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Boarding woes!

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  • Boarding woes!

    Many of us grew up with mentors in the horse world, and we learned. Now it seems that so many have moved into the business, that the real horse people have stepped up a notch (as they should) but are now out of my $400 a month budget.
    Most good knowledgeable horse barns are in the $1k a month range, without training. And it seems that the people in my budget are idiots, who won't feed, don't care, won't report health issues.

    I get that you get what you pay for. But geez!

    Went to my barn the other morning to help out with chores, as I didn't have anything going on and felt home bound. We were scraping the bottom of the feed barrel. As I was feeding, my horse got his feed, the others got a handful. Then I felt terrible, but he's my priority.

    I freaked on the BO who bought feed that day - and her attitude is just no big deal. And how dare you make me feel that way, the horses never miss two feeds - wait what? Missing two is not ok, missing one is no big deal. And I have affronted her having a problem with that apparently.

    She just gave me notice to leave, and that's fine, I am out 12/1, yeah I am out as soon as I can.
    My horse ate, and so that's all I should be concerned about.
    The other horses didn't skip a meal as they had hay.
    They only ever miss one meal, she wouldn't let them miss two.

    But I am the problem, she couldn't ride today as her nerves were so shot from my having a problem with this. She puts my calls to voicemail and messages 'there's nothing to talk about'. Well clearly there isn't since she is kicking me out. And that's for the best anyway.

    How would you feel about this, and do you have your own boarding woes.

  • #2
    Sorry OP, but it sounds like an tempest in a tea pot. I have had plenty of times where a horse didn't come up to be fed. You could see them grazing elsewhere. It is not the end of the world to miss a meal f grain. Hay is much more important. However, I do understand your concern that the BO was sloppy about ordering feed to avoid running out. I stay on top of it for my barn, but I have known many cases where an occasional meal is missed at other barns. As a BO, I think you have an obligation to feed the boarders' horses because you are taking payment for it.

    It sounds like you are unhappy with many things at the barn. It also sounds like the BO is done with you. Leave it and move on to a place that makes you happier.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
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    • #3
      It sounds like there were other issues over time, or at least I hope there were. Losing your s*** on the BO over running out of grain to the point of getting kicked out is otherwise a bit much.

      At the least, sounds like she doesn't get more feed until the current feed is exhausted? So very poor planning.
      Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

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      • #4
        I agree with a previous poster that I would be much more upset about running out of hay than running out of grain. Most budget boarding barns ration hay and try to make up the difference with grain to the detriment of the horses. If the horses at this facility are in general in good weight, and your horse is not a particularly hard keeper, I would say you overreacted. No grain or light grain for a feeding would not be a deal breaker for me.

        I think you identified the root problem in your post - the level of care you're comfortable with and equate with good horsekeeping is out of your price range. So while you shop for a new barn, make some lists. What are absolutely non negotiable deal breakers - Safe fencing? Turnout? Free choice hay? Knowledgable management? Someone onsite? What's nice to have but negotiable - A ring? Good footing? A wash stall? Blanketing included? What do you just not care about - tack lockers? Ring lights? Individual turnout? Handling for vet and farrier?

        Then make sure you're comfortable with the compromises you make to keep your board bill under the $400. price point.
        The plural of anecdote is not data.

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        • #5
          Having run out of feed at my small, only my three horses barn I totally can see how running out happens and is not really the fault of anyone one person.

          Example - I have gone to the feed store in a timely manner to buy more of whatever it is that I need and they are out of that item. I am told it will come in on the next truck, a few days later.
          I call that few days and it did not come in. It does come in the day after but then my car is broken and I can not get to the feed store...

          You get the picture. It happens.

          I think McGurk gave some great advice up there. Since you are shopping in a different price range than you want to be shopping in you have to make a list and make sure you give up the things that in the long run are the important things.

          Originally posted by AlexS
          Many of us grew up with mentors in the horse world, and we learned. Now it seems that so many have moved into the business, that the real horse people have stepped up a notch (as they should) but are now out of my $400 a month budget.
          Most good knowledgeable horse barns are in the $1k a month range, without training. And it seems that the people in my budget are idiots, who won't feed, don't care, won't report health issues.

