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Looking at boarding barns and the awkward "What do you think?" moment...

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  • Looking at boarding barns and the awkward "What do you think?" moment...

    I'm currently on the hunt for a new boarding barn to bring my mare to. It's proving to be quite difficult! I've called a few and not been too interested after the chat, or they don't have anything available immediately, or I've gone to check it out and not been impressed.

    So how do you handle telling someone you aren't interested after you've gotten your tour? I feel so bad! I feel incredibly awkward because I know BM is expecting or hoping for the "when can I move in?". Do you just politely say you'll call with more questions, you want to continue looking or actually voice your concerns?

    Yesterday I loved the trainer/BM, the other boarders I met were really nice and the horses looked fantastic. But the place was just a little unkempt and disorganized for my taste as well as a bit on the far side for a less than stellar facility. I felt do awkward not knowing what to say at the end of our tour and conversations so I just mentioned I was a little concerned about the distance, and needed to figure out shipping arrangements for my mare, I'd call her if I had any more questions or to let her know. I think she could tell I wasn't super impressed though and I felt really bad. So how do you get out of the awkward conversation or am I just being too sensitive??

  • #2
    I think that you're being kind and courteous about your opinions. If the BM really wants to know what gives, they'll ask. I'm sure they're already aware of what needs improvements and that there are reasons for them not being done, which isn't your problem. Everyone's standards for what's acceptable are different and you shouldn't feel badly for setting yours high.
    "As one of those weirdos that always enjoyed the grooming tasks that most others didn't, Kirsten decided it was time to make the most of it and create Shear Convenience Grooming"

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    • #3
      You're very thoughtful to be concerned about this. I would just thank them for their time, say you have several more places to consider and will get back to them IF you decide that they are the best fit.

      All that said, I stayed for years at a place that was more than a little unkempt. But the footing was good, the people were great, and the price was right. You might want to make a list of what is most important to you and then use it to rate facilities to help you make a choice.

      Good Luck.

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      • #4
        You don't need to give a reason, just let them know you're still looking around. And thank them for their time, as prior posters have noted. Any BO/BM knows that means either you're undecided or not interested. That's sufficient.

        Of course, if you do have a reason you can give that is non-judgmental - such as distance - that IS a polite way to let someone down.

        I'm sure it's stressful. Good luck.
        Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks everyone, I've never had such a hard time finding a barn! I feel as if I'm on a time crunch too because I really want to get my mare here and get as much ride time as possible before my baby bump turns into a mountain of a belly LOL

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          • #6
            In the past I've always ended with "well, I have a lot of things to think about. If I am interested in moving my horse here, I will contact you by such and such date. Thank you for being a gracious host and for showing me around your facility"

            But I also have a two-page questionnaire.
            www.destinationconsensusequus.com
            chaque pas est fait ensemble

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            • #7
              PSJ, I am curious about your questionnaire. I LOVE when people actually engage me and ask me questions. The last two people I have shown my barn to were both almost dead silent the whole time, very strange and unnerving to me. It's very awkward because that leaves me to walk around stating the obvious, and trying to sell the place and my care, etc... Most people come in and exclaim that it is beautiful, etc...

              To answer the OP, if I don't get the "when can I move in?", sometimes I get that awkward pause and a "well..." and I just smile and sweetly say "I'm so glad you could come out, if you have any other questions please feel free to call or email me. It was so nice to meet you and good luck in your search!" And I hand them a business card.
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              • #8
                "Thanks very much for showing me around!"

                Over and out.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by atlatl View Post
                  You're very thoughtful to be concerned about this. I would just thank them for their time, say you have several more places to consider and will get back to them IF you decide that they are the best fit.

                  All that said, I stayed for years at a place that was more than a little unkempt. But the footing was good, the people were great, and the price was right. You might want to make a list of what is most important to you and then use it to rate facilities to help you make a choice.

                  Good Luck.
                  agree. you dont owe the BO anything except "thank you for your time" or, if you are interested "thank you for your time, i will get back to you in a week or so after i look at the rest of the places on my list"

                  that way you dont burn bridges

                  as for perfect - no place is perfect. and i have been known to board at some "rustic" places because the care is fantastic and the footing really good, all day pasture t/o, etc.

                  make a list of what is most important to you and what isn't so important.
                  Last edited by mbm; Jul. 10, 2012, 11:40 AM.

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                  • #10
                    In the past, I've said something like this: "Thanks so much for showing me around. I really like your (stall size/tack room arrangement/access to trails/pick something positive), and I'll be in touch when I've made a decision."

