I currently board at a county owned barn. I have been there for 8 years! This year the barn has new management, new lesson instructors and new employees. I am debating whether or not to move so I need your guys opinions! In the past 2 months this has happened....
- 4 horses got colic and two of them died
- 3 horses have strangles currently
- 3 horses are sick with cold like symptoms
- the barn manager and supervisor do not get along
- when the first horse got colic none of the boarders were notified until 4 days later
- my horse had his feet done over a month ago and I just received the bill from the barn manager. Now I have to pay a late fee to the farriar.
However on the plus side....
- the facilities are amazing
- my horse is well fed ( well I think so)
- my horse has not been sick but I am afraid he's next
If this was a barn where I boarded, I'd need the answers to more questions.
How many horses total are there (i.e. 4 horses out of XX, colicked in the last 2 months, so %)?
Does the barn require negative Coggins and current Health Certs on all new horses?
Are all new horses kept separate from the current boarders for a time?
Have the sick horses, ones with confirmed strangles at least, been separated from the healthy horses?
What care is being provided to the sick horses?
How good is the facility's & employee's bio security? Do the care for the sick horses last, with different equipment? Do they wash hands, dip boots and equipment in a disinfectant solution after they've handled the sick horses? How will/Will they disinfect the facilities the sick horses have been in and used?
Unfortunately, you can do every trick you have in your barn manager's trick bag and horses will still colic and get sick. It's the frequency of the illnesses and the percentage of the horses getting sick that would concern me. For instance, 4 out 200 horses got colic in the last 2 months, wouldn't concern me much. 4 out of 8 would make me look very hard at what/how they're being fed and how cold their water is, how much water are they getting? What is causing the colic? Strangles happens in boarding barns, especially if new horses are brought in and just placed in stalls with the rest of the horses with no quarantine period. Bio security in the case of Strangles or any other contagious disease would be the main concern for me in that case.
Communication from a barn manager is important but it wouldn't occur to me to notify everyone in the barn that a horse had colicked, unless I thought the hay or grain was suspect. If it was just a one time occurrence then I'd just notify the horses owner and I'd advise the staff to keep a close eye on the one horse. If feed or hay was suspect, I'd let the entire barn & staff know that I suspected some kind of contamination had occurred and to watch the horses extra closely and I'd pull the suspect feed.
As for the late fee to the farrier, I would pay the bill and let the barn manager know that I would be deducting the amount of the late fee from my next board bill, and then I'd do it. I suspect that will fix that problem.
Relations between the barn manager and her supervisor aren't any of your business, so that wouldn't be a deciding factor in move/don't move for me, but I suspect if that doesn't change and quickly, then the BM will be replaced.
If you have Strangles in the barn, more than likely everyone nearby knows about it and you wouldn't be allowed to move in to a new barn until the old has been cleared. If you tried to move in to my barn without telling me of the Strangles in your old barn, when I found out what you had done, I'd evict you very quickly. That would also get around and you might have a very hard time finding someone to take you, so be very careful what you do.