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Boarder sneaking hay

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  • Boarder sneaking hay

    I have a boarder that is now sneaking extra hay from MY horse's stall - and I'm the BO! He pays extra to get additional hay (which his horse does receive but when given too much, poops, pees and sleeps on it), extra feed (gets it), extra bedding (stall stripped everyday), blanket changing, hold for vet/farrier/saddle fitter, etc.

    I know he has been "backfeeding" for a few months. During the summer the horse was out for 8+ hours on lush pasture. Now there is grass but I am also feeding 2nd cutting hay outside. The horse is not starving by any means and the owner commented that this is the best the horse has ever looked. I have tried to hint to him that his horse does not need it. I've made comments that I've cut back on the horse's hay because he's wasting, that I give additional hay after 9pm if the horses are out (I really do), put notes ON THE HAY BALES asking not to feed additional hay, hidden the wheelbarrow with hay in another part of the barn in a stall and tied the stall shut. But he just isn't getting the hint.

    Yesterday I guess I couldn't take it anymore. I had noticed that one of my horses was devoring his hay in record time and my DH even said that it looked like our horse was short of hay. So I've been counting flakes and writing it down. Sometimes I get bales that are from 2 different fields and even though they're the same cutting, have different textures and it's obvious to the naked eye the hay is different. I checked the horse's stall after me doing a training ride on him because he brings the horse in and puts in the stall for hours at a time. He usually leaves 1 flake in the stall and puts the others in the stall next to it. I could see that the original 4 flakes of hay I put in the horse's stall were in the stall next door, but additional hay -from another bale - were in the stall and the horse had been eatting it. So I checked MY horse's stall and sure enough, 2 flakes had been taken. How do I know? I put shavings at the front of the hay as a marker and the hay was gone. So I said to him, BTW I put the hay you took out of my horse's stall back in it and put your horse's hay back in his stall. He looked dumbfounded. He tried to say he put the additional hay in the stall next door, but I said it was from a different bale and I counted flakes. He clammed right up and wouldn't talk to me after that. He hid in the tackroom for 10 minutes and by that time I was riding a different horse. He left without saying goodbye and then I started feeling guilty.

    I called and left a nice message (he wouldn't answer his phone) that basically said maybe I handled this the wrong way but that if he didn't think his horse was getting enough just to say something to me. then I left a text message that I know he read but didn't respond to. I don't want to loose a boarder over something stupid, but I felt violated. In my own barn. I guess I thought it was rather ballsy to take from the OWNERS horse's hay, not another boarders.

    Any thoughts or comments? I know I should have said something MUCH sooner and maybe my method wasn't good but it just slipped out. No one else was at the barn so he shouldn't have been embarrased since I made my comment and then totally changed the subject.

    He did answer a text this morning about a totally unrelated topic, so that's a good sign. How far backwards to I need to bend as a BO?
    Enough with the drama!

  • #2
    Get him to buy an extra large nibblenet.


    • #3
      I think( IMHO) you handled it correctly ~ appropriately and professionally - he should be very embarassed and should have come clean and apologized and stated that he would never do that again ! I do not care for dishonest people - horse people or not!!!!
      Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


      • #4
        You know, taking extra hay from the hay room is one thing, but is he seriously taking hay out of your horse's stall??

        Let me preface this by saying I don't have and don't want boarders, and this is a perfect example of why. However, if I did, I'd handle it just about the same as you did. I might tell him again he is welcome to buy all the extra hay he wants, but if hay disappears again, he's out. Bye bye.

        Assuming the horses aren't getting one skinny flake of hay a day, and are so hungry they're eating the walls, this is not acceptable behavior. (It's not the end of the world, but it's not acceptable.) If a boarder feels his/her horse isn't getting enough hay, they can buy more. The end.


        • Original Poster

          He NEVER denied it and I'm guessing that if he wasn't guilty he would have argued a bit, but he didn't know what to say.

