Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Minnesota, currently in Montana
• Horses: 0
Questions on working off board and business ethics
I am still very new to the world of horse ownership, I've had Kane now for about 5 months. I've been taking lessons for over 2 years now and he is currently being boarded at my trainers facilities. Me and a friend have agreed to help out to reduce our board rate and have had mentioned to us the possibility of a full time payed job out there.
I am unsure of average prices, and the amount of work most people do vs how much of a discount they get so I figured I'd ask those who've been around it for awhile. Board is costing us $400 (highest in the area). We are out there 6 days a week and roughly 25-30 hours a week cleaning, feeding, watering, scrubbing tubs, moving hay, and other heavy lifting. This is on top of our full time 8-12 hour a day job. In the end there is either no time or we are just too exhausted to enjoy our horses. If we work any less we have to make up the difference with what we pay, and with all that work we are getting about half off our board rate. Its just feeling like a lot of work to still be paying that much for full care services when we're the ones doing most of the care anyways.
The other side of things that's been happening, my boyfriend recently got a horse too and is boarding it there, who happened tostart showing signs of getting sick a few days after he got there. He was never put into quarantine (no horses are) and no boarding contract was ever given to be signed (me and my friend still haven't received one). A couple weeks later a few other horses start showing symptoms, and the owner blew up at my boyfriend about it saying things about loosing her business if people found out, being sued etc, then she went on saying she may make him pay for the vet bills of all the other sick horses, wanted him to come in to sign and post date a contract, which on it said of course that the business can't be held responsible for passing of illness, then started accusing him of not taking it seriously or caring enough because he isn't able to make it out there often (he's military, you can't just call in or skip out) even though he's paying for full care board. Meanwhile she says nothing about it to me, acting as if nothing is happening. The illness was mild, everyone got better fast, she hasn't brought up anything since.
Few months later I was able to drag him out there in the evening to go for a ride (he never wants to be out there due to the sour taste about the illness incident still there). We get out there and his horse is acting odd and uncomfortable. About an hour later is full blown colic. We get the vet rushed out, luckly he passes it without issue. Vet says the straight alfalfa that everyone out there gets fed is too rich for him and is a likely cause, even though he's been on it since getting there including when he was sick and inactive for a month. I ask her about it, ask her about the possibility of being fed a flake of bad hay since there's a new girl helping out. She says it could be for either and didn't say much more about the issue. Few minutes later I hear from my friend who works out there with me asking if I knew about the horses not being fed that morning when he coliced. I of course say no, was never told even when I was asking about possible causes. She then went on to say that she was being blamed for it even though it wasn't even her shift. Now I don't know the likelihood of a skipped meal causing his colic is, But I think it should of at least been mentioned to me. It's been about a week now and not a single word of it, everthing has just been happy sunshine and rainbows from her to me.
So here we are, my boyfriend is extremely unhappy about how he's been treated, my friend is hurt and upset by being accused, and I feel like I'm trying to be kept shaded from it all. On the plus side, I have enough land that in a couple of weeks will have temporary fencing and can move all three of our horses out here, I am really looking forward to having more time to relax and enjoy my horse, but I still want to continue taking lessons from her since I have seen nothing wrong with her as a trainer, and there really is no one else out here that I've found. I'm being made feel guilty about it from the other two though, and I'm having her being sweet and sugary trying to keep me out there to help.
So basicly my main questions are - Am I getting at least an average deal for what I'm working out there for a facility that I'm only getting an outdoor pen, outdoor arena, and no special amenities?
Should I continue pursuing lessons with her, or would that just keep the doors open for more conflict and drama even once I remove myself from the business part of things?
With my nature I just want to make everyone happy, and I'm being pulled in three different directions, so just trying to get as many different viewpoints as possible.