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Ahhh... the gift horse.... Now what.

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  • Ahhh... the gift horse.... Now what.

    Lost my heart horse to colic last november.

    For christmas, my friend and her SO, my old farrier gave me my new guy. 17-2 hh. super cute ASB. Nice enough to take about anywhere, just needs finishing, and if I want to register him, I have to pay off what is owed on his stud fee and the registration fee...

    Horse has been stuck at a less than stellar boarding barn for the past couple months due to a major tendon injury. It has been a stressful 3 months trying to stay on top of things to make sure he gets the care he needs every day.

    My friend says "I found a barn that will be perfect"....

    So we go check it out and.... It's just not what I was expecting from what she was saying about it....

    Issues?

    The big one is distance. It's close to my friend but for me, it's a half an hour away at 10 pm on a sunday night. Right now, he's on zero turnout. I HAVE to hand walk 7 days a week, and right now I'm working 6 days a week and I'm feeling overwhelmed by it all and just a bit burned out. She says she'll help me out if I need a day off... but... her standards are not the same as mine, plus who's to say that the day I need off won't be a day she has to work late?

    The arena is down a good hill. I'm not thinking my boy is ready to walk that at this point. So I have to hand walk him on the drive in front of the barn and hope that we dont' get into problems (he gets "bothered" pretty easily by stuff since he's been on stall rest for almost 3 months. I'm really NOT comfortable walking him outside an indoor arena at this point.)

    And the barn itself is quite nice, but the rest of the property is kind of cluttered. Like... "your horse gets loose and goes visiting, it's gonna need stitches" cluttered.

    So... we visit the barn and I email my friend later saying I just didn't really like it and wanted to move him to a different barn. There's a barn half as far away for the same cost, much nicer facility, etc...

    Then comes the guilt trip. "I need help with my colt... I want us to be able to ride together..." etc... "I boarded a horse at the barn that was close to you for the past few months" (I didn't ask it of her and would have been just fine on my own... I worked her horse when she wasn't able to come out, but she took care of him for me once.) and from her SO comes "I didn't give you the horse so you could be at different barns"....

    The more I think on this, the more it's bothering me. I guess I'm a little gullible, but... I didn't think he came with quite so many strings. I could NEVER expect somebody to give me this nice of a horse. But I also didn't think when they gave him to me that it was going to be held over me and I'm upset and kind of mad too.

    I don't want to give him back... He's a nice horse. Maybe not one that will win a national title, but a horse who can go in most any ring and not really look out of place and might be in the ribbons with a kick ass trip.... And he's the best horse in terms of suitability for me that I have EVER ridden, but... if I'm having to keep them 100% happy and make all my plans and decisions around what is best for THEM, I just can't do that for the next 20 years!

    I guess the plan for now is to give it a try for a month or two- I don't think I'll be able to stand it past then. I guess when it comes to this, I say "I'm moving my horse" and if they want to make that big of an issue, I will have to say "here's your horse back".... :-( Guess I'll be holding off on sending payments on his stud fee for a little bit longer...

    I know in the scheme of things.... it may not seem that big a deal. I'm just really overwhelmed and stressed out with my job, trying to keep up with any of my friends and family, and now the barn is going to be a bigger strain than ever...

    Words of advice? Thoughts?

  • #2
    Don't do it even for a couple of months. You are being pretty severely manipulated here. What if you pay the stud fee and then they try something to get him back now that you've paid all the $$?

    Either he's yours, free and clear, for you to do with what you want, or they can take him back and THEY can do all the rehabbing, fee paying, etc etc.

    And your gut is telling you something about that barn too.

    Sleep on it...but I bet you'll decide not to do it.

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      If someone gave me a horse and then made demands like he did, I would have said something right then, maybe "what did you say, I thought the horse is mine now, is it?"

      You need to stop and clear that right now, don't let this go any further.
      As you say, if he came with any strings attached, that needs to be cleared out right now, get everyone on the same page.

      Now, if the horse is complicating your life, any horse may do that some times, try dealing with it best you can, or as you suggest, quit having a horse if it is stressing you out so much.
      Maybe now is not a good time for you to have a horse, maybe later down the road it will be.

      Life really is too short to be miserable, do something about it.

      Comment


      • #4
        What sort of paperwork do you have regarding the ownership of the horse?

        If that is all in line--bill of sale? contract? ANYTHING stating that the horse is yours?--then NO is a complete sentence. If you have to take it further, then say the facility is not appropriate given his injury and leave it at that.

        If you don't have anything that actually acknowledges that you OWN the horse, then GET THAT. NOW.

