Rant and Help? -long-
Ok, first of all, I was once totally spoiled for two years to have 4 acres of pasture and a lovely 6 stall barn and a house that I rented. I knew that moving into a boarding situation would be hard, but I don't think I realized the extent of the drama!!!
I am a pretty relaxed, friendly person who just wants to get out there and work with my horse and maybe socialize a bit of others are into talking.
When renting the small property was no longer an option, and the only option was an apartment, I bit the bullet and boarded. Now, I have two horses so I couldn't afford the 'best of the best' and didn't WANT to go into a show barn. So, I found this lovely place that was on 80 acres of land. 40 fenced for horses, which was great...except that it was 40 acres of trees, rock, and a trickling stream and heaven forbid you want to just go for a quick ride...you can't even FIND the horses unless it's around meal time, which was early in the morning or late evening (like it should be, granted) So, there was a small pasture in the front, probably about 3-5 acres though I'm not one that's super great at judging. Well, I put my two horses up there and supplied my own grain (Purina strategy) and offered to buy around bale for when the grass got too low. It worked out well, though some of the fence needed fencing since the owner had let it go due to not having a single horse on that part of his land for several years. The trouble came when a woman who lived in a mobile home next to 'my' pasture felt that hey weren't fed enough and started to go into MY feeding bin and feeding them TEN times what they should have gotten!!! They were definitely NOT skinny, but that sure was eating up my wallet!!! On top of that, the owner was feeding as well (per my request as it was too far out to visit twice a day not to mention that BOTH of my horses are easy keepers and don't need that much grain!!!) Other little things started to happen, like hearing people snipe behind eachother's backs. There was also no real "safe" riding area. Just 40 wooded acres with horses, then another 40 acres of trails (If you knew where they were!!!) Not to mention that at his time in my life I was trying to gain confidence in riding again after a very bad accident, and the rocks, dips, hills, mini mountains, streams, and anything but a fenced in, flat area was not the best place to gain ANY kind of confidence! While my horse was well behaved, I was doing the worst case scenario every second of every ride I ever did out there. So, between the riding conditions, and the battle over feeding or finding my horses, I decided to look for a new place.
Walah! I found one that is 15 minutes away with all the stop lights and traffic of rush hour! It had separated pastures, a 60 foot round pen, a fenced in riding area (grassed, but still nice and soft) and everything else a quiet city girl who's just a little bit country could ask for! So, I move them that day!
Surprise!!! I get out to my now ex-barn and my horses are no where to be seen...Why weren't they in the front pasture? Because apparently some time last week they got out!!! They had been found on the road!!! Luckily, I give a call, and while they don't come running, the 'herd' slowly made their way out of the trees in the 40 acres. I grab my two horses, all of my stuff (saddles, grooming supplies, everything) load up, and drive away. Surprise number two...I get to the barn, and look at my horses for the first time. Both have lacerations to their legs, one right under the ankle bone where it was obvious they had gotten caught up in the fence while trying to get out! I was devastated! How could the previous owner NOT call me when they got out? How could he not call me to warn me that they were out on the 40? How could he have put them out there and not noticed their legs and told me I needed a vet out there!!!??? At this point I feel that I had gotten out of that place just in time! Luckily, the cuts weren't bad. Good soaking, cleaning, antibacterial spraying, and 'swatting' for about 2 weeks had all the swelling down and had it all healed up rather nicely with the only scars to the area just under the ankle bone. No stitches!
Now, everything is going great for a few months, I'm in school, working towards a license, I have my horses close so I can see them everyday! Then winter comes...My car blows up...I do live with my mother due to the economy, so I do have an occasional ride, but not every day. So, I set it up with the new barn manager that if I supply the grain, he feeds them once or twice a day as needed. I even offered to pay him more. He didn't make me pay more, but said he'd do it. I was VERY grateful!!! Until about the third week passes and I notice my grain levels haven't changed....I approach him and he tells me that he put an extra bag in there since I had run out...Hmm...Fishy...but ok...I believe him because he's never done me wrong yet and was a nice guy. So, I make sure to put extra bags of grain out there so he wouldn't have to spend "his" money on any more of "my" grain. (He wouldn't let me pay him back for the bag he supposedly put in my bin) Again...A week goes by,and other than the grain I feed on the weekends...no change in level, and the buckets are dusty....I approach him again, this time I bring up that the buckets were all in the same place and dusty. His excuse? "What, I can't put your things back where I got them from? And it's a barn, of course it's dusty"..."Ummm....Ok....Please feed them double portions as it's getting colder" He agrees. Now, not only is the feed not moving much (though is some I'll admit) but they are getting skinny. It's about feb and while he has a round bale out there and says that he's feeding them, I find out that even when he does feed, he just takes a bucket and throws it out on the ground out in the pasture for everyone to fight over!!! And neither of my horses are dominant!!! What the heck man!? I ask him to PULL THEM OUT while he feeds, he said he would....I think you know where that was going. So, I take it upon myself to utterly badger my mother to get me out there once a day to geed grain and pull them out for some in hand grazing in the riding area. (this would be in the dark since my mom doesn't get home until after 6pm)
Remember that lovely 60 foot round pen I mentioned earlier? Well, guess what...now THAT'S gone....apparently it belonged to a boarder who was there only temporarily and I was not privy to that information. Ok...I need to be a big girl and ride in the actual riding area instead of the round pen anyway...take a deep breath, and advance myself to a more open place to get comfortable.
So, another deep breath "Spring is coming and there will be plenty of grass to graze on, taxes will be coming, and I'll get a 'new' car to get myself out there twice a day every day!"
Another few months goes by and there's some poor management getting rather noticeable now. Nothing big, but little things that make you go 'Hmmm'. Like...Why weren't the horses switched to the more grassed in pasture? (one is all pasture with a few nice shade trees while the other is about half trees and half grass) I bring it up to him and he blows me off...Ok, not my barn...but they are my horses....So I just keep them on their feed and keep on him about getting round bales out there.
Spring comes...round bales have lost quality and are no longer hay at all...but STRAW!!!
Another deep breath...but I still don't have a car....I ask him to switch pastures again. It's not for another 2-3 months that he finally trades the pastures out (the spare was being used for turn out for stalled horses...sooo, horses that get hay and grain twice a day get the fully grassed pasture?) at last another boarder comes along. A nice man who has a QH mare. He told the manage to change the pastures as well...guess what...HE FINALLY DOES!
Ok...so I'm a woman...and he's a man...whatever, now I'm just happy that it got done.
(Note, there was no damage done to the horses other than a term called 'winter skinnies' that happens to pastured horses through...yup, the winter)
Now my horses are gaining again and I keep up on their feed, supplementing with alfalfa pellets as well.(something I started back before my car exploded)
Another 2 months, it's now June, I have a car and am out once a day 6-7 days a week. The pastures are over grown with weeds and NEED to be bush hogged. However...no one can get in contact with the manager! He has now fallen off the face of the earth unless you talk to the girl he hired to handle the horses and clean the stalls. A nice girl, but not one who knows much about horses, or is confident around them.
Incident with a boarder-An in foal, show mare is turned out for the night from her stall...her owners come in the next morning to find her leg severely cut up due to down smooth wire that was supposed to be a hot wire and, you know...NOT on the ground!!! Again a 'lucky' escape as it was no worse than mine from the other place. 15 minutes a day, twice a day of rinsing it with water and some antibacterial spray. A scar is almost promised, but she's safe and healthy and no stitches were needed. The foal was not compromised, thank goodness.