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Leased Horse...Interesting Owner Situation...WWYD? - Update Post 48

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  • Leased Horse...Interesting Owner Situation...WWYD? - Update Post 48

    I am currently leasing an upper teenaged horse who used to do Grand Prixs from a girl who is a high school senior getting ready to go to college. I've had her since January, and have taken incredible care of her. Even her owner upon seeing her for the first time in several months couldn't believe she was the same horse: good weight and muscle tone, quieter to the fences (treated horse for ulcers) and all around relaxed.

    Horse's owner is involved in Pony Club and very knowledgeable. I've been so impressed with her each time I've been around her. She is well spoken and seems to have it all together. The only times I had seen her ride was when I went to try the horse (and horse had been off for seven months) and the one day shortly after bringing the horse home to my barn so she could "give me a lesson"...which mostly consisted of her trying to get the mare to settle enough to jump. She rides...umm....how do I put this politely....hell for leather??

    Over time, I get to know the horse, and along with a quiet ride on my part and treating the ulcers, I have a happy, quiet yet excited and game horse that has the skill to compete at a level I am not ready for. It will be quite a few years until I am able to purchase one like this for myself. LOVE her.

    So, this horse is also the owner's heart horse. When she brought her to our farm, she was so distraught to see her go, but happy she had a good home. She asked me if she could come ride from time to time. Of course I agreed!

    This past week, I went out of town, and so I called her up to see if she might like come to hack her for me since I had plans to show her on Memorial Day weekend, and didn't want her to have a week off right before. She agrees, and I go on my merry little way to paradise. Two days into vacation I get a text from BO saying that owner came out to ride. She evidently asked how recently I had ridden. It had only been a couple days, so BO told her so, and her response was, "Oh, good. I'm going to jump her."

    Well, she evidently proceeds to RUN her at the fences yelling "YAH! YAH YAH!" like a crazy person three strides out before each jump. Our arena is up on a hill a good way from the barn. People in the ban could here her...even one of our boarder's non horsey DS heard her and asked why she was yelling.

    BO was at the arena and watched her crash through the fences (that she never put back up, and this was the night before a clinic with a BNT!) Once the horse was sufficiently sweated up and running like her tail was on fire, she took her off into the adjacent field and ran her around some more like a madwoman.

    The next day, she brings out a random friend of hers and gives her a lesson in a thunderstorm with a tornado warning in a neighboring county. Not only does it seem reckless to ride in such conditions, but it states in our contract that no one besides her and me are to ride the horse. This was HER requirement.

    The day after that she came out and jacked the fences up to 3'6". I had jumped her 3' max. Of course, in her younger years that was no big deal for her, but she is now 18 and had had June-December off, so I was bringing her back slowly. Not only that, but it was more of the running and "Yah!-ing!" that makes me mad. BO said, "No wonder she had ulcers..."

    Not only was the riding poor, one night she left the big aisle fan running... one night the lights on and all MY tack dirty and gross out in the aisle.

    If you're still with me, thank you!

    How on earth do I approach this? Aside from the breech of contract with the random girl riding her nothing she did is necessarily against "the rules" of our contract. She was asked to come out and hack the horse...not run her into the ground.

    Now my plans for the show this weekend are ruined since I will be having to get her back to the ride I had before the madness.

    Again, I really love the horse, and don't want to piss off the owner to the point she ends the lease, but I want to let her know that how she rode and treated the barn property itself was inappropriate.

    What to do??
    Last edited by AlterAlterBoBalter; Jul. 18, 2012, 02:54 PM. Reason: Update...and also changed title. Wouldn't want to offend her if she figured it out...

  • #2
    The lease contract is there to protect both parties. Tell her she is violating the lease and if it does not cease immediately you will return the horse. That should put an end to it since she obviously needs the horse to be leased out.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      Bannana fanna fo falter. Wow. I wish I had some advice for you but I don't, horrible situation. I hope people more experienced than I am will chime in and offer some good suggestions.
      What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


      • #4
        For sure don't invite her out to ride anymore! Let her ask if she wants to ride, and then make it... inconvenient. (This sounds like a full lease, she doesn't have riding privileges normally.)

        If you can wait out the summer, she will go away to college, right? Hopefully she'll be really busy getting ready to leave.

        That said, I'd like to hear the other side of the story. She probably thinks you've totally broken her horse who used to energetically take her to the fences and now is way too quiet. I know we spent a lot of time retraining my formerly-Prelim-eventer owned by a young rider to *wait* and not gallop at and attack the fences.
        ... and Patrick


        • #5
          I agree with wsmoak. Your hands are somewhat tied since you don't own the animal. You can talk to her about it and risk losing your lease or at the very least damaging your relationship with her. I would just let it go personally and not invite her to ride. I'd make it very inconvenient for her to ride and would ask to revise the contract so that she does not have riding privileges while you are on a full-lease. If she doesn't go for that, walk away. There are always other opportunities out there.


          • #6
            I don't recall seeing anything about bellowing "Yah, yah, yah" in the Pony Club manual. Maybe I missed that part, but I don't think that's part of the curriculum.

