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Pros and Cons of your Vet as a Boarder

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  • Pros and Cons of your Vet as a Boarder

    Hi All,
    I just picked up a voicemail from our vet asking whether we had a stall available.

    We normally don't take boarders, and my heart kindof sank a bit when I got the message, as i was anticipating having to call her to say no. The truth is, though, that we could have a stall (prob putting a horse down this fall).

    I really like this vet - she is super nice to deal with, good with the horses and seems like a very nice person. She's a hunter rider and we are eventers...but I'm not sure that would be the end of the world...

    I'm curious what other people think of having their vet as a boarder. Would you run away screaming? Or has it worked out well? I should add that i really, really like drinking wine in my tack room on Friday nights - could be awkward around sober boarders, no?

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks!

  • #2
    One word - BARTER! Yes, it could be awkward if things don't go well. But it could be GREAT if things do go well. I have never boarded with my vet, but I barter with my vet all the time. I don't think drinking wine in the tack room on Friday nights is a problem as long as you mention it to her and she doesn't mind. Sounds like a nice tradition! Best of luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think that as long as you have things explicitly laid out ahead of time (standard of care, costs, types of feed, any other barn rules) there should not really be an issue. If she's your vet, she probably already really approves of your standard of care and the condition of the facility.

      I would NOT barter because I feel that this inevitable leaves one party feeling that they have given more than they are getting. Just give each other bills for service.
      "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant

      Comment


      • #4
        You may also want to discuss ahead of time about whether you can call her and ask questions or have her come out if there is an emergency!

        As a vet, and best friend to my horse vet..... I know I can tend to abuse the priveledge of having my best friend be my horse vet. So I try not to call her all the time and annoy her But... she's also gone way above and beyond when I needed her.

        But I would just chat about you know... could you call her for emergencies or would she rather you just call whoever is on call or whatever.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am the vet who is a boarder and so far it's worked in all my situations. If you do barter try to be very honest and up front about what each service is worth to each party. That saves resentment down the line. I also do not offer any advice or opinions unless asked. Another bonus for the barn is that they pretty much have a vet on call at all times. I bring my horses home in the summer but need an indoor in the winter. We will be heading back to the same barn we were at last winter so I think it worked out ok! . Again, communication is the key!
          5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO - you're on course!

          Comment


          • #6
            I am not an eventer but

            this topic sounded interesting and its up on the main page.

            wow- cool that your vet thinks so highly of your care that she/he would board there.

            I think it would work out very well if it were my vet- I learn so much just from being around him as he works, and his prices are reasonable so I would rather go on the straight across the board for both our services.
            I know nothing of any H/J vs Eventer rivalry, back in my day most of us that evented also rode H/J because events were few and far between in our neck of the woods.
            as for drinking- if we are talking a few glasses and a happy glow, why should any sober person be upset with that? If its a few bottles and crashing through the jumps at midnight, maybe not...
            "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

            Comment


            • #7
              My horse vet daughter boarded with a client last winter. I think it worked out really well. She and the client are good friends now. It was wonderful for my daughter to have her horse at a nice facility with an indoor for the winter. The care was impeccable, and even exceeded my picky daughter's standards. Veterinarians can be picky or alternatively too exhausted to care about things they should care about. You have to be flexible, and willing to indulge some veterinarian idiosyncracies.

              My daughter's friend seemed happy to have her there. When the friend needed a last minute coggins, my daughter drew it that night (no farm call charge) and had the results in 24 hours.

              Boarding a vet's horse can work out well, as long as you and she have clear expectations of each other. My daughter's friend knew she is a picky princess who expects her horse to have individual turnout, two water buckets in his stall, no grain, and a constant supply of low or medium quality dieter style hay (no alfalfa). My daughter was quite impressed with the care at this barn, and has referred other clients as boarders.

              Comment


              • #8
                I would not barter, just simply swap checks so that each person gets in return what they have charged for the service. I do the same with boarders who want to work off their board. They pay me board, I pay them to work. No bartering. That just gets messy.

                If my vet wanted to board with me I would be down on my knees thanking the Lord. Don't let anyone spoil your tack room ritual BTW. Just explain up front that this is how it is.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would love for my vet to board with me I don't think I would abuse the relationship as I would be calling her anyway if there was a problem. Your vet must think highly of your level of care

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    PROS: you have a VET who is a BOARDER!!! Talk about ideal access to vet. Never worry about response in emergencies. Perhaps no "barn call" fees/good rates on meds/etc.

                    CONS: Mixing business with other business. If it goes awry, you could lose your vet.

                    I would just tell her that you have Friday night happy hour in the tack room. That's a perk, not a disadvantage, to me, and I'm a hunter/jumper rider. Most of us like to drink wine too!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm just curious about the tack room ritual. Do you just kinda hang there drinking wine by yourself, or is there a social component?
                      Ring the bells that still can ring
                      Forget your perfect offering
                      There is a crack in everything
                      That's how the light gets in.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have my own small barn--6 stalls and 3 of them empty. (I know there is something weird about having empty stalls. ) I've had people asked to board and I've turned them down, although I can think of a few people that I would accept if things change for them in there current situation.