          The horse gets grass outside and at least 3 decent size flakes outside, 3-4 flakes inside. The owner is just a worry wart and as I said, I couldn't take it anymore!
          Enough with the drama!


          • #6
            I would just drop it at this point. You probably embarrassed him by nailing him to the wall on this and he was so stunned that he didn't know what to say. Hopefully it embarrassed him enought that he won't do this any more. If he does even AFTER all this, then is he really the type of boarder you want ?


            • #7
              You need to explain to him the risks of your NOT knowing EXACTLY how a horse is being fed; ie the risks to the horses health. It is in his horse's best interests for only one person to be in charge of his horse's diet.

              This is something that boarders would not necessarily be aware of. I also HATE it when they try to be helpful and pick stalls as I don't get to see how the horse's poop comes out.
              ... _. ._ .._. .._


              • #8
                Don't say another word about it to him. As far as you are concerned, the matter is closed.

                If he opens it again by stealing hay again, kick his butt out of that barn, immediately.

                If it is possible, he will find another crafty way to steal hay, from another boarder's stall, from a bale he hides somewhere, etc.

                If he DOES bring it up, be prepared to say I'm sorry you seem to disagree with the amt of hay I provide your horse. I am not going to give him anymore above and beyond what I give now, no exceptions. Your choices are to bring in more of your own, daily, as I have nowhere to store your hay, or accept what I give, or start barn shopping. I don't see other alternatives. Do you? Then repeat I am not going to....

                Good luck. I hate dorks like this.


                • Original Poster

                  I did explain that each horse is fed according to weight, work, etc. in my message and that if they need more we give more.
                  Enough with the drama!


                  • #10
                    He is embarrased and now you let it go. Chances are it won't happen again...

                    I would be upset too. I have some boarders that grab a flake here and there from the shed itself which I don't really care but to have someone rob from my horse and give to theirs... yup then there is an issue and a talking to is in need. You handled it right... in a matter O factly way too.


                    • #11
                      People generally will react in a finite number of ways to being caught red-handed AFTER lying about something:

                      1. Contrition and an amendment of the behavior

                      2. High drama, hissy fits and an attempt to make the other person (you) the "bad guy".

                      Not a darn thing you can do about this, as it is a matter of temperament and upbringing. Wait and see--he will either be a big boy and try to make things right, or . . . not. If the latter case, you are better off without him because people NEVER change their temperament and it's awfully hard to undo a bad upbringing.
                      Click here before you buy.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mhtokay View Post
                        Get him to buy an extra large nibblenet.
                        Yes a hay net or nibblenet so that all hay goes into the house and not under him.

                        I paid extra for hay at barns that only fed minimal hay, then switched to buying my own hay at those barns so I wouldn't feel guilty feeding my 2 extra hay, even though I paid for it. Sometimes BOs act disapprovingly even though boarders pay for hay and other things. (I'm not saying that this is the case here, just what has happened to me in the past. And my 2 ate a bale of hay together daily when they were not out on grass.)

                        If this guy wants his horse to have hay all over his stall, then charge him extra and let him do it. For example, tell him he can have one bale a day above what is provided, then let him waste it if he wants to. I've been at barns where I had to buy hay not only for my 2 (and paid full board so the hay was supposed to have been provided for them.) but for the other boarders and the BO's horses when she frequently "forgot" to buy hay. And we had dry lots, no grass!

                        So let the guy waste hay, but charge him extra for that. If he pays for an extra bale of hay a day, then he shouldn't be sneaking hay.


                        • Original Poster

                          I can't figure out why he has been sneaking hay eitiher - the horse gets AlOT in his stall! Not just 2 whimpy flakes but 3 to 4 BIG flakes!
                          Enough with the drama!