          I get that you get what you pay for. But geez!

          Went to my barn the other morning to help out with chores, as I didn't have anything going on and felt home bound. We were scraping the bottom of the feed barrel. As I was feeding, my horse got his feed, the others got a handful. Then I felt terrible, but he's my priority.

          I freaked on the BO who bought feed that day - and her attitude is just no big deal. And how dare you make me feel that way, the horses never miss two feeds - wait what? Missing two is not ok, missing one is no big deal. And I have affronted her having a problem with that apparently.

          She just gave me notice to leave, and that's fine, I am out 12/1, yeah I am out as soon as I can.
          My horse ate, and so that's all I should be concerned about.
          The other horses didn't skip a meal as they had hay.
          They only ever miss one meal, she wouldn't let them miss two.

          But I am the problem, she couldn't ride today as her nerves were so shot from my having a problem with this. She puts my calls to voicemail and messages 'there's nothing to talk about'. Well clearly there isn't since she is kicking me out. And that's for the best anyway.

          How would you feel about this, and do you have your own boarding woes.
          Last edited by trubandloki; Nov. 12, 2014, 09:53 AM.

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          • #6
            While I would be upset, if boarding options in your area and at your price don't offer much, then it is a matter of what you are going to be willing to live with or without. If this facility is good, safe and they get fed a good amount and there are no weight issues with the horses then an occassional missed grain feeding might be something you may need to accept and keep a sack of feed handy. Perhaps you need to look at the way you handled the situation and take a more diplomatic approach to ensure you don't get booted out of any future barns you board at, not saying what you did was wrong but if all else about this barn was acceptable then perhaps a simple call to the BO that hey, your out of feed what do you want me to do, etc. would have kept things civil and you wouldn't be having to move. Find a little extra for your monthly board and look for something better in a little higher price range. If you have time to feed etc. you might find a place that will let you work off some of your board or a self care place where you are responsible for the care and feeding of your horse.

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            • #7
              You want $1000 care for $400. Be prepared to keep being unhappy.

              I board at a cheap barn, cheaper than yours by long way. I have also had horses in training barns at ~$1K month. The Worst. Boarders. Ever. are in the low end barns. They want the moon, but fret about parting with their pennies. There is no God-given right to keep your horse on the cheap; maybe you just can't afford this expensive hobby.
              Visit my Spoonflower shop

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              • #8
                Whether or not making sure a facility has grain on hand is easy or challenging... if it's in the contract as being available every day it should be available every day.

                Is it easy to run out without realizing it?
                No.
                Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

                http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AlexS View Post
                  Went to my barn the other morning to help out with chores, as I didn't have anything going on and felt home bound. We were scraping the bottom of the feed barrel. As I was feeding, my horse got his feed, the others got a handful. Then I felt terrible, but he's my priority.
                  How would you feel about this, and do you have your own boarding woes.
                  How I feel about this is that it was pretty selfish of you to give your horse his whole ration of what I'm assuming is barn feed for ALL the horses, and gave everyone else "a handful". The issue of running out of grain aside, I'd be REAL pissed if I was a boarder and someone came in and made sure their horse got the lion's share of what was left of the grain. You should have split it out equally. And then maybe offered to go grab a bag at the feed store.

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                  • #10
                    I think you have a right to be upset since you are a paying boarder. I buy my own grain to give to the BO and I have never run out. I managed a boarding stable for a year and I never ran out. It just depends on how organized and conscientious you are. I knew how to plan for "worst case scenario" so that my boarders horses still got fed.

                    That said, I agree you will have to make a list and start shopping. If you lived here, your price-point would get you a whole lot! But I know the cost of board in SE PA is exorbitant. You will likely not get everything you want.

                    I would want away from the lady whose "nerves were shot" so much over a spat with a boarder that she couldn't ride, asap.

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                    • #11
                      Wow - I can't fathom how any BO makes a nickel boarding horses for
                      $400 a month. 20 bales of hay X $6 is $120 in hay
                      5 bags of grain X $16 is $80
                      Bedding is another $60
                      So $140 remainder to pay water, labor, electricity, taxes, gas for the tractor, dragging the arena, repairs. That's less than $5 a day.
                      I would be asking myself if you were worth the $5 also.

