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Rude or not? Prospective boarders showing up unannounced

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  • Rude or not? Prospective boarders showing up unannounced

    BOs/BMs, do you think it's rude for someone to show up at your farm without calling and want you to talk with them about boarding at your farm? Would you be willing to overlook it if the person seemed to be a good fit in your barn, or would such behavior automatically rule this person out if you had an opening?

    I've been wondering this for a while, having seen both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. Personally, I would call/e-mail first and set up an appointment. I think it's rude to show up unannounced — most BOs/BMs are pretty busy (and if they aren't, you probably don't want to board there) and have a schedule they need to stick to. If I were a BO/BM, I would probably be turned off by someone who did this, but I might be willing to overlook it if the person seemed to be a good fit in the barn. I would just be worried that such behavior would indicate a lack of consideration overall.

    OTOH, being a boarder, I could understand wanting to show up unannounced to see if horses really did get hay X times a day, or water troughs were clean and filled, or the arena lights really did work, or whatever.

    Full-time bargain hunter.

  • #2
    Do you have your contact info on a sign at the property entrance?

    Plenty of times, I've just driven around looking for boarding barns. If the info is out there, I'll give the number on the sign a call. If not, I'll just stop in.

    So many barns aren't listed in the phone book but do board, and so many times I've heard from others that "barn on xyz street" boards, but they may not be able to remember the name of it.

    I don't expect people to drop what they're doing to show me around, but I do expect to be told if they're accepting new boarders and for what rates. Nobody has ever said "no" when I ask if I could just take a look around.

    If you really don't want people to drop in, put a gate on your drive, with a sign that has your number and "visitors by appointment only."


    • #3
      I've never done it, but I can see how if you were just driving down the road and saw a nice big barn and were interested, you might stop in. I almost did this the last time I was looking, as there was a big barn for whom the only number I had was no longer in service (very rural area, so not a lot of web presence or anything). I figured I'd just pop in one day on my way by, but ultimately I got the right number from someone else and called.

      I think dropping in to someone's backyard barn is rude - that's their home. But a big business-type barn? I think it's unwise, as you don't know who will be there or if they'll have time to talk to you, but I'm not sure that it's rude, per se.

      Personally, I'd rather get recommendations than just pop up unannounced - ONE visit isn't going to tell you much about the way things are, anyway, and it's certainly at least something of an inconvenience (how much would depend on what else was going on at the time...).

      I can't speak to it from a BO's perspective, though, since I'm not one...
      Proud member of the EDRF


      • #4
        I'm a BO and don't mind people stopping by to check us out, in fact I can tell a great deal about them from a short visit. If they immediately understand that we have a daily schedule to maintain, and they're willing to tag along while we answer questions, then they would probably fit in. If they want us to drop everything and focus on them for too long, then I've got a pretty good idea they wouldn't want to board here. So, no, it doesn't bother me at all.


        • #5
          While I can certainly see how this could be considered rude, I have done this MORE then a few times. Generally I hadn't been able to find a phone # for the farm, other times I wanted a look around when it wasn't "show ready".
          Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


          • #6
            I think so much of it depends on the context of how they "unannounce" themselves.

            My location is pretty visible and on a well-travelled route. The Farm # is prominently displayed. So, I've become accustomed throughout the week to fielding calls of, "We're here at the gate and interested in XYZ, can we come in?" The nickle tour will vary depending on my availability or who on staff is able to escort them, but I don't take umbrage to the request. I extend that courtesy to families with horse-crazy children or nostalgic old-timers in the car, too.

            OTOH, when the dogs "announce" that someone has come on in and is showing themselves around or a staffer happens upon a lookyloo...Mother Teresa herself would have a hard time overcoming my initial impressions. Lack of consideration is the kindest thought that flashes through my mind in those circumstances. "Casing the joint" and "PITA" are more common immediate reactions.

