Should I "blackball" my current barn when I leave? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Should I "blackball" my current barn when I leave?

I am in the process of moving my horse from a barn that I moved to a few months ago when my old barn closed. I moved there with several other boarders, and we were, with the exception of 2 others (one of whom left 2 weeks ago), the first boarders the barn had ever had. We've been there for 2 months.

The BO has been terrible at providing stall covering-- I have literally never seen my or any other boarders' horses' stall even close to adequately covered. This has caused hoof problems in each and every horse. I have had to pay serious money on special shoes and thrush treatments. They stalled on feeding several of our horses adequate food, and they have refused to turn our horses out on the grass. My horse lost an incredible amount of weight, and I wasn't even riding him due to illness! It took me four weeks to get them to increase his food and quit short-changing him/being disorganized (I really don't care what their excuse is after I asked the first time). On top of all this, the BO is often rude and makes excuses, including blaming us and the stablehands (definitely not their fault-- they got yelled at for giving "extra" food and shavings to the boarders, when it was really just adequate and what we had asked for). These problems apply to every single boarder. Despite a promise to change, I've come to the conclusion that I cannot trust them to take care of my horse consistently.

So, I am moving, and the others are not far behind me or have already left. The BO will lose all or most of her boarders in the next month or two.

My issue is this: should I "blackball" the barn in online reviews/the local tack shop where people go for boarding ideas? I want to, but I'm afraid I'm just too emotionally involved at this point. I don't want anyone else to go through what me and my horse did, but I don't want to ruin a barn's reputation because of my own vindictiveness. Should I warn others off?
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post #2 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 09:54 PM
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Don't do it no matter how angry you may get. If people ask you why you leave just tell them. Don't go out of your way to "blackball" them. Otherwise you'll get labelled as "that" girl. I recently left a horrible barn and still my family members go there and love it. It seems like there are a lot of issues at this place and you should get out of there.
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post #3 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 09:59 PM
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Well- if you don't say anything about it at all, people will go through the same process you did. But if you post it all over the internet .. The BO could come after you, you yourself could get a bad rep., and, I would just consider it rude posting warnings all over everywhere. What I would do is write a review on Yahoo Reviews or some boarding site, and if anyone asks you about the stable tell them your experience.

“Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen.” - Unknown
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post #4 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 09:59 PM
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If/when asked for your opinion, give it - but give it based on facts and not out of vindictiveness. Also, remember, the horse world is a small world - it is easy to burn bridges without realizing it (especially if/when you speak out of ill-will)
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post #5 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 10:02 PM
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If asked about it, you should give a straight explanation of your experience. But it's not worth the damage to your reputation to leave online reviews or such that can never be erased. You may need to move barns again some day and you don't want to be labeled as a difficult boarder.
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post #6 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all. I think I will do one review on Yahoo or something-- and I'll probably come back here to some objective people to get a second opinion before I let it go live to make sure it's even-tempered. Everyone else in my life is emotionally involved (read: as frustrated as I am) to make an objective assessment. After hearing your advice, I'll keep my mouth shut overall unless people ask, though. Thank you for telling me what I needed to hear.
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post #7 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 10:21 PM
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Great advice in this thread; and a restrained attitude is the way to go.

If someone asks you, tell them the truth about your experience as unemotionally as you can manage.

From what you're saying, at least some of the barn's problems should be immediately obvious to any prospective clients visiting. (Inadequate bedding, skinny horses) So people who visit might ask follow up questions of you like "Is it always like this? BO said blah, blah, blah, temporay" and you can say "Yes, it was like that the entire time I was there - never improved."

Reputation is everything in the horse business, if they deserve a bad one, they will get it on their own without help from you. DO NOT go out of your way to blacken the barn's reputation. Let the facts speak for themselves.

And good for you for having the sense to take a deep breath and ask these questions before acting.
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post #8 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 10:28 PM
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out of curiosity... what were they charging and what were they providing?

Cost per month?
Amenities?
How much grain and how much ahy?
How often were stalls cleaned and how often was new bedding added?
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post #9 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 10:29 PM
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I personally, wouldn't go out of my way to blackball the stable, but I certainly would make it known to anyone that I know that has a horse and boards not to use that stable.

For the sake and health of the horses, the prospective boarders have a right to know!!!

It wouldn't be a matter of getting back at the barn owner for me, it'd be about stopping unnecessary months of neglect to an innocent animal and for the owner of the horse not to be ripped off.
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post #10 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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I pay $450/mo for indoor and outdoor arena access... except the outdoor is often unavailable because they turn their horses out there despite having 2 other dry lots. The stalls were cleaned every day, but most days new bedding or little bedding was added because they either a) yelled at the stablehands to not give "so much" (even though the mat underneath was still showing) or b) they frequently ran out. All the horses received 2-3 flakes of hay 2x/day and 1/2-2 medium scoops of grain 2x/day, depending on size. However, many of us had to "remind" them for the first month to give what was promised to our horses. And the worst part of this is that their own horses are usually well bedded and fed, so it isn't even just ignorance causing these problems. Since we were their first boarders, we only had the treatment of their own horses to go off of, so everything seemed fine.

But, you all are right. Sooner or later they'll earn their own bad reputation. The other boarders are looking to move as well (and I mean ALL of the other boarders), and losing all your boarders in under 3 months is the kind of information that spreads itself. As much as I want to rant my frustrations publicly (or, more publicly than the internet), I'll keep quiet unless asked or directly confronted with someone considering that barn.

Getting this objective advice has been very helpful. Thank you all.
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