I'm new to this forum, and am seeking some advice. Just a little background on me: I'm 40 years old, have owned horses for over 20 years. Am down to only one 12 year old pony now (from a "herd" of seven assorted horses and ponies at one point). I kept my horses on my property for 15 years. I have a bacheolor's degree in pre-vet medicine with an equine minor. In short, I think in all this time I do know a little bit about horses.
Anyways, my horse situation is such that I no longer own horse property, and keep my pony at a very nice lady's house about a mile away from where I live. This is in the city, and she is about the last horse property left (although she has no horses of her own, much less horse experience). My pony has a nice half-acre dry lot (there is no grass here in southern California), and a covered stall at night. I take care of my pony 100% (feed/clean 2x daily, buy my own hay, etc). My last big horse, and my pony's companion, died this past January. Since he is the only equine within about 10 miles of the vicinity, I was left with three options. 1)move my pony to a boarding stable (not what I wanted to do), 2) buy another horse or pony (at present not a good option due to financial considerations with this down economy), or 3) contact the person who had approached the owner of the place recently to bring in her daughter's pony. What a great and ideal sitation that would be, I thought! So, that's what I did. I talked to the mom of this 14 year old girl, and found out they didn't actually have the pony yet, but both she and her daughter have been riding for years. We talked extensively about how we could mutually help each other out. I was very clear with her that this place was not a boarding stable, but a do-it-yourself backyard situation. I said since I'm used to feeding and cleaning anyways, it would be no problem for me to continue to do this and include her pony as well. But if I needed help at some point, we would share the work. She was completely agreeable to this, and kept emphasizing what a great worker her daughter was and she'd be helping out all the time.
Well, it's now 5 months later.....not once have they offered to help out in any way with feeding or cleaning -even just her own pony's stall. The girl comes to ride almost daily (and this pony is not even friendly - she pins her ears and makes nasty faces at everyone. The mother - who is supposed to be a good rider - is afraid of the pony). I asked them a month ago if they could feed and clean for one week while I'm gone at the end of June, and the mother's reply was "We'll (meaning her and her daughter) have to discuss it. We'll get back to you." Right then I thought forget it. There's no way I'd trust them to actually come by twice daily to at least feed. She did come back and say they would do it, but I told them nevermind. I have asked the girl to start cleaning out her pony's water bucket at least on a weekly basis, something I had been doing for her for months. When I told her she needed to do it, it didn't get done until the property owner finally said something. THe bucket was overgrown with algae and teeming with mosquito larvae. On one hand, I feel I need to do it just so it gets done, and the poor pony has clean water to drink (during the day when both her and my pony are turned out together she has access to clean water), but on the other hand I think if I keep doing it, she will never learn.
Anyways, I feel completely taken advantage of. I have loaned this girl tack and equipment, I charge absolutely no money for anything expect the cost of the hay (which my husband and I drive 40 miles roundtrip on a monthly basis to bring in and stack). The only benefit I get out of this is not having to buy another horse or pony myself - which lately I've been really missing my horse and riding. The property owner knows how I feel, but she doesn't want to get involved. She has her contract with the people and gets her monthly money from them for letting them keep the pony on her property, and everything else (care of animal) she left up to me. It was me, afterall, who asked for this arrangement.
What would you do in this situation? Next week is the start of summer vacation, so she will be out of school. Should I insist that the girl help out by at least cleaning her stall on a daily basis. But then again, if she doesn't do this, which I'm sure won't get done daily, the flies will be horrible, and my pony is in the stall right next to her at night. (we split one 12x24 corral into two 12x12 stalls - again with no help from them).
I know this turned into a vent, but I also need some advice. I'm a very non-confrontational person, but I feel I need to say something to open up their eyes to the fact that they are getting all the benefits from this deal, and I'm stuck with all the work.