Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
I think before things go further you have to have a serious talk with her (before writing off the friendship).
A lot of horse people just don't understand the constant responsibility and the costs involved - even if you have explained them to them. Be crystal clear and lay down how it is.
Tell that horses need to be fed "x" amount of times a day and that this never changes regardless of responsibilities or sickness or holidays or whatever. And when your friend is taking all this time off not looking after her horse you are. Everyday. And its not just tagging on the end of yours, its a whole other horse and it takes up your time and money. And most importantly its not your horse.
Tell her how much feed her horse needs and how much money that approximately costs each week. Money you have been covering her for and that you need. Make it simple, don't talk about all the different feeds needed or anything, just say YOUR horse needs "x" which costs YOU "x" which I have paid. And even if you have the spare money say you don't, say you can't afford to keep covering for her, that unless she pays you what is owed now, and within lets say a week of feed purchasing future amounts, that she is going to have to be responsible for ordering and storing her own feed. Perhaps offer her a discount on "board" if she comes out and cares for Toby herself. I imagine after a week of feeding, cleaning etc she'll be happy to pay the $50. Or up the cost. Say you're going to have to charge her $150 (or something) if she's not willing to pay for feed or help out. Give her options so that she takes the responsibility of making a decision, not just having terms dictated to her.
Then, while you're talking, write it all down, just so there is "no confusion" of whatever she decides, try get her to sign or something. Then if she doesn't step up or pay up ask her to move her horse.
Most places don't just allow you to assume ownership of a horse. It's not your horse and claiming someone owes you money doesn't make it your horse. Especially as there is no proof you are owed money and no signed agreement. Also, in many cases with contracts boarding places can auction of the horse, taking their share to cover money owed and then returning the rest to the owner. Unless you have a contract stating the horse becomes yours after an amount of time, and then probably registered letters sent to the owner requesting the money owed, and the consequences, I doubt you can legally assume ownership.
That's not to say if you talk to your friend about money owed she won't just agree to give you the horse. Be upfront, clear and honest. Good luck.