For the last 3-4 years she has been finding horses to ride under circumstances where someone needed their horse kept in work while they had surgery/were injured, too many to ride themselves, for owners who needed a seasoned rider to put some time on their horse, or friends, partial leases, etc. and also taking some lessons herself.
She called and asked my opinion on a situation, we talked some, and I suggested she put it in to her own words in an email and I would post it here on the forum for some discussion and thoughts/ideas from others.
So here it is:
I'm going to try to explain the situation the best way I can in a small space... |
I am an experienced rider but I can't afford to own a horse right now. I was looking into leasing one a few months ago when my friend who I used to board with before I sold my horses told me since she's so busy with school and work that I can ride her horse anytime I want if I just clean his stall when I go out there.
I've been going 3 times a week since September to clean and ride and she has only been out like twice since then. I also paid to have his hooves trimmed since it hadn't been done in over 6 months.
I have absolutely no problem with either of those things since I get a horse to ride for (almost) free, and a nice show-quality Morgan at that. I've started to become attached to him and he seems to be happier to see me each time I go out so I know he's bonding with me too.
Yesterday, mid-ride, the owner of the boarding stable came to the gate in a very hostile manner and asked me if I was leasing him and if so why had I not paid board for November or December yet. I told her I was not leasing him and the only thing I'd agreed to pay for was the farrier bill.
Once I told her that she was much nicer, and I definitely understand why she was angry, but now I have a problem. She told me she is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the situation since she's not being compensated for the use of her facilities, but that she doesn't want the stall to go uncleaned and she doesn't want me to have to drive the 40 minutes to clean the stall and not get to ride.
I was gone for a week and a half for the holiday and his owner was supposed to take care of him while I was gone but she didn't go out even once...seriously, it took 13 buckets to strip the stall when I got back. So for now I'm still allowed out there...but they're into their second month of not paying board and after 90 days the horse can become the property of the barn owner (something that's happened to this poor lady more than once since she opened her stable.)
I contacted my friend and her mother and told them of the conversation with the barn owner, and that she had asked me to try to convince them to move the horse. They asked if I was interested in splitting board with them (the only thing that would be different if I have a lease contract is I'd be able to take him to shows and trail rides whenever I wanted) and I told them the only way I'd be interested in that would be if I could move him to a barn closer to my house.
They told me to go ahead and look for stables and I've found a couple I would like to check out. I'm hesitant though, I mean if they haven't paid board in 2 months how do I know they will pay half of board and not dump all of it on me?
My other delimma, as much as I like this horse and I'm afraid if I stop caring for him he will be neglected, is that he is not the type of horse I'm interested in paying to lease.
I really want a hunter/jumper, I've only had about a year and a half of jumping training but I absolutely love it and I want to further my knowledge and experience in the field.
The Morgan gelding is 17 years old and scared to death of ground poles, let alone anything bigger/taller than that. Training him to jump is not an option as it's against his owner's wishes. Reporting them to authorities is also not an option because they haven't severely neglected the horse and it's really not my business to report them for not paying board, that's up to the barn owner.
What would you do in this situation? I can only afford to lease one horse, do I go with the one I feel needs to be "saved" or one who is capable of the type of riding I want to do?