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Hasty Retreat - Am I Responsible for 30 Days?

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  • Hasty Retreat - Am I Responsible for 30 Days?

    I am making a hasty retreat with my horse this weekend and moving to a new barn after realizing that the fancy barn doesn't mean better care. I feel terrible that I put my horse in this situation but it's clearly not right for her or for me.

    We moved in August to have her closer to home so I could focus on getting her in more routine work and under the guidance of better vets so we could pinpoint her weird on/off lameness thing she had going on. I spoke with the new barn owner at length about what my expectations were about care and turnout and was assured they would have no problem accomodating them. We outlined everything in a specific contract and over the last two months, I have seen that this agreement is just not being upheld.

    My horse is not getting turned out as required. She is older and has arthritis. I spoke with the BO at length before moving her and advised that unless there is a weather event that makes it dangerous for her to be outside, she should be outside. Yet, everytime I go to the barn, my mare is standing in a stall. Last night, I checked the turnout log and my mare has not been turned out in TWO WEEKS.

    My horse is on daily supplements and medication for her arthritis. Because this is not available from smartpak, I make this easy for my BO by measuring everything out into daily doses in jello shot cups with lids (very classy - I know) and put into a left over smartpak drawer. This also gives me a count of how many days I have. In doing this, I have found that my mare is not being given her meds on a regular basis.

    I needed to travel for work and was away from the barn for two weeks. Right before I left I had the farrier out and this gets the mare worked up. She was sweaty and I had put a cooler on her. I stayed as long as I could, but I needed to go to the airport, so I sent the BO a text asking if she could take her cooler off and put it on/in my tack trunk when she went to feed later that night. She said "No problem." When I came back this weekend, she was still wearing that same cooler and it was so trashed, it obviously never came off in the same two weeks she never went outside.

    What really got my goat yesterday is that when I went in to my mare's stall to put on her halter and put her on the cross ties she FLEW backwards. She was so headshy. I've owned this horse for more than a decade and she's never been like this. Even after I turned her out in the arena and gave her some time to run, when I reached my hand up to get the goopies out of her eye, she flew backwards. My gut feeling is that she's gotten stir crazy without turnout and the staff has been too lazy to even take her across the aisle to the indoor arena while they're doing stalls. So, I'm sure she's gotten pushy trying to get out and they've hit her. That is an absolute deal breaker for me.

    I've already made arrangements with another barn to move her this weekend. I haven't had a chance to talk with the current BO and honestly, I've been so mad that it was probably in my best interest not to. My feeling is the BO was the one to break the terms of our contract first therefore releasing me from having to provide 30 days notice, but what says you? Has anyone else had a similar experience and what was your outcome? I've asked the BO to call me to discuss. Do I tell her I'm moving this weekend or do I keep it mum and peace out quietly? The last time I moved it was well planned, civil and very uneventful so this in uncharted territory for me.

  • #2
    I'd be as straightforward with the BO as it sounds you have been to this point.

    I think if they do not give you the pre-determined quality of care you had agreed upon you should not pay 30 days. What you asked is not unreasonable, and if the barn situation says the mare can't get the kind of turnout you want, the BO should have told you in advance that what you were asking was not available there.
    If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.
    -meupatdoes

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    • #3
      Unless you want to go to court and pursue this, I'd pay Nov (which technically isn't really 30 days even) and call it good. If BO wants to pursue, you've ostensibly got documentation of the issues and can fight it.

      But I would just pay Nov, get out and be done w/ it.
      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

      Comment


      • #4
        That's terrible. Personally I wouldn't give them another penny.

        Comment


        • #5
          My policy is simple. You give "30 days notice" but in my contract that simply means you pay those 30 days, you aren't under any obligation to stay there.

          If there had been a serious breech of contract on my part I would of course not require 30 days of board paid.

