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Why can't my boarder just listen to me??

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  • #21
    I agree with everyone else. If she wants the other grain fed, she needs to be the one to supply it.

    I have a somewhat different take on the barn work. I board at a small, private barn. There are 9-10 horses currently. I also work off a great deal of my board by cleaning stalls/feeding/doing turn-out/in every Saturday and Sunday.

    I had been a boarder at this barn for several years before we started this arrangement in 2009, so I was very much aware of how the BO "did things". And I had been around horses and barns for 33 years at that point. I had even cleaned for my BO before, to help out when she needed it.

    But none of that was adequate preparation for how she wanted things done. She likes having the work done a certain way. And, although she had never given directions before when my cleaning had been a friendly offer to help, she sure did once it was a business arrangement. Which is a good thing, because I never would have been able to read her mind if she hadn't shown me exactly how she wanted me to do the work.

    Have you gone through the work expectations with your working boarder? Have you shown her how you want the work done? If you have, and she still doesn't work to your expectations, fire her. If you haven't, you really can't hold her accountable for not being a mind reader and knowing how you want it done.

    Now, all that being said, my barn had a crazy boarder for almost 18 months. She finally left in a huff last June. Of course, once her initial tantrum was over she started to back out of her decision to leave, but my BO stood firm and insisted that it really was the right choice for her to be somewhere else. Life has been fabulous since she left. Your boarder could be the same kind of emotional vampire, and you very well could be much better off without her sucking the life and vitality out of your barn.


    • #22
      If you are going to have this boarder or any other boarder work off board, then be sure you are giving explicit instructions. I would use a check list. I would show her what was "wrong" if the check list wasn't helpful. I do think you should give the lady an opportunity for corrective action. The OP has not discussed the barn cleaning with the boarder, so I would be careful of how the critique was delivered.

      My guess is this lady is on a limited budget and trying to do the best she can for her older horse. She probably can't afford the vet fee for scoping. If the probiotics seem to work, then leave it alone. It is an "old timers" cure, but you know, these treatment can work.

      On the feed, I read it as a power issue. The OP says "but really, the two grains cost the same and the feed store where I get it is 2 mins from my house." So it's not a big deal aside from your feelings being hurt. Do I think the boarder could be more appreciative of the effort -- yes.

      As a BO, I am used to boarders whose perception of their horse's weight is not that same as mine. I once had a boarder with an obese horse tell me that he was thin. Older horses tend to lose their topline as they age. No surprise there. Perhaps this horse has a saddle fit issue, perhaps its just age. I'd tell her that the weight is fine in your opinion. I'd also tell her if she wanted to get some weight gain supplement, like Cool Calories, then you will feed it. It does help to acknowledge a boarder's concerns, assure the boarder that action will be taken when warranted, and get her to collaborate with you to solve her problem.

      As a BO, I definitely don't agree with everything my boarders want to do. However, my concern is macro safety and welfare issues, not micromanaging their actions. Also I try to remember that every boarder is trying to do the best she can for her horse. I may not agree, but that is where she is coming from.

      The bottom line is that BOTH of you have to respect each other's knowledge and abilities. BOTH of you have to collaborate on caring for the horse. Assuming you want to keep the boarder, your conversation has to be centered on collaboration. I hope it can work out for you.
      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


      • #23
        The posts above are all very good. If this woman wants special feed and special treatment for her horse then she needs to supply the feed and PAY for the added special treatment.
        If not then she needs to move on.
        As the barn owner you do not have to put up with all this.
        Tell her she is not cleaning to the specs you would like and either do a better job (give her a checklist to do it right) or move on.
        I agree with the above post that she seems to be an emotional Vampire. You do not need that in your life.


        • #24

          Girlfriend - Did my ex boarder move to your place???

          If she wants the extra grain - she can purchase it herself. I have an EX-B (ex boarder) who put AT LEAST 5 extras in her feed ( and they still looked gross where mine are sleek and shiny). She supplied it. I fed it.

          She never listened to me. Ever. Plus- I gave her a HUGE break on modified pasture board ($100 a horse, she had 6, I fed, juggled them around etc). Guess what- she bitched about a raise in board AFTER 2YEARS to help cover electric.

          The rest of the drama is for another day but she just left and my load is SO MUCH LIGHTER!!!

          As for the weight issue- Repeat after me "I am not a doormat" " I can not change her mind. She will think what she wants".

          Been there, hung in there, now she is gone. Now she can see how green the grass is on the other side.....
          Come to the dark side, we have cookies


          • #25
            Honestly, from the original post, I don't know if the boarder is crazy or if there is a power struggle going on over this horse, with a few deeper roots involved. I've seen it go both ways, and I've seen both boarder and BO end up in the wrong. Is the issue that the boarder's request will go beyond the maximum amount of hay/grain the barn is willing to provide, or that the two of you are seeing two different ways of running the railroad here, supplies are adequate, and no one wants to give in because you both are determined to control the outcome? I would say, for both of your sanities, give her notice to find other accommodations, with enough notice to find a better fit for her horse, and for you to get a better fitting boarder for your farm. Too many people trying to control one horse here.
            "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



            • #26
              I think you need to either switch to training board, where you can control more aspects of the horse's care or you should back off some. Stop expecting her to read your mind about barn chores and explain to her that you'd like them done a certain way, and this is how you want it. If my BO started acting like you, I'd leave, but I like being in charge of my horse's care. Even if I make a few mistakes along the way, I learn from them. I pay the bills. I'm responsible for this horse for the next 20 years, not the BO, not the trainer, not anyone else unless I sell. These aren't life and death issues. You have every right to ask her to leave, but you may end up with the same problem in the future unless you make it clear that you intend to be VERY involved with the horses' care.

              You could also switch to providing retirement care for absentee owners, in which they would be assured that you'd be providing really good care (which it sounds like you do), and you wouldn't have them breathing down your neck over every little thing. You charge a flat rate, and you're in charge of what goes on.
              Somewhere in the world, Jason Miraz is Goodling himself and wondering why "the chronicle of the horse" is a top hit. CaitlinAndTheBay


              • #27
                I admit to being a pita about my horses. My horses are also pitas about themselves. Which is why I try to do things for the BO. I pay for extras. And today my horses gave BO a small gift certificate to the grocery store for herself and her family (not the feed store) because they don't get turned out in the storms we are having in SE GA. (I never intend to be the subject of one of the coth "lightning strikes horses" threads.)

                Boarders should pay for extras. With gas and diesel prices going up and up, boarders should either supply feed if it is not from the same feed store (mine is now, but at another barn I used to go buy my own feed) or pay for BO to get it.

                So speak up. Everyone is in the same boat economically. I've been in situations where BOs took advantage of me, and I've seen BOs who were taken advantage of by boarders.


                • #28
                  A couple of things.

                  1. It's her horse.
                  2. It's your barn.

                  She has every right to feed whatever grain she wants as long as long as she buys it and brings it to the barn. Same goes for the hay. You, as the barn owner, should be fine to feed it. Unless there is an issue with it (horse not thriving, insufficient quantities, too much or inappropriate feed for a laminitic horse etc etc etc), or unless it's training board, it's up to you to follow her wishes.

                  In terms of vet care... you do not have the right to involve the vet here. It is not a crises situation. She is choosing to manage an issue in a way you don't agree with it. If you truly disagree with how she's handling it (fair enough), you are well within your rights to show her the door.

                  It sounds like you have understandable concerns, but it's her horse. Either you need to work together on it or you need to ask her to move.
                  "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


                  • #29
                    Welcome to the world of boarding.

                    Having boarders with weird or unnecessary dietary demands for their horses is always painful but certainly is not an unusual thing. Perhaps I missed something--and if I did I apologize--but why does this horse need a low carb feed exactly?

                    Personally I am willing to be pretty flexible about it--after all it IS the owner's horse--BUT the owner has to take care of all the "hassle" aspects. That means that if they want another feed THEY can drive to the feed store two minutes away and get it. If they want a bunch of supplements fed, they need to prepare those supplements in pre-measured daily servings that are ready to add to the feed. Frankly I don't care if boarders want their horse fat or thin as long as it is within a safe/reasonable range for the particular horse.

                    In any case, what it boils down to is that the boarding fee you are receiving most likely does NOT compensate you for all of your time and hassle dealing with this person. It seems that you would be best served letting this boarder know that the boarding situation doesn't seem to be a good fit and give her her 30 day notice.


                    • #30
                      I love the sign in my barn, it hangs over the door.

                      it says "my barn, my rules" :-)


                      • Original Poster

                        Last edited by SAcres; Nov. 23, 2011, 09:51 PM.
                        come what may

                        Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                        • Original Poster

                          Last edited by SAcres; Nov. 23, 2011, 09:51 PM.
                          come what may

                          Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                          • #33
                            I haven't boarded in 20 years, but when I did hay, water and daily stall cleaning was all that was offered. Want anything else ?? YOU buy it. I would tell her that you offer a specific grain, hay etc. If she wants something different or what she thinks is better she can provide it and you will gladly feed it. If she isn't doing her job, then fire her and let her pay full board.


