Ehh. Boarding issues. Advice appreciated!!
First off, a little bit about my situation.
I'm entering my senior year of high school, and have two horses. One is 13, and is pretty big (16.1 hh) so he eats quite a bit (in the summer he is perfectly fine on just grass, but in the winter loses some weight if he only eats hay, so I supplement a bit with grain I buy myself). The other is a 1 1/2 year old filly, and she obviously doesn't eat a whole lot considering her age.
I show a bit in the summer, and have taken the filly to a show as well. The barn owner hauls in her trailer, and she knows we aren't totally loaded with money so she goes a bit cheaper with us.
Recently this year, she has been working a lot more and is constantly complaining about how busy she is. For this reason, as well as money issues, I have cut back on showing. I get a bit annoyed because the barn owner complains no matter what...if she didn't have more work, she'd complain about that, and in this case since she has a lot of work, she complains about that.
My issue is this: I have done quite a bit of work for her to make up for some of the hauling expenses, but even though I'm not really showing (and the small amount of showing I do is more than covered by what we pay her, considering the fairgrounds are just a few miles away), she is still expecting me to do all this work for her all the time. I don't get any discounts on board for the work I do, and with college next year, there's a ton of stuff I have to do otherwise during the day, even just for next year's classes.Usually this includes scholarship hunting, studying for the ACT that I plan to retake so I can get more merit aid, and working a job.
Anyway, this is where a lot of the problem is. With the prices of hay going up last winter, she pushed the board up more. For both horses, it ends up $450 a month. While for a lot of places this is cheap, this is by no means a full-care place, and other barns in the area are not charging nearly that much (which she doesn't seem to realize...she thinks we're getting a huge deal). While I understand she only really makes money in the summer because she has to buy more hay in the winter (mostly for her own horses...she breeds every year even though she doesn't have the means of supporting them and nobody buys them, and there are only about 7 boarders) I think charging $225 for my horses to be eating only grass 24/7 is a bit excessive.
It's to the point where I don't like going out there and sometimes catch myself making excuses to not go out so I don't have to deal with her constantly nagging at me that I'm such an inconvenience. This isn't fair to my horses, and it makes me feel horrible, but I still struggle with it.
My dilemma is that I only have a year left until I'm off to college, and my mom has pointed out that with two horses, she'll lose a lot of income if I don't board there. My issue is, she's supposed to be providing me a service, and though I'm paying for it, I don't feel like the service is exactly up to what we're paying for. A year is a very long time if I feel like this, and quite frankly, there is no way I can afford to keep both horses at that property at that price and go to college. I've tried to talk to her, and so has my mom, but she is one of those that won't change and doesn't want to compromise.
Part of me wonders if I'm just being stupid, but I want to know what you all think. Sorry for writing a novel, but I need some advice from horse people!
Riders aren't 16 and pregnant. Riders are 16 and arthritic.