Write it how you all want it, and like you said-if they balk you probably don't want them anyway. The bottom line is you can tell many times when they first approach you to board......just have to listen to your gut-it is usually right.......
This happend to us but I did not wait a year....we took in a boarder because he was friend of ours.....first month wasn't paid for but he did buy food for his horse, sencond month he was really late on board 3rd month same thing 4 paid half the board, I ended up giving the horse to some else who could take care of it, I warned him 3 times that his horse needed vet attention, I ended up paying the vet bill and only after talking with our ex boarders brother did we feel at ease giving the horse to some one better.
I've never been a BO, but I have trained in the past, and after one really bad experience I had to have a contract written to cover my fees. I had a woman stiff me for 3 months training, for a total of $1,200.00, granted that's not much but when you only train a limited number of horses a month, it makes a difference. I took the woman to court and ended up eating the $1,200.00 plus court cost because there was no written contract. Lesson learned, no training without a written contract in hand. If they don't want to sign the contract, I don't want them as a client, period. I know it's a harsh way to be, but I'm not going through that again. My contract is written in a way that I can adjust the fees based on the circumstances, but I will not train a horse without a written contract in place. When you're in the horse business of any kind you need to cover your own a$$ first.
I work at a boarding stable that had this happen once.
The man who owned the horse was rich and from the city, and basically whenever he happened to be in the area he came and ran crap out of the horse down our entire 5 mile trail. This happened maybe twice a year.
Eventually it got to the point where the man moved across the country, and pretty much forgot about him. The BO kept trying to get hold of him to ask for money, and she kept billing him. The horse was at the barn for over a year without payments made, so she finally called the owner up and got a hold of him one day and basically said either you pay everything now, or that horse and all his tack is mine. He said keep the horse, and he'd send his papers etc. She never got his papers.
He is now one of our lesson horses.