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"Friends" Dump Bad Horsekeeping on Us Over the Holidays -- What Would You DO?

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  • "Friends" Dump Bad Horsekeeping on Us Over the Holidays -- What Would You DO?

    Some people we know (not exactly "friends) asked me if I would check in on their horses while they go away over the holidays. While I was hesitant to take on this responsibility, I was assured there was nothing really to do. Just go by and make sure no one has fallen, gotten injured or sick -- and if you see anything wrong, please call the vet. They have a round bale and plenty of water.

    I foolishly agreed, thinking "how hard can this be?"

    A blizzard hit the day they planned to leave, but they did manage to get out, and wanted to us to check on their horses that evening. Blithely, I obliged.

    Here is what I found:

    Three horses locked into a small "dry lot" (mud lot), on a hill, full of huge rocks and tree stumps. No shelter. None.

    Water trough almost empty and frozen solid. Water spigot (from house) frozen solid. Hoses running from house to water trough also frozen solid.

    Trough heater unplugged, but connected to a home-made "extension cord" which is just romex wire with a plug attached on each end, strewn across the yard.

    Their two cattle dogs on the loose, constantly terrorizing and tormenting the three horses in the "dry lot." For fun.

    I have hauled water from my farm to theirs, grabbed one of my suitable outdoor-rated extension cords, refilled the trough, replugged the heater. Carried a crop the whole time -- not for the horses, but to beat off the dogs! I also pulled three boards and countless other "junk" out of the water trough.

    My boots (like the horses' hooves) are mud up beyond my ankles. Tomorrow it's supposed to get back down below freezing ... and I am still on the hook until the 27th!

    Needless to say, I will never agree to this again. I am so angry I could spit. Those horses are very nice, but they are being constantly tormented. And going in with them is very dangerous because they get spooked by the dogs, they buck and kick and run ... then they slip and slide on the muddy hillside.

    I am honestly shocked at this situation. This woman is constantly talking about how much she "loves" her horses and appears to be quite knowledgeable ... she freely gives me "advice" on what I should be doing with my own (which I have always ignored, but usually let people talk if they want to).

    What would you do in this situation? I plan to continue to give the horses the best care I can until their owners return -- but do I say anything when they get back, or just politely decline to ever "drop by and check" on their horses again?

  • #2
    I think I'd do what you're doing...just do the best you can for them till she gets back. What else can you do other than take them to your place and really, what kind of option is that? She'd probably blow a gasket (provided you even have room for them) and you're taking the liability of hauling someone else's horses without permission. That's the only other thing I can think of and it's a crappy alternative.

    Most areas have shelter requirements. I'd be checking what's required in my area and turning her butt in if local laws dictate livestock must be given shelter.

    When she gets back I'd tell her never again, and I'd tell her why.

    Some people are just flat-out in denial about their horse-keeping skills. Sucks your "friend" is one of them and you're stuck for the holidays because of it. I've met a person or two like this over the years and they made me wanna bitch-slap them back to their high school prom so I know how you feel.

    ETA: Is there any way to contain the dogs? It would suck if you went there to feed one morning and ended up having to scrape one or both off the road. What a freaking idiot this lady sounds like.

    Comment


    • #3
      No water and no shelter in the middle of a blizzard? Shades of pintopiaffe.

      Any chance that your local animal control would respond? I'd be seriously thinking of contacting them about the situation.

      Is anybody feeding the dogs?

      (had you ever been over to her property before? sounds as if the setup came as a complete surprise.)
      Nevertheless, she persisted.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think where you went wrong was agreeing to house sit without first coming over so they could show you around. That would have been your chance to say something, ask for better resources, or back out.

        Bless your heart. At this point, I don't know what you can do. I would have a hard time sleeping knowing those horses are out in a blizzard; but if their family were home and you weren't caring for them, they would still be out in the blizzard.
        I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

        Comment


        • #5
          Shades of . . . oh ouch. Yes it does sound as though you've never been over there - when I used to do pet sitting I always had an orientation hour or two - what did they think? Who is feeding the dogs? ARE they being fed?

