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Question About Boarding, I need your advice.

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  • #21
    It does sound like your BO is a little peeved about your taking the horse off the farm. Maybe he's worried about setting a precedent, where horses come and go as if it's an overnight stabling kind of place. I agree with the others that it's fair to ask you to pay a reasonable fee to hold the stall.
    I have to say that I don't see how the vet bill situation was "underhanded". You got the service you paid for. Let's say he called the vet that very day to get the spring vetting scheduled. Vet's schedule is packed, and the shots aren't urgent, so they agree on a date a few weeks out. Maybe when he asked you to pay in advance, he thought that the vet would be out shortly, but then the vet rescheduled. Even if not, I just don't see the harm.

    You can certainly leave the barn if you can't live with what he's asking for, but try to keep things in perspective: nothing seriously harmful has taken place. I'd do whatever I could to part ways gracefully, without burning bridges.


    • #22
      The relationship obviously has some issues. If there's reason to think that can be improved, you should have a chat with your BO.

      Asking for a nominal fee to hold the stall is not inappropriate. You have a right to refuse and take the risk the stall will be taken. That said, he should make *some* allowances given that you work there.

      I can see why you're bothered by this. A some point, though, no place is perfect and you'll have to decide whether it's good enough that you can just accept the imperfections. Or not.

      He may be willing to change his policy on Coggins, if you chat with him. (No barn I've been at has required them, sadly.)
      Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


      • #23
        There is a dry stall fee that is written into my boarding contract. I've never had my horse out for any length of time so I don't know what the charge is. IIRC the exact $$ amount isn't in the contract which most likely is intentional so that the BOs have the latitude to charge what they want depending on the boarder.

        The barn is full and there is a wait list. They depend on a regular income to run the business. I would expect to pay the cost of the stall minus feed, bedding, and labor for the month.

        Granted it should have been written into your boarding contract but I think it's a pretty common practice.
        "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” – Barry Switzer


        • #24
          Hippo brings up an excellent point. The horse business is a big place packed in to a little tiny fishbowl; never burn a bridge, you might have to walk back over that thing some day.

          Any business relationship is a bit of give and take. If what you are taking is not worth what you are giving then move on gracefully and with fair notice. But if you are otherwise happy then I recommend you smooth the crinkles out of this situation and carry on.

          Good luck with the training, btw, sounds like an exciting time that you've been waiting a while for!
          Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

          The Grove at Five Points


          • #25
            I go south for the winter and pay my "up north" barn owner half the normal board rate to hold my stalls for the summer. I think that's fair (and I have a long relationship with the BO and have made financial contributions to the barn above and beyond board fees). IMO if you aren't willing to pay something to hold your stalls then you're taking the chance that there may be "no room at the inn" when you want to come back.


            • #26
              sorry, I was going by your original post.

              I get coggins every year for the horses that show - not unusual


              • #27
                Both barns I have boarded at over the past 12 years require a reserve fee for a stall if you want to keep it and your horse is gone for a month or if you are say in between horses and looking to buy a new one. It is is lower than the full fee of the stall but is required. It seems fairly common practice to do so, at least in my area. Many long term clients pay the reserve for many months while on the hunt for a horse or while their horse is gone for a few months for training elsewhere.


                • #28
                  It's standard to pay a partial or even full board rate to hold a stall for horses that "come and go" either for shows or training. So no, I don't think that your BO requesting this is unusual or unethical.

                  It's true that you could just offer to "take your chances" as to whether or not the stall would be available when your horse was ready to return, but I think that you would be risking causing some resentment.

                  I'd try to look at the big picture here...boarding barns typically are "break even" type businesses, and the money that is being made is usually from training, lessons, and sales--not the boarding aspect. Knowing this may help you understand that your BO may be needing to run his facility--even if it is humble--in a more businesslike fashion. I can say that as a BO, having someone up and leave for a month in the winter hurts my bottom line, because it isn't like I can just pay less on my mortgage or cut back on my staffing or insurance for a month. I'd rather replace that client with a more reliable year round person.

