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Paying to ride other people's horses- always end up a nightmare situation?!

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  • Paying to ride other people's horses- always end up a nightmare situation?!

    Hey everyone, thought my story might spark some interesting discussion and would love to know your views on my situation, am going through an absolute nightmare time of it for more than one reason at present, and just writing it down helps me put it in perspective.

    A year ago I answered an ad by someone short of time and needing help to exercise their 3 horses. Popped along, was delighted, lovely set up, lovely horses, lovely owner. Soon settled in, riding the horses about 3 times a week, more than one a day often. Also invested time in their care, bringing in, grooming, mucking out boxes and cleaning their tack- it wasn't asked but I am a horseperson so I considered myself to be taking on the whole package, also don't see the point in picking feet then putting a horse in a dirty box. Was very happy. About 4 months in owner rang me out of the blue to say that it would help her if I started paying a small weekly contribution. I was agreeable, as said I was happy there. I began to pay, then was asked to sign a contract that I was told would protect us both. Again I was happy and very trusting of this woman, so I agreed.

    Fast forward 6 months, and it all goes wrong. I lost my job and like so many others in the financial climate, struggled to find another- I am still not working 2 months on. I could barely keep up with my credit card debt, let alone feed myself, so I went to her and told her that I could no longer pay the weekly contribution. This was very sad for me, I loved these horses, one in particular, and the greenie was coming on very well. I offered to work extra or pay half the amount agreed (I'd still struggle but I'd rather try anything to keep in touch with them). She said this was not good enough, she needed the money, and that we'd leave things for a few weeks to see if I got a new job, but at the end of that, if I still could not pay, she would get someone else.

    It turned out to be academic anyway, as I was involved in a car accident 2 weeks later. It was a pretty decent smash, the car was written off, and I was so shaken up and bruised I could barely move for weeks afterwards- whiplash etc, hurt just to sit. A few days after the accident, dealing with police, insurance and struggling just to walk my dog, I realised this could last long term, a scary prospect as I was now on sick. I sent her a message to say I was very sorry, but as I did not know when I could cope with the horses again, it was best she start looking for someone else.

    To my horror, she then stated that I owed her for the past few weeks when I explicitly told her I could not pay. I stated that nothing had changed, I was not working and now on the sick and did not know when I would be able to work. She has since escalated matters and is insisting on the money from that period, as well as a payment for 4 weeks- a months notice on termination of contract. I am so shocked that she asks money from a period when I was recovering from the accident and could not see the horses at all. Her response is simply that I signed a contract and so she is entitled. Having read the contract I see how one sided it is, she has fully protected herself, and I have no protection at all.

    Of course most of it is just feeling so sad about it all, I miss the horses, I have not ridden since my accident and as I still experience lower back pain I am not sure when I will. I liked the lady very much and trusted her implicitly, I had no idea that when I told her I could not pay she was actually totting up week after week on a tab, and that she would demand money from me even when I physically could not have had anything to do with the horses on the ground or in the saddle.

    I'm considering my options and may seek legal advice, but that it should come to this makes me sick to my stomach.

    I guess I'd just like to warn anyone who is paying to ride someone's horses to not sign a contract until you have taken it away and had it checked out- however nice someone seems! Accidents happen don't they, and apparently some people will still take you for all you are worth.

    My friends are all non-horsey and they can't understand why I ended up paying for a service they say I was providing her, but I AM horsey so I know they are expensive animals, I enjoyed being involved with them and I wanted to make her life a little easier. If I'd know it would mean she'd make mine a nightmare I would have avoided the deal like the plague!

    Someday if I am ever able I had hoped to look for another share agreement, but to be honest I will be wary of financial contributions for ever afterwards, which is a shame as I do understand the costs involved in horses. I would probably only ever be willing to work off rides in future. Does it always end badly or have I just been very unlucky with a combination of circumstances?
    Horse Selling Hell
    My Writing
    People who think they know everything about horses know nothing

  • #2
    If I'm reading this correctly, it sounds like you signed a lease contract. You got full access to the horses, without having to pay boarding or veterinary fees. This is a pretty standard arrangment; it's not unusual to "have to pay" for exercising someone's horses if it's constructed as a lease.

    And unfortunately, you're bound by your contract. Same as you have car payments for a car you can't drive any longer after an accident, you signed an agreement and have obligations to fulfill. Bummer of a situation, but there you are.