          Romex can function as an extension cord it's just ugly and subject to water intrusion at the plug ends so not the best - I don't know what I'd be saying to someone who left me in such a position though - dogs loose, tank frozen, junk in the yard - I guess you should be thankful there is a round bale and you don't have to deal with replacing it. Is there any way to contain the dogs for everyone's safety?

          I have no idea how I'd broach the subject when they got back, whether I'd read them the riot act or not, nor do I know whether they are the apologetic sort or they'll never be your friends again (good riddance!). I think you need to say something though - this just sounds like too much.
          Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
          Incredible Invisible

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd send her a text and ask her where the shelter is in an 'innocent' type tone, because her horses are shivering cold. That sucks the big one, sorry!

            Comment


            • #7
              I made the same mistake once too. (This was at a farm that I had visited often enough to know where everything was kept.) I was assured that enough hay/straw/feed would be left in front of the two stalls. Just feed, water, and open outside doors am and reverse evenings. Except the hay was still up in the far mow. No cat food for a dozen or so barn cats. Very limited amount of dog food for the two very large farm dogs. I ended up purchaseing cat food and bringing a half bag of dog food from home. I really do not mind doing someone the favor of farmsitting---after all, I may need the return favor some day----but the least they could have done was have everything set out and actually available to feed to the animals!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                I had been to their place before, but in the summertime and just casually -- not examining her setup. I honestly assumed there was a run-in, I think I remember her telling me they had a three-sided run-in. But there is no such thing there now. Yes, I should have gone over and had her show me everything, but it just seemed so innocent -- just take a look and basically, if anyone has tried to commit suicide, call the vet. Someone is supposed to be coming twice a day to feed the dogs, put them in the garage at night, and then let them out during the day. I was not supposed to have to deal with the dogs, I sure didn't expect to have to fight them with a crop!

                Comment


                • #9
                  What GaitedGloryRider said. Good grief.

                  Who expects to find any of that?
                  I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                  I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'd send herva text saying she better get her sorry arse home because if she did not, I'd be calling AC.
                    And I'd of course continue to take care of horses as best you could.
                    I'd probably find a way to let the dogs into her house and feed them as well.
                    I can be a huge biatch when people treat pets like crap
                    I\'m not crazy. I\'m just a little unwell.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I do admire their chutzpa tho....leaving - outrunning a Blizzard to get out and expecting you to deal with things....

                      You have a week to think up a way to respond.
                      This cannot go unanswered!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd be pissed off too.
                        What would I do?
                        Trailer all 3 to my place where I could better care for them. Leave note about that for the dog-sitter.
                        If I had a way to contact them, I'd tell them I had to move the horses, someone vandalized the hell out of their property and left broken junk all over and locked the animals in a spot without shelter and stole their run-in. And that I'm sure they understand because nobody could leave them in such a crappy situation...to do so would be neglect if not abuse. And I didn't want AC coming by and getting them in trouble.

                        Then listen to whatever bullspit they tried to use for excuses.

                        Then offer to give them the names and numbers of people who could come by and repair their property and put up safe shelter for the animals. And if they refused I'd tell them AC could also come help them by giving written advice on what they need to do to make a safe environment for those animals.

                        Always very nice and concerned-sounding.
                        You jump in the saddle,
                        Hold onto the bridle!
                        Jump in the line!
                        ...Belefonte

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                          I'd be pissed off too.
                          What would I do?
                          Trailer all 3 to my place where I could better care for them. Leave note about that for the dog-sitter.
                          If I had a way to contact them, I'd tell them I had to move the horses, someone vandalized the hell out of their property and left broken junk all over and locked the animals in a spot without shelter and stole their run-in. And that I'm sure they understand because nobody could leave them in such a crappy situation...to do so would be neglect if not abuse. And I didn't want AC coming by and getting them in trouble.

                          Then listen to whatever bullspit they tried to use for excuses.

