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Pushy new boarder

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  • Pushy new boarder

    I manage a small co-op where I board, and have been there for several years. We recently got a new boarder. This woman has a good heart, but frankly she keeps overstepping her bounds. She has opinions about everything that we do, ranging from the supplement I feed my horse (per my vet) to the fact that another person’s horse lives outside 24/7 (which she thinks is wrong), to her dislike of the way other boarders do stalls. The other day she asked me to make a rule that none of the boarders should be allowed to use pelleted shavings! Then she asked me if some friend of hers, whom I have never even met, could ride my horse! She gave me a look when I firmly said no. She is really getting out of control. I know that she has an unhappy life and is going through some rough times, and I am sure she feels the need to control something, but she is beginning to drive everyone crazy. I have been super stressed lately and have realized that she is the cause. Plus, three of the boarders have now complained to me about her. Any advice on how best to deal with her in a nice way, before I flip out on her and show her the door?


  • #2
    This is why all of the GOOD BOs I have ever had (at the small places at least) really try to screen new boarders for a good “fit”.

    The last two places I was at (both low key, private, and I would say partial care) – the BOs came to me (and other boarders) to give me a heads up that they were considering a new boarder – and want to make sure they were a good fit! To the point that I was introduced to the perspective boarder at their showing, and when they left, the BO asked me what did I think? Would you like boarding with them? Etc.

    And thus, the last two places I have been at, I can truly say have been drama free – I have no complaints about my fellow boarders, and I keep my nose out of other people’s business! If they ask an opinion, I will (sometimes reluctantly!) give one, otherwise, I keep quiet except for pleasantries and greetings.

    Don’t know what to do about your new busy body. I don’t understand how people can have that much gull.

    Next time she complains about something, I would tell her that perhaps this isn't the best barn for her, and this isn't working out. But that is just me!
    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


    • #3
      30 day trial for new horses (and owners!) is a good thing IMHO


      • #4
        I have reached apoint in my life where I have decided that gentle honesty is the way to go. I never believe in being blunt and hurting someone's feelings, but if you could gently say that "this is a co-op, people make their own decisions about their horses much as you make your own decisions about your horse, and it would be great if you could remember that and not try and weigh in on other people's choices." That said, I will put money that she won't be able to help herself and sooner or later you will have to tell her she isn't working out and should find a new place to board... BUT, she deserves the chance to change..


        • #5
          I think with people like her, there is no "gentle" way to say things so they get it.

          If you have the power to do so, give her a 30 day eviction notice.
          I don't always feel up to arguing with your ignorance


          • #6
            That is a tough one as it doesn't sound like she is breaking any rules, she just has a personality that conflicts with the rest of the barn.

            A private, sit down, chat would be the best way. Explain to her that she is not a good fit for the barn, and give her a list of other barns in the area she should consider. If she asks why, be ready to list off the issues in a way that is not confrontational, but factual.

            Such as: Our boarders have some choices as to how they do stalls and what bedding they use. This is our barn policy and we do not plan to change it. It seems you are not comfortable with some of the choices that have been made, but this is really a barn policy decision that our boarders need to respect and their choices need to be respected. This goes as well for turn out options and feeding options.

            This doesn't disparage her, or put her down, it just points out how what she wants doesn't equal what the barn wants.

            During this conversation you may realize you just want her gone, in which case give her 30-45 days notice, or less if you are willing to refund any prepaid board. If she seems contrite than don't give her the notice, and just consider the conversation as her first warning.
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


            • #7
              Originally posted by islgrl View Post
              I have reached apoint in my life where I have decided that gentle honesty is the way to go. I never believe in being blunt and hurting someone's feelings, but if you could gently say that "this is a co-op, people make their own decisions about their horses much as you make your own decisions about your horse, and it would be great if you could remember that and not try and weigh in on other people's choices." That said, I will put money that she won't be able to help herself and sooner or later you will have to tell her she isn't working out and should find a new place to board... BUT, she deserves the chance to change..
              Your pos is spot on islgirl. Some people just can't help themselves to bieng a know-it-all-Renee, and sharing their opinions when not asked for. I know I would pretty stunned if this new boarder asked me to let her friends ride my horse. It's kind of concerning, and I hope someone is always around the barn 'just in case'.

              I love the saying, say what you mean, but don't be mean about it.


              • #8
                I think you pull this woman aside and remind her of the co-op rules and the general feel of things and let her know that her comments and behaviors make it seem like maybe it's not a good fit for her. I'd remind her that the others there have happy, healthy horses and that her comments and behaviors are problematic.

                Frankly, I'd ask her to leave if I were in your shoes. It's NOT a good fit for her. Or she for the rest of you.
                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                • #9
                  Doesn't sound like a good fit and if the other boarders are already complaining - better if she goes than if they (all?) decide to leave because of her.
                  What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                  • #10
                    Just take her aside and kindly tell her that you all appreciate her concerns , but she needs to keep her concerns and opinions related to her horse alone. Explain that the other boarders are getting upset and coming to you about it and if the situation does not improve that she will have to leave. I can bet that this happens to her wherever she is and she is used to it.


                    • #11
                      Rather than sugarcoating it by saying she's not a good fit, it might be doing her a favor to explain, in a nice way, that there are many ways to properly care for a horse, and that the other boarders don't appreciate having her question their ways any more than she would appreciate having them question hers. That everyone and their horses have been getting along together just fine for quite a while now and that unless it's a clear and obvious safety issue (not she would necessarily be able to distinguish between what is and what isn't!) that if she wishes to stay, she really needs to have some respect for other boarders' methods (or whatever) and respect boundaries.

