What do you do when horses come in thin?
This seems to be a continuing trend in my barn. I swear 9 out of 10 horses I get in come in THIN! Im talking ribs showing, hip bones protuding.. etc! I'd score these horses a 3-4. It takes months to get these horses back at a good weight with a lot of feed.
Do you charge more for horses that come in thin? Im thinking about doing that as before I was just piling them extra hay and grain.. but now Ive started to realize its not my fault they came in thin so I shouldnt cover increased cost in feed.
Honestly, I never really thought of charging people more because the horses skinnier. I always have been taught and showed that the cost of board covers the price of all of the hay, all of the grain, and all of anything else that you say you will provide for your clients. And if you do find your self short on money or having to spend more money than the border pays for board I would up the cost of everyone's board because that way if that does happen again you won't fall short on money. I hope that made sense and that you solve your issue.
Every barn I've been to has always had the amount of hay (and grain if the barn buys it) that each horse gets for board. If more is needed to keep the horse in shape, then the board is increased by that amount.
Most contracts I've seen say something like, "the board covers 6 flakes or hay, and up to 5 lbs of feed a day(if their paying for it, otherwise they'll feed as much as you want as you're buying). If your horse requires more than the set amount, each extra flake will cost X amount (the actual cost of the bale diviided by the amount of flakes) and X amount for each additional lb of grain."
The barn owner monitors the condition of each horse, and if one is not getting enough food, will let the horse owner know and will request additional costs for the extras(starting the day its added and after consent from the owner). If the owner refuses, they are given a months notice and asked to leave.
These have all been barns with excellent standards and the interest being in the horse's health, not the income made.
I completely agree with these contracts and think they're fair. If your horse eats more, you should have to pay more. Why should the BO take a loss because your horse is a hard keeper, and why should others suffer if their horses are not?
My current contract also states that if the horse developes any dangerous vices or dehaviour issues, you have one month to fix the issue, hire a trainer, or pay the BO( also a trainer) to fix the issue. If one of the options hasn't been done, you are given a months notice and asked to leave.
I respect and commend my BO for her high standards and safety measures. I don't want to be around dangerous or skinny horses, and neither does she. If I ever boarded horses, I would do the same thing.
We had a new horse come to the barn that was a stallion when the owners bought it (a few days ago). As he's unpredictable, the rule at the barn is that no-one is to be around him alone, and the owner (who is a minor) is not allowed around the horse without an experienced horse person until his behaviour problems are solved (of which everyone at the barn is working on for her).
I am all about safety and have learned a lot at this barn that I plan to carry with me.
I would not be loosing money on the ones that come in thin. Have a set amount of feed in your board agreement, and request additional feed costs if needed. I wouldn't up the general cost of board for everyone though. Why make them pay for the other horse's feed? Not fair in my opinion.
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I do have a set amount of hay/grain i supply. but honestly when horses have been coming in skinny ive been feeding over that trying to get horses some weight on them.
I provide up to 6 lbs of grain and 15 lbs of hay a day.. and will up hay and decrease grain equally (on cost). these thin horses im giving over 20 lbs of hay a day. Im just going to talk to owners from now on when they come in and point out i think they need a higher amount of hay until we get weight back on and like you said it is charged per lb etc.
I was just wondering what other barns did. Ive never seen so many skinny horses it seems in my life. Ive also started taking photos and weight tapes of all horses who come in and taking monthly weight tapes on thin ones with photos in case of humane society issues (no joke these horses came in that skinny)
I sware people dont think there horses are thin! Im sick of people saying there horses are healthy and race horse skinny...there is a big difference between race horse fit and being skinny..
I dont know about everyone else but i like my horses to have a little meat on their bones!
Sky came in skinny because he didn't travel well and he was skinny to begin with.
The barn gave him 24/7 hay and up to 2 scoops of grain (most horses eat one) and within a few months, he was a good size.
Board didn't change, they claim in their services that any feed comes with the board cost. They set the bar high so they can afford all the luxaries, which I'm fine with.
If you find yourself stopping short, talk with the owner and maybe up the bar a little so everyone that comes in can afford whatever diet their horse needs.
Just my opinion.
i dont live in an area where i can charge a lot more for board. I wouldnt be able to get any business. I charge 250 a month and my DEAD COST on horses is about 150 a month (in the summer.) in the winter I figured with increased hay and lights etc im lucky if i make 50.00 a month per horse. So that increased amount of food really hurts any profits I might make.
Hay costs us about .10 per lb. So upping a horse to about 25 lbs (about what they will eat a day) would cost me an additional 1.00 per day. which doesnt seem like a lot.. but when you add that up over 30 days its 30.00 per horse per much. when your profits are so little that amount is a lot to cover
Well I am not sure what my contract says exactly but I know my horse is currently getting 30-40 lbs of hay per day and still losing weight. Vet is coming to determine why. But with the cost of hay and knowing my horse is getting almost twice the amount of the other horses, I wouldn't have a problem if the BO wanted to charge for that extra hay.
Yes money is tight with everyone but you run a for profit business, simple as that.
I'm speaking as an owner, not as a BO. Both my horses were underweight when I brought them to the boarding barn (both came from the sad situation). However I didn't pay extra. The BO provided unlimited hay (round bales), and I did buy my own grain simply because I liked the quality more and usually fed them myself at least in evening. It took them just couple months to pick up the weight (and in fact my paint went on heavy side from all the hay she was consuming and being greedy after starving).
Most boarding barns don't offer any grain at all in their monthly costs. They feed 15-20 lbs hay and if the owner wants grain they provide it and the barn will feed it. Since you do offer grain, you need to sit down and figure out how much a normal horse will eat, of both hay & grain, to maintain their desired body condition/weight. Once you do that, then you just start charging extra for the thin ones and just let the owners know up front that board is normally XXX but because you'll have to feed extra to bring their horse up to condition, you'll have to charge XX on top of that until the horse is in satisfactory condition.
With the economy in the state it's in and I don't see things getting much better any time soon, I think getting in thin horses is going to be more the norm than the exception as many people want to cut the feed as the first cost cutting measure and it never works out well for the horses.
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