            I'm sensitive to the desire of potential boarders to see the "real live" day to day operations. When setting appointments, I will usually outline the daily routine and provide the opportunity to "swing in at their convenience" on a given day when I'll be available to tour and talk. Ditto for potential students--I'll glance over the scheduled lessons, note any that are similar to their age/level/interests and suggest a set appointment before or after so they may stay and audit if they wish.

            There's my thoughts. That & $3.50 will buy you a fancy coffee. It's a bit of a moot point for me since I've seriously scaled back (aka quit! akk!) to all but a few long-time clients this year.

            To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it. - GK Chesterton


            • #7
              At my barn (I'm a boarder and employee), we don't mind if you drop by as long as someone is there. There is not always someone on the property to help show people around, answer questions and the like. There is a sign with a number posted and we don't mind if people call ahead of time to get times when someone is around who can help them out. That being said, if you do make an appointment, SHOW UP PLEASE! We had one person call wanting to move their horse in ASAP, so a bunch of us pitched in real quick to get the stall set up and ready for the horse. This was 3 weeks ago and still no sign of the horse or even of the owner coming to check us out. *sigh*


              • #8
                When I'm looking I WANT to be able to come by unannounced. BUT... I'm also not expecting the grand tour. I want to see what it looks like on a daily basis, and will happily make an appointment to come back another time for a more official look.
                "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


                • #9
                  I have a few horses and have had to move them (to different barns) quite a few times (college, law school, job). I generally always stop in unannounced - though not at backyard type places. If someone is busy, I always offer to come back at a better time or ask for a phone number and a price list and will call to set up an appointment- but most times someone takes 10 minutes to give you the basics. I also like to be able to change things up during my visits (which aren't usually from down the street or the same state). I stop at the tack shop and ask for recommendations just in case anyone important didn't make it on the list for one reason or another. The barn my show horse is currently at was a recommendation from this board, and I did call her first because I couldn't find the barn she was at- but I did stop by that same day after finding out she was there and getting the address.

                  My last retirement barn shopping trip was the first time I ever made appointments because I had to get them all done in a day as I was driving in from several hours away. Those also tend to be the types of places without a staff that has regular working hours- and can generally be found on a Tuesday afternoon. I never stop in anywhere on a Monday- and try to avoid weekeneds when people may be away showing.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ibex View Post
                    When I'm looking I WANT to be able to come by unannounced. BUT... I'm also not expecting the grand tour. I want to see what it looks like on a daily basis, and will happily make an appointment to come back another time for a more official look.
                    Me too. I've dropped in just to check out a barn I was interested in. I didn't want or expect a tour, just a brief look, and then I could come back later for the tour. It's a good way to see how the barn and horses look when there's not a show or clinic going on, and I don't think it's rude if it is a boarding barn.

                    Now a semi-private, backyard barn, requires an appointment. Don't want to go trampling across someone's back yard to see her/his little barn.


                    • #11
                      I found my favorite trainer this way - was in search of a different barn, went past this one, threw the car in reverse, and never looked back! Theoretically speaking, of course.


                      • #12
                        I've done drop by's. But never at odd times--late, early, feed time. I make sure there are vehicles there & I don't just go in the barn strolling around. I ask if the BO/BM has a minute & ask for a rate sheet, maybe some quick basic questions if they can. I don't expect some fancy grand tour, I can come back for that if it's a place I can afford & it appears on the inside to be somewhere I'd want to board.
                        "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"


                        • #13
                          Maybe it's just because I've had a few bad experiences where I made an appointment, all looked well...but once I decided to board, I found out that "special effort" is put into scheduled visits that is NOT the norm.

                          IE: Clean stalls or turnout or barn staff poking horses with pitchforks or all horses blanketed for my visit because they're thin, but BO doesn't normally blanket.

                          As a result, I am happy to schedule a visit...but I still want to drop by unannounced and make sure that things appear as they should. I don't expect sunshine and roses, but I want a snapshot of what "normal" is.