          In your situation, I would not be willing to pay the 30 days, as it sounds like there have been serious care issues.
          come what may

          Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

          Comment


          • #6
            I was in a very similar situation once. I wrote a letter giving notice on the same day that I moved my horse. In the letter, I explained the various ways in which the boarding arrangement fell short of the contract ("Section ___ of the contract states that the horses will be turned out daily except in cases of severe inclement weather. My horse has been turned out exactly twice this month. By way of example, on March __, ____, it was 45 degrees, sunny, and the ground was firm, but the horses stayed inside for no apparent reason."). I ended the letter by stating that the BO was welcome to contact me with any questions. I did not pay an extra 30 days, but I had already paid for the remainder of the month in which I left. If she had sued me, I would have countersued for damages and for the remainder of the current-month's board.

            As I was driving down the driveway with my horse in a trailer, I called and left a voicemail explaining that I was leaving and why.

            Never heard from her again.

            Comment


            • #7
              IF she's breached the contract, you don't have to pay. Leave a copy of the contract in an envelope on her desk before you move the mare, hi lighting specifically where it was breached. Sign it again with the current date, stating you are moving the horse and will not be paying the 30 days due to the breach in contract.

              You could also consult a lawyer before taking any action, but the above is probably what I would do.
              "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
              "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

              Comment


              • #8
                What Fine_already said....document, document, document. It certainly sounds as though the facility has breached the terms of your agreement. Move your horse, and follow up with something in writing that sets out all of what you said in your post. I like to use both regular and certified mail, as some folks won't sign for the certified mail.

                It's certainly true that a fancy barn doesn't mean better care!

                Comment


                • #9
                  do what Finealready suggests, in every detail. Do NOT give notice until after you move the mare. Generally you'd have to pay 30 days after leaving, but with such flagrant violations of the care contract, you might want to try skipping that, especially if you can document it- pics of the un-fed medications, copy of the turn-out log.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I signed up to board at a place when I first moved to MI. All sounded good. Took a tour before i shipped my horses, etc. The night my horses arrived I should've known I was in trouble and it went down hill from there. I had paid to hold stalls for a month, paid first month's board, and didn't even stay there a whole month. Left (on the advice of a local hauler) without notice as there had been altercations in the past. Ended up having an altercation as well (if you count having your feed thrown at you and being knocked into the wall altercation)

                    All sorts of not so good stuff happened in the 3 weeks I had my horses there, including but not limited to them not being turned out, stalls not being cleaned, and being hit with pitchforks per two of the barn help.

                    I got sued for 30 days more board. No joke.

                    I would rather just get the hell out. That's just me though.
                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow. Sorry you had to deal with this. I'd probably just leave on breach of contract. I like what FineAlready suggested you do. I'd also make a copy of that turnout log before leaving in case you need it to show as an example of where she breached the contract.
                      *Wendy* 4.17.73 - 12.20.05

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
                        What Fine_already said....document, document, document. It certainly sounds as though the facility has breached the terms of your agreement. Move your horse, and follow up with something in writing that sets out all of what you said in your post. I like to use both regular and certified mail, as some folks won't sign for the certified mail.

                        It's certainly true that a fancy barn doesn't mean better care!
                        So, so true. The fanciest barn I've ever boarded at gave the worst care I've ever experienced. Luckily not quite as bad as some of the stories I've read on here, but give me barn owners who actually give a d*mn about the welfare of the horses anyway. I've learned that as long as the facilities are safe and as clean as a barn will ever be, that is all I ask!
                        "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                        "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have left a barn without 30 days notice – after they had been warned that THEY were not upholding OUR contract. Similar issues with lack of turn out / accommodations.

                          I left with the horse, and instead of board, I left them a letter stating all of the provisions our contract which they were breaking. Stated that it was a matter of the health and safety of my horse, and due to their inability to make good on the contract, I was terminating the contract immediately, and would not be giving a 30 day notice.

