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Boarding barn problem--30 days notice

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  • Boarding barn problem--30 days notice

    Bear with me, I need to explain this a bit before I ask the question.

    I have been boarding at a barn for a little over a month. They advertised themselves as having an indoor arena (which, I come to find out after signing the contact, is under construction until Janurary). They made claims to perform certain services that they have not yet consistantly performed; i.e. my horse said to be recieving a certain amount and type of hay, but not. My horse to be blanketed, but not being blanketed. My horse recieving a consistant feeding schedule but not).

    This is not someone's backyard barn. This is a new commercial boarding facility. I am one of the first of three boarders and both myself and my friend who also boards there are over it. They created a rule two weeks after I began boarding there about how they will not turn the horses out if the pastures are wet. This is Florida. It is ALWAYS wet in the summertime and often even in the winter time. We live in a swamp--basically, they're telling me that my horse WILL NOT recieve turnout during the summer months because they do not want their pastures torn up. They have over 20 different pastures and only TWO boarders to worry about. This rule was created AFTER I signed the contract. My horse NEEDS turnout. He is an Arabian. A fit, energetic, intelligent horse that needs time to play outside or I am going to have a loaded gun under me when I ride. I PAY for turnout, I should GET turnout under any conditions if I so ask. I am the customer. If this were explained to me BEFORE I signed the boarding contract, I would NOT have chosen to board here.

    Next, my friend comes out early in the morning to ride and requests that the barn leaves his grain and hay as well as my horse's grain and hay. This suddenly became a problem for them, saying it was an inconvience and they didn't like not having something to feed our horses at 9am when they finally show up to feed. Now they are refusing to allow my friend to feed our horses. There is NO reason for this besides an odd sense of overcontrol by these "barn managers". There are other things being said and done that do not impress me, but that is on a personal level.

    I dropped off my required "30 day written notice" but I would much prefer to leave the first of the month. I am not happy here. In my mind, since they have a contract with their services listed and they HAVE NOT performed these services, it is a breech of contract. I should not be required to stay the entire 30 days because they did not properly hold up their end.

    What can I do here? Am I correct in saying that they haven't properly held up their end of the contract and that I am going to leave the first of the month? Anyone have a suggestion on my options?

  • #2
    Well, you can try highlighting the areas of the contract they haven't upheld and including any documentation you may have to that effect. Probably the worst that might happen is that they'd take you to small claims court and then badmouth you as an unreliable boarder.

    If you think there's ever a chance you might need to board there again, you'll want to suck it up and pay your 30 days. But then again, you may decide that you'd stash your horse in your backyard before boarding him there again; there's one barn near me I feel that way about!

    I know exactly what you're talking about though. I too ended up boarding for a little over two months at a facility that promised a standard of care I could deal with, but they too didn't uphold parts of their contract. It royally chapped my ass to do it, but I did pay them the full 30 days and moved my horse early. I've gotten a LOT more "assertive" about asking questions and analyzing the answers when I look for boarding barns now. I've found the best way to find a barn I know I'll be happy with is to ask for recommendations from people whose standard of care is similar to mine.
    Full-time bargain hunter.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, they can't MAKE you stay there. Put your horse in a trailer and leave. Worry about the money later.
      I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

      Comment


      • #4
        They sound like trouble. I would leave at the first of the month regardless but pay them for whatever the extra time is. It wouldn't make me happy but I could see you having problems otherwise. Of course, if this went to court you would probably win, but do you really want to deal with that? If so, start documenting EVERYTHING. Email questions and expect email responses. Photograph whatever is photographable (ie, no indoor).

        It sucks but be the bigger person. They'll get their's by not having any boarders.

        Good luck.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Guin View Post
          Well, they can't MAKE you stay there. Put your horse in a trailer and leave. Worry about the money later.
          I agree.
          www.Somermistfarm.com
          Quality Hunter Ponies

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          • #6
            Well...I am in NC..so not sure if the laws are different...

            BUT, when I was in the middle of my barn from hell and wanted to leave early..

            I called my lawyer and when I told her that they weren't fulfilling their end of the contract...she asked me what did the contract state would happen if they did not....Well, it did not state anything...just Barn Responsibilites. She said because it did not state consequences on their half, I had no recourse.

            I was able to get out on another contract loophole, thank god.