            No good deed goes unpunished. Don't invite her back to hack the horse. A week off would have been better than a week with the Yah-Yah sisterhood.

            I guess telling her about the barn rules only really applies IF you want her to return for a spin. If you do, then a copy of the barn rules and a quiet talk about putting things away/turning things off would be good. Also, I would restrict future rides to flat work although that seems to elicit yahing as well. On the random friend issue -- point out what the lease said and state that the BO has been told that nobody rides the horse without your permission. Hopefully your BO will stand behind those words. I know that I do with my boarders and I expect releases signed by everyone who rides (and minors need signatures from BOTH parents).

            The kid is not taking the horse back. Her parents don't want to support the horse, so that chances are very low that the lease will be disrupted.

            I pity you for the next few months as Pandora's box has been opened, I fear. Stay firm and hope college is out of state and keeps her very busy.
            Last edited by IronwoodFarm; May. 21, 2012, 02:15 PM.
            Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


            • #7
              She's playing you for a sucker. Stop her.

              The way I see it, you've spent four or five months of not just money, but your time and effort, getting this horse rideable for yourself, and the owner is taking advantage of it?

              Absolutely not. I would tell owner that the lease needs to be re-negotiated now, with very specific terms on if, how, and when the owner can ride. If owner balks, end the lease. Sucks for you, but you're being taken advantage of, here, and you need to put a stop to it yesterday. I would also re-iterate barn rules, and make sure she knows that tack is to be put away as it was found, not as she decides to leave it.

              I would also mention the ruined show plans for this weekend, and if you've already paid entries, ask owner to reimburse you. You shouldn't be out that money, because of her foolishness.

              In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
              A life lived by example, done too soon.


              • #8
                Agreed with the idea don't ask her out again. If she asks politely tell her that you are working on some very specific things and right now you feel it is best if the horse is ridden only by you. You don't have to indicate anything negative about her riding skills if you are worried she might get upset and try to take the horse back/end lease. Certainly there is nothing wrong with questioning her giving someone else a lesson on the horse, mention it is not part of the agreement. Hopefully she won't ask and you obviously won't invite her again. Good luck and just think she will be away at college very soon. If all else fails you can tel her that your BO's insurance doesn't cover non boarders riding on her property, something like that. Of course you could just be honest and indicate that you are paying full lease and don't want anyone else riding her since you have very specific goals, etc.


                • #9
                  well, abusing her horse is one thing, abusing the barn you board at is another.

                  Certainly make it clear since you are paying the board bill she is not ever again to behave like that. not on your dime.

                  As to the horse, darn, no idea.
                  be prepared to walk away. There should still be plenty of nice horses on the market for you to lease and work with.
                  There is really no reason to put up with the flying fruitbat circus.


                  • #10
                    I would have a good talkin' to with her about proper barn etiquette (misused jumps) and use of YOUR tack (jeeze ) then about the third party riding in violation of the lease.

                    She may think, that now that summer is here she wants her horse back. I'd re-negotiate the lease pronto, but be aware, you have a better bargaining position when she headed TO school, not celebrating summer break.
                    Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                    • #11
                      Bottom line is that it is her horse- so if you talk to her either tread carefully or be ready to walk away. Only you know if the horse is worth the hassle but, unless you are paying a lease fee in addition to costs, there are not a ton of horses as nice as this one sounds for lease at least in my neck of the woods.
                      That being said, I would not say anything unless she asks to ride again. She came because you offered- might not come up again if you don't offer. You have had her since January and this is the first time she has ridden her so, unless you opened the floodgates by inviting her, then it seems unlikely to come up much.
                      If she wants to rider her again, then only agree if it is a time that works for you- you are doing a full lease so if it conflicts with your plans, say no. If she does come ride her again, then tell her that there are some barn rules she needs to follow and, due to liability issues and the contract, she should be the only one to ride her.
                      I would not bring up how she rides her (other than specificying if it should be flat or whatever based on your training schedule)- no good can come of that and frankly, she owned this horse for years and I have trouble thinking a single bad ride is going to have much effect on you and your riding- yeah, the next ride may be spent re-schooling some stuff. not a biggie
                      There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


                      • #12
                        OK, so you asked the owner of this horse to ride it for you, and are now unhappy that she did, in presumably the same manner that she has in the past, did I get that right? Why would she change her riding style to suit you? Just curious.

                        I don't see where the owner is taking advantage of anyone, you asked her to ride, not the other way around. As for the 3rd party rider, the OWNER knows the person so likely she didn't think anything of it. Now if you had another person ride, that the OWNER didn't know or approve of that is a different story.

                        I will give you the bad barn manners.

                        If you have a full lease, just don't call her again. Send your check every month and be done with it. No contact required. Find someone else to ride the horse if needed. If you have a part lease then have a discussion, if not leave well enough alone and chalk it up to water over the dam.
                        Visit my Spoonflower shop


                        • #13
                          I'm with red mares on this one.

                          Sorry, but you made a very bad judgement call when you asked her to ride before the show, and the end result (ruined show) is on you.