                  In any case, I would make your decision based on whether or not you feel that the care, services and amenities of this boarding situation are worthwhile to you. There are so many horror stories about boarding on this forum...and your story isn't one of them. A BO charging in advance for services that were rendered as paid for, well, there's just nothing shocking or underhanded about that.


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Ware Whip! View Post

                    Business in our part of the world is dead this time of year, that is why I was able to get my horse in with this trainer, she has time now.

                    Well, there are two ways to look at this, he can have a boarder who is fast pay, who is handy around the barn, and brings in money weekly. Or not. I have choices as well. What is more important, another empty stall, that will be re filled by someone you have done business with? or losing a good boarder?
                    THIS is the conversation you should have with the BO. He said he wanted a little something extra. How much is that?

                    Be direct with him.

                    FWIW, I've paid up to half rate to a barn that wasn't full, just to hold my stall. I liked that particular stall and wanted it back when I returned from training.


                    • #30
                      I took my horse for 30 days training, and expected to pay the full board fee, the BO was a nice guy and said I only have to pay a portion of it.
                      I do occasionly do stalls, feed or help out in one way or another, but I don't expect anything for it. So I am never dissapointed


                      • #31
                        First, find out how much "A little something is..." You could be getting upset over $50.00.
                        Second, always keep your business relationship separate from the boarding relationship. You say that you do occasional things for him to help out. That's very nice but unless you and he have assigned a fee to those things, they are worth nothing. Yes, it would be nice to get cut a little slack here and there but he doesn't owe it to you.
                        Third, if you want to keep the stall to come back to, pay the holding cost. Don't play games and not pay, hoping your stall will still be there. That will only cause more hard feelings.
                        Fourth, ask your trainer what her policy would be.

                        Good luck, NJR
                        Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does.


                        • #32
                          I don't think paying for the stall while the horse is gone is unreasonable at all. At least if you want it guaranteed on his return. It doesn't matter when you told the BO, you don't own it, and don't have a right to it if you're not paying for it. Like NJR says, it could be $50-a lot of places just charge a 'hold' rate, as they've got a stall they can't rent out, but aren't using shavings or feed.
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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Ware Whip! View Post
                            That drawstaws in another concern of mine. No one really leaves this barn as they have huge acerage to ride on,
                            No one "really" leaves the barn, or no one leaves the barn period? And since the BO was surprised by your request for a Coggins, I take it he doesn't require one upon arrival for new boarders? I would be outta there in a heartbeat. Not worth the risk.

                            Originally posted by Nojacketrequired View Post
                            Third, if you want to keep the stall to come back to, pay the holding cost. Don't play games and not pay, hoping your stall will still be there. That will only cause more hard feelings.
                            This I disagree with. If the OP is willing to take the risk that the barn is full when she wants to come back, then she doesn't have to pay the fee. I don't see why the BO's feelings should be hurt if she doesn't pay the holding fee, she comes back to find empty stalls, and asks to board there again. That's business. Then it's his prerogative if he wants to give her back her stall.

                            The only time I have known people to pay holding fees is when they want to hold that EXACT same stall. I have known several people who go away for chunks of the year (to school, away for the winter, etc). Generally, the BO/HO relationship is sound, and the BO welcomes back the HO and will try to make accommodations if room has gotten a little tight since they've been away.


                            • #34
                              Do you want to take the chance that, not only is your stall still available but that the BO still lets you come back, after refusing to pay a fee required by the barn?
                              If it's mega dollars, I'd talk to the BO and try to reason, if it's not that much, I'd pay to hold my stall and be assured that I'm not left swinging in the wind at the end of my training month.

                              Besides, what are you going to say: "I've decided not to pay your holding fee, I'll just hope my stall is still available when I want to come back?"

                              I think you're more bothered by the principal of the thing than you are the money. So, figure out how much your principal is worth to you...a deposit and a guaranteed stall where things are going reasonably well or the chance of not having a stall when you're done training, but you showed him.

                              Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does.