    Sorry this happened to you, but your advice is sound-- always read, understand, and get legal counsel for any contract you sign.

    Comment


    • #3
      signing B4 reading=always dumb

      you could have said no early on but by then you were hooked
      if you don't have it they can't get it
      suing would be a waste of their time
      more hay, less grain

      Comment


      • #4
        First I want to say that I am sorry fo your streak of bad luck. I understand the losing a job - but how unfortunate to have an accident as well.

        I won't comment on if you are legally obligated or not- because I don't think that's what you are asking for!

        But I will share sme crazy horse riding situations.

        l leased a horse on a month to month- partial lease, I had specific days that I rode. Things went well for a few weeks, then the heat of summer started. Unrevealed to me, I soon found out that the horse coliced when ever there was a thunderstorm...severe colic, almost dies, can't be ridden for days sometimes weeks afterward. So it became more often than not that I would show up to ride horseon my days, and nope- he wasn't rideable- bu I could ride 30 year old W-T school horse instead. Then one day I show up- horse is fine, no T storms for days, and as I pull up to the stable owners daughter is galloping horse, in a big sweat over fences.

        So I call owner, say that this isn't working for me and that this will be my lat month. She gets angry and says that horseownership is not all about riding, it is about the medical issues as well, and that I should have been more involved with the horse's medical issues and offered to pay for the vets bills.
        I told her that was why I was LEASING a horse, not owning one (I was 17 at the time).


        I had another woman who I cleaned all her stalls in exchange to ride one of her horses. I later got a job to pay for a school trip to Greece, and she called me and said now that I had a job I should be pitching in financially at her farm. I told her no, that I cleaned stalls in exchange for riding, but I never went back there.


        Anyway- I wish you the best with this situation!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by gloriginger View Post

          l leased a horse on a month to month- partial lease, I had specific days that I rode. Things went well for a few weeks, then the heat of summer started. Unrevealed to me, I soon found out that the horse coliced when ever there was a thunderstorm...severe colic, almost dies, can't be ridden for days sometimes weeks afterward. So it became more often than not that I would show up to ride horseon my days, and nope- he wasn't rideable- bu I could ride 30 year old W-T school horse instead. Then one day I show up- horse is fine, no T storms for days, and as I pull up to the stable owners daughter is galloping horse, in a big sweat over fences.

          So I call owner, say that this isn't working for me and that this will be my lat month. She gets angry and says that horseownership is not all about riding, it is about the medical issues as well, and that I should have been more involved with the horse's medical issues and offered to pay for the vets bills.
          I told her that was why I was LEASING a horse, not owning one (I was 17 at the time).

          I had another woman who I cleaned all her stalls in exchange to ride one of her horses. I later got a job to pay for a school trip to Greece, and she called me and said now that I had a job I should be pitching in financially at her farm. I told her no, that I cleaned stalls in exchange for riding, but I never went back there.
          Isn't is shameless how people often try to take advantage of horse crazy teens? I wish I had it in me, I could use the financial assistance!

          Comment


          • #6
            OP, does your contract say you have to give "30 days notice" or similar in which you may terminate the contract? If so, I think a case could be made for you claiming that telling her you lost your job and could no longer "pay the weekly contribution" would consititue such "notice". In which case you should only be held to that and not all the time that has elapsed since.

            If there is no notice clause, one would assume you could terminate the contract at will, since the only other assuption would be that it would run until you die or all the horses die or the owner dies -- which is, of course ridiculous. Even marriage vows can't be held to that.
            Last edited by greysandbays; Mar. 14, 2009, 09:46 AM. Reason: dupiclate word

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Cancara View Post
              She said this was not good enough, she needed the money, and that we'd leave things for a few weeks to see if I got a new job, but at the end of that, if I still could not pay, she would get someone else.
              What GreysandBays said. You told her you could not pay -- that you could not live up to the terms of the contract.

              Do you have any evidence of her saying that you did not have to pay for a few weeks? (an email, maybe?)

              You might write her a letter saying something like "On X date I told you I could not meet the terms of the contract as written. You told me that you would not charge me for several weeks for riding your horses, to see if I found a new job. I therefore believe the contract was terminated at that time. I am sorry it has come to this, but do not believe I owe anything further." Then ignore her. She might try going to small claims court, but how much money are we talking here?

