for it. People can have great horse sense and offer great care, but aren't business savvy. 20 horses is a lot for 1 person to keep up with. By the time you get the day to day of feeding turnout, etc. done, there's not much time left for fence repairs, etc. I'm not saying it's acceptable, just that she has a lot more on her plate than she can handle.

          Sooo since you're there everyday anyway, why not sit down and offer some help. Maybe offer to feed 2 evenings a week, or 2 mornings a week, in exchange for some $$ off board. She may not have even thought of that as an option, but having a free evening or 2 (or morning or 2, depending on your schedule) to get to other things, may be enough to give her a second to catch up with her life and get back on track.

          Then she can get back on track, you can get a little financial assistance, and then maybe she really will be able to get to the things she's promised.

          It's worth a try anyway, if you have the time.
          Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.

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          • #6
            I don't know the answer, but let me help reframe the question.

            Don't compare what you are getting now to what you were getting (there could be many reasons for the changes, including that she wasn't charging enough in the first place).

            Rather, compare what the care/facilities/cost is where you are, now, with what else is out there.

            Is there a place that offers better care at the same price? If yes, your answer is move. But if you find that you have to pay more than you want for better care, or that there actually isn't anything better out there, then your answer is stay.
            https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
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            • #7
              Originally posted by thatsnotme View Post
              Feed quantity has gone down (but not for her own horses).
              This is a red flag. I'd leave. Absolutely no excuse for this.
              Last edited by Stacie; Mar. 3, 2011, 04:27 PM.
              "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

              "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x

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              • #8
                It seems to me that she needs to hire a farm help or two, and that could possibly mean even higher board fee.

                I know that is not what you want to hear, but that might be the only fair solution for everybody. The thing is, when you first boarded, you might in fact to be costing her money if she had really calculated what her marginal cost was by adding you. She might not have realized that or even cared because she liked you, she liked to have someone else as company, etc. But now with more boarders, cost become more significant and more obvious, hence the ever increasing board.

                If her place is so popular, does that mean her place is in fact, the best, around the region for the charges?

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                • #9
                  I would talk to her, but not about leaving. When I boarded I cleaned stalls 6 days a week in exchange for free board. There could be several responsible people who would do that in exchange for a reduction in board? Stall cleaning is extremely time consuming when you have to do it all. It sounds like she is overworked and I would try to see if you can get her on board with getting some help . If you have a good boarding barn I would stay at least until it was clear she won't change things.

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                  • #10
                    Its just time to go and I am not one to post "Its time too go" often but it just sounds like a pretty cluttered place and the BO took on a bit more then can be chewed. When the lack of quality things dimish that you are used to, and now paying more $ for less ... yeah time to boogie outta there.

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                    • #11
                      I was boarding at a farm that had ground hog holes in the fields. When I mentioned it to the owner, she felt I was overreacting and that the horses would just "step over" them. Then I discovered at feed time she'd run the horses in and out of the barn with a four wheeler. That's when I knew it was time to move the horses!
                      Last edited by Lor in PA; Mar. 3, 2011, 03:38 PM. Reason: spelling

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                        I don't know the answer, but let me help reframe the question.

                        Don't compare what you are getting now to what you were getting (there could be many reasons for the changes, including that she wasn't charging enough in the first place).

                        Rather, compare what the care/facilities/cost is where you are, now, with what else is out there.

                        Is there a place that offers better care at the same price? If yes, your answer is move. But if you find that you have to pay more than you want for better care, or that there actually isn't anything better out there, then your answer is stay.
                        This is right. There's no point in worrying or being angry if

                        1) You were underpaying in the first place.

                        2) You can't do better than you are now.

                        Either way, know two other things

                        1) Barns tend to have "life cycles"-- they really do have Golden Ages and decadent ones. I know because I have stayed too long in places as you have in part because I'm loyal.

                        2) Whatever you decide to do, handle your BO with professionalism and compassion. It's a hard business if you are good at it. It's even worse if you must learn as you go along.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What SMF11 and MVP said. When boarders come to me questioning their barn choices, I always advise them to quietly shop around and see what is out there for them, then run the numbers, compare it to their current situation and see if the move is right for them. They're the ones who have to live with their choices. Sometimes they stay, sometimes they go.
                          "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

                          http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            I'm going to seriously 'hit the bricks' this weekend and see what my options are. If I find something that fits better for us, I guess we'll move. If I do decide to stay I'm going to have to talk to her about 1 or 3 things that I really can't live with. Hopefully it goes well.
                            Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cnvh View Post
                              It sounds like you already know the answer... time to go.