                          I moved barns, and never heard from the old barn again.
                          APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                            I was in a very similar situation once. I wrote a letter giving notice on the same day that I moved my horse. In the letter, I explained the various ways in which the boarding arrangement fell short of the contract ("Section ___ of the contract states that the horses will be turned out daily except in cases of severe inclement weather. My horse has been turned out exactly twice this month. By way of example, on March __, ____, it was 45 degrees, sunny, and the ground was firm, but the horses stayed inside for no apparent reason."). I ended the letter by stating that the BO was welcome to contact me with any questions. I did not pay an extra 30 days, but I had already paid for the remainder of the month in which I left. If she had sued me, I would have countersued for damages and for the remainder of the current-month's board.

                            As I was driving down the driveway with my horse in a trailer, I called and left a voicemail explaining that I was leaving and why.

                            Never heard from her again.
                            +1.
                            The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                            Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                            Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                            The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              FWIW, I also started doing video documentaries of me walking my horse around outside on the days they were not turned out. I would take him out to hand graze, and I would narrate. "Today is March __, 2___. It is ___ degrees and sunny. As you can see, [horse] is not wearing a sheet or blanket and is perfectly comfortable. Let's take a look at the paddocks. The reason I was given today for the horses not being out is that it is too muddy. As we can see here, the ground in this paddock is absolutely solid, and, in fact, the ground is so dry that it is actually cracking. Let's get a close up of that. See? Cracking. [Pan back to horse hand grazing, then back to paddock]."

                              In my letter to the BO, I also referenced the fact that my horse had fallen in the stall because he was rearing, bucking, and pawing at the ground because he was so stir crazy. I stated that it remained to be seen if he had suffered any long term injuries from that incident. I also noted that he had begun cribbing since being stabled at the facility, which was a new habit for him (it went away as soon as I moved him, btw).

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Don't pay for any more board and don't tell them you are moving until you are loaded and set to go. Hilight the clauses in the contract that they broke and leave.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I hate to say it, but it depends. Paying the 30 days board may be worth it if you avoid a subsequent lawsuit/court encounter. It may also be worth it to not have the BO trash you in the community, no matter how wrong she is or right you are... If you are willing to go to court or deal with her possibly trashmouthing you (you probably know her personality at this point), you can try to leave w/o paying the 30 days. Bottom line is to make sure your horse is somewhere where she is receiving good care and you have piece of mind. Best of luck. I wish finding quality care was not so darn hard!!! I am very lucky my boy is where he is so I have peace of mind.
                                  Appy Trails,
                                  Kathy, Cadet & CCS Silinde
                                  member VADANoVA www.vadanova.org

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by baylady7 View Post
                                    I hate to say it, but it depends. Paying the 30 days board may be worth it if you avoid a subsequent lawsuit/court encounter. It may also be worth it to not have the BO trash you in the community, no matter how wrong she is or right you are... If you are willing to go to court or deal with her possibly trashmouthing you (you probably know her personality at this point), you can try to leave w/o paying the 30 days. Bottom line is to make sure your horse is somewhere where she is receiving good care and you have piece of mind. Best of luck. I wish finding quality care was not so darn hard!!! I am very lucky my boy is where he is so I have peace of mind.
                                    FWIW the BO might trash talk anyway...I'd gladly take it and the threat of a lawsuit to prove the point that services were not rendered as promised and you don't owe a dime. FineAlready offered you some great advice concerning the letter.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think making a copy of the turnout log is a great idea - or at least try to get pictures of it that are legible. Also make note of how many vitamin shots you had made up on a particular date, and how many where in the container on a later date.

                                      Copying the contract, highlighting the items that were not done, and attaching another copy of the turnout log along with a note saying that you moved your horse because they are not following the highlighted clauses in the contract and are not giving them 30 day's notice. Make sure you keep a copy for yourself. Also note that you asked the BM to remove your horse's cooler on x date and even after she agreed to do so, said cooler was on your horse 2 weeks later (use specific dates).

                                      I wouldn't give a hint of your moving until the horse is on the trailer and you leave the contract in the office or with the barn manager. Not worth possibly making things worse there than they are.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Yep, what FineAlready or Event4Life said, in terms of providing documentation. If nothing else it may make her think twice about pursuing you for the 30 days board.

                                        Boarding Sucks. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.
                                        We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

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