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Pasture board re BO's responsibilities

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    Pasture board re BO's responsibilities

    Does a BO have any responsibilities for horses living outside ? Should they check for minor injuries, notice signs of colic or sudden lameness? Obviously they are responsible for water and forage but what happens if the horses' owners do not come to check on a regular basis?.

    Depends on what your boarding contract says. I wouldn't board, even field board, at a place where my horse wasn't given the once over at least once a day, but not every field board place is like that


      As gottagrey said, it totally depends on the farm/barn/contact.

      One would think that yes, horses would be checked at least once a day, and attended to if the need arises. But that is not necessarily the hard/fast rule.
      ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~


        Yes, I would think in most cases, the BO should give the field horses a once over on a regular basis.


          What I would expect from field board, unless the contract stipulates something different:
          When the field horses are fed, everyone gets a quick eyeball. Person feeding should notice 3+ lameness, missing shoe, off feed, significant change in demeanor, eye injury, wound large enough to require treatment.

          I don't expect the person feeding to groom my horse, notice a subtle lameness, catch all minor scrapes, check legs for funk, etc. Shame on me if I miss that stuff. And if I'm not able to see my horse often enough for that to be okay, then I either need to seek a more hands-on boarding situation or arrange for someone else to check on my horse periodically.


            I pasture board at my in-laws. They fill up water and send me a message if my one horse gets out *eye roll*

            The most they do is pet them on the nose if they are at the fence.

            My one horse got a giant gash and I got a message about that.. missing shoe not so much.


              As others have said, "it depends". Be sure you have discussed your expectations of care with your BO and write it out so everyone is on the same page. Do not make assumptions!
              I am in a pasture board situation and pay an extra monthly fee to have my horse grained, flymask off and on, blankets checked and changed as necessary. It is spelled out in my boarding contract. Other boarders pay per service as requested. BO will call when something is wrong but I am at the barn 4-5 days per week anyway.


                I would expect my horse to get checked at least once a day for anything obvious. As others have said, I wouldn't expect them to notice some scratches or pick hooves daily or do anything more than at least look to see that all limbs are attached, nothing is bleeding copiously, and they're galloping around like sound idiots rather than lame idiots. But I would expect a call if any of those things were the case.
                "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                  I pasture board (I think the occasional chomp mark is fair trade for the mental benefits of doing horse things); staff/BO contact me if Pony looks not quite right/isn't eating/ripped off a blanket and will pull an injured/possible colic out of the field and start supportive care. The other boarders are also very proactive about looking out for the horses, the owners and manager live on-site, and overall I feel there are a lot of eyes on the horses. (This is good, because my ponies are confirmed Blanket Maulers)


                    I'm the (unpaid) person who does the arvo feeds at my agistment. I'll make sure all four legs are still attached, both eyes still in place and inside stuff is still on the inside. If Ponyguts doesn't show up for dinner I'll go looking. Beyond that, anything else that might be noticed is a bonus. I'm happy to deal with an emergency, spray some wound spray on cut or fix a rug if needed but I often don't have time to do much more than look each horse over (and keep an eye on movement as they hoon up) with any regularity. Sounds like some of the owners haven't been out in months anyway.


                      Depends on the barn and your agreement w/ owner.

                      When I field boarded, nothing was included. It was totally self-care. I went twice per day and fed and checked everything.

                      But it was close to my home, a beautiful farm with great pastures and cheap price. Owner wanted nothing to do with anything. When horses torn down a fence or knocked down boards, I had my son do all repairs.

                      So set up the agreement up front and hopefully barn owner will put it in writing.
                      "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


                        Originally posted by Russinka View Post
                        I'm the (unpaid) person who does the arvo feeds at my agistment.
                        I suspect I am not the only North American unfamiliar with the terms "arvo feeds" and "agistment".

                        Could you please explain.

                        When I Google it, I get "a tithe for grazing cattle" for "agistment", and nothing remotely relevant fort "arvo feeds"
                        Last edited by Janet; Oct. 7, 2019, 11:01 AM.

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.


                          The contract lays out the legal requirements for "pasture board." But there are also "practical requirements." The BO has a duty to check and maintain the fences even if the contract doesn't specifically say so. I don't know of BO that would ignore signs of a seriously injured horse even the contract did not impose a burden of notice. What they might DO about what they see WILL be governed by the contract. If there is no duty to render any aid to a sick or injured horse before calling the owner then that call will be made and actions taken IAW the decisions made during the call. A Hard Truth about pasture board is that it is very often the province of the those least able to pay for the upkeep of horse. While most BOs want to be humane they are not publicly funded charities and have limits to their ability to pay for things when they KNOW they won't get reimbursed.

