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Charges for fees and services normal?

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  • Charges for fees and services normal?

    I stumbled across the boarding contract of a local barn and I'm curious if some of the fees are normal.

    I understand that some boarding barns have a minimum number of lessons required to generate extra income for the barn owner/trainer and I'm fine with those types of barns.

    However, have you heard of a barn that requires you to ride your horse a minimum number of days per week and that if you don't they exercise your horse for you and charge you for it? That one of those has to be a hack in a field or on trails or they charge you for it?

    That you maintain and clean your tack to a level that is approved of by the barn and if you don't you will be charged for tack cleaning services?

    Barn does not require boarders to show and horses get 12 hours of turnout daily.

    Sometimes my life gets busy and I can't ride my horse for a week or two, or after a big show I give him a week off just being a horse. In the winter he might get several weeks off as I really don't feel like riding when it's 12 degrees. It's not like he stands in a stall for weeks or that I expect him to be fit and well behaved and I don't want to get charged for someone taking him on a trail ride because I decided he deserved some time off just eating and pooping.

  • #2
    It sounds to me like the BO has had some neglectful HOs in the past and wants to maintain a level of care/horsemanship/HO involvement with the animal that meets her standards.

    I wouldn't be offended in principle as I'm a High Standards HO, too. But I agree that I wouldn't want to pay for these services in an automatic way.

    Why not have a frank talk with the BO about how this works in practice? What happens for that week after a large show? If you don't want to ride at 12 degrees (and neither does the barn staff and neither does the horse) what does she expect from you in the way of making sure the horse gets out?

    I'd be pretty pleased if a BO was so committed to TO that they got 12 hours a day and something like hand walking when it was 12 degrees. Hell, I'd pay it and stay home and watch netflix in my warm jammies!

    Bottom line: If you feel insulted by fees for dirty tack and HOs who don't get their horses out enough for reasons other than the horse's needs, this probably isn't the place for you!
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    • #3
      I've never heard of that - sounds like an inordinate amount of control is being sought.

      While I agree with mvp that those terms are likely in reaction to some prior bad experiences the BO has had, there's no way I'd sign a contract that _mandated_ I ride a certain number of days a week (much less hacked out N times), nor specified what I was to do with tack that I owned.

      Mind you, I _do_ hack out, and am a but OCD about tack, but that's my business, not a BO's.


      • #4
        I know of barns who charge for cleaning tack if it isn't maintained. I think they want to avoid having dusty or moldy tack sitting around and spoiling the "look".

        As for a horse being ridden a certain number of times, I think that is none of their business unless they want to run a training barn. If they are trying to make money through extra services then they should run a training facility where every horse is in 1/2 training or greater. Or is charges a minimum per month of extra "services".


        • #5
          Originally posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
          I know of barns who charge for cleaning tack if it isn't maintained. I think they want to avoid having dusty or moldy tack sitting around and spoiling the "look".
          There are some decent reasons for wanting folks to maintain their tack.

          A moldy saddle brought into a tack room puts other nearby items at risk for Mold Attack!

          And dry leather (usually gone uninspected, too) is most likely to break. No, not the BO's problem if rider's equipment breaks and he/she gets hurt. But were I a BO, I'd just as soon avoid having to deal with the insurance mess that is a bad fall that happened on my place, even if it weren't my thing.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat


          • #6
            I'd not sign that either

            However, having been in barns (as a boarder, as a BM, and as a BO) I agree that it might be an attempt to deal with neglectful owners. But I've yet to see a boarding contract with a "standard of care" spelled out in regards to farrier service/grooming standards/etc that isn't a show barn.
            COTH's official mini-donk enabler

            "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


            • #7
              One of the barns I looked at had rules like this - you had to be working "for something" (just puttering around enjoying horse-time wasn't enough), you had to exercise horse a minimum number of days/week, you had to take at least one lesson per week, or one training ride.