            Read over your contract thoroughly and speak with a lawyer....otherwise, pay your 30 days unless you want alot of unwanted drama.

            Comment


            • #7
              Breach of contract is breach of contract. If no penalties are stated that does not mean there are no consequences.

              Easy way: Give them a check for the balance of the 30 days on you notice, load the horse, and go.

              Hard way: Load the horse and go. They have a lien on the animal for unpaid board and they could argue that you're early departure with the horse constitutes theft. Most likely the local DA would say "commercial dispute" but no guarantee on that. Even if he did they could still file in Small Claims Court for unpaid board. Your defense would be breach of contract in the specifics you have stated. Then you wait for Judge Judy's ruling!!!

              Your call.

              G.
              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                Breach of contract is breach of contract. If no penalties are stated that does not mean there are no consequences.

                Easy way: Give them a check for the balance of the 30 days on you notice, load the horse, and go.

                Hard way: Load the horse and go. They have a lien on the animal for unpaid board and they could argue that you're early departure with the horse constitutes theft. Most likely the local DA would say "commercial dispute" but no guarantee on that. Even if he did they could still file in Small Claims Court for unpaid board. Your defense would be breach of contract in the specifics you have stated. Then you wait for Judge Judy's ruling!!!

                Your call.

                G.
                Are you a lawyer? Because the person I spoke to was indeed a LAWYER.

                Also, no, she can't just go load the horses up unless she is planning on sneaking out in the middle of the night. Because chances are the boarding barn will call the sheriff/police and they will tell her that she will have to handle this through court. That's what a lien means...this is why the boarding contract says that the horse cannot leave the premises with unpaid bills.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Leave whenever you want. Never sign a boarding contract that doesn't give at least a range of lbs of and type of hay per day, the same with concentrates and hours of/conditions of turnout. How specific was the contract? If it said the horses would get xyz hay, and they're not, then they broke the contract. If it doesn't say that, then give the 30 days notice, pay for that 30 days, but leave as soon as you find somewhere good.
                  Please don't try to be a voice of reason. It's way more fun to spin things out of control. #BecauseCOTH - showhorsegallery

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                  • #10
                    as an owner of a small boarding barn, it really does suck about the turnout. as you said it is always wet here in florida. the only time i don't turn a horse out is when it is freezing(not verey much in fla) or storming.
                    would love to know where the farm is in florida, you can pm me with details.
                    www.camaloufarms.com

                    ride it like you stole it! "ralph hill"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You aren't in the Tampa area are you? We had similiar issues the first 2 years my daughter was at USF and we ended up finally bringing her horse home.
                      The 2nd barn (we tried 3 in a year and a half) we had him at, I went to the barn on a Sunday when we knew the BO wasn't there and loaded him up and brought him home. This was after the BO lied multiple times about where he was (like saying he was blanketed and in his warm and dry stall when we knew he was outside in the freezing rain with no blanket) and changing his feed and barely feeding any hay, causing weight loss. Because my daughter had signed a contract and because I wanted to be done with it and the BO was being a pain about it, I sent her a check for the remainder of the month.
                      I run a boarding barn, albeit small, but I don't have a contract to sign. I am appalled at what some barn managers see as proper horse care and have the nerve to charge for. As my daughter said, there is just no place like home!
                      Lori T
                      www.calypsofarmeventers.blogspot.com
                      www.facebook.com/LoriTankelPhotography
                      www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Ok, thank you everyone.

                        The contract isn't detailed enough for me to have any real recourse. I took a good hard look at it and my husband and I both agreed that unfortuneatly, I will just have to take it as it is. Ah well, live and learn.

                        These two managers aren't bad people in all honesty, but they lack greatly in a few important areas such as customer service, responsibility, and prioritizing. Doesn't make them bad people, just bad managers.

                        Boarding my horse for the 9 years that I've owned him has been a headache 70% of the time and as I grow a bit older and wiser, I question why I continue to put myself through this. I am already on edge about selling my horse (I've been putting it off for a long time), and the more I expose myself to this stress, the less fun horse ownership becomes.

                        Why are so many people so darn crazy?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm sorry that you are in this situation - it's tough.

                          I just went through something very similar; I chose to just pay the extra money and leave. Now my horses are at home. *sigh of relief*

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ok, I haven't read EVERYTHING, but here are my thoughts based on my experience.

