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Replacing Fence Boards...a border expense?

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  • Replacing Fence Boards...a border expense?

    I've a horse and his field has some boards in the fence needing replacing. He plays across the fence with other horses, the fence isn't new and several of the horses have chewed the wood. It's not a dedicated paddock and he's been in several different fields.

    I'm hearing through the grapevine the BO will be asking me to pay for board replacements. I pay board, barns have wear and tear and wood fences (no hotwire) get old and do get chewed.

    Am I being unfair or unreasonable to not want to pay extra to replace boards that were there before I started boarding and all horses are rough on the physical plant at barns.
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

  • #2
    Ordinary wear and tear on a BO's facility is normally taken as a cost of doing business. However, if one horse is noticeably trashing the place due to a habit not shared by others, and it happens repeatedly and incurs unusual expenses, the client might like to offer to pay for the damage in the interest of maintaining a positive relationship.

    I've asked for some "rail money" exactly once--from the owner of a horrendous cribber whose habit was not disclosed by her before I accepted the horse for boarding. He ate rails like a buzzsaw crossed with a beaver!


    • #3
      If your horse does a little more damage than the ordinary horse and you want to stay on good terms with the BO, might as well chip in. Perfectly fair & reasonable.


      • #4
        Paying for the replacement of an odd fence board here and there due to general wear and tear is facility maintenance and should be handled by a BO without any boarder involvement.

        However, some individual horses are unusually hard on fences--cribbing, chewing, leaning, kicking, etc. In the case where a particular horse has a witnessed pattern of damaging fences, or if a particular horse causes extreme damage to a fence (such as taking out an entire section of fence by crashing through it) I think it is perfectly fair for a BO to bill the client for repairs.

        I think the best thing to do is to discuss the situation with your BO and try to be as reasonable and fair as possible. Ideally boarding fees should be high enough to cover some fence repairs, but if you are paying on the low end for monthly board, your BO's repair budget may be pretty slim. No business can stay afloat if they don't take in enough money to cover costs, so if your horse ends up overall costing your BO money each month in repairs, your BO may--as a businessperson--need to ask you to move your horse.

        So, if your board fees are on the reasonable side, your BO has witnessed your horse primarily causing the damage, and your BO only wants a reasonable amount of money from you--say the cost of a couple boards--then I think it could possibly be worthwhile for you to work something out with the BO. I also think it would be prudent to discuss with the BO a plan for the future so that you aren't being asked to pay for fence repairs repeatedly. For example, can your horse move to a different paddock? Would it be possible to put hot-wire along this shared fence line?

        Obviously if your horse is unfairly being scapegoated for damage done by multiple horses over a long period of time, then no, you should not be paying for repairs.


        • #5
          I have been charged to replace boards when my mare went through a period of kicking them. For no good reason (double fence, no one could touch her, she just didn't like anyone LOOKING at her...). I found that reasonable. But just general wear and tear, no, that seems like it should be part of normal O&M around the farm.

          Now, I have replaced some stuff that I didn't necessarily feel that responsible for, just to keep the peace. Barn that used cheap, flimsy feeders and the care made our horses nuts -- my horse broke a feeder and I did replace it with a brand new one just so they wouldn't gripe. Just kind of depends on the situation and sometimes the price of whatever got broke isn't that much compared to the strife of dealing with the "wronged" BO.


          • #6
            The only time I asked a boarder to replace fencing was in the case of the small pony from hell who went through a period of not wanting to be caught. We opened gates to get him in the smaller paddock, to wit he took one look at the 4 board fence and took a leap, breaking a post and 3 of the 4 boards. I had extra boards, but Pony Owner was asked to buy me a new post... Normal wear and tear on board fence is part of having board fence. It looks nice but it takes a heck of a lot more maintenance.

            For the record, Pony from Hell had nary a mark on him after run in with fence.


            • #7
              My mare (just off the track) was spooked by xc skiers and went through 2 wooden paddock fences. Not a scratch on her. I offered to pay for repairs and was told not to worry about it.

              I guess there is no set rules! I would think tho that in my case the BM would have been right in asking for money. Normal wear and tear or even the occasional kick, in my opinion, are covered in the board.
              Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                I've a horse and his field has some boards in the fence needing replacing. He plays across the fence with other horses, the fence isn't new and several of the horses have chewed the wood.
                After one board got broken from these horses playing over the fence with one another, why didn't BO opt to change turnout so that these two hooligans didn't do it anymore?
                Seems to me it's BO's choice of who to put where for turnout, and if she kept putting these two players there knowing they played over the fence with one another, she chose to risk the fence getting more broken.