              It wasn't a good fit for me although it had the nicest facilities bar none in the area, but I was grateful the BO was very upfront about it. They were looking for a very specific kind of owner/rider in their barn, and clearly had enough interest to afford being so choosy.
              Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


              • #8
                The barns in central NJ were somewhat like that. Horses were expected to WORK 6 days a week - no trail rides or walks! If you didn't show up after a couple days, trainer or assistant would text/call to see what your schedule was. If they did not have a jr or amateur around to hack your horse, you would get charged for a training ride.

                They didn't seem as strict about tack, but everything was well-kept, so I didn't see any neglected tack.

                If horse's mane or whiskers got too long and you didn't clip, they would take the liberty of cleaning the horse up (and charging for it).

                I'm no longer in that type of program since I've left NJ, and I think my horse is much happier now.
                Ride on!


                • #9
                  Does this barn have a "full care" sounds to me like the majority of clients are on full care/training board and that the additional fees are implemented for those that opt out and they want to ensure the horse is getting the same standard of care as those that are on full care. Kind of like discouraging people from going outside of the norm type of thing. Not saying its a bad thing. Just ensuring all horses represent the program well and perhaps the BO/trainer had no-so responsible horse owners in the past.
                  There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
                  inside of a man.

                  -Sir Winston Churchill


                  • Original Poster

                    The only difference is that "full" care includes blanketing and holding for the farrier/vet.

                    Extra fees for not riding often enough or cleaning your tack are across the board.

                    Barn does not have a showing requirement and the mandatory lessons are not included in either board rate.

                    If my horse gets a week or two off in the winter or even during the summer while I'm busy I don't mind, he doesn't lose any fitness, he doesn't come back fresh, and he gets ample turnout. Plus I think horse vacations are good for their minds.


                    • #11
                      I boarded at an A circuit barn that did the exercise thing. I only boarded there, I was not part of their program. The frustrating part was I would get my bill for the next month and they would have days on there that I was there that they turned my horse out! I think it was like $10 everytime. If I came out and turned my horse out and they never saw me because they were busy that's not my fault! I also came out to find that they had had my horse's teeth done without asking and handed me the bill. Apparently they needed to be done but a quick phone call to say "hey, the vet thinks that your horse needs his teeth done. Is that ok?" would have been nice! As a college student paying $450 a month those extra charges really hit you when you haven't been given a heads up! If I were actually part of their program it would have been one thing but as just a general boarder that was just there to use their facilities only it was frustrating. I also wasn't used to being at a barn that is shut down one day a week (which inevitably was the best day for me to come and spend the most time out) and you aren't even allowed to come out. Ask my husband on his feelings about that one! Everytime we move and I have to find a new barn he is on top of that one!


                      • #12
                        Also, I think it's my horse, and if someone randomly rode my horse without my express permission, I'd flip out a la Jeff Lewis. I think the liability issues are HUGE and have not been thought through at all.
                        Let me apologize in advance.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post
                          Also, I think it's my horse, and if someone randomly rode my horse without my express permission, I'd flip out a la Jeff Lewis. I think the liability issues are HUGE and have not been thought through at all.
                          I'm grinning as I think about the barn staff deciding who should ride my horse that reared and went over backwards with me... I didn't ride him for weeks at a time (but now he's behaving himself.)
                          That's fine, many of us have slid down this slippery slope and became very happy (and broke) doing it. We may not have a retirement, but we have memories ...


                          • #14


                            • #15
                              I've heard of rules like that at barns where everyone is part of a competitive show team, and the trainer wants to make sure everyone is fit & ready. Usually there's a groom, and many horses will be in full training.

                              I wouldn't choose to board somewhere like that, but I do think it has its place.


                              • #16
                                Weird. If it's not a full care show facility I find it odd they have these rules. Maybe they have had horses in the past that did not behave themselves with consistent exercise? My guy doesn't NEED to be ridden more than a few times a week. But if he gets more than 3 days off in a row my BM said she can tell and he is a handful! Maybe that's what they are trying to avoid. But in any case, speculating won't do much. At the end of the day I wouldn't want to board there! Are there other boarding options near you?
                                There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
                                inside of a man.

                                -Sir Winston Churchill