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How to handle this "boarder that is a friend" situation

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  • How to handle this "boarder that is a friend" situation

    Long story short, I have a private barn with my horse and my best friend's horse in my backyard. She pays me $225 a month to cover his expenses and cleans the barn/paddock three days a week. I make no profit and do this out of the kindness of my heart and for the help (I work full time, as does she).

    Her horse was diagnosed recently with heaves and must have his hay wet down. This means all hay outside and his indoor haybags. It has been taking me an extra 10 minutes a feeding to wet his hay using a hose and a laundry basket. PLus I get SOAKED.

    I asked twice if she would consider buying a small mesh garden wagon to make my life easier so we could water into the cart and then wheel in into the paddock and it keeps anyone who feeds from getting soaked.

    She is not interested.

    So, do I:

    1) Buy it and charge her, since it is for her horse only.

    2) Buy it myself and shut up .

    3) Suck it up and get soaked, plus spend an extra 1/2 hr. a day doing extra work for her horse that I get no compensation for.

    4) Charge her for my time.

    Don't get me wrong, she is my best friend, but not very motivated if it does not directly affect her. Thanks for any input you may have.
    Gone gaited....

  • #2
    well, if it were MY best friend, I'd buy it and tell her to cough up the money. But I'm not worried that something like that would make my best friend not be my best friend anymore. If you're worried that you'll piss her off or whatever, then I'd just suck it up and pay for the cart myself- you can chalk it off as a gift to her and not get her something on her birthday if it makes you feel better
    "My shopping list is getting long but I will add the marshmallows right below the napalm." -Weighaton


    • #3
      I do not think your request is unreasonable. If she is not willing to buy the equipment, perhaps she should come out herself and do the extra work that is required to care for her horse. Otherwise, I would suggest charging an extra fee. That is not unheard of. Although you have to be careful with friends. If she is truly your best friend you should be able to come to an amicable solution.
      Sailing the high seas but secretly wishing to be on the back of a horse.


      • #4
        This does directly affect her horse, and so, by extension, her.

        I would pose it to her this way:

        Taking proper care of your horse takes me an extra half hour per day. Would you prefer to

        1. buy this thing and bring it over here next weekend?
        2. realign our "jobs" so you're picking up about the same amount of time I spend now preparing your horse's hay?
        3. pay me for my time?

        or do you have another suggestion? I want to get this handled right now before I become resentful and it impacts our friendship. Neither of us has loads of free time, but whatever free time I have I'd rather spend with MY horse.

        Good luck.


        • #5
          You're going to have to suck it up and communicate with your friend. I know it's awkward, but you need to let her know that you really enjoy having her there and appreciate the extra help, but that managing her horse's heaves is going to require an additional expense. The current practice isn't working. Practice saying, "I'm gonna need for you to purchase xxxx " And then wait for her response. And then go from there.

          There is absolutely no reason for you to pay for it. That will only make you resentful.


          • #6
            It seems to me your 'best friend' is demonstrating a perfect willingness to take advantage of your kindness.

            If it were me, I would say 'so- how do you want to deal with YOUR horse's health situation. Either YOU buy the necessary equipment for me to do the job, or YOU come out and soak the hay.' And I wouldn't be shy about asking for an extra $50 a month for your time, AFTER coming up with the right equipment.


            • #7
              LOL< have her buy it to you for an early Christmas pressy!

              (But I do believe there are other alternatives that don't take up a lot of time or new equipment)

              The niftiest thing I ever saw was a hay feeder tub with a faucet to drain the water. (you could just teach him to dunk it in a water bucket.... or use a busted manure tub to soak it....

              Ahh, bestest friends...


              • #8
                Personally I would just buy it myself. I bought a muck bucket and pitchfork for myself at my farm. Others use it. What ever makes YOUR life easier, I say. If she leaves with her horse, the wagon is yours to keep.


                • #9
                  If you were my best friend, and I cared about my horse, I would have thought of it and bought you one without you asking.

