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Friend thinks someone else is riding their horse.... what to do?

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  • Friend thinks someone else is riding their horse.... what to do?

    Title pretty much explains it all... but here goes.

    Friend called me the other day in a very bad mood, asking how to deal with this situation. Friend's horse is a nice mare, although can have her days where she will throw in a buck, or have a hyper day. She is not a finished horse. Friend is working very closely with a trainer for these issues.

    Anyways, friend did not ride horse for about 4 days, and comes out so see her pasture boarded (normally gets gross in the pasture) horse perfectly clean (tail, mane everything, almost perfect). Then finds a grimy girth mark, and bridle mark... I can't say it wasn't left over from 4 days ago, but friend typically grooms horse... especially the saddle area.... perfectly. And friend says she did clean it perfectly, going as far as towel drying the girth area.

    So there began the suspicions. BO typically puts off an attitude of mare needing a good come to jesus type ride so the mare can get over her occasional retartedness, and has even offered to take the mare into training. Friend declined for reasons I won't get into. Friend is also already working with a trainer.

    So what can friend do to put her mind at ease? She is relatively new to the barn, so didn't want to come at the BO without solid evidence. The BO is a bit touchy and friend is scared the BO would be really upset, maybe to the point of telling friend to leave.

    But the horse is acting different too. More distressed sometimes despite acting normal following the move, for some time.

    Friend already plans to show up at differing times, but there are times for certain she can not be there (at all, no way around it), and the BO knows this.

    I remember a thread a while back about someone thinking other people were using their tack, and it had some really creative ideas... She plans on having someone appear on a time where she can't be there, but it's hard to catch this behavior as I believe it's probably happening on a late night for the BO (maybe going for a drunken ride?). And they probably wouldn't use her tack, as they have their own and ride a different discipline.

    They also have a lesson program, and friend is scared if the BO used the horse in a lesson a kid might get hurt.

    Of course, friend is jumping the gun, so she really just wants to find solid evidence, or at least get a good idea of whether her suspicions might be right or not.
    Cupid - 2001 to 2006 I miss you everyday!
    Consent - 4/16/86 to 7/7/07 You were the love of my life!

  • #2
    That's tough, because as you said it's going to be really difficult to catch someone in the act. My only suggestion would be to always make sure the horse is groomed absolutely 100% perfectly, and then if she comes back to find any sweat marks from tack she'll know something fishy is going on.

    Honestly, though, I don't think I'd continue to board at a place where I could not trust the BO not to do something as simple as ride my horse without my permission. Of course, I don't board my horses anymore so take that with a grain of salt.
    exploring the relationship between horse and human


    • #3
      I would make darned sure that barn owner, manager, workers, and other potentially affected ones know ALLLLLL about the legalities of stealing someone's horse, however temporarily. When they don't "get" it, remind them of how illegal it is to take someone's CAR.

      ETA: Moving horse is the sure answer, and I'd do it IMMEDIATELY. Having your horse ruined kinda negates the reason for HAVING one, doesn't it?
      Last edited by nightsong; Mar. 23, 2010, 01:45 PM.


      • #4
        Yes it sounds to me like your friend has it pegged right.
        She knows her horse. She grooms her horse. She knows what she suspects is right.
        Proving it may be hard to do.
        If it is possible I'd suggest she moves her horse.
        Even if she has an eyewitness, how is she going to stop it? Even if she tells the Barn Owner, will that person stop riding the horse?
        How to stop it? By moving.
        Barn owner sounds like a twit.
        I'd suggest she start looking for another place to board. Right away.


        • #5
          Sounds convincing to me. I've ridden at lesson barns where boarded horses are treated as community property, and boarders are treated with contempt. If your friend doesn't want other people riding her horse, she should leave ASAP. This isn't even worth the conversation with the BO, in my opinion. The only reason the BO should care about the horse having a come-to-jesus ride is because she wants to be able to use the horse in her lesson program.


