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Blanketing Issues as a Boarder

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  • Blanketing Issues as a Boarder

    Sigh. I seem to have found myself in a bit of a rut as far as blanketing goes as a boarder. Before I get jumped at, I have spent a few years as a manager/caretaker of a stable so I have an idea how that end of things does work. The help can never seem to get my horses blankets right no matter what I am doing to make their job as easy as possible. I have had to change around the way I blanket my horses so they are layered so morning staff can remove a top layer and horses will be comfortable in the warmer daytime weather. I live in NE so winters can be tricky and my horses are also clipped so the horse being warm enough is a big concern. There are many times when the horse is either under blanketed or over blanketed simply because the help has no clue. I've had issues in past winters and I have been very clear to help and BO about these problems. I have labeled the blankets as to what their weights are so there is no confusion and I have left countless notes with simple instructions. I absolutely love my trainer and the people I ride with which is the reason I stay. Does anyone have any suggestions as to ways of going about this? I am just out of ideas. Thanks.
    "You either go to the hospital or you get back on! Hospital or on!" - GM

  • #2
    Have you had a sit down with BO about these issues?
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jackskellington27 View Post
      I've had issues in past winters and I have been very clear to help and BO about these problems. I have labeled the blankets as to what their weights are so there is no confusion and I have left countless notes with simple instructions.
      Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
      Have you had a sit down with BO about these issues?
      It sounds like this has been addressed with the BO. I don't really have a good suggestion other than having another talk with the BO, wish I could be more helpful.
      www.retiredhorses.com
      Blogging about daily life on the retirement farm: http://paradigmfarms.blogspot.com/
      Paradigm Farms on Facebook

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      • #4
        Are you sure the "help" has been advised of your wishes? Usually they don't deliberately go against what they are told to do...I suspect they just are not told what to do or supervised well enough too make sure they understand what to do. Or do it at all.

        I don't know what the situation is in your barn but, in most places, good help is hard to find and they are typically both underpaid and undertrained let alone able to keep the wishes of multiple owners straight while working shorthanded-and that's typical too.

        Talk to the BM or whoever supervises them, see if that works.

        My barn had a big chart on the wall with a big, round thermometer next to it. It clearly stated horses in the show barn got a sheet at 50f, a sheet with light blanket at 40f and so forth down the line. It specified light or heavy turnout as well depending on temp. All of them were treated the same.

        Anybody who wanted something different had to work it out with the BM and there were no guarantees. Simple reason is with 85 on the property, 60 in the show barn owned by lord knows how many people? Only way.

        If you can approach this with a suggestion to keep it straight like this, as opposed to just complaining, maybe it will go over better as it will be feasible and easy to communicate to the help.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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        • #5
          If you are there frequently enough, leave only what you want put on for the top layer out to avoid confusion.

          If on the odd occasion, you want/need a warmer or cooler layer and can't make it, will call and ask to switch the horse to "x" blanket and tell them where it is.

          Generally, unless you're in a very full service barn, I have found that it is just less hassle to go out and adjust blankets yourself.
          Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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          • #6
            The most effective method I've found to get things done "my way" as a boarder was to deal directly with the barn help, say please and thank you and to tip; generously. Yes, most things are part of their job, but it's amazing how a little cash here and there makes the difference between having the horse that always has deep bedding and everyone else. A nice gift at Christmas for the head barn man, cards and $20 for everyone else. I was at a barn with close to 100 horses and was one of less than 10 people that gave the barn help anything.

            If the help leveled my stall, I tipped them. If I asked for anything special, I tipped them. You get the picture.

            As was already noted, the barn help is typically underpaid. Granted it is isn't rocket science, but it is hard work and I am entrusting my baby to them.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by atlatl View Post
              The most effective method I've found to get things done "my way" as a boarder was to deal directly with the barn help, say please and thank you and to tip; generously. Yes, most things are part of their job, but it's amazing how a little cash here and there makes the difference between having the horse that always has deep bedding and everyone else. A nice gift at Christmas for the head barn man, cards and $20 for everyone else. I was at a barn with close to 100 horses and was one of less than 10 people that gave the barn help anything.

              If the help leveled my stall, I tipped them. If I asked for anything special, I tipped them. You get the picture.

              As was already noted, the barn help is typically underpaid. Granted it is isn't rocket science, but it is hard work and I am entrusting my baby to them.
              Agree that tips work! Including donuts, pizza, cookies, etc! Also, put a note on your horse's stall with instructions regarding blanketing.
              "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
              "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
              Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!

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              • #8
                Identifying the blankets by color might make things easier for the workers. Under 50 degrees please use red blanket, under 25 degrees please use blue blanket, etc. I saw this done at a barn once and it seemed to work. Each horse had a sign on its stall with blanketing instructions by color.

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                • #9
                  Third vote on the tipping plan. When I boarded my horses I paid the help generously and never had a problem. I had other boarders complain that I got special treatment, and yet when I told them what I paid they were up in arms over it. Complain all you want, but you want those people to be your allies and if a little extra cash is what it takes, I would gladly pay it.

                  I also made a point to treat them with respect, invited them on trail rides where they could ride one of my horses, brought lunch occasionally, etc. It's amazing how much more smoothly the boarding process will go when you have the help on your side.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BetterOffRed View Post
                    Agree that tips work! Including donuts, pizza, cookies, etc! Also, put a note on your horse's stall with instructions regarding blanketing.

