Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Plans Always Change

I had a knot in my stomach this morning when I went to feed the horses.  I knew I'd see the BO and I wasn't sure how he was going to react to my email, assuming he read it of course. 

I was getting ready to clean Lilly's stall when he finally stopped by. 

"Well" he said, "I'm sorry to see you go." 

I sighed and told him I was also disappointed that it didn't work out, but I needed to find something that worked better for me and my horses. 

"Do you mind telling me why?" 

I thought to myself, "how much time ya got, buddy?"  Instead I decided to keep everything civil and professional, and while I didn't lie, I kept the most controversial things to myself.  I figure nothing good can come from venting, (other than making myself feel better) and I'm not one to burn bridges.  So I simply told him that regular board wasn't working out for me for reasons he already knew, and co-op wasn't working either because of the cost and the time I have to commit each day.  He seemed to understand, but was clearly disappointed.

While on the subject of costs I decided to share with him that I think he'd be better off raising his prices closer to the $300 mark but providing more food for the horses.  I told him what other barns were charging and that he could easily get that price here, but he'd have to feed hay year round.  He won't take my advice I'm sure, so he'll continue to lose boarders.  He said he's had 25 boarders come and go from his place since he started just a few years ago.

Perhaps you should take another look at your business?

He said they have a trainer picked out to come into the barn for training and lessons.  He has decided he also wants to do track-out camps for kids while they're tracked-out of school (we have year round here).  He said he feels like people take advantage of him and he plans to toughen up...  the poor guy is just in the wrong business.  I hope he's successful, but I fear he's going to fail miserably.

Because my Dad raised me right, I'm going to honor the 30 day notice and pay for board through the 18th of February, but I'm moving the horses out on the 29th of this month.  He'll owe me close to $200 once everything is settled and claims he'll have it for me before I go.  I'm anxious to move on, and don't plan on looking back.  

I did get a bit of bad news today, though.  AJ's barn called and said the situation there has changed and she won't have room for him until March or April.  I was all set and feeling good about my decision and now this... 

Is it a sign? 

Well, even if it is, it needs to come with a blank check because I can't pay what it would cost me to board two horses at Lilly's barn.  So it looks like I'll have AJ with me for a month or two, and then I'll be moving him over to the other barn. 

I was talking with my mom today about the whole situation and she said she thinks splitting them up is a bad idea.  I won't get to see him every day if he's somewhere else, but I don't think I'll be at the barn every day once the horses are moved and Lilly gets the okay from the vet (please!!) anyway.  I think it might work out better having them apart because if I'm at the barn to see AJ, I'm at the barn to see AJ.  I might end up spending more time with him this way.  I'm not sure...  I'll have to see how it all works out.  Adjustments can always be made.

10 days until the move!


  1. I think you handled that confrontation very well. I think you're right about him being in the wrong business. I had a conversation with my BF the other night trying to explain the completely varying opinions about what is "right" in horse care. If you're in the business of horse care you have to respect your boarders opinions, or people leave, just like I left the last barn.

    I hope the move itself goes very smoothly and this place works out.

    Only 300 for full care board?!?! I live in the wrong state.

  2. Thanks! I feel good about how the conversation went. He took the news better than I thought.

    That's the thing about him that really gets me... he's always saying it's his place and he'll do what he wants. Even if you ask for one thing, he'll do the opposite if he thinks it's a better idea. Horse people don't take kindly to that, mostly because they could end up in a situation like mine where they don't have a horse to ride because they're busy paying vet bills!

    Hence the reason he's gone through so many boarders. I almost feel like I should be brutally honest and do him a favor, but M and her husband have told him many times and he just doesn't care.

    Well, $300 is for pasture board and stall board runs about $400. :)

  3. I think you handled it well also. I guess I missed it, but does your current place not feed hay at certain times of the year? Yikes!
    He sounds like the type of person that will never learn, no matter how many people walk out of his barn.
    I hope things work out better for you at the new places.

  4. I think you handled that situation very well too. You offered the BO some great constructive criticism, and it's up to him whether he cares to listen or not. It's a shame that he has that gorgeous farm but can't manage it. Perhaps the trainer he gets in there will see that things improve...ya' never know!!! Anyhow, good luck with the move :~)

  5. I've been following the whole ordeal and just wanted to give you a pat on the back. Kudos to you for doing right by your horses and for keeping a cool head while doing it.

  6. Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the kind comments. It definitely went better than I anticipated, but I fear he's a lost cause, and it's too bad.

    Horsemom, he stops feeding hay when the "pastures start looking good". Unfortunately, that means when little sprigs of grass start popping up. I took my horses there on August 1st and they never got a bite of hay (unless I bought them hay bales) until October 29th and that was only after I begged him to put a round bale out there.

    He seems to think he can put 3 or 4 horses on a 2 acre pasture and it will sustain them all summer long and well into the winter without any hay.

  7. Holy cow! I can't imagine not feeding hay! I wish!!! We're in the arid West, and with 4 horses on 40 acres, we feed year round. We can cut back s few pounds in the Spring, but by Summer the pasture's brown grass.

    You did a great job with the BO. You are smart not to burn your bridges.

  8. That BO reminds me of my last BO. I hope he remembers my tail lights as I pulled out....

  9. Most pastures are like that around here too, Terry. Some of them are really nice, but not his. We tend to get very little rain in the summer and the grass burns out pretty quickly in the heat. He's just crazy thinking his pastures are good enough to sustain 4 horses, considering each pasture is like 2 or 3 acres. "They're fine..." That's all he ever says.

    I hope this guy remembers mine too, Cedar! Bye bye!!