          • #6
            Timely thread. Had just this situation with a friend of mine, about six months ago. My advice to her then(and to your friend, now) was to schedule a talk with the BO immediately. During that talk, a letter and a copy of same, should be produced that states that no one save the horse's owner has permission to handle or ride the horse, except where necessary from barn staff, without express written permission from the owner - no exceptions The letter should also state that owner will hold BO liable, should anyone violate this agreement. Have spaces for two signatures; BO's and owner's. Leave BO a signed copy.

            Also, put a sign on the horse's stall door that is a shorter version of the letter. Laminate it, and staple/tape it to the stall front. That way, no one has the "Oh, I didn't know it was wrong!" excuse.

            If BO is riding the horse, this should put an end to it. If anyone else has the temerity to ride the horse, BO will put a stop to it if they think it'll be their @$$ in a sling if something untoward happens with the horse while it's being used without authorization.

            Good luck. My friend resolved her situation by just talking to the BO after it happened, and putting a sign on the door. Here's hoping your friend is as successful.
            In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
            A life lived by example, done too soon.


            • #7
              ummm- Nanny cam?
              Appy Trails,
              Kathy, Cadet & CCS Silinde
              member VADANoVA www.vadanova.org


              • #8
                wow... do we have the same friend?!

                a VERY similar thing happened to a good friend of mine. she was boarding with a friend (at the time) at her backyard barn, just my friend's horse and the horse that belonged to the BO. she comes out to see the horse one day and finds him with a girth mark, her stirrup keeper on the saddle is broken, saddle is horribly dirty, her girth is wet and sandy, etc. it's very clear that someone has ridden the horse, and things didn't go well. she approaches the BO about it, BO denies it. my friend is still suspicious.

                we found out later through a mutual friend that the BO had (foolishly) told about the incident that she had invited a friend over to trail ride. BO rode her own horse, and gave her friend my friend's horse to ride. without ANY permission at all, which is totally unacceptable to begin with. but then as they were riding along the road my friend's horse spooked, slipped and fell, dumped the girl and ran off. BO was apparently not planning on telling her any of this.

                my friend was LIVID and moved the horse out of that barn ASAP, and cut off all ties with the BO. i think your friend should do the same. it's unprofessional, dangerous, and just plain unacceptable behaviour.
                Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



                • #9
                  Stories like this make me worried about boarding. When I go see places this weekend you can bet one of the things I am going to ask if how my stuff (tack and horse) being used by others will be handled by the BO/BM.


                  • #10
                    I've heard about this happening quite a few times. Once with a BNT, horse was being used for a lesson, others in backyard situations. I'd be out of there in a heartbeat! I'm going to bet it happens a lot more often than one would think.


                    • #11
                      I don't know where the heck some of you board but none of the barns I've ever been affiliated with (from NYS down to VA) have ever had the time or desire to ride anyone elses horse if they aren't being paid to do so. Especially not a horse that needs a come to Jesus meeting. Who wants to ride that without getting paid? It does make me laugh at how many people "think" other people at the barn are riding their horses. Trust me, they don't want to ride your horse. There are too many other horses that need to be ridden to do that.


                      • #12
                        I wouldn't be too snarky there, CHS. A local boarding barn opened here several years ago and the BOs really didn't seem to understand that horses were individual PRIVATE property. He let anyone grab anyone's horse and use it anytime. A friend of mine boarded there before everyone was aware of what was going on. She showed up at the barn one day to find someone else tacking up her horse. Her horse wore a new halter with a nameplate. The name on the nameplate was not her horse's name. A similar nameplate was also found on her horse's stall door. This person who was riding her horse when she was not around had RENAMED her horse and didn't see anything wrong with it. Needless to say the situation ended then and there. Beginner kids were trail riding boarder's expensive greenies because "he's so pretty." After a few rounds of people getting hurt on other people's horses and lots and LOTS of angry boarders, the BO finally decided to change his tune. Some people are really just morons.