              I absolutely believe that when you sign a contract you are obligated to meet its terms. But the same goes for the person who writes the contract. They can't change things around, agree to different terms, then decide to go back to the original terms of the contract.

              And don't give up on people entirely, I've done two leases with excellent people. But yes, read everything you sign!!

              Good luck, hang in there.
              ...somewhere between the talent and the potato....

              Comment


              • #8
                You answered an ad to help someone exercise their horses, for free, (do you have a copy of that BTW?) and it turned into a lease.

                Well, unfortunately I am not surprised, I've seen it happen in other situations (mostly roomates, where keep me company in this great big house becomes chip in here and there to help out, becomes pay your fair share, becomes pay your rent).

                I am sorry this happened and you are absolutely right, take home and review any contract you are asked to sign no matter in what way it is presented.
                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                Incredible Invisible

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cancara View Post
                  To my horror, she then stated that I owed her for the past few weeks when I explicitly told her I could not pay. I stated that nothing had changed, I was not working and now on the sick and did not know when I would be able to work. She has since escalated matters and is insisting on the money from that period, as well as a payment for 4 weeks- a months notice on termination of contract. I am so shocked that she asks money from a period when I was recovering from the accident and could not see the horses at all. Her response is simply that I signed a contract and so she is entitled. Having read the contract I see how one sided it is, she has fully protected herself, and I have no protection at all.
                  Sorry for your bad luck. However, if you signed a contract, you agreed to pay. Even if you can't pay, you still agreed to so you are still responsible and she is still entitled to the payment. It may not seem fair, but you agreed to the terms of the contract. Good luck!
                  ***Honorary Member of the "What is BOSS?" Cult...er...CLIQUE***
                  ***Prominent Member of the 'Irrelevent Posters Clique'***
                  CrayolaPosse ~ Bluegreen

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This takes shrewdness to new heights (depths?)

                    I can understand a lease on a schoolmaster, but it sounds like you were training her horses for free ("the greenie is coming along nicely...") Maybe I should buy a greenie and make someone sign a contract to pay ME to train my horse. I am going to look at a horse next week that was offered for me to ride; the lady does not want to pay for training but she is not charging anything either. Anyway, unfortunately you did sign a contract, which you're obligated to fulfill. Kind of crappy that she doesn't cut you a break for your bad luck, but that's people for you.
                    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Did the contract stipulate what chores you had to do? If not, send her a bill for services rendered! (Said only partly in jest)
                      Snobbington Hunt clique - Whoopee Wagon Fieldmaster
                      Bostonians, join us at- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Boston_Equestrian
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                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by linquest View Post
                        Did the contract stipulate what chores you had to do? If not, send her a bill for services rendered! (Said only partly in jest)
                        Sounds perfectly reasonable to me!
                        --o0o--

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Speaking as a horse owner, when I write a lease contract (which is what this sounds like), I've ALWAYS got a 30-day written notice for termination included (unless the lease is just for a specific amount of time, in which case the lessee is required to pay for that entire time period).

                          If someone is helping me pay the bills (in exchange for getting to ride), then I need advance notice that they are going to stop doing that so that I can be prepared to re-assume all the expenses myself (or, ideally, find someone else to lease to once the 30 days are up ). I (and most contracts I've seen) specify written notice so that there is no "but I mentioned it to you a week ago," he-said/she-said kind of mess. It's in writing; it's unmistakable. That protects BOTH parties.

                          Honestly, if I had a lessee who had serious problems - like losing a job and then being in a car accident! - I would certainly do what I could to make that easier. But with times as tight as they are, there are some months when I really couldn't say, without notice, "Oh, poor you, I'll cover the expenses." (That's part of why one of my horses is leased out to start with!)

                          Always, ALWAYS read ANYTHING before you sign it. If it was simple that there was no chance of either side misunderstanding or contravening, you wouldn't NEED a contract, so you'd darn well better bet that there's something important in there and take the time to read the thing - and take it 100% literally. If there's a clause you don't like, you can't think, "Oh, but they wouldn't really DO that" - that clause is there because, in fact they WOULD. (Ask to have a clause removed or revised if you don't like it - if they really WOULDN'T do that, they shouldn't have a problem taking it out of the contract.) And, if you are unclear on anything, talk to a lawyer.