        If you're at all worried that they might want him back, I would share the expense you've incurred because of the tendon injury and either hint or state outright that you want those funds returned to you if they take back ownership of the horse.

        Good luck. I hope you have something stating that the horse is yours.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by blairasb View Post
          Then comes the guilt trip. "I need help with my colt... I want us to be able to ride together..." etc... "I boarded a horse at the barn that was close to you for the past few months" (I didn't ask it of her and would have been just fine on my own... I worked her horse when she wasn't able to come out, but she took care of him for me once.) and from her SO comes "I didn't give you the horse so you could be at different barns"....

          The more I think on this, the more it's bothering me. I guess I'm a little gullible, but... I didn't think he came with quite so many strings. I could NEVER expect somebody to give me this nice of a horse. But I also didn't think when they gave him to me that it was going to be held over me and I'm upset and kind of mad too.

          I don't want to give him back... He's a nice horse. Maybe not one that will win a national title, but a horse who can go in most any ring and not really look out of place and might be in the ribbons with a kick ass trip.... And he's the best horse in terms of suitability for me that I have EVER ridden, but... if I'm having to keep them 100% happy and make all my plans and decisions around what is best for THEM, I just can't do that for the next 20 years!

          I guess the plan for now is to give it a try for a month or two- I don't think I'll be able to stand it past then. I guess when it comes to this, I say "I'm moving my horse" and if they want to make that big of an issue, I will have to say "here's your horse back".... :-( Guess I'll be holding off on sending payments on his stud fee for a little bit longer...

          I know in the scheme of things.... it may not seem that big a deal. I'm just really overwhelmed and stressed out with my job, trying to keep up with any of my friends and family, and now the barn is going to be a bigger strain than ever...

          Words of advice? Thoughts?
          Personally, I would move the horse to the barn that you want to be at. I would sit down with them first and tell them that they are wonderful, incredibly generous friends and that you love the horse but cannot repay them by boarding him at a place that you won't be able to enjoy him fully at. Ask if you can come out on a schedule and help her with her colt if that is something that you can do for her. Talk to them about how you can help them and value their friendship, but explain that moving to that particular barn isn't going to work for you right now. I'd move him as soon as possible to the barn that you want to be at. Personally, I think they will adjust. Your relationship might suffer a little bit, at least in the short term, but ultimately you don't want to set yourself up for going into a boarding situation that you have a bad feeling about from the beginning. I know that this is going to be hard advice to follow and I'm probably not the most assertive person either, but sometimes you just have to draw the line in the sand. Yes, they gave you the horse, but I am assuming that they didn't tell you that these conditions were a part of the gift. If they had, you probably wouldn't have accepted the gift. It's not fair to start tacking on new requirements months later, after you've been caring for the horse and dutifully handwalking him for 6 months. Even if you gave the horse back, how would you ever work all of that out? That sounds very complicated.

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't allow her to manipulate you like this. Move the horse to whatever barn you want him to be at. I know it's easier to type it than to do it, but if this person shuts you out because of this, she's not your friend.

            Comment


            • #7
              Not a fan of emotional blackmail. Play dumb/oblivious and move him promptly to the barn that suits your needs. Do not say anything directly about why he is not going to the other barn... you don't owe them an explanation. Thank them a thousand times over for their incredible generosity, yes yes yes...but there is nothing else here to discuss. Don't indulge the back and forth I think it just fuels the fire.

              They either are your friends or not...but they didn't purchase you when they gave you a horse.

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh no, I remember when they originally "gave" him to you.

                Sounds like they didn't actually GIVE him to you.

                I'm not sure how to approach this, other than to have a frank conversation with them about whether or not the horse REALLY IS YOURS! If he is, you should be allowed to move him wherever you please.

                Good luck.
                We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Pay the stud fee now and register him in your name. Asap.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow. I am so sorry that you have been delivered this complicated situation. Best part is you really like the horse.

                    Take katarine's advice, pay that stud fee now, register and OWN the nice horse!

                    Next, play the dumb card if you can swing it.

                    Bottom line, either its your horse or not. Don't compromise your decisions - boarding etc. That is just crazy. Once you head down that road - just more trouble. Keep it simple, don't engage in discussions about why you are doing anything and keep changing the subject if you don't want to be cornered.

                    These folks have serious boundary issues - the more you stay away and reduce contact, the better life will be. They can't manipulate you if you are scarce. Remind yourself that feelings about guilt etc, are misplaced. Ownership of a horse and friendship should never include what you are dealing with.