                One rail/one instance I would pay for with the understanding that the turnout situation, which also puts both horses at risk for getting hurt, either by each other or on the fence or both, was being changed.

                More rails because BO did not see the writing on the wall? No.
                Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014



                • #9
                  I would only expect to pay for board replacement if my horse was an undisclosed cribber (as described above), or maybe if *I* did something stupid like put horses into the wrong paddocks and caused playing/fighting over the fence, etc. (Can't really think of a good example of how I might be blamed for broken boards, but if it was my fault I would offer to pay).

                  Playing over the fence is a problem and obviously will cause fence damage, if nothing worse. In my opinion, that is a BM/BO issue, not a boarder issue.

                  That said...I'd wait for the BO/BM to say something to you (I would not offer) and see what they ask for (if anything). If it's something like $20, I might just throw it in and be done with it. It's hard to know at this point whether it's a hill to die on or not.


                  • #10
                    Just find a compromise that works for both sides. If you really don't want to help pay for the damage, she might really not want you to carry on as a boarder. So it's up to you to figure out what works for both sides.


                    • #11
                      Yep, not necessary, but appreciated.


                      • #12
                        I would not charge a boarder to repair fence their horse damaged. Horses sometimes do stupid things that damage fencing. That's just part of the cost of doing business. However...

                        If there was a horse that was exceptionally rough on fences for some reason, I would have to consider whether or not my facility was properly fenced for that horse and if not, whether or not I was interested in upgrading my fencing to meet that horse's needs. For example, if you have a dedicated beaver, you simply cannot continue to put them in a wood fenced pasture without running a hot wire to keep them off the wood.

                        If I am willing to upgrade my fencing as a capital improvement that will be to my benefit in the long term, fine. I will pay for it. If not, then at that point, I would have to have a conversation with the owner and if they want to stay, they would be asked to pick up the extra expense. Otherwise, they could look for boarding elsewhere.
                        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                        that's even remotely true."

                        Homer Simpson


                        • #13
                          What does your contract say?

                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                          • #14
                            I have paid for some fence repairs in which the break in the fence was caused by my horse running through it while playing with another horse.

                            That being said my BO and I also addressed the issue of who my horse was turned out with and how we could keep it from happening again.

                            My husband has also done some work to maintain the fence in my horse's current turnout (it's a woven wire type with boards along the top- whereas the prior turnout was vinyl and easily broken) since he was pulling shoes along the bottom when he didn't have a full time turnout buddy. It seemed nicer than asking the BO to pay someone else to maintain it since if I wasn't there she wouldn't be using that turnout consistently.

                            If it bothers you though, talk it over with the BO. Better to talk it over so you both feel comfortable with your arrangement.
                            My blog:



                            • #15
                              Like others said, the only time I had to replace a fence was when my mare busted it. Otherwise, it's on the barn.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by LittleblackMorgan View Post
                                Like others said, the only time I had to replace a fence was when my mare busted it. Otherwise, it's on the barn.
                                In general I consider that to be a cost of doing business. As a farm owner you have to factor in the cost of repairs due to normal wear and tear, just like an apartment landlord (and I took my first landlord to small claims court when she kept my security deposit to regrout the bathroom - and won).

                                I own a small farm and have had boarders in the past. I would not charge them to replace a broken fence rail if their horse broke it, unless it was some unusual case of negligence on the part of the owner.

                                I'm sure other BOs do charge for broken fence boards, cross-ties, squashed buckets, or shredded lead ropes, but I think that's wrong.


                                • #17
                                  i would say that the cost of a board is not much to keep the peace if you like your current situation.


                                  • #18
                                    Once fence is fixed, can you get electric run on stand-off insulators on both sides to prevent FUTURE damage to the fence? Seems like if you don't take some measures to prevent the problem (playing over fence) that damage will happen again.

                                    I DEFINATELY don't want playing over fences, too easy to damage horse and fence, probably both when it happens.


                                    • #19
                                      I once ended up splitting the cost of hotwire in my pony's field with the barn manager.

                                      The fences were a bit old and some boards easily broken, but my pony was the only one who leaned on them until they gave and then went galivanting all over the farm.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                                        What does your contract say?
                                        We don't have a contract, never got around to signing one. I do help out at the barn at times, have fixed boards and waterers etc. for the BO just being "handy". I found a place that has 1x6x16 oak boards for $7.50, so the price is right...just annoying and I don't know if I should be getting all huffy about it.
                                        "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"