                          • #14
                            I think some serious introspection needs to happen here. Why would a border want to steal hay? The answer is that he probably thinks his horse is not getting enough hay. If he is paying extra for hay, and the horse still only gets 3-4 flakes, he is probably correct. If the horse is getting the recommended 1-2% of his body weight in hay, then you should demonstrate this to the boarder. If not, the horse probably needs more hay. Perhaps a couple of safe hay nets (such as the plastic hay balls that I think Dover carries) could be purchased by the owner. Then, they could be refilled twice daily and the horse could eat free choice hay without wasting hay.

                            If the horse has free choice hay at any time that the boarder checks on him, he will stop worrying and your problem will be solved.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AKB View Post
                              I think some serious introspection needs to happen here. Why would a border want to steal hay? The answer is that he probably thinks his horse is not getting enough hay. If he is paying extra for hay, and the horse still only gets 3-4 flakes, he is probably correct.
                              Um, I think blondmane is saying 3 to 4 flakes PER MEAL. As in 8 big flakes per day. That is a lot of hay, certainly more than 1.5% of most horse's body weights.

                              If the horse has free choice hay at any time that the boarder checks on him, he will stop worrying and your problem will be solved.
                              This is already the case, at least as I've read the posts to this point.
                              Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                              • #16
                                If a boarder sees a horse with no hay in front of it, he needs to talk to the BO and discuss things.

                                I wouldn't throw more hay to a horse that's only crapping and stepping on it, either, if I were a BO. And I wouldn't take hay from another horse's stall to feed to mine if I were a boarder.
                                Click here before you buy.


                                • #17
                                  I used to work as a barn manager - and boarders stealing hay is nothing new. It seems that a great many people who board, and have never, ever managed their own horses (at home 24/7) always think that their poor horses never get enough to eat, clean enough water, or enough bedding. Seems that every boarding barn has at least one or two of these people. If not, than it's a wonderful barn to be in

                                  I think you were within your rights to say something to this boarder, and so what if he/she was embarrassed? And I'd just drop it, unless it happens again.

                                  Boarders can be well-meaning, but clueless. I had one boarder who liked to come out to the barn, and stay very late. She would re-feed all the horses, toss in 3 more flakes of hay in each stall, and either blanket the horses or remove sheets. She caused a horse to colic severely , and another to get tangled in his sheet straps and rubbing most of the meat off his legs....that's when we tossed her out.

                                  Remember, your barn. Your rules.


                                  • #18
                                    I wouldn't take hay away from the BO's horse either, but I remember what it was like when we used to board. At one place, I used to bring supplemental grain for my old timer. One day, when I arrived, the BO was feeding my grain to the other horses. Money was tight so they were once again out of grain. At other places, the horses were often short changed on hay. We had the vet out one time because my mare was so thin. He refused to do lab work, saying the problem was that the BO wasn't feeding the horses.

                                    When an owner pays to board a horse, the horse needs to get whatever the owner is paying for the horse to get. If the owner wants 24lbs of hay per day for his 1200lb horse, the horse should get 24lbs of hay. The BO can charge extra if she only feeds 8lbs of hay to the others. However, I don't think it is the BO's place to decide how much hay the horse needs. If the BO and the owner can't agree on the feeding plan, the owner needs to find a new place to board.


                                    • #19
                                      AKB - really? Do you really think that all horse owners know what to feed a horse?? And how much? My experience says that most people don't know. I think that a BO has to draw the line on how much hay and grain per horse, unless the horse owner pays extra, and this all is discussed with the owner, BO, and possibly vet involved.

                                      Not to hijack this thread...but isn't that how this all started? A boarder deciding that his poor horse wasn't getting enough to eat, when in fact, his horse got more hay than it could hold?


                                      • #20
                                        Well first of all I would have a more specfic boarding contract........mine states that I am the only one to do the feeding .......and that I feed between 1.5 and 2% of their body weight......any more is extra............so I would hand deliver a letter stating your concerns and the barn rules and then tell him the next time it happens he/she will be handed a bill for the extra hay......or simply ask he/she to leave.