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Comment by Tracy McDermott on March 4, 2011 at 12:21am
April as I said your money spends like theirs, you might be doing these owner/operators a favor by possibly having the long term boarders speak up to someone in the operators clan that can deal with this, maybe let this newbie manage. It's a lot of work and probably more than this person realizes. If these folks are as physically limited as you describe then maybe they aren't such good proprietors. It's tough caring for horses takes alertness and strength, I know I wouldn't feel very confident with a forgetful old man and a fainting son/worker caring for my horses, we have 2  men(free rent for work) 1 full 1 part-time plus my husband caring for 20 horses. They know immediately if a horse is colic or in distress, cast in the stall, not eating, coughing, injured. Your stable owner is accepting money for a service no matter how small, and you paying the vet for problems that can arise from lack of attention can be devastating and heart-wrenching for a horse owner. In Mill Valley, Ca. there is a stable named for the indigenous indians here 'Miwok Stables' it's a co-op stable and it works very diplomatically. Boarders clean their own stalls/paddock (all use same amount bedding), worker feeds am/pm. hauls away poop and does repairs. It depends on what your paying. If the same money gets you into a good stable with services then I'd move before the place falls apart, if not then dig in and advocate for your horse he/she certainly can't speak up for itself.
Comment by April Keays on March 3, 2011 at 8:27pm
Thanks for the support.  Yes, the owners do know what is going on and keep saying that they will speak with them to get it sorted out, but that hasn't happened yet.  To be fair, they are having some health issue to deal with right now.  The owner/manager is an older fellow and his memory is going.  One of his sons who lives on the property as well has been managing the barn, but he passed out last week and is in hospital.  He is diabetic and of course there is concern for what is going to happen.  The other son and his daughters are helping as much as they can, but they don't live very close and he works full-time.  This new boarder has jumped at the oppertunity to ingratiate herself with the owners by doing repairs and mucking stalls, etc.  However, we have made our unhappiness known and I know we long term boarders will be sticking to our guns on this one.  But I agree, it just might be time to move on.
Comment by Mary-Joe Figueira on March 2, 2011 at 7:53pm
I agree. April you have been there longer you stay. Let the new boarders leave. There is less of them (trouble makers) and more of the good boarders. I am sure the owners can find good boarders to compensate.
Comment by Ellin McGinley Daum on March 2, 2011 at 6:23pm
Tracy, I agree with your excellent advise completely.  As a barn owner I've had to deal with this situation and many others.  In my experience the new boarders will move out if they are thwarted in their demands.  If the proprietor does not set down the rules all the good people will move on and s/he will be left with the trouble makers.
Comment by Tracy McDermott on March 2, 2011 at 4:20pm
April, Does the proprietor know any of this?? That is the first person to talk with, they will be in a position to put out fires so to speak. Your money spends just like theirs. It's in the operators best interest to NOT have buddied up horses stall next to each other because if one is out without the other the stalled one will yell and sometimes slam the door, it's hard on the hinges and it's really a nuisance. You should have DEMANDED yes demanded either your blanket back or $$ for a new one ON THE DAY IT WENT MISSING, even my grandchildren know if it's not yours leave it alone, your horse should not have it's routine changed because someone does you an unwanted favor. Not to mention the possible vet bill and recuperation. If you let some people have more leverage by being polite and patient you will find they will make a wreck of a wonderful barn and then move out without a backward glance. That is from experience. If the stall has been inhabited happily for 4 years there is no good reason to change it. Once again it's the operator or owner or proprietor to speak to if they are not willing to hear or have sympathy then maybe it is time to move on. I feel sorry for you and your horse because a happy barn helps all the horses stay healthy, good weight and less fuss. If the problem is with 2 new people then believe me if they are pushing you around they are pushing the management.
Comment by April Keays on March 2, 2011 at 12:10pm

I'm having some problems at my boarding place now.  A new boarder has come in and is basically taking over the place.  It's always been a low-kay barn and everyone has basically got along fine but now I'm thinking it might be time to move on.

 The first problem happened when these two new ladies decided to collect up their blankets and have them laundered.  Mine was hanging up to dry after being caked in mud and they decided to include mine with theirs.  I arrive at the barn the next day and can't find my blanket.

  I find out a couple of days later that these ladies took it and it was being laundered. Oh well, okay.  I gues I would have been getting it done myself anyways so....In the mean time though, I don't have a spare and my horse is out in the rain and cold without a blanket after being accustomed to wearing one.  This is a concern.

  Two and half weeks later they finally return my blanket!  I had pestered them 2 or 3 times about getting it back to me and the lady who was suppose to be picking them up just laughed it off and claimed that she kept on forgetting to get them.  No skin off their noses, they have spare blankets, meanwhile my horse is starting to cough!   

  Anyway, like I said, I finally got my blanket back but then when I put in on  my horse I find that the leg staps are broken so now I'm really stressing out.  At this point this woman offers me one of her blankets while I get mine repaired.  Finally.  This should have been offered right off!

  I get my blanket repaired and then this woman expected me to take her blanket in a get it laundered as well.  I told her that was not going to happen as they should never have taken my blanket in the first place, now she's pissed at me.

  She is also in the process of trying to take over another boarders stall.  I told her that that stall was someone else and  had been for 4 years so she probably would not want to be booted out of it.  The response was "Well it's not her stall anymore, we want to keep our horses together"

  So now everyone is getting their feathers ruffled, and these ladies just moved in.  Are we being overly critical, or are we justified in feeling put upon?

Comment by Ellin McGinley Daum on March 1, 2011 at 6:35pm
Absolutely, Cindy, I wouldn't have it any other way!
Comment by Cindy Jeffery on March 1, 2011 at 6:02pm
It is interesting and encouraging to know that horse people all over the place have the same problems and difficulties and we deal with them in similar fashions no matter where we are.  I love hearing from everyone all over the place and what their horse/equestrian experience has been, that's why I like this site so much.  Tracy it does sound like you have the perfect spot and so do you Elin and Sherry.  Each of us has found our own little peace of heaven, because we have learned to embrace the difficulties and grow through them to see what beautiful thing is waiting on the other side.  Truly an adventure, the best kind :-)
Comment by Tracy McDermott on March 1, 2011 at 11:05am

My husband and I have operated a boarding stable in Marin county (20 mi. N of San Francisco) for 30 or so years. It's old (est. in 1937) and needs tons of work constantly. We always have a sad laugh at so many people who feel stable proprietors  are making money like bandits, the old adage 'They're horses just throw food at them and water'. Here in Calif. there are so many rules about creeks and streams being polluted, erosion of trails, flies and smells (the smell one always makes me laugh). So we have the dry creek teated each winter $$, we have trail parties 4 times a year and maintain the closest ones all year, use fly predators and spray citronella (if not allergic). Our hay is from $10 - $14.50 a bale, different cost for oat, alfalfa, orchard grass and low-carb orchard grass, so many different horses so many different diets. We use pellets in the stalls (from Canada) for less waste because we can't store it, we have to have all the manure hauled out every 2 weeks (that's not cheap). We have 2 clinics for shots a year and are present for every shot and innoculation just to be aware if there is a problem later, some horses react some don't, if they do we know what to do or who to call. Our board is $485.00 a month, It's a giant child-care business that we wouldn't trade but isn't easy.

In return our average temp is 50+, the trails are year round scenic and athletic, we have 3 lakes within an hour riding and the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate National Recreation Area 1 Hr. in the trailer (5 hrs horseback) with a 100+ acre horse camp just over the hill. On some days Heaven and Earth meet. I'm broke but I can ride my horse in Eden anytime I want. I want to be reincarnated as my horse. 

Comment by Ellin McGinley Daum on March 1, 2011 at 10:48am
Your grandma was so right.  We have two or three days per year where I cook up a big pot of chili or jambalaya or stew and everyone comes out to clear cobwebs, do fence repair, clean out the tack rooms and have a great time socializing.  I also need to work part-time away from home to help pay the expenses on my own horses such as my Andalusian stallion pictured here.  If I were a little younger, 66 in April, it wouldn't be so difficult, but as a two time breast cancer survivor I sometimes feel 100.  Both the disease and the treatments really take a toll, but I couldn't live without my horses.  I really believe wanting to continue riding saved my life.  Been cancer clear since 1997.

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