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Is this unreasonable???

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  • Is this unreasonable???

    I have a small barn and an arena on my farm. The arena is new with washed sand/crumb rubber footing. It cost us around $40,000.

    I have 2 college students boarding here. They pay for hay, grain and shavings, and they generally take care of each other's stalls, but we do a lot of the daily care. We don't ask much of them - we generally like having them around to ride with, and they liven up the farm. This is our first experience with boarders.

    We have asked them several times to scoop any manure out of the arena after they ride. One in particular continues to leave it, and her horse is messy! He leaves trails of it, and it is time consuming to pick it out.

    Are my expectations unreasonable? I'm seeking advice as to how to handle this. Thanks!

  • #2
    Not at all unreasonable! But do you have a board contract? If not, you really should - helps to protect all parties involved. In that, you can specify requirements, such as cleaning up all common areas after yourself, like crossties, arenas, etc. If you search online, you can often find samples of board contracts to model and of course can always have an attorney review it.

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    • #3
      No, that's a fairly common rule and completely reasonable. Not sure how to go about enforcing it though.
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      • #4
        How old are they!!! That's just common courtesy - anywhere. Time to grow up!

        and yes put it in writing.

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        • #5
          Not unreasonable at all. I think every barn I have ever boarded at has had this rule. Most people are pretty good about following it. I would keep after them about following the rule. Send them e-mails, etc. after every time they leave it. That's just very discourteous.

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          • #6
            Not unreasonable at all.

            Keep a muck bucket and fork in the indoor. If they're still noncompliant, fine them/kick them out/take the poop and put it on the front seat of their car.
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            • #7
              You defnitely need a boarding contract. The reasonable-ness of this requirement depends upon what you are charging for board. If you're charging for feed/hay/shavings, then heck, yes they should do whatever you ask. If you're charging for all of the expenses plus a nice "profit" (who does that?) then your boarders might expect for cleanup to be included as a service.

              If you're not charging a real board rate, then let them (or their parents) know (in advance) that you'll tack on a fee for cleanup if they don't do it themselves.

              You'll be finding out really soon why lots of people don't board. It's really not worth the aggravation unless you charging for it.
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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks, great suggestions. I will get contracts, I actually just discovered that equine.com has free legal documents. I was hoping to avoid tension, but it is driving me crazy.

                My husband said that he will put a lock on the arena gate if she continues to leave her messes. Honestly, I cleaned it up yesterday and didn't tell him it had happened again because I wanted to seek advice and give her one more chance. I want harmony - it's my home and my happy place.

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                • #9
                  Errmahgaard.... I hope none of their ponies ever pees in the arena !

                  ((JUST KIDDING ! I think your rule is perfectly reasonable, and in fact I think it's been the norm for every arena I've ever ridden in. Not picking out the poo is rude and obnoxious. It would be nice if you could catch her in the act one time, and stand over her while she cleans it, so she gets the picture that it's one more chore that somebody has to do))

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Oh, and all of the necessary equipment IS in the arena.

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                    • #11
                      Sounds like those kids have a great deal with you, one they are not going to find elsewhere if they leave you, voluntarily or otherwise.

                      Remember some boarders are going to conduct themselves as they please and without a contract spelling everything out and some simple barn rules clearly communicated and in writing? They can do or not do as they please.

                      You will need to review your contract or get one pronto and have the boarder or responsible adult if they are minors sign it. Include 2 copies of the barn rules and have them initial a copy and keep it while you also keep a copy for their file. Get a dry erase board or go to Staples and have a simple sign printed up with "Pick up any manure from arena and clean up grooming areas and aisles". Post that. And put a pitchfork/apple picker and a muck tub by the arena gate.

                      And you wonder why we get so many posting they will never take boarders...
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                      • #12
                        FWIW, I really think the rate charged doesn't impact whether or not a person should have to clean up their horses' poop out of the indoor. I've had to do this at every barn I've ever been in, including full service A show barns where they tack up your horse for you.

