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A bit of a boarding disaster..and I'm not sure ANY contract covers this.

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  • A bit of a boarding disaster..and I'm not sure ANY contract covers this.

    I got out to the barn today and all of the horses were up near the water trough. Which was empty. I took pics.

    Pulled my mare out of the paddock and my friend who had joined me offered her water from buckets--she drained 3. This is a mare who normally takes about 1/2 a bucket overnight. She's not a big drinker. I usually have to add salt to feed to get her drinking enough in the coldest of winter.

    The others? I refilled the tank FOUR TIMES before they got their fill and moved on. (5 other horses:ETA: actually 9 horses, I couldn't remember and was guestimating) I fixed blankets again...sloppy unsafe crap. Took pictures of that too.

    Then I went to the next paddock where there's a self care mini. I removed a 4 inch crust of ice (over about 1 inch of water). And before I could even start filling her muck bucket sized water trough, she was trying to chew the ice I'd just pulled. Had to refill her bucket again too.

    I texted the BO right off the bat when I saw no water, asking if she was in town or what. I've had issues with her "helper" not really doing a good job in the past when BO is out of town. But this took the freaking cake.

    Long story short, after multiple texts, calls, and a call from my landlady to BO which is how I got hooked up with this mess, I finally got ahold of BO and her friend (who has two horses at the property as well) and they were also pissed off about this. Apparently, person A was at the farm for a week and now person B (the one I don't like much) is in charge as of yesterday til next Friday. I wasn't out yesterday so I don't know what happened, but I do know that in the past, this person won't bring horses in so she can avoid doing barn chores, will only come out once a day if she can get away with it, etc.

    There is nothing in my boarding contract about water. I mean, it's kind of a basic assumed thing. I'm looking to move as soon as tomorrow if I can work it out with someone, even short term. But I'm worried about the other horses because most are owned by hands off people or kids who just don't know better.

    Is there ANY kind of recourse for stuff like this? It's NOT the first time and I've documented it previously with photos and via emails to BO. She normally backs up this barn helper. Today, not so much, but still. She's over 1000 miles away and can't do much now.

    I informed BO that I'd drive out tomorrow morning to check again. I live over an hour away so this isn't easy per se. But I'm not going to have horses without freaking WATER.

    I'm honest to God thinking about calling in local AC if I show up and there's no water again. I can get MY mare out, but what about the rest???

    Gah. I'm so disappointed in myself for letting this happen and I'm PISSED that I'm PAYING for this.
    Last edited by BuddyRoo; Jan. 28, 2013, 09:12 AM.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  • #2
    I'd be asking the BO for some of my boarding money back at the least. Especially if you're basically doing the barn helper's job anyway.

    That's just ridiculous. What if all of those horses colicked because they weren't getting water?
    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


    • #3
      Watch out for colic or founder from upset stomachs without water so long.

      Don't know what you can do there, other than going by as much as you can every day until you move your horses.


      • #4
        This should fall under "reasonable care," which is in most boarding contracts I would think.


        • #5
          What about feed and hay? Can you tell if "person B" even showed up yesterday?
          I would be livid. Has BO contacted "person B" to see what the deal is?
          "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."


          • #6
            Completely crazy. You're in NoVA now, right? Its pretty horsey there and I'm surprised more people in the community haven't cottoned on to the situation.

            If you have any contact info for other boarder's I'd be calling them right now.

            UGH...sorry you're in this situation, and so soon after a move too .
            "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


            • #7
              If you can get contact info for other boarders, call them.
              And call animal services.
              Ugh! Some people!
              I\'m not crazy. I\'m just a little unwell.


              • #8
                I would think this is covered under ALL contracts-water is the primary concept of maintaining life.

                I think you just have a lazy worker that has been allowed to push the envelope until she pushed it too far. Raise some hell and say either she goes or I do and then follow through.
                “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                • #9
                  Tried to send a PM but you are full. If you need to get out quick call
                  Patricia Ramey. Blue Ridge Farm Upperville (google map it) 703-973-1140
                  You cannot fool around with water. Strangely, I found this to be a problem at more than one place in this area. Patricia is pretty OCD about water and hay. I love it cuz I NEVER worry about my girls.
                  "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

                  "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x


                  • #10
                    Holy crap, like you don't have enough problems with your poor dog! NO WATER?? It's hard enough to get them to drink in the winter anyway! We have a horse at the barn right now who has been NQR for a couple of weeks because he hasn't been drinking enough of his ABUNDANTLY SUPPLIED water, with applejuice and all sorts of other enticements.

                    I'd jump on the "call Animal Control" bandwagon, but it would be so hard to prove. Obviously you are going to be watering until BO gets back or you get out. I don't understand about the other boarders? Why didn't they notice? I know it's been frigid up here; maybe they hadn't come by the barn in a few days?

                    Well, good luck. Thank god you ended up going out there or there would be horses dead from colic.
                    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                    • #11
                      Water is a necessity. House rental contracts assume that you'll have certain things such as access to running water and sewer, they don't HAVE to spell it out.

                      Too bad you'd get into trouble if you smacked barn worker upside the head because this deserves it. BTW how big ARE these troughs anyway if you had to refill so many times? Did they really drink 80 gallons each - Lord help you if they did, they must have been out of water since shortly after you were last there. Shades of KR and her farm sitting from Hell acquaintances.

