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Need Support; Upsetting Boarding Situation

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  • #21
    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
    Take a deep breath. Hay shortages happen. Of course you're going to have to pay more for hay, since the hay is going to cost more. Yes, they could have economized by buying at July prices and not December ones, but that's life. Not all barn owners are brilliant business minds. Welcome to horse ownership--it throws curves at you sometimes.

    As to the allegation of abuse, I'd take that for what it's worth at this point--an allegation from an employee. You have no idea about that employee's agenda, their veracity, or anything else. If you don't have the stomach to confront the BO on behalf of (presumably) your own horse, then have a grownup do it for you. It is a very serious allegation, and if it's true then you are right to leave immediately. However, IME a lot of these allegations wind up being the inflated vapors of ignorant, angry, or trouble-seeking employees who like to stir things up for whatever reason.
    ^^ this. I used to board at a place where we actually paid for our hay, and how much depended on the total cost of the shipment for the winter (divided by number of horses). The place I am at now supplies all hay at no extra cost. I think surcharges are fairly common.

    If these two issues (hay and abuse) coupled with other small things have made you uncomfortable or unhappy with your boarding situation, I think you are right to look around for new places. It's true the grass isn't always greener, but even if you found a new facility that cost the same per month and charged a surcharge for hay, you may like the management and workers better.

    Good luck with our decision! It's definitely a stressful one.
    "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

    Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

    Comment


    • #22
      OP, would you prefer that the barn just raise your overall board rather than charge a hay surcharge? Because that's what will happen. When expenses go up, the horse owner has to cover them one way or another. If they raised your board permanently, then it wouldn't go down in years when there is a bumper crop of hay.

      As far as the claims of abuse goes, unless you see actual evidence, I wouldn't give it a lot of credence.

      All that being said, it's your choice where you want to board. If you're not happy, move. Just understand that you won't necessarily be in a better situation. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

      StG

      Comment


      • #23
        it's your choice where you want to board
        If the OP is writing the checks, yes. If not, it is up to the person who is doing so. And this person should be in the loop of all boarding decisions along with random bulletin board members! I hope this is the case!
        Click here before you buy.

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by horseluvr222
          If a hay surcharge was necessary because prices go up thats fine but don't wait to buy the hay and short my horse his hay amount for x amount of months and then charge me. If my horse was shorted 1/2 his hay for 1 month then I shouldn't have to pay for the next month hay surcharge when I signed an agreement that said my horse would get 12 pounds of hay per day and he is only getting 6-7.
          You definitely have a case if your agreement says the horse will be given a certain amount of hay per day (and obviously you know that not every flake or bale weighs the same) included in your $700 monthly board check.

          I would be miffed if not given notice about the surcharge, and a little annoyed they waited so long to purchase hay, but if they really are paying that much per bale (I cannot even imagine! 2nd cutting down here is still $6 a bale) then your surcharge is only covering one bale per week for your horse ($15/ bale and $60/month). If your horse is consuming 12 pounds per day, and you have a 50lb bale, you are using roughly two bales a week. So you definitely wouldn't be covering the cost of hay for other horses unless your horses was being given less than a bale per week.

          Does your horse get hay all year long? If so, and you are happy with the boarding arrangement other than the hay issue (and assuming the abuse accusations were just accusations), you might consider asking if you could supply 4 bales a month of your own. Bet you could find it for cheaper and then you could select the exact quality.

          And honestly... if my BM told us we were going to be paying a small surcharge per hay a month, I would understand the high prices and not second guess that they wouldn't buy good quality hay or wouldn't feed my horse the amount he needs to sustain weight. I'm guessing there are several factors that you are unhappy with (however small they might be) and this was just the icing on the cake
          "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

          Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

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          • #25
            To me I feel like they should have given me 30 days notice that they are adding a $60 surcharge that has no end date. They are not telling me how long this surcharge will last.
            So have you asked?