                          Put another way, while they won't engage in intentional neglect or cruelty, they won't necessarily pay somebody else's vet bill, either.

                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


                            I would expect a daily once-over and notice of anything amiss. Basic good horsemanship requires this.

                            If you are totally self-care on pasture, you're not 'boarding'; you are renting the use of the field.
                            No matter where you go, there you are


                              I was on pasture board and that care included: checking for obvious major injuries, colic signs, lameness signs (not "off" but actual lameness), off feed or very obvious not acting normal signs. Subtle things were not noticed but in turn I went out multiple time per week. Towards the end of my boy's cancer treatment/monitoring I went out daily to care for him and feed the others. While there I checked everyone, not thoroughly but gave them a once over and noticed missing shoes, sand spurs, major fly bites, minor stiffness or just not acting ok.

                              As everyone else has stated "it depends". When I first arrived at the barn I boarded with the owner was far more observant, as he has aged and had health issues he has become less observant, hence me feeding more. They are all moving to a new barn with a younger owner that is very observant and really takes a lot of time to get to know the horses. She provides more observation with pasture board and also provides blanketing and masking if these are provided. Both owners live on site.
                              Brain Surgeon "Milo" 2013 -
                              Lovebug "Bugs" 2006-2019


                                I've never done self care, but I've done "pasture" or "outdoor" board at two different places. The outside horses are provided with hay and automatic waterers, nothing else. I'm at the barn 5 days/wk anyway so horsey gets grain and blanket changes when I'm there.
                                There are enough staff and boarders around that I would hope someone would notice if he was bleeding profusely or colicking. Anything that isn't life threatening can wait until I'm there. If I'm going on vacation I let the BO and BM know.

                                The way I see it, by allowing my horse to live like a horse I'm reducing the risk of colic. By making sure that the fencing and run-in sheds are safe I've done the best I can to prevent injury.


                                  Originally posted by Cat Tap View Post
                                  Does a BO have any responsibilities for horses living outside ? Should they check for minor injuries, notice signs of colic or sudden lameness? Obviously they are responsible for water and forage but what happens if the horses' owners do not come to check on a regular basis?.
                                  Like other posters stated, it depends on your boarding contract. There is no "norm" or specific requirements unless they are outlined in your contract.

                                  Depending on your barn, the BO may or may not be the person who is checking on the pasture boarders. It could be an employee, a working student, etc. and their abilities to detect something that has gone awry might vary.

                                  Best advice is to research the facility and the BO/BM. Visit, more than once. Visit during mud season if possible. You'll learn a lot about the facility.


                                    Originally posted by Cat Tap View Post
                                    Does a BO have any responsibilities for horses living outside ? Should they check for minor injuries, notice signs of colic or sudden lameness? Obviously they are responsible for water and forage but what happens if the horses' owners do not come to check on a regular basis?.
                                    Is this in regard to an actual problem?

                                    in general I would say the person taking money to board a horse has a duty to see that the horse is generally healthy. That said this will depend on the competency of the barn manager to notice things, the size of the property, and the amount of spare time they have on their hands.

                                    If the horses are sustaining on grass with no supplementary feed on a big field I would not count on any BM going out to check daily.

                                    The second part of the question is what is the BM supposed to do? Notify owner? Call vet on owners dime? That also needs to be in the contract.

                                    I put my horse on pasture vacation where there's a view from the back deck by nonhorsey people and I check her once a week usually. I don't do much to doctor bite marks on the field.

                                    IME colic is rarely an issue with horses on pasture.


                                      Originally posted by Janet View Post

                                      I suspect I am not the only North American unfamiliar with the terms "arvo feeds" and "agistment".

                                      Could you please explain.

                                      When I Google it, I get "a tithe for grazing cattle" for "agistment", and nothing remotely relevant fort "arvo feeds"
                                      I suspect translation problems. Reading for context works
                                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                        In my experience if you are paying for full board ( pasture only, stall or combination there-of) the people feeding, mucking or turning out should at least know enough to spot if something is not right and let the BO know immediately.

                                        I know my BO was hands on and spotted everything, but not all barns are so fortunate. I was particularly thankful for it even though I was out every day to ride or get my horses out.

                                        If you are in the business of providing 100% of the daily care and feeding, I think the BO has a responsibility for at least a daily once over by sight. If nothing else to cover their "backside" if something major happens.