                      Running short on grain isn't ideal, but it can happen. Hay is another story.
                      www.settlementfarm.us

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                      • #12
                        I'd be out of there in a hurry. Water, food, safe facilities are a minimum requirement.

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                        • #13
                          So you freaked out because horses missed one meal and she freaked out because you freaked out? Talk about over-reaction over over-reaction. What's wrong with horse people? Geesh.

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                          • #14
                            Honestly, moving to a more expensive barn is not a guarantee that care will be better. Some of the worst care I've had was at high-end barns and some of the best care I've had was at lower-priced barns. You really have to do your homework. Figure out what's most important to you and what you can live without. Really check out the barn...check how clean water buckets/stalls are, check out the feed room (well stocked?), check the quality of hay, and use your spidey-sense when talking to the BM. If at all possible, talk to the "hired help" as well, since the care of your horse usually falls on their shoulders. Find best place you, with the best care you can afford.

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                            • #15
                              I'm kind of surprised at how many people think a BO running out of grain isn't a big deal. I agree that missing one meal of grain isn't a big deal for a pleasure horse, who probably doesn't get much grain to begin with. But, it does represent a casual attitude toward horse care and barn management on the part of the BO that is concerning. If the BO doesn't show concern over running out of grain, what else isn't she showing concern over?

                              I think McGurk offered good advice. You're going to have to make compromises in order to get board at the price you're willing to pay, so figure out what you can't live without and what you can let go and look for a place that fits your requirements.
                              "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                              that's even remotely true."

                              Homer Simpson

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                              • #16
                                I've been a barn owner for 10 years and never run out of grain or hay ever. Not one, single time. I would see that as a pretty egregious error on the BO/BM's part. That being said it might be that they ran out because they are having to run things so tightly. Yes they set their board rate, but since you clearly say the places with good, reliable care cost more clearly they aren't charging enough to cover their costs for that area.

                                I still think they shouldn't have run out of feed regardless of what they charge and I would be unhappy about that. If that is included in your board rate as outlined by your contract then they need to do what they said they would do. But mostly I would be doing my best to find room in my budget to go to one of the barns that you know has better and more consistent care.
                                www.retiredhorses.com
                                Blogging about daily life on the retirement farm: http://paradigmfarms.blogspot.com/
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                                • #17
                                  I have my horses at home and have run out of grain, not because I didn't bother to check that I was low but because the feed store hadn't gotten an order in or forgot to order. So you either feed out what little you have left and ration it out or switch to another feed for a bag or two till your regular is ordered.

                                  OP - would you have been happier if the BO had picked up a bag of different feed and fed it to all the horses rather than skip the grain?

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                                  • #18
                                    While you received good advice to figure out what is most important to YOU when barn-shopping, I think it is a better idea to find out what's most important to the BARN MANAGER at potential barns. If you can figure out what that is, then that's what will get done right at the new barn.

                                    BTW, I think $400 is very cheap for full care board.

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                                    • #19
                                      I also have never run out of grain, though I do plan things so that I only have *one* bucketful left before getting more grain in, so that the feed bin does not have very old grain at the bottom while getting topped up with new grain.
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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by red mares View Post
                                        You want $1000 care for $400. Be prepared to keep being unhappy.

                                        I board at a cheap barn, cheaper than yours by long way. I have also had horses in training barns at ~$1K month. The Worst. Boarders. Ever. are in the low end barns. They want the moon, but fret about parting with their pennies. There is no God-given right to keep your horse on the cheap; maybe you just can't afford this expensive hobby.
                                        Yep! And I tell those kind they're going to be happier elsewhere, giving somebody else cramps. Never known a horse yet to die from missing part or all of one grain feeding. I purposely ran my Senior bin down to nothing this morning, so I can refill it this afternoon with all fresh feed and no old stuff left in the bottom. This is a GOOD thing. Don't always be so quick to ascribe evil motivations to what BO's do--sometimes there is a damn good management reason!

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