            You're fretting about allegations of abuse, the fact that the BO/BM wasn't 100% prescient and pro-active about a future hay shortage WRT buying at summer prices, and you THINK your horse MIGHT be getting less hay.

            Have you confirmed, factually, with the relevant professionals in charge of the barn, ANY of these things? And if so, what, precisely, was their response?

            Why do boarders not SPEAK TO BARN OWNERS about these problems, face to face?? I know it's easier to vent to fellow boarders, on a BB, to leave smiley-faced notes on the barn's whiteboard and to drop hints, but for pity's sake just SPEAK UP if there are specific concerns or questions, to the RIGHT PEOPLE!

            (ranting a little, might not apply to the OP but it is such a pet peeve)
            Click here before you buy.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by horseluvr222
              The abuse is the biggest reason I feel like I need to get out. The whole thing just doesn't seem right. There have been a lot of worker changes. What I am saying is, I shouldn't have to pay for hay that I have no idea what it is or when it is coming. Nobody is willing to tell me that. It could be cow hay for all I know.
              While I can't comment on your feelings of why you shouldn't have to pay for hay without knowing where it's coming from, I will say listen to your gut instincts. It seems kind of shady how they were dealing with the shortage.

              I used to board at a place that used their own hay. They also suffered a hay shortage. Not because they didn't grow enough but they sold much of it off so we had to do without. The boarders had no idea. I found out from a fellow boarder there after I started voicing concerns that my horse was losing weight. No one else knew about the hay shortage. I was supplementing with hay pellets and beet pulp but it wasn't enough to overcome the hay shortage. The b/o had also changed my horse's regular grain without telling me to try to "build up" the diminishing topline. I ended up leaving later on due to other equally disturbing problems.

              In otherwords...the hay shortage was just the tip of the iceburg and a symptom of even bigger problems....

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by horseluvr222
                Here is the problem I am having. I have contacts in the hay industry. I have been at boarding barns for 6 years. I see how people deal with the prices of things going up. In August and September, in our area people were selling small bales for $6-8. Bales used to be $3.50-4 for a normal hay crop. Manager is saying that they are having to pay $11-13 per bale for what they are buying. Well, If they bought it back in sept, they would have paid half of that and therefore avoided this surcharge fee. Also, now if the hay comes and it isn't good quality, they can't refuse it because there is hardly any hay left. It doesn't allow the barn to make sure the hay is actually good. I mostly have a problem with how they have waited until the last minute to buy hay when prices have know tripled. There are 57 horses on the property. Owner has 15. Trainer has 3(which are boarded for free). So when they sit and calculate the hay charge, I have no idea if I am paying for my horse or if I am covering their horses. Because it makes a huge difference to split it between 57 or 39. I am not the only one at this barn questioning this decision. To me I feel like they should have given me 30 days notice that they are adding a $60 surcharge that has no end date. They are not telling me how long this surcharge will last.

                If a hay surcharge was necessary because prices go up thats fine but don't wait to buy the hay and short my horse his hay amount for x amount of months and then charge me. If my horse was shorted 1/2 his hay for 1 month then I shouldn't have to pay for the next month hay surcharge when I signed an agreement that said my horse would get 12 pounds of hay per day and he is only getting 6-7.
                Your legimate gripe (possible abuse, possible breech of contract) get lost in your total sense of entitlement.

                Ok. In all your 6 years of boarding experience, this is the WORST hay shortage. Most facilities do not have the space for unlimited hay and most hay suppliers require X amount for X $ to save YOU extra charges. So really, get over yourself.

                I highly doubt you measured when your horse was getting "12" pounds of hay, I doubt you weight for "6" pounds.

                When you own and manage a facility, you can question how the expenses are divided up. Trainer boards her horse for free- none of your business. Your posts reek of young and inexperienced. If you don't like it, talk to the BO (let me know how that goes when you bring up the trainer boards for free). Still don't like it- get out.
                Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                  So have you asked?

                  You're fretting about allegations of abuse, the fact that the BO/BM wasn't 100% prescient and pro-active about a future hay shortage WRT buying at summer prices, and you THINK your horse MIGHT be getting less hay.

                  Have you confirmed, factually, with the relevant professionals in charge of the barn, ANY of these things? And if so, what, precisely, was their response?

                  Why do boarders not SPEAK TO BARN OWNERS about these problems, face to face?? I know it's easier to vent to fellow boarders, on a BB, to leave smiley-faced notes on the barn's whiteboard and to drop hints, but for pity's sake just SPEAK UP if there are specific concerns or questions, to the RIGHT PEOPLE!

                  (ranting a little, might not apply to the OP but it is such a pet peeve)
                  I agree, speak to the barn owners. Unfortunately, the barn where I left (with the hay shortage), there is NO WAY you could approach the b/o with issues. They had explosive tempers. I didn't know this when I came there. Only later on. As long as things went their way, life was good. If you disagreed...look out. People were afraid to try to get them to do anything about the extreme dust situation in the arena. You couldn't even walk for 5mins in there without gagging on the dust. It was 'my way or the highway and get the hell out' attitude. Unfortunately, I've seen very few barns where you can approach b/o with concerns.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
                    Your legimate gripe (possible abuse, possible breech of contract) get lost in your total sense of entitlement.

                    Ok. In all your 6 years of boarding experience, this is the WORST hay shortage. Most facilities do not have the space for unlimited hay and most hay suppliers require X amount for X $ to save YOU extra charges. So really, get over yourself.

                    I highly doubt you measured when your horse was getting "12" pounds of hay, I doubt you weight for "6" pounds.

                    When you own and manage a facility, you can question how the expenses are divided up. Trainer boards her horse for free- none of your business. Your posts reek of young and inexperienced. If you don't like it, talk to the BO (let me know how that goes when you bring up the trainer boards for free). Still don't like it- get out.
                    I almost posted the same thing. I don't know what part of the country you are in, but this was the worst drought in almost 100 years in some areas. And just because *some* hay suppliers might have had hay at a lower price than others, doesn't mean that they were appropriate for your barn -- e.g. I'd pay more to get a big load delivered than I would to go pick up 50 pickup truck loads from different suppliers....or maybe the quality wasn't the same, or they couldn't store enough back in September, or they wanted to buy by the ton.....I only have 5 horses here but I spend a lot of time worrying about hay as it is. I can't imagine trying to estimate the needs of 45+ horses with a hay shortage like this year....I was happy my hay guy had a decent year, because I was expecting to have to search for more hay...I would easily have paid more without question just so I didn't have to do that.

                    And I agree with everyone who has said -- have you asked the BO? How do you know how much hay he gets now v. what he used to get? Maybe the BO found a lot of waste? Maybe the hay they are getting now is baled differently - have you weighed his hay? This is not uncommon at all - different hay suppliers, hay types, cutting, baling equipment, height of hay when baled...can all make for very different "flake" sizes. I have had hay with 10lb flakes before, and hay with 4lb flakes. Thankfully I don't just feed by "flakes".

                    Talk to the BO and find out.

                    As far as the possible abuse...I would keep my eyes open and be careful of making any false assumptions either way.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      OP needs to take a deep breath and step back a bit here.

                      According to what she posted, she did not notice a difference in her horse's condition and is depending on (unprofessional) gossip from barn workers. Who, it seems, have not been there very long and should not be griping and making accusations about their employer and co workers to clients.

                      Has this barn helper spoken to the BO, their employer, about abuse? Or do they just sit and watch it doing nothing then complain to clients?

                      And what is in the boarding contract about specific quantities of hay? Or is it "enough" in the opinion of the BO and up to them? Fine line between feeding enough and wasting hay and unless you are mucking and can see the excess going out on the muck tubs? You have no idea. And I can understand not dumping so much hay in the pasture when there is no way to moniter who gets what and so much gets trampled into the ground.

