Should I warn other Barn Owners?
I will try to keep this as short as possible.
I have a boarder who pasture boards two horses at my facility. The lady seemed nice and the shipper who hauled her horses down said the previous BO said she was nice but flaky.. sooo ok. The shipper pulls out her stuff in card board boxes and junk is leaking everywhere so when she got there we put her saddle the tack room and her stuff in the lean-to next to where we keep our hay. I didn't want her stuff leaking all over my floor and she said she would get a tack box so we left it at that.
A week or so after her horses arrived, we were mowing our 52 acre pasture that her horses are in and the tractor bust a tire and then my husbands grandmother dies and we have to go out of town. Here in Texas, it's been raining more than usual so we can hardly mow it fast enough anyway, but sensitive horses will break out in hives from the long grasses. I expected this especially from her horses being from another part of the country. We keep powdered Dex on hand at all times and it goes away.
She calls me on the day of funeral (I will be back in two days) and requests that her horses be moved to the front full-care board paddocks. I tell her politely that we will mow as soon as we get back, and I promise the hives will go away. Until then, we can give them some dex to make them more comfortable. She doesn't want to give them dex because it "compromises their immune system!". I tell her that I can't move them because I'm out of town and so is my assistant and other than a few boarders and my dad doing basic chores no one is there that is equipped to deal with an injury if the horses fight especially her Draft! I'm not comfortable introducing new horses while I'm not there. It wasn't an emergency so no.. her horses will have to stay put until I got back.
My flight got in at 2 am.. I woke up at 7:30 am to welcome another new horse and one of the boarder horses decided to go nuts and get tangled in the fence trying to fight with the new boarder which is exactly why I waited till I got home. After that horse was doctored, we started mowing and kept mowing till 3 the following morning and then another day after that. Just as I told her, her horse looked much better with in a day. I sent her text messages and called her to let her know that her horses were looking great and everything is mowed and I was also going to ask her about her when she was moving her junk into the tack room.
I hear nothing from her at all for 2 or 3 weeks... In fact I had only seen her twice since her horses have been out at my place for the last two months. Her board was 2 weeks late and she FINALLY txts me asking how much she owes me.. I told her I mailed out an invoice. When she receives the invoice she calls and starts screaming at me because she incurred a 10% late fee which for two horses was almost $50. She said the last email she received from me was my monthly newsletter (which I send out the last week of every month and let people know whats going on and which people will receive emailed invoices because they've incurred extra charges). I sent her that email which she claims she never received. She said she never received a copy of the boarding agreement after she signed it as well as her coggins papers back. She said she shouldn't have to pay a late fee because of those things and having to wait for the tack room space.
I told her on the phone that normally I would cut first time offenders a break but that since she didn't return any of my phone calls, emails or txts that I wasn't going to do her any favors. I then sent her an email and said I would share some of the responsibility with her, and only charge her a $25 late fee because although she didn't receive her coggins and copy of the boarding agreement she signed and her stuff has sat in the lean-to (because I havn't seen her! I tried sticking it with her stuff and it sat there for a week so I brought it back to the office and she didn't request to have it mailed to her. Not to mention do boarder's expect barn owners to move-in their junk now too?) I did explain to her how everything works on top of everything written in the boarding agreement and that all my contracts and barn rules and pricing was available on my website.
She still has not paid me the $700 something she owes me. I received an email boarding inquiry from NewHorse.com that was from her!! Apparently she forgot to un-click my barn before she sent out the request.
I'm thinking that I should send out an email to all the barns on her list letting other barn owners know what they would be getting their selves into because I would want someone to do the same for me. What do you guys think? Any repercussions I'm not seeing?
Main repercussion I can see is that you'll have to put up with her longer. The other problem is that she may bad mouth you to justify herself. Sooner she leaves the better really, just make sure you have the money owed before she leaves.
I wouldn't do an email; I would make some phone calls and have some casual conversations at the feed store and horse shows. I would also make sure to keep the conversations as discrete, truthful and balanced as possible, just the facts and let the other BOs draw the conclusions.
