My parents are what I'd call very "backyard" owners. Any horse in their care is taken excellent care of, but the practical knowledge (how to lunge a horse, why you don't leave a halter on, horses naturally eat off of the ground so they can't get mad when the horses pull all the hay out of the racks to eat, etc) gets lost in translation
But they know when to ask questions, and they take any advice I give them.
Since there was only 2 horses at the barn for a long time, they brought in a boarder w/ 2 horses. We've almost always had at least one boarder since the mid-80's. Some good, some not so good. The new ones for the most part are great. They are there every night to help feed, they unload hay so my dad doesn't have to if I'm not available. And the best thing is they pay on time!!!!
BUT...they are new to horses. Which normally isn't necessarily a bad thing, however they are the new kind of owners that didn't do their homework before getting into horses. Most times, it's just a matter of they don't know what I'm talking about, they ask questions, life goes on.
Here comes the issue. They have this image of what owning a horse should be, how horses behave, what having a horse should cost, and stuff like that.
Last year one of their horses got Potomic. They didn't have a regular vet, so they used the one we use. My mom, who's a nurse, took care of most of the treatment, giving the shots, IV's, etc. When the bill arrived, they went ape s**t! They started calling the vet (who's also a good friend of mine) yelling at them that they were being charged extra, charged for items that were never given, blah, blah. They had me look over the bill. It was only $325!!!!! This was for a Fri night ER call, and a weekend visit, 3 weekday follow-up visits, and all the meds. The vet didn't even charge them for a few items! When I told them they were really lucky, they should thank their lucky stars it was only $325, they were put off and said it was still to much.
Another time earlier last year, one of their horses cut it's upper eye lid and needed stitches. They showed up in flip-flops (after they've been asked several times not to), and refused to use a twitch when the vet was trying to sedate the horse who liked to flip over backwards when given shots. The short version is, the vet (not my friend) told them to leave the barn. He also refuses to come out for their horses unless I'm there, LOL.
I think the one that has really upset my mom is that they asked that my mom's horse be seperated because she's to mean. My mom's horse is definately the alpha mare, but by no stretch of the imagination as bad as most alpha mares I've seen. She is bossy, but it's under control when a person is in with the horses (she won't be aggressive if you're leading your horse around or trying to catch them, etc.) My mom has taken her horse to a trainer for 30 days for a refresher. The boarder asked if her attitude would be fixed when she got back, because if it wasn't they don't think my mom should pay for training. My mom tried explaining to them the basics of horse behavior, and it went right over their head. They insist on "humanizing" horses, and won't accept that methods used for people WON'T work on horses, they don't understand the good behavior chart, they can't read.
I asked how much reading, DVD watching, going to clinics, etc. that they do. I got the deer in the headlights look. I suggested a few books, and places they could get some good knowledge to get a better understanding of the whole horse thing. Their reply, "Oh, we don't need to know that type of stuff. We aren't ever going to show horses, we just like to trail ride." This coming from the people who don't think it's all that important to pick out the hoofs. = The dirt makes kind of a flat shoe, so nothing gets in there. They also called me several times that Odie was loosing all of his hair on his neck and shoulders, but not his stomach and butt, he is really sick!!! = That's the way he's shed out for 20+ years.
My poor Mom & Dad