Issues with a boarder
This might turn into somewhat of a rant, and so I'm sorry for that lol.
I have a kind of delicate issue going on at my barn currently. It's been going on ever since some friends of ours moved their step daughter's mare to our barn - about a year.
First off, they bought this mare without ever seeing her, never did a test ride, and didn't set up a trial period - which most of us know, is not the way to buy a horse. They bought her because "she was a good deal" and "all horses are the same."
This horse is a lot of horse. She needs an experienced rider. Intermediate or beginner won't do. And the rider is not experienced. I've been riding my entire life and I can tell just from watching the mare, that she'd give me a run for my money. And I've ridden everything from dead broke bomb proof horses to green, unbroken ones.
The girl who rides her is not experienced at all (she rides once a week in the summer, doesn't touch the horse in the winter). She's afraid of the horse. The mare is big, powerful, and extremely cocky and flighty. She's afraid of the normal stuff, and trailers, lead ropes, and halters. She's head shy and aggressive.
It's just a very bad match. Because the girl is afraid of her horse, she lets her get away with just about anything. However, despite being afraid of her mount, she refuses to send the horse off to be trained. What's also odd is that this girl is so possessive of her horse. So much so that she wont let anyone touch it. Neither my mother nor I (both who have been riding for 20 years) have been asked not to mess with her. However, given a little effort, either one of us could turn that horse into a perfect animal.
In addition to the problem horse, the rider is careless. She's young (13) so I'll give her that. But in the time her horse has been at our barn, she's let the entire herd out three times. The way we have it set up with them is that we feed in the morning, and turn the horses out and then they feed and turn them in at night.
On three occasions, we've received a call from them telling us that our horses were out. I tell you what, running around at 12 AM searching for horses all over fields and roads is NOT fun. Where we are, there are barbed wire fences in the farmers' fields, and coyotes.
It almost happened last night as well. I checked the barn when I came home from work at 2 AM and found both the gate leading into the barn and the gate leading from the barn to the pasture open. I searched our pasture, found, and stabled all the horses. In the dark. At 2 AM.
So she's careless and is riding too much horse. And it frustrates me beyond belief. She also doesn't listen to any instruction anyone gives her. She's going to end up hurting herself, her horse, or any of the others.
So how would you handle it? I'm sure you can understand the severity of the situation. She's endangering the animals, herself, and is just careless. My mom says we can't make her leave because she's our friend's kid and we're being nice.
What kind of authority do you have in the household? If none, there's nothing you can do if your mother won't kick her out. I suppose your mother hasn't thought through the liability issues, since the property owner where the animals reside is responsible for any damages to people, other animals, automobiles or personal property if/when the horses are loose. I sure hope your mother has a high dollar liability policy, as this girl is eventually going to cost her a lot of money.
There's also no such thing as a 'perfect' horse. If the horse is too much for the girl now, she'll still be too much for her even if properly trained. You can't train temperament out of them and if she's hot she'll stay hot, and continue to be inappropriate for a beginner.
Maybe you could at least keep her horse in a different place so it's not affecting the other horses? Unfortunately, as far as her riding and horsemanship goes, there is nothing you can do, except hope she learns. Maybe your momcould encourage her to find a more suitable horse?
I hope I'm not coming off as too harsh but the only thing that's your business is the gates to the pastures being open. Not your kid, not your horse. She is 13 and really should not be at the barn unsupervised, so someone needs to insist a parent is with her looking over her should to check for things like open gates.
The friends in question didn't seem to have asked for your advice, but she is a kid. I would talk to her parents and just leave it alone after that - the only thing that involves you is when the gates are left open.
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I wouldn't worry too much about her horse, yes it sucks that she'll probably get herself hurt but you can't do anything about it, it's not worth the stress. The gates, on the other hand, would have me LIVID. Once is forgivable with a quick reprimand, but multiple times? I would be printing up good signs and attaching them to every gate, 'IF YOU OPEN IT, CLOSE IT' and sending out formal letters or emails notifying (not just them, but everyone who uses the facility) that if gates are left open you have one warning before you're out of there. It's not safe, and I would hate to see a horse killed because of stupidity.
First off, are you SURE she's leaving them open?
I've met plenty of equine gate openers that for whatever reason only open them sporadically.
I'd start by adding chains to the gates and letting everyone know that due to issues with horses escaping out the gates, that they need to be chained shut at all times. You won't have accused her or anyone else of doing anything wrong and if the culprit is human not equine, having to chain the gate may ensure they remember to close them.
I would be really angry having someone so careless as that to leave the gates open. Id give her mother a written warning about it and if her daughter continues to be careless, find somewhere else to board. You should also suggest for her to get lessons but other than that, you cant do anything. One day shell learn when she gets hurt.
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Honestly, there is nothing YOU can do, however, if I were your mom, and my farm was on the line, I would be having some really serious conversations with the "friends" who "parent" this child. Sounds to me like they have NO clue, and are the type who will give this girl what she wants to make her happy. My guess is they cannot deal with her at home, so they are glad to have her at the barn. I would also guess that they have NO idea how dangerous this is. They need a serious talking to, and I would make it a warning. I am really serious-if something happens to this kid her families insurance companies may well come after yours, and if there isn't enough there-then....well, there goes the farm. If she leaves the gate open again, and sme innocent person driving down the road hits a horse and dies-guess who they will come after.....not her. These folks are using you all, but unfortunately, if your mom is the owner, she needs to deal with it. I sure hope you don;t board other horses......that would up the risk even more.
1) if this is your property You are doing them a service you dont have to put up with diddly squat from her.
2)Her Parents need informed, and you need to have them sign a contract, state she must wear a helmut and as she is a MINOR needs SUPERVISED while riding and handling the horse.
3) Do not be the one supervising . They are a lawsuit waiting to happen
I hope you have good insurance !
The first thing I would do is stop having them do the night chores. As others have said, it's not worth the risk.
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