Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
If I was you, I wouldn't charge. Sometimes, it happens that horses colic when the owner isn't around. I know time is money, but sometimes... courtesy is more valuable. The fact that you spent an hour working with this horse will resonate with the owner and the good karma could be returned by way of new boarders or lesson students. You might have lost $40 on this horse, but you could make hundreds of dollars due to positive referrals from your boarder.
If I was in the situation of your boarder, I would be completely grateful that you took the time to walk my horse and keep her from doing further damage. Even if you didn't charge, I would feel obligated to help out and repay the favor. Maybe it's just me, but I'd be in that barn mucking stalls, measuring feed, haying horses... anything I could do to make your life easier because you helped save my horse.
A business is a business, but when you get down to it, people are the center of your business. Without them, you wouldn't have a business. You need to retain that customer loyalty, or it won't matter that your services are among the lowest - people do not like being nickle-and-dimed at every turn.