                            I left a barn with 9 days notice once. I signed a contract for a 5 acre pasture, shortly after new owner's came in, they decided that a small, muddy pen would be suitable for a yearling (Um NO!!). Hay was no longer the quality promised (cow hay!), the arena was now rented out- for dog events! (and off limits to boarders on the weekends), turn out unavailable.

                            Instead of my monthly rent check, I left them a letter stating ALL of the parts of the contract that THEY were no longer upholding, therefore I was terminating the contract. That they no longer offered boarding that was for the best interest of my horse, and that I was honestly concerned about long term damage to my horse due to these changes (lunging is not an ok form of "turn out" for a yearling!)

                            I packed my horse, and my stuff, and never heard from them again.

                            As far as contract law etc. Well, do you think they are going to take you to small claims court over one month board?

                            It might not be the popular answer - but not all contracts are "good." I am sure you can find a loop hole in yours.
                            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by acoustic View Post
                              Ok, thank you everyone.

                              The contract isn't detailed enough for me to have any real recourse. I took a good hard look at it and my husband and I both agreed that unfortuneatly, I will just have to take it as it is. Ah well, live and learn.

                              These two managers aren't bad people in all honesty, but they lack greatly in a few important areas such as customer service, responsibility, and prioritizing. Doesn't make them bad people, just bad managers.

                              Boarding my horse for the 9 years that I've owned him has been a headache 70% of the time and as I grow a bit older and wiser, I question why I continue to put myself through this. I am already on edge about selling my horse (I've been putting it off for a long time), and the more I expose myself to this stress, the less fun horse ownership becomes.

                              Why are so many people so darn crazy?
                              And I do feel for you...because I have been in your shoes. Big commerical barn not living up to their part of the bargain. And I certainly wasn't willing to pay for 30 days when I didn't feel like my horses were safe. Like I said, luckily I found a loophole in my contract....but I did follow my lawyers advice and had I not found that loophole, I would have stayed the 30 days.

                              I have found the horse industry as a whole to be very disappointing at times when it comes to customer service and competence.

                              Out of all my years of boarding...I finally have found a barn manager that is normal and does her job very well. I go home at night and don't even think about my horses' care. I know if there is a problem, I will get a phone call.

                              Took me 10 years to find it.

                              Hang in there.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Make certain you are paid in full with the current BO based on your 30 day notice.
                                Look for another place now - interview the BO, BM and other boarders before signing up.
                                Once you have a new barn, pack and move.
                                No I am not a lawyer - but believe as long as financials are in order you should be able to leave at your convenience.
                                "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                                Courtesy my cousin Tim

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Haven't read OP's contract and have no opinion on it, but in many states a material breach of contract by one party absolves the non-breaching party from further performance. The consequence of the breach is not required to be stated in the contract. The breach must be material and the non-breaching party must not waive the breach. The problem with many boarding contracts is that they are not detailed enough to give grounds for termination for breach. So many times the promises that are broken were made outside the boarding contract-for example the BO may promise strategy 2X per day and 6 flakes of coastal hay daily. The boarding contract just says that BO will provide adequate food. when BO changes to the cheapest grain possible and cuts back the hay you have to look at the contract to see if a breach occurred not at what the BO promised you.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by acoustic View Post

                                    Why are so many people so darn crazy?
                                    I don't think your BOs are crazy so much as new at it. That's why they're making it up as they go along. That's a recipe for disaster on both sides.

                                    Do look for a new place now. It may take you the rest of the month to find it or an opening if many barns in your area go from the 1st day of the month.

                                    If your horse isn't actually suffering, I'd be tempted to just stick it out. It's always good to keep your side of the street clean.
                                    The armchair saddler
                                    Politically Pro-Cat

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I guess I am confused- how on earth did you not know about the arena until after you signed the contract? Did you not go look at the place in person before signing papers and moving in? If your not happy give your notice and leave.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Luckydonkey View Post
                                        I guess I am confused- how on earth did you not know about the arena until after you signed the contract? Did you not go look at the place in person before signing papers and moving in? If your not happy give your notice and leave.
                                        I was told that it would be completed in a couple of weeks originally. Then I come to find out otherwise. I'm not an idiot, I would not have signed a contract if I had not seen the place and spoken with the managers in person.

                                        I already said that I've given my written notice and that I have made my decision. Thank you.

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