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                        • #13
                          Definitely not unreasonable and as already said common place at boarding facilities. I agree to have a contract complete with a rules attachment initialed by the boarders. An occasional oversight/memory lapse is one thing, a habit should be addressed. Might start with a monetary penalty - $5 per clean-up and maybe more than x increases the penalty. And you can ask them to leave anytime (as specified in your contract)
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                          • #14
                            I think this is a standard barn rule that I have seen most every place I have ridden or boarded. I would recommend you post a standard list of barn rules: helmets are to be worn at all times when mounted, clean up after your horse in wash stall/grooming stall/arena, etc. This is a very common practice.

                            These girls have a WONDERFUL deal and opportunity, something I would have given my right arm for in college! Not to be harsh but I am certain there are many people who would love to have a similar opportunity and would be more than willing to be tidy and clean up after themselves.

                            Boarding contracts should never cause tension--they should clarify responsibilities to each party--what you provide for XX dollars and the boarder's responsibilites. If they are not comfortable with the contracts then you will know it is time to find new boarders!

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                            • #15
                              She could just be forgetful too! I never had to scoop poop out of a ring for literally decades, so it was new to me at my new barn. Now that I know, it's not usually a problem and it's definitely not in my boarding contract or anything but I do forget occassionally if I rush out quickly (like Saturday when I was trying to get a ride in before attending a funeral), and I generally feel awful when I see that nasty note that "someone" forgot to clean up their manure the next day But that's exactly why I help out whenever I can and scoop for others who forgot, or clean out the washstall extra well, sweep the tack room, etc. So maybe you should address both boarders together and ask them to both contribute to cleaning up after one another? Not that boarder #2 should start taking all the responsibility for #1's messes, but she's likely to put some added pressure on #1 to start remembering!

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Jsalem View Post

                                If you're not charging a real board rate, then let them (or their parents) know (in advance) that you'll tack on a fee for cleanup if they don't do it themselves.
                                Don't go to their parents. They are college students, maybe even in their early twenties, and responsible for themselves. If going to them doesn't solve the problem, tack on a "cleaning fee" or kick them out. You don't want to start going to their parents because then are you going to do that every single time something comes up? That is also a good way to possibly ruffle feathers (I've seen people go over a 19/20 year olds head about their horses even though they are completely independent from their parents - it definitely caused friction.) Either they take responsibility themselves or they leave. They are adults...they better act like it.

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                                • #17
                                  Yeah but, if these are minors, OP has to get the parents to sign. Even if they are older, if that board check is coming from somebody else, like the parent, your contract needs to be with the party signing the checks. Contracts only bind those who sign them...don't risk the "oh I never signed that" mess when a third party is involved.

                                  Otherwise, no, deal with them if they are of age and signing the checks.
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                                    FWIW, I really think the rate charged doesn't impact whether or not a person should have to clean up their horses' poop out of the indoor. I've had to do this at every barn I've ever been in, including full service A show barns where they tack up your horse for you.
                                    This ^^ and the 'worst' BOs were the ones at the top show barns! Everything needed to be spotless.

                                    Enforce the poop rule! The arena is not a litter box.
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by alibi_18 View Post
                                      Enforce the poop rule! The arena is not a litter box.
                                      It is for the barn cats!
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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by I'dRatherBRiding View Post
                                        She could just be forgetful too! I never had to scoop poop out of a ring for literally decades, so it was new to me at my new barn. Now that I know, it's not usually a problem and it's definitely not in my boarding contract or anything but I do forget occassionally if I rush out quickly (like Saturday when I was trying to get a ride in before attending a funeral), and I generally feel awful when I see that nasty note that "someone" forgot to clean up their manure the next day But that's exactly why I help out whenever I can and scoop for others who forgot, or clean out the washstall extra well, sweep the tack room, etc. So maybe you should address both boarders together and ask them to both contribute to cleaning up after one another? Not that boarder #2 should start taking all the responsibility for #1's messes, but she's likely to put some added pressure on #1 to start remembering!
                                        It took me a while to remember to pick up the poop after boarding for eons at barns were we didn't do it. It could be that it's a habit that needs to be ingrained into the offending boarder. EVERY TIME you see her leave the arena, tell her to go in and pick up the manure. Every day you see her, remind her to pick up her manure; if she's done riding, ask her whether she picked up her manure. Get the habit established.
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