                              • #35
                                dry stall fee

                                Actually, in 30 years of boarding, I've never had to pay a fee to "hold" my stall. And, I've had a couple of places where I came/went a few times for various reasons and have never had a problem with the BO. Guess I've just been lucky!
                                Not my monkeys, not my circus.


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by IndysMom View Post
                                  Actually, in 30 years of boarding, I've never had to pay a fee to "hold" my stall. And, I've had a couple of places where I came/went a few times for various reasons and have never had a problem with the BO. Guess I've just been lucky!
                                  Not quite so long for me, but no, have never had to pay for that either.

                                  I can't imagine being out training, board and oh, board somewhere else too.


                                  • #37
                                    I've paid to hold a stall at a barn I was moving into, but the amount was applied to my first month's board once I was there. If I hadn't actually moved there, BO would have kept the fee (1/2 months' board). This was spelled out very clearly.

                                    I'm a bit nervous about the Coggins thing. If a horse ever needs to leave the barn in a hurry -- say go to a vet clinic -- the lack of Coggins could be a problem. My BO requires a Coggins on move-in, and every spring thereafter, even for horses who have not left the property in years.
                                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                    • #38
                                      By the sounds of it you have built a bit of a business there with lessons. He is advertising a service that by the sounds of it is based on your presense.

                                      Now you are taking your horse out. he may want the fee as proof you are planning to come back. Find out how much it is. Or offer to prepay the Feb board. Either way, it seems silly to be so upset if you don't even know the amount!

                                      It sounds like his worries are justified though, as in one of your posts you state that you are considering taking your horse elsewhere, and taking all your students too. I imagine that would cause him some financial grief.

                                      I wonder if your sense of "he owes me" and "I have the power to take all these clients away" is coming out in your day to day dealings with him? It could just be your intial shock showing, but if that is really how you feel, I hope you reassess. I know trainers like that...and they don't last anywhere long.
                                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                                      • #39
                                        Coggins - we only get them on the horses that will be shown or leave the state, typically. Our vets say a Coggins really only tells you that at the time of blood draw, the horse didn't have EIA. They could go out to pasture and get by a mosquito and get infected right then and not know it for a year when the next Coggins is drawn. Do you routinely get Coggins drawn? Or was this the first time? Perhaps the surprise was because you hadn't done it before. *shrug* Perhaps BO wasn't surprised at all, and it's just your perception as you look for reasons that he is doing wrong by you. I've seen that too.

                                        In my experience, holding a stall means paying board on it even if your horse isn't there. I don't even think my barn owner offers a discount! I haven't had to do it - the one time I went away for a couple months my horses were on pasture and she didn't require me to pay to hold a spot for that. But now that I have one on full care, I would absolutely expect to pay to hold that stall, and I know others have to. But, we are full with a waiting list. You leave, your stall will be full the first of the next month. Heck, I've known our barn owner to prorate your last month because she's been able to fill it within days of leaving! So yes, I think you are overreacting and honestly, come across as a bit indulgent. You may be surprised how many clients DON'T follow you if you leave - I've seen that too. And using it as a tactic or even a reason why BO should bow down to you and somehow "owes" you is just manipulative and nasty. Even if you haven't said it and wouldn't say it to the BO, by posting it here you've shown your true feelings ... and it's ugly.

                                        So ... obviously, your choice also. Are you prepared to leave on a bad note and move your horse, etc? I just can't imagine sending my horse to training and not expecting to pay board for his stall if I wanted to keep it. It's like going on vacation - do you not pay your mortgage or rent for your home that month because you aren't living there??
                                        If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                                        ~ Maya Angelou


                                        • #40
                                          No matter what your "working relationship" with the BO is, you are a boarder, he owns the barn. You pay him a fee so you can keep your horse at, and use his facilities. IMO it is 100% fair to ask for a dry stall fee no matter what type of help you give.

                                          You can take your chances and not pay the fee. However, speaking from experience, I have had no inquires for months at a time, and then suddenly I have 3-4 calls in a week. You never know when a barn will fill up.
                                          come what may

                                          Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013