                              If the only reason you're considering staying is out of some sense of loyalty/friendship, that's not good enough for your horse if his care is suffering.



                              I'm in the same boat, but not nearly as "far along" as you are. My place is just starting to show inklings of changes that I'm not going to like, and I'm already thinking about moving. It really sucks, because I LOVE the place (as it was, not what it looks like its becoming). Places change as old boarders leave/new ones come in and it completely changes the dynamics of the barn and how things are run. If you don't like it, then you gotta leave. They're not going to change everything for 1 person.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I find the best thing to do in this situation is make a list of your priorities and must-haves, go look and then if faced with a decision, make a list of pros and cons for each barn. Doing this has helped make the right decision much clearer. When faced with any huge decision. It really helps make the better choice stand out, especially when there is emotion involved.

                                I loved my last barn...loved the care, owner...thought we would retire or die there. But sadly owners decided to sell their property. I was faced with the choice of "waiting it out", in hopes selfishly that their home wouldn't sell fast, or move my horse before winter set in. While I loved it, it did not have an arena on site, and the trails were "okay". I also had no one to ride with. I found a wonderful, friend-recommended place that had an arena, fab trails, bigger pastures and more grass. (less horses, more acreage). To boot, owner rides and our schedules mesh and her and I clicked...and it's 5 minutes from my house vs. 10 at old barn. Even STILL I was in angst over the decision because I was emotionally attached to "the place", the memories and all that the owner had done for us. When I made the pros/cons list, the decision became crystal clear that moving was a much better choice for me and my horse. We moved and it has been the BEST. Horsie is happy and looks great, my riding has improved having the arena on site, and I am loving it.

                                So make a list! It will help especially if you find a place that meets your needs. You can never go wrong being honest and speaking from your heart with the current BO, no matter what you decide.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  sounds like her hobby turned into a business and she wasn't ready for it
                                  Yep. Not an unusual story. Seems like people that think the boarding business through from the business end are few and far between.

                                  It's easy to say "time to go", but when the options are limited or worse than "plan A", well, then what?

                                  Being worried about talking to a BO because of their personal problems is axiomatic of the larger problem: this type of person is not a professional, or people would go to her REGARDLESS, because the personal issues would be invisible and irrelevant to the running of the business. Show me a barn like that, where the BO keeps the personal stuff separate, and that's where I want to be.
                                  Click here before you buy.

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Excellent point DW. I was actually thinking even if I did talk to her and things got better, I would have less daily stress if I could just go do my thing and not be bothered by the personal crap. I'm tired of the gossip and the drama and may need to move regardless of the other issues.
                                    Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by thatsnotme View Post
                                      Feed quantity has gone down (but not for her own horses).
                                      This right here is the key to the answer: When a BO has separate standards for their own horse(s), its time to go.
                                      JB-Infinity Farm
                                      www.infinitehorses.com

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by thatsnotme View Post
                                        Excellent point DW. I was actually thinking even if I did talk to her and things got better, I would have less daily stress if I could just go do my thing and not be bothered by the personal crap. I'm tired of the gossip and the drama and may need to move regardless of the other issues.
                                        Originally posted by spotmenow View Post
                                        This right here is the key to the answer: When a BO has separate standards for their own horse(s), its time to go.
                                        I'd just note that these are two different versions of "annoying lack of professionalism."

                                        The first is someone who turned a hobby into a business. You went along for the ride and dug it until the BO forgot that you do this for fun. But the BO had originally done this for fun, too. Had the BO gone to Hotel School (yes, you can get degrees in that), you could be mad. She should have known better.

                                        But I wouldn't be actually pissed about the drama. And come to think of it, the line between "pleasurable gossip" and "drama" is arbitrary. Most people call it "drama" when they already see the fallout as negative for them personally. Fix what's wrong with your horse's care and this won't be annoying drama any more.

                                        I would, however, be pissed about the double standards with feeding. Your BO does not better. At face value, I'd assume this was a person interested in doing as badly as the market will bear.
                                        The armchair saddler
                                        Politically Pro-Cat

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