                          People have given good advice on what to do from here, so I'll just add this: whatever you do, don't even imply, even the tiniest bit, that the owner has ruined all the work you put into her horse, that the owner is ruining your experience with her horse, or that you are a better rider/caretaker of her horse.

                          It's the difference between "After you rode your horse, her training regressed and you completely screwed up my show" and "After this weekend's show, it's clear that I really need to focus my riding and Horse's training more tightly to meet the goals I have for us."

                          Make it about you, not her.


                          • #14
                            I wouldn't say a word. I just wouldn't ask her to ride the horse again. If she asks, I would say you have plans for the horse that day, it's the day before a show, you have a lesson, etc. If she puts her foot down and says she is coming out to ride, only then would I tell her that she needs to follow your barn rules. I would also consider something like "You and I ride poopsie differently. When you ride her very fast and jump big fences it makes her difficult for me to ride. Please stick with flat work/keep the fences low/ride her very slowly/etc." That will be a lot easier for her to hear than "You are a bad rider who overfaces your horse and gives her ulcers."


                            • #15
                              I agree with bambam and red mares--I think some of the above posters are forgetting it's not the OP's horse. So if she goes all lecture on the owner about her riding style the owner may say fine, give me my horse back.

                              The jumps, tack, and barn equipment OTOH the BO/BM should bring up. I wouldn't know or assume you need to reset every jump (but then at my small barn, the jumps are mine and I leave them however I want.) The fan could just be a flake-walked out, forgot it was on. Your tack being left lying around instead of put back in the tack room is rude, not to mention a great way for it go missing. And that's YOURS, not HERS, so I would tell her if she's going to use your stuff, put it away where she found it.
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                              • #16
                                1. Have a talk with your BO/BM, come to an agreement that HO can only ride horse in lesson on farm. It is a liabilty for her to jump without a ground person and she is not to give lessons at the farm unless she has insurance.

                                2. She should be riding in her tack not yours.

                                3. Have a sit down talk with her. Just tell her that you both have two different riding styles and doing a share lease is not working. If she wants to be able to ride the horse then you will have to end the lease.

                                Be ready to walk away from the lease/horse, if you do that then you have the upper hand in all of this. She doesn't want to find a new leaser. There are a ton of horses out there that you can lease, I bet you could fine one vary easy. Yes it sucks that you put a ton of time in to the horse but I bet you learned a ton as well.

                                Don't let this pass without talking to her about it or it will happen again.
                                My life motto now is "You can't fix stupid!"

                                Are you going to cowboy up, or lie there and bleed


                                • #17
                                  I think the answer depends greatly on if this is a full lease or a partial lease. Is the owner likely to be riding the horse again?


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by red mares View Post
                                    OK, so you asked the owner of this horse to ride it for you, and are now unhappy that she did, in presumably the same manner that she has in the past, did I get that right? Why would she change her riding style to suit you? Just curious.

                                    I don't see where the owner is taking advantage of anyone, you asked her to ride, not the other way around. As for the 3rd party rider, the OWNER knows the person so likely she didn't think anything of it. Now if you had another person ride, that the OWNER didn't know or approve of that is a different story.

                                    I will give you the bad barn manners.

                                    If you have a full lease, just don't call her again. Send your check every month and be done with it. No contact required. Find someone else to ride the horse if needed. If you have a part lease then have a discussion, if not leave well enough alone and chalk it up to water over the dam.
                                    I asked her to come out and hack her...not run around recklessly. I have seen her ride a few times, and while she rode hell for leather, she didn't point the horse at jumps and demolish them over and over. I had NO idea that was coming. Her dressage work is absolutely beautiful...that is what I thought she was going to do!

                                    As for the third party rider...it is in our contract that no one but the two of us are to ride...and it's a full lease, so that really should just be me unless I offer her a ride here and there...which I won't be doing any more.

                                    Being as nonconfrontational as I am, I wouldn't ever tell her she is a bad rider, and in general I don't think she is. This might just be a case of I'M 18 AND INVINCIBLE!!!

                                    Thanks for the responses so far...glad to see most people don't think I'm being unrealistic...


                                    • #19
                                      One major influence is what you think will happen when this girl goes off to college (or is she already in college and just home for the summer). Will parents support the girl if she wants to react by ending the lease? Will the girl be able to support the horse if the parents don't support ending the lease?

                                      If you are on pretty sure ground that the parents won't end the lease and/or the girl won't attempt to end the lease, I would either way not let her ride again if you can avoid it. If she pushes the issue, I would make up some intense schedule that she has been on lately so "for the horse's benefit, a light hack of no more than 30 minutes will suffice and please ride at a time when the trainer is around so she can monitor the horse's response because of the intense program we are doing and my trainer's report will influence how I ride the next day etc".

                                      If you're not sure... or can afford to wait... I'd just not say anything AND not invite her back. If she shows up to ride unannounced, cross that bridge later in terms of changing lease terms.

                                      Good luck- I hope you let us know how it's going!


                                      • #20
                                        Fine, it is a full lease. Then do not invite her out to ride again. If she calls to ask to ride make an excuse why she can't.