I took riding lessons at a boarding barn for years before I bought my first horse, from the barn manager. When I did get my horse, my family and I opted to board him there for a couple of months so that I could take lessons on him with my instructor in a familiar arena (for me), before we moved him to our farm. I was kind of a novelty there, almost all of the other boarders were BIG into the QH show industry, and I was the little girl with the braids and the mutt pony. When the BM was there life was good, but her daughter (about 5 years older than me) was also really into the showing. When the daughter started qualifying for major shows, the BM started traveling a lot, leaving people who my dad terms "the minions" in charge of the barn. That was when things went downhill.
Example: My pony was hard to catch. No problem for daily operation (we asked the BM if he was a problem, she said no), he would come in with the herd, but you couldn't walk out and get him without a fight. So, we just had the BM leave him in, then we went to the barn daily to exercise him. When the BM went to a show, she would tell whoever was to be in charge to leave my pony in. I went the extra mile to leave a note on his feed can, a note on his stall door, and a note rolled up in his halter ring, all saying "please leave me in my stall." The temp. couldn't have removed him from the stall without encountering several reminders not to. Yep, Dad and I got to the barn just in time to see my pony's tail disappear into the pasture. Dad was frosted (half an hour's drive to the barn, and no horse), and the temp BM played stupid when we asked her about it.
We never left anything there except a halter and lead (which I made sure were horrendous colors, flourescent orange halter and rainbow lead). We never heard of anything being "messed with," but better safe than sorry. The actual BM was awesome, and put up with way more than she should have from certain boarders (as in, people several months behind on board, refusals to clean stalls, lights left on, electric buckets left on in the summer, I could go on and on... often all of these things from the same people). I helped out a lot with feeding and cleaning out some of the "problem" boarder's stalls after my pony was done, for the sake of the horses' health. I'm so glad to have my horses at home now.
I would love to operate my own boarding barn someday, but I would have to keep it small (like, I could handle the daily chores for every horse in there as if he were my own), have a rule like "the stall must be cleaned at least once a day. If you don't do it, I will and you will have $10 per day that I do it added to your bill," and "you miss your payment, your horse is demoted to pasture rent only until you're back up to date." Definitely a contractual agreement. Absolutely.
Oh, to the OP, that polo wrap thing is aweful! How are you supposed to find yours in the tack room? Jeez...
I would be out of there in a heartbeat, if at all possible.
Sorry, Y'all, for the novel.
A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown