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Who is responsible?

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  • Who is responsible?

    I got a call late evening a week or so ago...another boarder was at the farm and saw my horse freaking out in his stall to the point that he kicked and dislodged/broke the grill that formed the top half of his stall wall. My horse had NEVER been seen kicking before, and we found a good number of bees in his stall afterward...anyway, the grill was replaced with wood paneling. Today I was emailed a $600 repair bill.
    What am I responsible for, legally/ethically? I feel like it would be reasonable to pay maybe half of the repair cost, but realistically barns do get wear and tear. Am I really off base in my thinking?
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

  • #2
    You aren't responsible for a penny. Things happen, fences and stalls get damaged. This was an accident, a one time thing. And the fact that he must have been stung --- caused by bees in the barn --- barn owner needs to chalk it up to wear and tear and horses.

    Comment


    • #3
      The answer to this question really lies in the terms of your boarding contract.

      Where I board, you'd be on the hook for the repairs. Wear and tear is one thing, a horse going nuts and kicking down the stall is another.

      $600 sounds a little crazy though. I'd want to see the repair bill. I'd expect to pay for materials and a reasonable rate for labor, if the bill is ridiculously padded well that's just a sleazy thing to do. You probably could have done it yourself or even hired a handyman to do the work for a fraction of that, it would have been nice if BO had extended you that courtesy. Mine certainly does, with the only caveat being the repair must be done to her standards (which are always reasonable).

      So, while the right thing for you to do is probably pay for stall repairs, sounds like your BO might be trying to pull a fast one on you with the dollar amount.

      Comment


      • #4
        $600?! What did they panel it with, teak?!

        Comment


        • #5
          For $600 I figured it was a fancy grill that had to be bought specially to match -- but if they put up wood I can't see it costing $600. Unless the wood is temporary while they wait for the special ordered grill to come in??

          Best to ask for a detailed bill. And decide how much you want to keep boarding there when you decide whether to just pay it or try to negotiate it down. You may be asked to leave if you won't pay it.

          If we asked the BO, what would they say? Has this horse perhaps caused other damage they haven't charged you for?
          --
          Wendy
          ... and Patrick

          Comment


          • #6
            my first thought is that if there was a bee hive in the stall or close by, and none of the barn staff noticed it, then you should not be responsible. But if the horse acted up "late evening" that does not seem to be bee related, as they aren't generally active after dark. So maybe that wasn't the cause...
            If you have a boarding contract, something should be in there; if not, it really depends on your relationship w/ BO and how much you want to fight. I only can think of one time THAT I KNOW OF where a boarder was asked to pay for damages, and it was reasonable in the situation.
            I'd second the recommendation to get the details of the costs.
            We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

            Comment


            • #7
              i would bring up the bees. That was their fault to allow bees to nest in your stall and hurt your horse. You might still be asked to pay, But I would def. Bring it up..

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              • #8
                Originally posted by GaitedGloryRider View Post
                The answer to this question really lies in the terms of your boarding contract.

                Where I board, you'd be on the hook for the repairs. Wear and tear is one thing, a horse going nuts and kicking down the stall is another.
                Yes, this.
                Honestly, if my horse significantly damaged something (and I'm not talking about breaking a fence board) I'd like to pay at least half anyway. I think that's only fair. If I was at the Ritz Carlton of barns I might think twice before chipping on for more minor things, but for a seriously damaged wall, I'd pay half at least anyway (and offer to help fix it), and more if the contract said so.

                My horse significantly damaged a gate. The gate was already in poor shape, but it was in much worse shape after my horse got done with that. I paid for half and picked it up in my truck, and helped put it up. I think that's fair. BO got a new gate, but the gate wouldn't have been needed if my horse hadn't crashed it.

                High quality stall partitions can be quite expensive, so if it needed to be replaced instead of repaired, I think $600 sounds reasonable, especially if it was the length of the whole wall.
                As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Correction, just did the math...$450 parts, $280 labor. So a total of $730. That is almost 2 months' board.
                  Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yikes.
                    Was that bill broken down in terms of cost for parts?

                    It sounds like custom materials may be involved & labor barn staff could not do.
                    Too bad BO did not contact you to inform you that you would be billed.
                    But unless you plan to move, the best you can probably do is ask to set up a payment plan so you don't need to come up with the whole amount at once.
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      It was $375 for grill (about half of that shipping), $75 for lumber, $280 for labor. BO owns a construction company, so he can do the work himself.
                      I feel justified in paying to replace grill. I am also happy to help put it up. Beyond that, I'm not so sure.
                      Particularly given that this place was advertised as luxury horse boarding but rats and mice run amok, chickens run around and poop in the tack room, and recently the place ran out of bedding. Completely.

                      ETA: I have been on a waiting list for another barn since moving to this state. This was my second-best choice, but it's a new place, and these people haven't figured out the business part of things yet--how does an entire boarding facility run out of bedding?
                      I have no intention of staying here long-term, but that doesn't mean I want to screw these people over.
                      Last edited by cleozowner; Sep. 13, 2013, 06:35 AM. Reason: added comment
                      Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well, sounds like you plan on moving anyhow.

                        If that's the case then offer to pay for materials and see how that's accepted.
                        Even if BO owns a construction company he may be too busy to do the work himself. Maybe they had to pay an employee of that company OT to do the work?
                        Was the labor broken down into an hourly rate?

                        FWIW:
                        I was married to a locksmith.
                        Whose house do you think was master-keyed after everyone else including our 2nd floor tenants?

                        As for running out of bedding.
                        Stuff happens - if a promised delivery is delayed w/o notice for example.

                        The rodent problem & chicken issues - that just sounds sloppy.
                        Do they have barn cats or any apparent means of vermin control?
                        And as long as the chickens don't poop on tack that is just an annoyance (says the chicken owner who regularly watches where she steps when barefoot...).
                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          The BO refuses to get cats (BM wants them, though). I was ok with the chickens--just annoyed--until they started perching on water buckets and pooping in them.
                          The BO has their own dump truck--it's a matter of going and getting bedding. It went on for about a week. I was bedding my horse with straw left over from decorating for a kid's birthday party.
                          Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yikes.
                            Sounds like BO is splitting his time between his regular job (construction) and the barn work.
                            Dump truck may have been committed to another job.
                            One that paid him, not cost.
                            I recently had some work on my farm rescheduled because the excavator had to work around delivery of stone.

                            However, I'd be annoyed too if no alternative bedding was provided for an entire week.
                            Kids B-Day?
                            Was that held at the farm?
                            If the BOs are putting too many items like that on the barn plate maybe they are coming to realize the business end involves more commitment than they planned.
                            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              The pony parties are a big deal--I think BO's wife enjoys planning such things. They are the swanky, over-the-top, designed-so-you-can-one-up-other-parents kind of events.
                              I think they are realizing that farm ownership is more work and less fun than previously thought. That said, THAT part of it is not my problem.
                              It could be a nice facility if they worked at it.
                              Will go talk to BM today...
                              Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I would suspect, considering the other things you've posted about rats and chickens going in water buckets etc, that there's a nest or hive and BO hasn't worked on removing. If it were me, I'd offer to split the cost.

                                Side note - can't believe they ran out of bedding, and then you're having to find materials to take care of your own horse. What were they doing, just letting them stand on the mats or dirt until they had time to get shavings? What were the owners of other horses doing? Doesn't sound top end, if that's what they're touting themselves as...

                                I hope you're able to find a new farm soon or get into the one you're on the list for! Eek!

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Some of the stalls are concrete without mats...over my dead body would that happen to my horse--he is in a matted stall. The barn manager was occasionally going to Tractor Supply to get bagged shavings. However, my horse is on stall rest right now, so he was going through bedding faster (NOTE: I am paying extra for the extra bedding he is using). There was a few day stretch with no shavings at all, though, so I grabbed the straw bales they had stacked in a shed. What else could I do?
                                  There are only a few other boarders right now, but they are either brand new to horse ownership (I guess don't know any better?) or pretty absentee-type owners.
                                  Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Unless your horse is a real problem and constantly damaging property, (which he's not), it's the cost of doing business and not your responsibility.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Part of this insistence on paying the full costs may be the result of the owners being new to the business. They haven't yet realized the kind of damage that horses will inflict over the long-term. Plus there's the issue of "my brand new barn just got a boo-boo."

                                      I'd offer to split the cost, but in the same conversation I'd ask about the owner's plans to eradicate the bee's nest and restrain the chickens from being underfoot.

                                      Definitely, though, find another barn. After that conversation it's possible that the BO will not be your best friend.
                                      "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by GaitedGloryRider View Post
                                        The answer to this question really lies in the terms of your boarding contract.

                                        Where I board, you'd be on the hook for the repairs. Wear and tear is one thing, a horse going nuts and kicking down the stall is another.

                                        This. That is not normal wear and tear. When I had a boarding barn, you would have been responsible for at least half if not all of the cost of repair. That also would have been in your contract.

                                        I'm glad you are moving anyway. Performance horses, any horse really, but performance horses especially, should not be stabled on concrete floors--even with mats. My trainer was asked to be a trainer at a new barn and when she saw them pouring concrete in the stalls, told them to find another trainer.

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