                    Maybe not. Depends on the barn but some prefer not to depend on notes hanging on 40 stalls that can get torn, soiled, soaked or otherwise rendered illegible. That does also assume reading and language skills excellent and hard working help may not possess. I recall one otherwise very capable and caring gal that was blind as a bat without her glasses, but could not wear them or contacts doing barn chores. Lasix surgery was financially way out of the question.

                    Ditto on the establishing a direct relationship with the help-if that's possible it's the way to go. Like the color coded blankets too.

                    Just try to simplfy it as much as you can on your end.
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                    • #11
                      Agree with the color coding...some folks just don't know what a mid-weight blanket feels like versus a heavy-weight (and I've worked with some that didn't know what sheet felt like versus a blanket).

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                      • #12
                        Not going to help, but part of why I my horse lives at my house. When I boarded, I had one blanket and one sheet. The horse lived in the blanket all winter with the assumption that the warmth of a closed barn was equal to that of daytime sunny temps. It worked for the most part.

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                        • #13
                          Adding, now that he lives at home, and he can go in/out whenever he wants, I have a lot more variations in the way that he is dressed. If he chooses to stand outside all night, I want him to have an extra layer on.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have boareded at 2 larger facilities in my time, and the rest has been small, backyard, no more than 8 horses places. The little ones, it's easy. They were out all the time, half of them didn't wear blankets unless it was below 20, so my mares blanketing was exactly what I wanted. I made it easy, every piece of clothing a different color and clear guidelines on her stall. 45-35, blue sheet, 34-25 green blanket, etc.

                            In one larger barn, all the horses got the same thing on a given night. So at a certain temperature, sheet, another, lightweight, another heavy, etc. If you wanted something special, you had to come out and take care of it. Now if you treated the help like human beings and were friendly and helped out in the barn (like picking your stall in the evening so there was less mess in the morning, bringing out hot chocolate on cold days, etc.) they would jump through hoops to help you out. The other larger barn would take care of individual needs, but you had to have a card on the stall filled out clearly with temperatures and blankets, like I did in the small barn, and have everything easily accessible.

                            I have learned since retiring my mare and being out of a show barn that the blanketing drama and the stress that I put myself through every night trying to determine what she needed to wear was ridiculous. They are built to withstand certain temperatures, given they have hay to eat and shelter from the elements. Certainly yours need an extra layer because they are clipped, but ultimately, they are ok. Remember that you are paying to board in a stall, in a barn, because that offers the shelter and constant food through the night that your horse wouldn't get living outside.

                            My best suggestion is to team up with a friend, and help each other out. We did this all the time. I was always at the barn right after school, and would be home by 6. It wasn't always cold enough for the correct blanket, but I had a friend that would show up around 6 and leave at 8, so she'd help me out by putting the right blanket on before she left, and I'd help her by getting her tack out or starting to groom her horse before she got there to ride. Easy way to fix the problem without going on a rampage and being the crazy boarder.
                            Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I run a barn and we board, among other things. I basically ask for a lightweight and heavy weight turnout unless the owner only wants one. I won't deal with more blankjets than that, simply isn't necessary. I do blanket changes twice daily at no charge (included in board) and if I am at the barn during the day, and has gotten warm, then will pull off a blanket. But there is a limit to time that can be expended and some peoples ideas of what their horse should/should not wear boarders on the ridiculously obsessive! At any rate, check to see if you are being reasonable in what you expect vs. what you are paying for.
                              www.shawneeacres.net

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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thank you all for your patient replies. Unfortunately my horses have mostly navy blue blankets. Although they are different brands, the help would not know that. I have spoken with the help a few times but there are very many different people working at this facility. There is AM and PM on weekdays and multiple different staff members on weekends. I work full time so I cannot get to the barn in the AM. Speaking to both the AM staff and the BO ddin't do much. I had set up a note system but that did not work well either. I have begun to tag each blanket as what weight they are because that was most of the issue. They would simply put the wrong weight on and think that because the horse had multiple blankets on he was warm enough, but a light weight and a sheet are not acceptable in 25F weather. It doesnt help that the staff is very uneducated with her horsemanship and blanketing knowledge even though she has been around horses for a very very long time. Its not that I am the only one with this issue at the facility and I try to make the blanketing as simplified as possible because the AM staff just removes a layer for turnout, she will not switch blankets around etc. Ill just have to grin and bear it for now.
                                "You either go to the hospital or you get back on! Hospital or on!" - GM

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This won't help you now, but do you really need to clip your horse, and is this a full body clip we are talking about? If you are showing consistently or working them hard enough they are sweating good I understand, but otherwise do they really need to be clipped? That would help with the blanketing as well--less worry and less chance of over and under dressing.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I would suggest you be there to do blankets yourself either AM or PM. Or can you find a boarder that you trust to maybe share blanket watch so they can fix what the barn help misses? I know barns now- a- days do grain and blankets , but it used to be the owners responsibility to take care of this way- back- when I was a boarder. If you live in the South it can't be that frigid that he can't wear one blanket at night and one during the day, can it?? The easier you make it for others the better your results will be.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You can buy silver or white paint markers and write on the blankets. Light 1, Medium 2, Heavy 3, Heavy 4 etc. Then, make a chart like the attached. Talk to the barn help and definitely do tip if you want them to be very diligent (food, hot drinks in the winter, starbucks gift cards all appreciated by all barn help I've ever known, including me when I was).
                                      Attached Files
                                      OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Fabric Paint would work too.

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