                        For me it wouldn't be so much that it was my vet as much as it's about using MY barn the way I want. I pretty regularly have people over to the barn for a drink. Just this month my hubby had a casual thing for some lawyers he works with, then a week later his office did a sit down dinner for 50. (It was catered, all I did was clean the barn!) Then I had a party for a bunch of eventers.

                        I would absolutely make sure that your vet understands that she is boarding at a private barn. While the quality of care is as good as it gets, she needs to respect that the place is yours and not a full blown business. The pros for her are lots of personal attention to her horse (I'd pretty much treat someone else's horse like it was my own) and no drama of a boarding facility. The cons are that you might have a cocktail hour in the tackroom.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks you for all the feedback!

                          MelantheLLC - good question! I think, if it came down to it, I probably would sit in the tack room alone (with a cat/dog or two) and drink my wine anyway! It's never come to that, though

                          Usually it's a very social thing. My barn manager/boarder comes and often brings munchies (love her!!), my other boarder shows up some of the time, my husband and daughter hang out until daughter's bedtime (she's 3) and then he takes her for bath/bed so I can chill with the grapes/gang.

                          It's how I formally mark the end of my usually stressful work-week and the beginning of my happy horse/family/farm time. My two boarder-companions often try and make me ride their western horses over jumps at midnight when i'm...er...ok...slightly beyond tipsy...but that's never actually happened.

                          I guess i was just worried that it might be weird to run into our vet when i'm feeding the horses in my pj's etc!

                          The other thing is that most boarders drive me nuts. One had a bbq in my indoor and kids sledding in the paddocks with my horses turned out! Maybe i'm traumatized and usually tell people we don't take boarders!

                          Thanks again for the interesting discussion

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I boarded at the same barn as my vet for a few months before he bought his place. The key to making it work was reminding EVERYONE that when he was there, he was "First Name" not "Dr. Last Name". He was there to enjoy his horse and the social, etc., NOT to be the "oh my horse has an injury, can you look" person.

                            For some reason this worked REALLY well. No one abused it. In fact, there was a night that a horse was colicking and he was quick to step in and start treatment. When asked "wait - don't we need to call the clinic and get the vet on call" he laughed and said "no worries, I AM on call." But that was the only time that "Dr. Vet" came out when it was supposed to be "First Name" time.
                            If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                            ~ Maya Angelou

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Are you assuming your vet is sober or do you know this for a fact?! I know quite a few vets who would LOVE to partake in a Friday evening glass of wine, if they happened to be around at the time. In fact, one of the two vets I board with at the moment (one large animal, one small) might just pipe in on this thread to comment about beers in the barn fridge and margarita nights. Vets might be smarty pants, but that doesn't make them sticks in the mud! (And I'm kind of a teetotaler, but that doesn't mean I begrudge anyone their drinks; I'm happy to stick around for the socializing with a Coke in hand.)
                              I evented just for the Halibut.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think having your vet as a boarder (or having your farrier, hay vendor, etc.) is fine as long as you can treat it as a business relationship. As a BO, I would want boarding contract. I would also be very clear in defining boundaries. If the vet is out there riding her horse, there should not be any expectation that she would look at or treat any other horse gratis. As a BO, it is great to have a vet around for the urgent issues that do come up with horses, so I would like having a vet as a boarder. The challenge is keeping the client-vet and boarder-BO relationships separate.
                                Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                                http://www.ironwood-farm.com

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Hmm..been there done that...the barter works until someone mis-understands a price or looses track of amounts.

                                  Makes for bad blood when vet has a day off you have an emergencey and htey can't/won't come out or answer phone.

                                  Do you want to keep a friend or profesional relationship...board them and keep a friend get a new vet.
                                  Or say no find them a place and keep them as a vet. MHO

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I agree with everyone else who says not to barter. Each should pay for their services. It does get messy as someone always feels their time and service is worth more then the other. Keep these two businessness seperate and treat the vet like any other boarder. It just works so much better when the lines are clearly drawn where business is concerned.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I would also keep things separate.

                                      My biggest concern would actually be for the vet, and making sure other clients (or barn manager or even you) don't abuse the fact that she is a vet by asking if she can perform vet duties when she's there for some enjoyable down time with her horse. But since you don't have a lot of boarders that likely wouldn't be a huge problem really.

                                      I think as long as things are kept separate, and it's known that just because she's there doesn't mean she is "on duty" or can do stuff for free, it could work out just fine
                                      "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                                      My CANTER blog.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        We moved your thread here to Off Course because it's not specific to eventing and you'll likely get more input.

                                        Thanks!
                                        Mod 1

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