                    Keep your life simple. Stick to your guns now. Good luck.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I agree with what others have said. If you really like the horse and want to own him, do what it takes to get the papers in your name and don't look back. In regard to your friend, I'd just keep repeating how grateful you are that she was so thoughtful and kind when your horse colicked, and how she helped bring a horse who also needed your help into your life. You don't owe her anything else. If anything, I'd say that her "perfect" barn is not the right barn for a horse who needs daily handwalking. Period. The end. In regards to your friends SO, I would brush such comments off with "well, your SO could board at MY barn, it's so much better for me if she did! Haha!" and leave it at that. I (this is me) might even say "well that's so inconvenient for me and the horse you gave me does need daily care for his injury. Do you want him back?" I'm guessing the SO can't fathom the lifetime cost or responsibility of a horse. But it might be fun to play a game back with him. You can always laugh it off with a "thanks for giving me the horse, I'm going to do what is best for the horse. SURELY you want what is best for the horse, right? Isn't that why you helped give him to me? Because you care. (Feign wiping a tear)".
                      Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Are you only looking at 'English discipline/saddle seat' barns for boarding? If so, broaden horizons to H/J and dressage barns. I agree with, get that horse registered in your name ASAP, and do what works best for you on where to keep the critter. Good luck and keep us posted!
                        Jeanie
                        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Move the horse to a barn that you like and apologize to your friend that it didn't work out to be at the same barn. Keep it simple. The unsaid is clear enough.
                          “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                          St. Padre Pio

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That's a tough one but really, once you take away all the fluff, you either own the horse or you don 't.
                            Get thee a bill of sale for $1 if you do not have one already.
                            Pay the registration fee.
                            Do not let yourself be manipulated into moving to a barn that doesn't work for you.
                            And sorry for the loss of your previous horse.
                            "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Agree w/ the other sound advice you are getting. Clarify your ownership and move where you need to move. Nothing makes me crazier than farm properties that are covered in scary heaps of crap. I have skipped a couple of different otherwise great possible boarding setups because I was sure my horse would find a way to kill herself on this or that piece of rusting farm junk.
                              I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                              I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Ugh. Actually this is a big deal, don't feel unreasonable because you are upset by it, I'd worry if you weren't.

                                They are trying to use the horse to control you and your behavior, to their advantage. If this is your horse and you are paying all the expenses and doing all the hard work, put the horse in the place most convenient, comfortable and affordable for YOU.

                                Do you have any paper work showing that the horse is yours? If not, get some if you want to keep the horse. If so, just do what you please with him.

                                Giving someone a gift with strings attached is NOT a nice or generous thing to do. It's either a gift or it's not. Ugh.

                                Stand up for yourself and your needs, don't let them make you feel guilty. Real friends don't do that to people.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Casey09 View Post
                                  Personally, I would move the horse to the barn that you want to be at. I would sit down with them first and tell them that they are wonderful, incredibly generous friends and that you love the horse but cannot repay them by boarding him at a place that you won't be able to enjoy him fully at. Ask if you can come out on a schedule and help her with her colt if that is something that you can do for her. Talk to them about how you can help them and value their friendship, but explain that moving to that particular barn isn't going to work for you right now. I'd move him as soon as possible to the barn that you want to be at. Personally, I think they will adjust.
                                  This!

                                  Originally posted by katarine View Post
                                  Pay the stud fee now and register him in your name. Asap.
                                  And this.

                                  You could also offer to help her with her colt as you have time (and willingness) if she again wants to move it closer to you. A 6 day a week work schedule and having a horse that needs to be hand walked? It would be extremely unreasonable for her not to understand that you need the horse as close to home as possible. Tell her you are moving him close and also that you would like to work on paying the stud fee so you can register and show him in your name.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by katarine View Post
                                    Pay the stud fee now and register him in your name. Asap.
                                    This.
                                    After the way they are acting, I would not go asking for the $1 bill of sale, that will just fuel their demands on you.

                                    If they were giving you the horse to have someone at their beck and call to go ride with, they should have made that clear up front before gifting you the horse.

                                    Seems that was not a demand you agreed to, the horse was given clear and free to you, you don't have to be expected to read their minds if there was more involved.

                                    Getting him registered in your name if you are not returning him is the first you need to do, to establish some kind of track of ownership.

                                    Some friends can be frustrating, can they.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Don't look into his mouth, of course we all know that about a gift horse, that is a given NOT TO DO. :-) Wow a 17.2 gift horse, holy huge horse!


                                      Yes, what Katarine said.

                                      Pay the stud fee and register him, in YOUR name of course.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Registering the horse in the OP's name won't prove ownership. If things really go downhill, it will just be money down the drain.

                                        The only thing that will prove ownership is a bill of sale.
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