                      Is OP SURE the BO knew they would be short hay and just blew it off? Or did BO try and fail to get an advance contract for hay they could not take immediate delivery on as there would be no place to store it until they used up what they grew?

                      If OP wants to move, then she should move but...I should think SPEAKING to the BO would be alot less trouble and save the cost of a possibly uneccesary move.

                      I been boarding out all my life and it's alot more then 6 years. Usually paid alot more then 700 too. PLUS hay surcharges in bad years. And, trust me, if any accusations of abuse were made to me by the help? I'd bring it to the BOs attention immediately-or does OP care more about hurting the barn workers feelings while the horses continue to get hurt by the help? Her choice on that one.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by horseluvr222
                        Well, If they bought it back in sept, they would have paid half of that and therefore avoided this surcharge fee.
                        I don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but maybe the reason the BO didn't purchase hay in September was because they didn't have any place to put it.

                        I know that the hay barn where I board can hold seven tons at a time. The hay hauler won't deliver less than a four ton load. So before a purchase and delivery can happen, room has to be made in the hay barn. Maybe the OP's BO had to wait until there was room for a new purchase and delivery?

                        If I thought my horse was losing condition because he was being fed less, I would be talking to the BO in a New York minute. I wouldn't let it go for months. Likewise, if some employee of the barn told me abuses were happening, I wouldn't just set that aside and then pull it out when I was pissed off about something else.

                        Regarding the question of "covering their horses" in the hay surcharge? I paid a $200 hay surcharge on August 1, 2012. It was supposed to offset the cost of the next purchase and delivery, which had sky rocketed from the last purchase and delivery. On August 12 I received a letter in the mail from the BO, informing me that she was ending her boarding business. I gave notice and moved my gelding to a new barn on September 15. The hay purchase and delivery that my surcharge helped pay for? It came after my horse was moved. But the horse world is a small one, and burning bridges over something that is petty in the overall scheme of things is not worth it. I have been boarding for close to 27 years now, since my early twenties. Believe me when I say that getting yourself worked up into a tizzy over rumors and what you think might be unfair is not worth it.

                        If you think you are being screwed, leave the barn. If you do leave the barn, don't bad mouth the former barn. Suck it up and move on.
                        Sheilah

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          I'd be pissed if my horse's feed/hay allowances were changed without my consent. Hay prices rise, but they definitely needed to tell you if they were running out of hay WHEN they figured out they were running out. Sounds like not the greatest management -- people make mistakes, but it doesn't sound like they really made a mistake in this instance.

                          If there are allegations of abuse, I would try to get more information. If you get ANY affirmation on the claim, I would leave. It sounds like there are plenty of other reasons to leave as it is.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            I guess I'm just in the throes of "give me a real problem."

                            Horse losing weight.

                            Horse acting weird.

                            Horse out in the cold when there's a perfectly good barn that you're PAYING FOR and BO won't let horses in.

                            When you have an actual PROBLEM where the horse isn't being cared for? Okay.

                            But thus far, it sounds like your horse is fine and you're getting heresy.

                            Hop into the boots of some of us trying to get out fast as we can due to actually proven issues?I dunno. This seems like drama.
                            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                            Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Time to leave from the sound of it. In the future, it really helps to prioritize what is a "must have" and what are "deal breakers" in boarding situations, and what things are up for negotiation. You will find that the only perfect place is your own, and that barn owner/managers who are absolutely brilliant business-wise, horsemanship-wise, and people-skills-wise are rare. Be your horse's advocate, pay attention, and SPEAK TO THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE before you make up your mind about situations that have more than one possible interpretation. Good luck! The horse boarding business is a tough one. I've boarded horses in probably 20 different barns in 6 different towns and have yet to find one that I'd call "perfect". Oddly, the older I get the closer they have come. I don't know if that's better selection up front, ability to afford better, or the fact that I have walked a lot of miles in the shoes of fellow horse people by now.
                              Click here before you buy.

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