I know that I *relied* on these types of conversations and "heads up" as an instructor/trainer/barn manager and that I always tried to return the favor.
I agree with maura. An email is written evidence. A conversation is heresay. I would politely tell folks that she has been late on her board and has a tendancy to be a bit demanding. I would let her out of your barn as soon as she paid though. Those kind of boarders make the rest of us look bad! LOL
What bugs me is that I get boarders who got pissed at their other barns for various reasons and I've always wondered what the other side of the story is. They may or may not tell other boarders and depending on the barn owner, they may use the info to sway other potential clients from coming to look at my place.
I guarantee her story is going to be "Starline was aweful. My horses got really bad hives in her pasture so I requested they be moved to a different one and she said no. I also had to wait a month to move my stuff in the tack room and then she had the nerve to charge me outrageous late fees because I didn't return a phone call right away. Her barn is ran poorly and she is unprofessional." FYI I've had to work around 3 funerals, buying a house and moving so things are not as organized around the barn but she doesn't seem to care. She said the fact that I charged her the late fees because she didn't return my phone calls, txt and emails petty and unprofessional.
However, I did receive a check for July today... 25 days late. Lets see if she actually pays the rest she owes me.
If she doesnt pay the board for a certain amount of time, can't you take the horses? You may consider that to get her attention. If she decides she wants to pay up then the horses can be hers again and she can leave if she wants. She just needs to have someone telk her that she doesnt always get her way.
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She did not sign a boarding agreement? I always have, and recently signed one for the fall that is the strictest yet-I am taking one home to va for the winter. 1 day late on board=10% penalty ($45). If you don't pay your board for 3 months, they own your horse. (which is one way to get rid of an undesirable, I would think!) No horse can be removed if you owe them $. and-if they find your horse dangerous (to other people or horses) they give you 24 hours (but you have to give them 30 days!) This is probably a bit much, but perhaps you need to adopt SOME of these policies, and the agreement is signed (I also had to do a months board deposit) prior to the horse coming in.
I agree with the others......nothing in writing, and nothing TOO specific-very general-otherwise, yes, you will be stuck with her!
That is a very sticky situation. I'm sure that anything she may say to her new BO will be negated as soon as she behaves the same way at her new barn. In the meanwhile, sending out an email to other barn owners, although I'm sure you would love to have received a warning, can open you up to a libel suit.
Were it me, I would send a copy of everything she asked for, as well as a copy of the rules you expect all boarders to follow, by registered mail. I would also be careful about her taking her horse without paying you the balance and the new charges. Keep a log of all emails and text messages in the event that she challenges you.
The sooner this boarder is gone, the better I would feel. It isn't going to get better with time.
All you can do to protect your reputation is to continue to run your place as well as possible and behave as professionally as possible. Horsepeople gossip and share information, that's a fact. And of course, she will talk about you and your place. It's a question of credibility. If your place is well run and you have a core group of happy clients; her complaints won't be given much weight.
I liked the suggestion of sending her all the documentation by registered mail; and the suggestion of keeping a log or record of your interactions.
we got a call from a young girl desparate to find a pasture for her horse. We allowed her to stay for 2 weeks until she could find something more suitable , we have miniatures and I wouldnt let them out with her full sized horse.We got a call one night from this girls neighbor. He told us that she was truble and to keep a watchful eye, a lier and was kicked out of her parents home. I was able to make her bording difficult enough for her with the rules, and she left after 1 week. She went on to another barn , and was telling me that my 32 inch 1 year old stallion got her 16 hand horse pregnant. The horse had its foal at the new place 6 months after the contact with my stallion, and it was not a mixed breed. She also told us one day that her horse got out of our locked gate and ran through the golf corse...my gate is locked with a combo lock.... it didnt really happen. So I was prepared for this girl thanks to the neighbor that called. I would tell friends the truth , and let them spread the news.
she sounds like a nightmare.
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