                    It helps when both BO and boarder keep in mind that the initial visit is a chance for both parties to get a feel for the suitability of the other--not every barn is a perfect fit for every horse/rider. There's nothing wrong with that, and no one should take it personally. The boarder should feel comfortable with the facilities/services and the BO, and the BO should feel comfortable with the boarder and BO's ability to accommodate boarder's/boarder's horse's needs.
                    Full-time bargain hunter.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                      "I have a lot of things to think about. If I am interested in moving my horse here, I will contact you by such and such date. Thank you for being a gracious host and for showing me around your facility".
                      Excellent.
                      ::With age comes wisdom. Apparently "wisdom" weighs about 40 pounds.::

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                      • #12
                        Say that your personal jury is out and you'll get back to them.

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                        • #13
                          It is awkward and uncomfortable. Especially when you happen on a place that you know as soon as you open the car door, there is no way you're moving there.

                          Just keep in mind that it is more polite to give them an honest answer so they can continue pursuing other boarders and aren't waiting to hear back. You don't need to give a reason if you're not interested. I would usually leave the tour thanking them for their time and tell them I will let them know wither way after I see all of the places on my list and weigh my options. Then a simple call a day or so later to say "thank you so much for showing me around, but I have decided to go another direction" is all you need.
                          Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by onelanerode View Post
                            It helps when both BO and boarder keep in mind that the initial visit is a chance for both parties to get a feel for the suitability of the other--not every barn is a perfect fit for every horse/rider. There's nothing wrong with that, and no one should take it personally. The boarder should feel comfortable with the facilities/services and the BO, and the BO should feel comfortable with the boarder and BO's ability to accommodate boarder's/boarder's horse's needs.
                            This, exactly!

                            I would assume that anyone looking for a new barn would not just look at one barn, they'd look at every barn that seemed like it might be a good fit (whether that's three barns or 13). As a result I'd just say something like "Your facility is great! I've just got a couple of other barns to look at and I'll let you know my thoughts after that" or something along those lines.

                            But don't forget, it's a two way street -- they should be vetting you as well.
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                            • #15
                              I always say "thank you so much for showing me around and answering my questions. I will let you know one way or the other by date."

                              Then I email or call and say that I am going to pass at this time but I am going to keep them in mind.

                              If I like the place and want to board there I ask if I can give a deposit to hold a spot and gat a copy of there boarding contract.
                              My life motto now is "You can't fix stupid!"

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

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                              • #16
                                I'd like to see the questionnaire too! I now when I was looking for barns I had a good mental list of what I wanted to see and ask, but it went out the window at one barn when an employee yelled at me. Needless to say, I didn't board there.

                                Where I board now, I drove in and saw 1. centaur fencing, 2. giant arena, 3. cute barn w matted/lighted stalls, 4. friendly BO. I exclaimed "is that CENTAUR???" and blissfully wrote her a check after asking how much and what it included. Never looked back, love my barn.
                                COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                                • #17
                                  This is what I just went thru....maybe this will make you feel better!!

                                  http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=360294
                                  ******************************
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post
                                    PSJ, I am curious about your questionnaire. I LOVE when people actually engage me and ask me questions.
                                    It's available under links on my website.

                                    I created it because I realized the majority of reasons I had left a barn were due to months or even years into the relationship I discovered something I didn't like... Coincidentally it was usually a "didn't ask, didn't tell" communication from the manager.
                                    It covers everything, from who feeds, water trough cleaning schedule, to why was the barn started, and what is the vision for the future.

                                    Since using it, I'm at a barn I ADORE and after a year I'm still blissfully happy.
                                    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                                    chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                                    • #19
                                      Honestly is the best policy. If you're not interested, thank them for their time but tell them you don't think it will work right then and there. Of course, be prepared for them to counter with reasons why it WILL work.

                                      I say this, but I often take the non-confrontational chicken's way out and say I'll think about it and get back to them with a decision. Sometimes I follow through on my word, sometimes I don't...
                                      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'm not very good at hiding my feelings (and I don't try very hard), so I suspect most places I've looked at know exactly why I didn't choose to board there...

                                        "Is that barbed wire?"
                                        "The paddocks are never cleaned?"
                                        "You only feed cubes?"
                                        "Is that your hay?"
                                        "So none of the paddocks have shelters?"

                                        If I genuinely like a place, but something just won't work out for me, like distance, I usually just tell them. I looked at a lovely place a couple of weeks back but it was just too far. Another barn was nearly perfect, but the only "turnout" (meaning an area larger than their paddocks) was a fairly small arena, and I didn't think it was large enough for a horse to really run and work off some energy. It is a place I will keep in mind as a possible retirement situation though, because everything else about the place was nearly perfect.

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