                        • Original Poster

                          I'd totally agree with you CHS but when I got my first horse the resident "trainer" decided my horse needed to learn some manners, and rode my horse (my horse WAS a handful, more then I should've owned, but it worked out fine in the end). I got suspicious with the girth marks (no bridle marks), then found my tack had been used (still wet girth, a BENT curb bit etc). Found out wayyyy later through barn gossip girl had ridden horse, horse tossed her pretty bad, and she got scared. Since the girl wasn't around by the time I had it confirmed, I let it go, except for flipping out on the BO (who claimed not to know). I left shortly after.

                          Friend has plans to move horse to trainer's barn in abt 45 days. Can't move the horse in sooner since the trianer's barn is full right now. She doesn't really want to move her horse again for a few weeks, over just a suspicion... but she will if there are anymore signs.
                          Cupid - 2001 to 2006 I miss you everyday!
                          Consent - 4/16/86 to 7/7/07 You were the love of my life!


                          • #14
                            That sounds like a very low end facility. You get what you pay for.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Love My TB Consent View Post
                              Anyways, friend did not ride horse for about 4 days, and comes out so see her pasture boarded (normally gets gross in the pasture) horse perfectly clean (tail, mane everything, almost perfect). Then finds a grimy girth mark, and bridle mark... I can't say it wasn't left over from 4 days ago, but friend typically grooms horse... especially the saddle area.... perfectly. And friend says she did clean it perfectly, going as far as towel drying the girth area.
                              This time of year the horses coats are funny. Even for my horses who are nearly in their summer coats. I will groom them and put them out after ride, look at them an hour later and wonder how in the hell did all those sweat marks reappear?

                              I wish I could blame my crappy grooming jobs on someone riding my horses while I wasn't looking. Sadly that is not the case.
                              Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                              • Original Poster

                                You don't pay for someone to ride your horse! I can totally understand saying that when someone complains about poor hay, bedding, grain, poor care in general etc. But riding takes MORE work!

                                And since we're talking about this, when someone charges a lower amount of board it means they are lower class? Or void of morals/ethics? Really??? Since you are paying less money the BO doesn't care about riding your horse?

                                FWIW, the place I was speaking of (where I kept my old horse... ummm 9 years ago) was slightly backyard, but was about average for pasture board. Where friend keeps her horse, she is paying the HIGH end of what pasture board goes for!
                                Cupid - 2001 to 2006 I miss you everyday!
                                Consent - 4/16/86 to 7/7/07 You were the love of my life!


                                • #17
                                  I knew someone once who thought people were riding her horse or something so she put a combination lock on the thing's stall in a training barn where everyone is too busy to worry about riding a horse that isn't in training. Those were some crazy times, and I think, from what I hear, she's still a nut job.
                                  Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by tidy rabbit View Post
                                    This time of year the horses coats are funny. Even for my horses who are nearly in their summer coats. I will groom them and put them out after ride, look at them an hour later and wonder how in the hell did all those sweat marks reappear?

                                    I wish I could blame my crappy grooming jobs on someone riding my horses while I wasn't looking. Sadly that is not the case.
                                    That made me laugh!!! It is true, and that is the one reason she has not jumped on moving horse immediately, or getting into it with the BO. She is almost certain that it's not the case, but can't be 100%.
                                    Cupid - 2001 to 2006 I miss you everyday!
                                    Consent - 4/16/86 to 7/7/07 You were the love of my life!


                                    • #19
                                      Actually it was brand new. Several acres of pasture. Stall and pasture boarding. Two barns. Two nice arenas. Miles of trails. From the outside looking in, it seemed ideal. No red flags.Price was comparable to all of the other boarding barns in the area, if a bit more. To someone fresh to the area or someone new to horses and "out of the loop" there really would have been no way to know such stupidity was afoot.


                                      • #20
                                        Barn I was talking about was high end BNT. And she was caught in the act with a horse in a lesson. So, it can happen anywhere.