                          So....if it was a large boarding facility (as opposed to a ma & pa backyard deal) I'd likely stop by, take a peek and then ask to schedule a formal appt and tour.
                          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                          • #14
                            My "backyard" barn is on 100 acres. I am the sole caretaker of the beasties. I would mildly flip out if someone appeared at my barn arbitrarily. Although if the barn was large enough to have lots of in-and-out traffic, perhaps it wouldn't be quite the big deal it would be here where it's just a few of us.

                            I highly suggest an appointment for or quick call before the FIRST visit. Why? Respect for the owners/workers and their schedules, for one. You'll need basic boarding info, and the way to be sure you can get that is if you know someone will meet you! And turnabout being fair play, if you boarded your horse somewhere, how would you feel about un-vetted strangers wandering around your horse?

                            At the first visit, if the "vibe" is right and you might be interested in boarding there, ask if you can visit unannounced and what the barn hours are. If I don't know you from Adam and come across you traipsing through my barn, messing with my and my boarder horses, that would be a very bad first sign!!
                            "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"


                            • #15
                              I think it depends on what "unannounced" visit means. If I know the barn has an office attached or know that the farm has an office somewhere on site, I'd stop in for a visit unannounced, but I would NOT wander the grounds or the barn without arriving and immediately reporting to the barn manager/barn owner.
                              If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                              DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                              Originally posted by talkofthetown
                              As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.


                              • #16
                                In addition to the above-mentioned reasons to stop by unannounced, I've done it because:

                                a) I tried calling during "normal" hours but no answer, repeatedly. I don't call strangers before 8 am or after 9:30 pm.

                                b) the barn down the street (or the tack shop) said the barn was looking for boarders

                                c) your granddaughter told me to stop by and ask for you because you might have an unadvertised spot open in your private barn

                                d) The BO me to stop by but forgot I was coming and didn't tell you! Understandable, but then being hostile when I show up...

                                e) The barn advertises in those sales magazines that they're always happy to have visitors...

                                You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


                                • #17
                                  I've stopped in unannounced by only by reference.. like when i was looking for a boarding barn and someone would say "oh you should check out Joe's place, I boarded there for months and he's great, he doesn't do e-mail and is bad with messages so just stop by"

                                  I do know that if I do this I have to be prepared for the BO/BM to be too busy.

                                  I have my own barn now (totally backyard barn) and I've had people stop by unexpectedly. It can be a bother if i'm in a rush (I work and i'm a full time college student!) but I know that I have a reputation to build so I always try to be nice.
                                  http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                  • #18
                                    I always stop by unannounced. I want to see what a barn looks like, not a dog and pony show, If you don't have time for me that's fine. If you have an opening mind if I take a look around? Alot of people don't adv. their barns so most of the best barns I have boarded at were a knock on the door.

                                    Barns are a business and typically are open 9 - 5 just like any other business. If they don't want anyone around well, chances are they have something to hide and I wouldn't want to board there anyway.
                                    The View from Here


                                    • #19
                                      I think this is one of those things that really depends.

                                      Some barns are small and private. If it has a perimeter fence and a gate, entering without permission is, in my mind, an absolute NO. I feel this is flat out trespassing.

                                      If it is a big barn, with easy access and obvious traffic coming and going, with a sign stating their business name if nothing else, then yes, I might carefully drive up and try to figure out how to find someone in charge. I would not poke around, check things out, look at horses - no, I would be all business and try to not get into anything or anywhere I shouldn't be.
                                      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                                      • #20
                                        I have a small back yard barn and one of my favorite boarders came this way!! I've never been upset when people stop by and ask-I've even done it myself! I think as long as people seem polite in how they enter your property-i.e. go up to the house first, or if they see you in the barn they wait by the fence until you come to them, then it's ok. I think sometimes the best way to find things out is to ask! I also get to speak with that person and get a vibe as to whether or not I think he/she will be a good fit before I even let it known if I have a stall available. I feel alot more comfortable speaking face to face than over the phone because you also get a feel about a person by his/her body language,facial expression,etc.