Lovemyponies, I agree that if you don't have time to properly take care of stall kept horses that they would be better in a paddock or pasture setting with a run in.
What really hit me with the OP was the "knee deep" reference to the amount of manure/urine they were standing in. Not only is this a health risk for their lungs but hooves also.
Would I call the authorities, don't know wasn't there. I do know that when I volunteered at a barn of 14 stalls I had never encountered the overpowering stench of manure and urine that the OP described. The stalls were cleaned once a day and yes when I was out sick a day, they didn't get done. Still not that stench. Granted I live in Maine, but our summers are becoming quite humid, though I'm not sure where the OP is from (forgot to look).
My horses are not treated like hot house lilies, but there are certain standards and criteria for the animals health that should be met. Good basic care is not that hard to achieve.
As far as boarders not knowing any better, well I guess birds of a feather will eventually flock together as it seems at that barn. I guess in today's world where there is so much info at the tip of your fingers, I just don't understand a "had know idea" attitude in basic horse care.
Not upset with anyone on this thread, so please forgive me if I sound a bit fanatical, I just really get upset when a situation like this is just brushed off. Personally, not knowing the full extent of the responsibilities of the BO and boarders I still feel that as a BO, the woman has a responsibility to set certain health standards.
If it is too much for the BO to handle, me being me would have perhaps offered to do certain amount of work for a further reduction in board. May or may not have gone for it but it is always an option.
Okay, stepping off the soap box now
. So glad my horses are home with me.
And lovemyponies, good for you for putting that teenager in her place! Urine does soak in and it is very difficult to cut that smell in a dirt bottomed shelter. We had to scrap once a year and put new down, that was on top of liming and cleaning during the year. Thank goodness we love our horses, they are a lot of work and $!