                          To be quite honest, I have very little sympathy for anyone who signs something without reading it - regardless of what happens later. You have to do your own due diligence before I'm going to start thinking how awful it is that someone took advantage of you...
                          Proud member of the EDRF

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Did you sign a contract? If so, the problem was signing a contract whose terms you didn't really agree with. And of course it would be nice if she'd let you slide on the contract with your personal problems, but not everyone always does the nice thing.

                            That's the thing about contracts

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              have you got a copy of what you put your name to
                              as you should have
                              she advertide for free help in orginal add hope you have that if not ring the publisher of the paper and ask for a copy of the advert if you can remember date

                              they all keep archives for people in case they dont pay you know the fram and the lady so should be easy to find

                              if contracted then you need to give 30 days notice
                              which as you said you can only pay half board at a time and date then she said see how it goes i would deem it from that date to present date

                              and perhaps send her a bill for work plus riding fees might be able to counter her bill with your own so one owes nothing either way

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Cancara View Post
                                I'm considering my options and may seek legal advice, but that it should come to this makes me sick to my stomach....have I just been very unlucky with a combination of circumstances?
                                You've been unlucky in having met this person. Odds are, she'd have shown her true nature sooner or later, even if you'd never had an accident or lost your job. The thing that irritates me is that she's not OUT anything - she's trying to mug you for money she wouldn't have in the usual course of events, not trying to recoup any losses. She's a vile piece of work.

                                A contract is only as good as the person who wrote it and the person who pursues its enforcement. Just because you signed it doesn't mean you're legally or morally obligated to be cheated. You can fight back.

                                A) Take it to a decent lawyer for their opinion
                                B) Make it clear to the horse owner that if she pursues this, you will resist so long the court costs will more than overwhelm the sum she claims you owe her.
                                C) Go to court and lay it out for a judge, who may well agree that your message to tell her you couldn't pay should have been accepted by her as notice, and the worst you should pay is the four weeks after you sent it.

                                I would fight because this is so morally pathetic. She already had you PAYING HER do stable chores and exercise her horses (yeah, yeah, you had the benefit of riding them, but I think unless the horses were some sort of incredible specimens, you were undervaluing yourself a wee bit there), but putting the screws to you when you are down is excreable.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Seek the advice of an attorney.

                                  She can make all the threats she wants, but you really don't have to DO anything unless she pursues it. Sounds to me like maybe she really DOES need money, is desperate and is bullying. It seems like there would be some legal loophole regardless of what was stated in the contract since for months, you rode horses for free.

                                  And more on the whole "paying to ride/train someone's horse" thing...

                                  I half lease my mare pretty much every summer. On one occasion, the rider was more advanced than me--had trained professionally for a time even. However, I had a horse and she did not. She was paying me for the use of my horse. We had a contract which we both agreed to and signed. So maybe yes, she "trained" my horse a bit--but she wanted a ride and I had one. She agreed to pay me for that opportunity. I would say that in that case, I double benefited...

                                  But generally speaking, if you don't have a horse and you want to ride you usually have to pay for it. Even if you're a great rider--just horseless. When you reply to an ad for a lease, it's a lease when you sign the contract--even if you are a better rider/have experience/whatever.

                                  FWIW, I have leased many times and with only one exception (dealing with a minor and non-horsey parents) it's gone really well.
                                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Ok, since others have expressed my true opinion, I'll chime in on how I would deal with it. I wouldn't pay. If she came at me with a lawsuit threat, I would hire a lawyer and scour that contract for any possible loophole.
                                    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      First off, good luck with the job situation and get well soon!

                                      Originally posted by Cancara View Post
                                      ... and that she would demand money from me even when I physically could not have had anything to do with the horses on the ground or in the saddle.
                                      I understand that the situation is really tough for you but that is what sharing a horse entails - contract or no contract. From her pov (and as someone who also has part-boarders), notice to terminate is really important because that money has to come from somewhere.

                                      Thinking about it from a bit of a different perspective, I have been asked by part-boarders if they need to pay for the horse when they go on vacation. My answer has always been yes, because the horse still needs to eat, right?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        The reality is though, that it would not be worth her trouble to pursue this.

                                        My leasee's dad did not pay last month, and did not give 30 days even though we have a perfectly binding signed contract. I REALLY need that lease money but you can't squeeze blood from a turnip, you really can't.

                                        So what can I do? Nothing.


                                        The owner sounds like a horse's @ss to me. Jingles to the OP.
                                        Founding Member of "I Kept 'Off Topic Day!' Open"

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