NEW Here and NEW to Horses. Need advice on Situation I have found myself in..
Hi, my name is Cat and I live in Texas on 47 acres. We used to keep cows in our pastures but with the drought and hay prices and feed prices we had to sell them off. Our pastures have been empty for a LONG time.
I have a friend, acquaintance, I am not really sure where we stand right now who owns a ten year old silver dapple grey gelding that she was boarding at this really AWFUL place. Rickety old barn, the horse was kept stalled nearly 24/7. Never got out and got any exercise, the boarders would steal her feed to feed their 11 other horses. It was a bad situation. So, without really thinking of it I told her she could bring him and put him in my pasture and he could stay in my barn. She was ecstatic. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal so we made a verbal agreement that as long as she took care of him I wouldn't charge her anything.
So, when she brings him out she tells me a sad story about this 18 month old palomino stallion that they have there that was supposedly this horse's buddy that is emaciated and needs to be rescued. She says the owner will sell the horse for a fair price and he has papers. My husband and I decided it couldn't hurt to load up the trailer and go look at him. Well, from the second I laid eyes on him I was SMITTEN. He is BEAUTIFUL and oh so sweet. We loaded him that minute and brought him home. (of course stopping at the feed store on the way home.)
Well, that was 3 weeks ago almost. Things have been getting both awesome and awful ever since.
I started reading every book and message board I could find on horse care. The two horses seemed to get along great except for at feeding time. One morning when I went down to the barn to try to feed the horses the big one charged me and BIT my pony really badly on one of his back legs. I was so furious. (And also pretty terrified.) I immediately put the feed buckets away and walked back to the house shaking in my boots.
Well, the next day the lady came out to bring me my pony's papers and asked me how they were doing together, I told her they seemed fine except for the biting incident. She told me that they had never really liked each other and had been kept separated for that very same reason at the boarding place. So basically my friend LIED to me that they were buddies. The Big horse had a history of biting the smaller one and stealing all of his food at feeding times. Great.
We immediately got a Farrier out to do my pony's feet because they had NEVER been done since he was born. He literally looked like he had duck bills for hooves. Poor thing. I asked my friend if she was going to have her horse's feet done and she said she would, he had been limping on one of his back legs because his feet were so bad and days and days went by and no farrier ever came for her horse. She would tell me she had called the guy and hadn't gotten a call back and I let a whole week go by. Finally I called him and asked him if he had heard from her. NOPE. So I had him come out and do the big horse's feet and I paid for it. I couldn't stand to see that baby suffer, and even if he was a bully I knew that he could be cranky from being in pain. It made a HUGE difference in his disposition. HUGE. Victory there. I thought. Now his owner is PISSED at me for taking it upon myself to do that to HER horse.
I confronted her for not taking care of her animal like she said she would. She never comes but 3 times a week to see him. We have to do all of the feeding, mucking, etc. And she gets FREE boarding??
I'm starting to fee like an idiot. She has let her horse's feed run out numerous times and I have had to buy more. I am not going to let an animal go hungry or without care, I'm just not. However I feel very taken advantage of. I have developed a bond with BOTH horses over the past few weeks. The big horse and I are doing much better now and now that we have them on a regular feeding schedule the big horse has calmed down immensely at feeding times.
I can't believe how RELAXING it is to be down there with them. I brush them both every day, I give them both little horsey massages on their backs and legs. My pony has literally fallen asleep during one. :-) Basically I love both of them. I love their smell, I love working with them. ( I have some Clinton Anderson DVD's a friend loaned me. I LOVE that guy.)
So, the other day the owner of the big horse and my self and my husband were in the barn during one of her visits and my husband smacked her horse on the hind quarters to get him to move through a gate. Not hard, just a little slap to get him through the gate. Well, she didn't say anything at all at that moment. BUT yesterday morning I wake up to a nasty email accusing us of horse abuse and demanding that we NOT touch her animal anymore. Are you kidding me?? This is a chick who almost NEVER comes to feed her animal, who has essentially dumped ALL Of his care on me, who I paid to have his feet done, who I have a vet coming out to see next week because he is rubbing his ears on everything he can touch and she "doesn't have the money to have him seen."
I told her that I would not touch him again if she kept to OUR feeding schedules of 6:30am and 6:30pm. She would have to come out, catch him in the pasture, put him at his trough, feed him, and groom him TWICE a day. Just like I do. She said that was ridiculous and I was spoiling him. Umm. Ok crazy lady.
So, she still hasn't come out.