                            • #34
                              Now that you are adding other boarders, you have a great opportunity to make some changes.
                              You write up a clarfication of what you provide, and what you don't, and what the boarders are to do if they want different (feed, bedding, ...)
                              You terminate her working agreement, with the notice that you will be hiring a full time worker. Then, you either do that, or you don't, but at any rate, she's out of it.
                              You stop endlessly debating this with her.
                              I was at a very simple barn once with really just the bare essentials. If you wanted more ___, great! you paid extra, and you got it.
                              This got to be an issue when my horse DID NOT get what i paid extra for, which did happen occasionally, but we worked it out. For such a small operation, this shouldn't be as hard to keep track of, and it should work out fine.
                              If i wanted different feed/supplements, generally i bought them. Occasionally, the BO would buy for me, as a favor, and i saved a trip.


                              • #35
                                Funny. I'm in that situation in reverse. I'm younger than the BO where I board and I have a lot of particular dietary demands. I work off a significant portion of my board. The BO doesn't always get why I want my guys eating something other than the 11% Southern States feed. She doesn't get my fascination with picking every doo doo ball from the shavings, or scrubbing buckets nightly. Of course it's her barn, so she doesn't have to understand. I have never asked her to provide my special feed. She provided trash cans to store the stuff in, and I think that's good enough. I go get my feed. I go get my bedding. I call her from the feed store to see if she needs anything. I pick up hay for both of us. When it became apparent that she wasn't going to muck and scrub up to my (perhaps over-the-top) standards, I took it upon myself to be there morning and night to do the extra work. Do I get irritated some days? Sure, but I imagine she does too. There's responsibility to go around when things aren't up to snuff, and good communication is the only way to sort it all out. Beyond that, I'll add that your boarder sounds like a total PITA. She can do better! Don't let your soft heart get the better of you.
                                "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer


                                • #36
                                  I agree with everyone about the fact you are unlikely to re-train the owner.

                                  However, you might suggest U-Gard - it's about $30 and I really HAVE had it work on horses with ulcers. If she can afford Probios, she can afford U-Gard.


                                  • #37
                                    Boarder sounds like a control freak (and maybe you are too) and, to me, doesn't sound like she's worth keeping around. You really can't worry about the horse, he's her problem, not yours. I hate to say it, but nice guys finish last (usually). Don't be so nice, it's a business, not a friendship.

                                    I second taking training horses or retirement horses. We have a retired boarder, repeat client...she is wonderful and the horse is a joy to have around. Plus, I have no empty stalls to tempt me.


                                    • #38
                                      I agree w/ most of the posts here - stop driving to all these feed stores. If she wants a special feed in addition to what you provide then that's her time and her dime. Not yours. Gas is simply too expensive for you to tool around town. As far as how much to feed if she's not supplying grain and hay I'd tell her that w/her weight and age she should get X amount of hay and anything over X amount you will have to charge extra for OR she can provide herself. Also depending on the horse's age - she might just show her age by more prominent spine. I would also suggest that the next time the vet is out for shots /health program that the boarder be in attendance to discuss her mares weight and ulcer issues. Maybe if she hears it from the vet she'll listen.


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by gottagrey View Post
                                        I agree w/ most of the posts here - stop driving to all these feed stores. If she wants a special feed in addition to what you provide then that's her time and her dime. Not yours. Gas is simply too expensive for you to tool around town. As far as how much to feed if she's not supplying grain and hay I'd tell her that w/her weight and age she should get X amount of hay and anything over X amount you will have to charge extra for OR she can provide herself. Also depending on the horse's age - she might just show her age by more prominent spine. I would also suggest that the next time the vet is out for shots /health program that the boarder be in attendance to discuss her mares weight and ulcer issues. Maybe if she hears it from the vet she'll listen.
                                        Just gotta get up in this again. I'm feeling bitchy today, and this topic gets under my skin. There are many reasons a horse may lose weight/body condition, and not all are remedied by more feed. It also bears repeating, "stop driving to all these feed stores".
                                        Some days I think I may like a boarding barn, some days I think I'm waaaay too much of a hard a$$.
                                        "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer


                                        • #40
                                          I think every one of these boarders needs to rent their own barn, and care for multiple horses themselves. It really puts things into perspective. Between that, and self care it makes me a very conscientious boarder when I have boarded. IE I know how hard it is.

                                          It is standard procedure that if she wants different food, she buys it and delivers. There should be no break on the board, you are offering very high quality feed. If she wants a break on her board, she needs to ACTUALLY do her chores. And you need to approach her on this, it's unacceptable. Especially if she is doing her own horse's stall very well, and leaving the others messy. That's very rude and disrespectful.

                                          On the other hand, they're paying you to feed, clean the stall, and turn out. I don't agree with everything my previous barn owner said, however, I did listen and consider it. But I won't always agree, and nothing would have forced me into it if I didn't. On the other hand, she asked a boarder to leave due to neglecting medical care on her horse. And she was in her rights to. It is okay for you to ask her to leave if you can't take it, but I don't consider what she is doing neglectful to her horse.

                                          Good luck, it sounds like you're a great barn owner!