The barn where my gelding is boarded initially looked like a great place. I met the property owner back in February, saw the improvements they were beginning to make to the property and all the horses looked well cared for. They had a newly-built indoor arena but had not done anything to the floor. It was just regular dirt with lots of rocks mixed in. The board is very reasonable for the area. It is twenty-five minutes from my house.
I signed the contract that I thought I was supposed to sign. It was the boarding contract on their official website. No one ever told me I signed the wrong contract until an issue came up.
To be clear, these horses have a really good caretaker (employee of the BO) who cares about the horses and seems to know what he's doing. However, the property owners are sort of different. They have big plans for their property such as adding a parking lot, bathroom, finishing the indoor arena, etc. But as of yesterday, the arena still isn't done. The round pen that I use most of the time is never mowed and has rocks in it.
I had a really good trainer come out to work with me several weeks ago. Having never been told that was against the rules, I was unaware of a problem. Then I got a call from the BO's boyfriend who informed me that outside trainers are not allowed to come on the property. I said, "Oh. Maybe I missed that part of the contract." I wasn't being sarcastic or anything. I seriously thought I had skipped over that part.
The trainer I was working with is really great and I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to continue with her. The BO's boyfriend said that the trainer that the barn had hired would start soon and that she was really good.
A few days later, I went back and looked at the contract. There were no statements in the contract that I signed about training or having to use the BO's trainer. I called the BO. She said she would have to have her boyfriend call me. So he did. He stated that I had signed the wrong contract. He said that he wasn't going to let all the boarders just bring in their own trainers and that their new trainer would be starting soon. The whole conversation was very calm. I generally do not argue with people, although I did call him on the contract deal. He stated that he would be happy to talk to anyone's trainer about coming out. He didn't come out and say it, but it was pretty clear that they want money out of the deal if anyone on the property has a trainer. Which I guess would make sense. If it was in the contract.
The last I heard, the original trainer they hired in February is not coming. They decided to go with their second choice. Although some work has been done on the floor of the arena, it's still not close to being finished. Two boarders have recently left over contract disputes. The round pen has still had no maintenance. One employee (barn help) just disappeared one day and didn't show up for work.
I have a chance to move my gelding to a barn that is closer, has a bathroom and will let me bring in my own trainer. No indoor arena. But the outdoor space they have is well-maintained and drainage looks good. There are also several other boarders there with gaited horses like mine.
Also.... here's an odd note. There have been reports of really big rats at the barn where I am now. There are NO cats. I have never been to a barn where there were no cats. Isn't that sort of strange?