                          Then offer to give them the names and numbers of people who could come by and repair their property and put up safe shelter for the animals. And if they refused I'd tell them AC could also come help them by giving written advice on what they need to do to make a safe environment for those animals.

                          Always very nice and concerned-sounding.
                          bwahahahaha, sounds like a plan!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by King's Ransom View Post
                            I had been to their place before, but in the summertime and just casually -- not examining her setup. I honestly assumed there was a run-in, I think I remember her telling me they had a three-sided run-in. But there is no such thing there now. Yes, I should have gone over and had her show me everything, but it just seemed so innocent -- just take a look and basically, if anyone has tried to commit suicide, call the vet. Someone is supposed to be coming twice a day to feed the dogs, put them in the garage at night, and then let them out during the day. I was not supposed to have to deal with the dogs, I sure didn't expect to have to fight them with a crop!
                            Well it sounds like they fell down on their half of the deal, if all you were supposed to do was swing by and check and maybe top off tanks. The tanks should have cleaned out and topped off by them. I'll give them a bye on the frozen hoses and spigot, if it was very cold, the extension cord - um - see, the deal is as I see it that when you ask someone to help you out you make it as easy as possible and as intuitive as possible or you have a cheat sheet like we used to have for winterizing the summer house - this valve here and empty the toilets like this etc. And you don't have a broken valve that needs a pair of vice grips stuck on it and expect someone to deal with that - you take the time to fix it - so they should really have coughed up for a proper extension cord or a more professional looking romex installation. You didn't show up expecting having to rewire their flippin' tanks.

                            I'm sorry I'm letting myself get worked up on your behalf but I have been in that semi-permanent jury rigged repair situation and it stinks, and to get this dumped on you by somebody asking for a favor??! Grrrr. I won't even go into the dogs!
                            Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                            Incredible Invisible

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hmm, won't let me edit my post - but MB has the perfect solution. Darn those run in thieves anyway!
                              Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                              Incredible Invisible

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                                I'd be pissed off too.
                                What would I do?
                                Trailer all 3 to my place where I could better care for them. Leave note about that for the dog-sitter.
                                If I had a way to contact them, I'd tell them I had to move the horses, someone vandalized the hell out of their property and left broken junk all over and locked the animals in a spot without shelter and stole their run-in. And that I'm sure they understand because nobody could leave them in such a crappy situation...to do so would be neglect if not abuse. And I didn't want AC coming by and getting them in trouble.

                                Then listen to whatever bullspit they tried to use for excuses.

                                Then offer to give them the names and numbers of people who could come by and repair their property and put up safe shelter for the animals. And if they refused I'd tell them AC could also come help them by giving written advice on what they need to do to make a safe environment for those animals.

                                Always very nice and concerned-sounding.
                                In a million years I would not have come up with that one, but it sure fits.

                                In any case, I would sure give notice of all that is not up to par there and leave the number of someone that does house/barn/pet sitting for next time.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  You are a saint. I agree with MistyBlue. If you have room to keep them separated from your horses, and can get them on the trailer, bringing them to your place will probably save a lot of work in the long run. I would read the riot act to these "friends" when they get home. I can't imagine putting any of my friends in the position that these people have left you in. Those poor horses.
                                  You are what you dare.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    MB, you crack me up. And you are spot-on. Sadly, I do not have a truck-and-trailer, nor room in my barn, nor inclination to bring three mares into my herd of geldings. They do, however, have a VERY nice brand new truck and trailer. They took the truck on their trip. (The trailer is under cover, but not the horses. Who thinks like that?)

                                    I don't think AC would do anything out here. The horses have a nice round bale, and now they have water. I don't think they cite people out here for being stupid.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Wow....that just sucks. Do you think they just didn't realize what the weather was going to do? They can't possibly have horses in good shape if they normally have things in this condition right?

                                      Goodness.
                                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        BuddyRoo -- they left DURING the blizzard! I really thought they would postpone, but they did not. We had an unseasonably warm winter last year, and so far this winter, too. But it was freezing, sleet and blowing snow when they left -- so they should have known!

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