                      I would hate to call AC on a BO who is 1000 miles away and can't take action to make any changes, but if you don't some of those horses may be dead shortly. BO has to get somebody reliable there NOW, unless she offers you the job or gets Barnworker #1 back the horses have to have an advocate. Sorry, I know this is about the last thing you need happening right now.
                      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                      Incredible Invisible


                      • Original Poster

                        BO goes out of town regularly it seems and I seem to find issues each time with this barn helper.

                        Here's the good news FOR ME: I have a line on a barn to move to on Monday or Tuesday. But the thing is...what about the rest of the critters?

                        I think everyone is just so hands off here that no one notices and BO trusts this person implicitly. My previous "complaints" have been largely dismissed. Water, food, taking them in during the crappy cold rain....

                        I actually think that BO knows what is right but wants to enjoy her travels and just trusts this boarder to do a good job. But this boarder takes a LOT of shortcuts. I've only been here a few months and I could count the stories...

                        I'm not going to do this to my girl. At 23, she's spent the better part of 20 years putting up with ME. That is something!!! She deserves better. ANd I have MUCH BETTER lined up.

                        (COTH ROCKS by the way)

                        Anyway, I have a facility lined up, a ride, etc....but even if I move her in 48 hours, I have all of these other horses to be worried about. I can't NOT worry.
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                        • #13
                          Do you have contacts for the other boarders-- can you get two or three others to split up the "surveillance" duties? Might be worth put up a note on the bulletin board telling everyone what has happened and to check all troughs/buckets when they're there? That alone might get the asshat worker to toe the line.
                          I'd have no problem whatsoever giving the BO an bill for my mileage (I think the current IRS rate is $0.55/mile?) for the extra trips that were specifically to confirm water.


                          • Original Poster

                            I didn't think to get the other boarder's info when I was out today. My bad. I just didn't think. I was so pissed off that I really wasn't thinking.
                            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                            Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                            • #15
                              i haven't seen a boarding contract in ages, but i'd imagine that if there is one, there must be an agreement that basic care standards must be met. hopefully you can be compensated in some way since you plan to move, ie: not paying all or as much of the board if you have to post 30 days notice. there has got to be some compromise or recourse available to you, because leaving horses without water or leaving them outside in horrible weather simply because it's an inconvenience is not okay. i would be as livid as you are!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Event4Life View Post
                                Completely crazy. You're in NoVA now, right? Its pretty horsey there and I'm surprised more people in the community haven't cottoned on to the situation.
                                It's pretty normal around here. Most barns in the area are not run by professional staff who are trustworthy or competent. Many are simply backyard affairs operated by local horse-folk or leased to some random stranger, who may or may not know or care much about anything beyond whatever they feel like doing. If you want good, round-the-clock care and supervision, you have a pretty short list of barns to work with and they cost moolah. As for the community, outside of the histrionic drama of the local H/J crowd who try to undermine and sabotage anyone they see as competition in or out of the ring, there's not much in the way of "OMFG, what's going on over there?!" concern and nobody ever gets called out for doing something bad around here.
                                Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


                                • #17
                                  You know, I need to thank my horsesitter. She's amazing. Stalls are cleaned way better than I ever clean them, she has common sense (which is a lost art, it seems) and I never have to worry.

                                  I wouldn't care if she cleaned the stalls mediocre, or that she didn't groom them, or that she skimped here and there. My standards are pretty basic. Keep them watered, hayed, and safely contained.

                                  How hard is that???

                                  Broo, I'm sorry you are having to go through this. What a pain in the arse. Hope you can find a new place to take your girl, and although I know you are worried about the other boarders, I'm afraid unless you contact them directly, there's not much you can do.

                                  If you're ever in a pinch, I'm not too far away.


                                  • #18
                                    Move to my barn. I can 100% guarantee that would NEVER happen!


                                    • #19
                                      Ugh. I boarded at a place once that let their barn worker get away with more and more lazy/stupid things. Eventually I loaded up my horses and left. A week later 4 horses coliced and one had to be put down due to not having water.


                                      • #20
                                        Maybe you could try convincing the BO and/or Crummy Caretaker that it's in her interest to provide for the horses (since the animals' welfare doesn't seem to be priority #1).

                                        Depending how much histrionic drama you want to inject into the situation, this could range from plastering a fake smile on your face and pinching BO's elbow or forearm while saying, "You know, I'm just so worried that you'll end up having to pay veterinary bills or worse for a horse that got sick from dehydration, since you were informed about this happening several times before!" to sending a certified letter listing the repeated communication of multiple failures to provide properly for the horses. Maybe throw in some language that YOU, the letter writer, want to be sure that YOU will not somehow be responsible if another boarder's horse gets sick, so you've been advised to protect yourself by documenting the problem to the BO.

                                        ** If you choose the drama llama second approach, I'd recommend getting your horse out of there first, and then persuading another remaining boarder to write the letter. But there should be some middle ground options as well. Good for you for looking out for the other horses!

                                        I once had to move my 3yo mare when I became suspicious she wasn't being turned out all night, as I'd be told (and was paying for). I had to get all Mission:Impossible and sneak over there before dawn, climb over the chained gate, see that she was in the stall . . . then stop by as usual that afternoon and casually asked the staff whether she'd been out that night . . . they straight up lied, and I gave my notice.

                                        *skips off to bed, humming, This is why I started my own business and keep my horses at home (and as a result eat Ramen Pride every night and drive a 13yo truck, but dammit they have water!) dum dee do dee dum*

                                        I can ride my horses without a sharps container.