I'm in a situation where I don't know what to do. I really care more about this horse than I do our friendship at this point. I keep a log of every feeding in a notebook with date, time, amount fed. I have wormed both horses and recorded that as well.
So, does anyone have any suggestions?? My husband and I would like to ask her if we can just buy her horse and tell her to never come see us again. I know that sounds unreasonable but obviously she has NO BUSINESS owning this horse. If you could see the way his disposition has changed in three weeks you would be shocked. He has become a big sweet teddy bear.
Anyways, that's my novel and introduction. I hope to see a lot of you around here!
If it were me, i would write up a contract stating what you two have a verbal agreement on and what rules you want her yo abide by and tell her to sign it or get out. I would also personally be charging her SOMETHING for board, that way youre getting something for all this that youre doing- financially and maybe it will make her wake up and realize what you are doing to HELP her.
I obviously don't know this lady, but maybe you could NICELY ask her why she is neglectful towards him and if she would like to sell him to you so she wouldn't have the responsibility for him.
If you have proof (pictures, videos etc) that she is neglecting/ abusing this horse, you could always just report it to the authorites and let them deal with it appropriately.
I would definitely start charging her though. Otherwise she's just having a horse with none of the costs and walking all over you in the process- and thats not cool at all.
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Personally, I'd tell her to remove the horse immediately. But if you don't want to do that a contract, like JumpingRules mentioned, is probably a good idea. Tell her that having a horse is more expensive/time consuming than you thought and you'll have to charge her to keep the horse there, and extra if she does not come out every day to check on it. In this contract I would put clauses that allow you to call the vet/farrier if you think the horse is neglected, and if the owner refuses to in reasonable time (write it out specifically). I'd also have something like after non-payment for "x" amount of weeks horse can be permanently seized to cover costs.
If she says she can't afford that, or won't stick to that, offer to buy the horse if you like it.
If it were me, a long time ago I would've told her flat out to either abide by our agreement or get out. I would just FREAK if I had FREE BOARD on 47 acres, are you kidding?
She is obviously not only taking you for granted, but extreme advantage. I would sit down with her and go over what you expect from her and if she can't agree to that then she can either pay a fee to you or remove herself.
The problem I see is that regardless of the fact that you are feeding and caring for the horse, there is nothing in writing and you have a verbal agreement that she can keep her horse with you for free. I know you said that she was supposed to come out and take care of him but hasn't, however you took on his care.
I would either have a contract of care made up spelling what is and isn't included and for how much. If she doesn't live up to the agreement then you have something in writing and you have a legal leg to stand on.
If she refuses - have her remove the horse immediately or let her know that you will seize the horse. She is taking advantage of you and you are letting her. The instance of her accusing you of abusing the horse certainly indicates that she knows nothing about horses. If she hasn't got the money to properly care for the horse, that isn't your problem. She always has the option to sell him.
I agree, a very detailed contract is a must. Prepare yourself for some sadness because she may take him and leave.
Makes ya wonder if your friend chose to leave the last place because of the conditions or was was forced to leave because she wasnt caring for her horse properly.
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I would tell her to either remove him or let you buy him if she's not going to take care of him.
To me it sounds like she probably got kicked out of her old barn, a horse doesn't just set in a stall 24/7 I would say your friend never went to see him there either.
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So sorry you offered to keep the horse for free. That was your first mistake. The second one was paying for vet care and not asking for reimbursement. I would tell her to take the horse and get off my property or pay $500 per month for boarding (feeding, worming, stalling, etc.) If she wants to sell her horse get that in writing also....dated, how much, describe the horse, and have it notorized!! She sounds like an irresponsible brat and it's too bad you have to put up with it!! Also, add in the contract that she is responsible for all Vet and Farrier charges!!! She is the kind of person who would sue you if something happened to her horse.....it's for that reason I would not want her on my property at all!! Be careful and cover all bases!! :smile:
Thank you guys! I am going to set up a time with her next week when we can sit down and rationally discuss this. We are going to write up a contract and sign it. If she refuses to do that I will have her take him and find somewhere else to go. OR she can let me keep the horse in exchange for what I have already spent on feed, ferrier and medical bills with the Vet. I'm really hoping for the latter option because I have sort of grown attached to her horse through all of these past few weeks. His big old eyes just light up every time he sees me. (Which is at least 3 times a day for an hour each time.) I think that poor guy was starved for attention. He went from a cranky old thing to being so full of energy. I love watching him and my pony run together across the back pasture. It makes my heart skip. :-)
Anyway, thanks so much for your advice. I will update as to what happens.
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