                      Or you could threaten to punch her in the face the next time she sticks her nose in where it doesn't belong. Whichever.
                      Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by oliverreed View Post
                        Doesn't sound like a good fit and if the other boarders are already complaining - better if she goes than if they (all?) decide to leave because of her.
                        You can't and really should you change people?
                        Find some way to tell her to go away.


                        • #13
                          She needs to be Gone. The sooner the better for all concerned...better to feel badly that you had to show her the door...than all the rest of the good boarders leaving for calmer pastures.

                          leopards...do not change their spots. Know it alls..don't either.
                          the NOT!! Spoiled!! Arabian Protectavest poster pony lives on in my heart


                          • #14
                            I'm not sure how your co-op runs. If you have printed rules or guidelines, it may help to sit down and review them with her. As a BO, I've found that there are some boarders that just don't like the system you use to run your barn. In a co-op situation, these folks often get a bit more of a vote than in a straight boarding situation. But really, it is majority rule with a co-op.

                            My guess is that this lady lack self editing, not just at the barn but in real life. But at least she asks and doesn't just act on her opinions.
                            Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                            • #15
                              Remind her firmly that she is the new kid on the block and respect must be earned not demanded.
                              It is not her place to tell the BO what sort of bedding the stable as a whole should use unless she is providing it out of her own funds. I am sure the other boarder would shift to shavings if the new boarder provided it free of charge.

                              Unless she is paying for it she has no say. If teh other boarders are offeding her so much the door is exit stage left.
                              A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                              Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'


                              • #16
                                How to deal with her? Boundaries. Like others have said, just lay it out like it is. "This is what we use, this is how we do it, this is how we co-exist, this is how it's going to stay." I wouldn't even bother giving her any explanations as to "why" anything is done the way it is because that just opens up the door for her to argue the merits.

                                She's going through some rough times right now? If her barn behavior is any indicator of how she handles the rest of her life then I'd venture to guess a portion of those rough times are self-inflicted. Setting some boundaries at the barn could not just keep the peace for everyone there but you might also be doing her a favor by preventing the barn from becoming yet another rough spot in her life. Don't hold your breath thinking she'll realize this or thank you for it.

                                She'll either adjust her behavior or find somewhere else to keep her horses. Or she'll keep going as is and then it'll be her own fault when she gets booted out.


                                • #17
                                  OP how is your co-op set up? Is there a BO or BM? Do you have the authority to oust the woman?
                                  My blog: Crackerdog Farm


                                  • #18
                                    I board at a co-op and am the BM. Whenever we have had an opening I will do the initial interview and explain how things work. Then I will arrange for the other boarders to meet the new boarder to find out about the horse and the owners philosophy on horse keeping. The new person doesn't have to have the same philosophy for their own horse, but they need to understand and respect the philosophy that the other owners have chosen to follow.

                                    This has worked really well for the 10 years I've been at this barn.

                                    I had an interview recently with a lady who was gun ho to move her horse after the initial interview. "Hold your horses!! You have to meet the other boarders before you move in. It doesn't help me if they don't like you and leave, nor does it help me to upset the herd dynamics to have you come in for 30 days and then decide its not for you."

                                    If you had a happy boarding environment prior to the new boarder, and the new boarder can't tow the line pretty quickly, the new boarder needs to find a better fit for them.

                                    I, as BM, have loyalty to the farm owner first , the current boarders second, and new/potential boarders last.


                                    • #19
                                      I don't think it's a good fit but I would personally give her a gentle warning. I would not discuss the other boarders at all. If you even broach how other boarders feel, she'll want details and likely get combative.
                                      The point you want to make is really only about her behavior. She needs to realize that it is a co-op, she's the newbie, and you would like her to be respectful of her fellow boarder's choices. She also needs to respect certain boundaries, and should absolutely not pressure anybody for the use of their horse. Her horses are her business and, barring an emergency, the other horses are their respective owner's business.
                                      I would generally start by asking her how she's getting on and does she like it? You might want to put that in there after giving boundaries because it will have more impact and get her to question the fit. If she says she's not happy, you can be "helpful" and give her info on other barns. If she is happy, then great, so we're clear now on how to make this work going forward?
                                      I believe in being honest about it as that gives her an opportunity to fix it. I agree with others that honesty can be done without cruelty.
                                      Good luck! Sounds like a nutter!!
                                      Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                                      • #20
                                        I have been at a co-op for 12+ years. In all that time we've only had one person who didn't work out and it took awhile for her true colors to emerge. When all the rest of us realized that we were avoiding the barn so that we wouldn't see her, we voted her off the island.

                                        Since then we've always stressed that new boarders are on a 30 day trial.

                                        If you can, you might take her aside and say that you're concerned that the barn is not a good fit for her. If she asks why you can tell her everyone at the barn is free to keep their horse in the manner they prefer. You can also tell her that as a group the boarders will need to re-evaluate her in x number of days.

                                        I'm sure that will be a tough conversation. Your alternative is just to give her 30 days notice.

                                        Good luck -- I know how stressful it is to have someone in the barn who is difficult.

                                        If you can stomach it, I think that telling her that you're not sure the barn is a good fit and that you
                                        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
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