                  I would speak with her directly. Maybe she is NOT your friend. Or her horse's friend?
                  a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                  • #10
                    Just curious...how are you not making a profit at $225 a month and she's working for you 3 days a week?
                    I vote that you buy the wagon, and not charge her for it. But if you're really feeling strongly that you're not getting paid fairly for the services you're providing (which now includes wetting hay) then a discussion regarding raising her monthly board is in order. Hopefully this won't cause a strain on your friendship, but don't be surprised if it does. There have been numerous threads on this board about friendships going bad after the friends enter a boarding situation. Sadly, it's usually safer to offer board to people you can have strictly a business relationship with.


                    • #11
                      I think honesty is the best policy....

                      "Hey friend, I know that your horse requires X extra care now that this issue has been diagnosed. How would you prefer to take care of it?

                      I was thinking that either you could come out and do the soaking twice a day or you could buy that mesh wagon thingy I mentioned. What do you think? I just don't have time to be doing this by hand."

                      Just another hint though....if it's just a matter of dust and not needing to leech out sugars....get a muck bucket, fill with water, put hay in a hay net and dunk a few times. Then throw in your cart.
                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                      • #12
                        Just be honest. Tell your friend what you have told us. You make no profit from her boarding and your time is very precious and so the wetting of her horse's hay needs to be as efficient as possible. (as far as getting wet, just think of what it will be like when its cold out) Ask her for suggestions on the best way to do it and make sure its something you both agree on. I really think this is one time to just say what you are thinking.


                        • #13
                          I'll be honest....at one point, I was keeping my horse in a similar situation with my best friend. My horse got sick and needed meds twice a day. I was prepared to go out there twice a day and do it. She offered to give the a.m. meds. I offered to pay her. I can't imagine not OFFERING to pay for extra work. Seriously.
                          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for the suggestions so far....

                            At $225, it covers:

                            $130 in hay (we pay between $4.50-$6 bale here)
                            $60 in grain, he is not an easy keeper
                            Bedding in the winter
                            About $25 towards the electric bill for the fence charger, fan, and water bucket in the winter

                            I realize she mucks, but it is paddock mucking as our guys are out 24/7. She spends an hour and a half A WEEK in labor. I spend (on average) an hour a DAY. If I could lower what I charge I would.
                            Gone gaited....


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by manyspots View Post
                              At $225, it covers:

                              $130 in hay (we pay between $4.50-$6 bale here)
                              $60 in grain, he is not an easy keeper
                              Bedding in the winter
                              About $25 towards the electric bill for the fence charger, fan, and water bucket in the winter

                              I realize she mucks, but it is paddock mucking as our guys are out 24/7. She spends an hour and a half A WEEK in labor. I spend (on average) an hour a DAY. If I could lower what I charge I would.

                              that doesn't even include that you probably have a mortgage and taxes on the land.


                              • #16
                                Yup, when it's added up you really aren't making anything. Have you ever explained that to her? She might feel a bit more "obligated" to help out when situations arise, like wetting the hay.


                                • Original Poster

                                  I agree, maybe explaining what I don't make is effective.

                                  Honesty is the best policy, its just good to have the COTHers to bounce a situation off of. This isn't just going to "go away." This is a chronic condition which will need to maintained. We are lucky this is all it requires for now!

                                  I won't see her for a few days, so I have some time to chew on the right way to talk to her about it.
                                  Gone gaited....


                                  • #18
                                    Be strong and I would let her know that you don't make dime on it. I know at our barn they have always just broken even and when hay and feed prices went up they waited quite a while to up the board. Some boarders were upset and they have no idea what our BO spends on hay and feed so I made sure to mention it to everyone. I mean you don't have to shove it in her face, just mention how the expenses add up. Good luck.


                                    • #19
                                      It's about the horse and what the horse needs. Friend does her share on her days, you do your part on your days. I am sure she would do the same thing for your horse if the situation was reversed.

                                      I understand your not making anything and it is a bit extra work for you but in the end it is something the horse needs and I hope the horse gets better soon.


                                      • #20
                                        And while you're having a chat with her, might be a good time to introduce a basic contract that outlines the rules, the work she is expected to do (and to what level of satisfaction), how much board is, etc. Just as a "Let's cover both our butts thing and avoid any misundertanding"
                                        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.