Problem Horse ... Inexperienced Owners
First off I'm not a professional boarder ... I only have one horse that pays to stay on my property. I have two myself, and this 3rd guy came to me when a friend needed a place to go. That was a little over 4 years ago. It all started off fine, he didn't test fences and the horses got along well, I had a riding buddy and I was actually really happy with the whole situation.
However, that friend has fallen on hard times, had a baby and realized she couldn't afford this horse. Instead of selling the horse, she found a young girl (15yo) to take him over. The mother and she are both inexperienced horse owners, but the 15yo is a really great little rider and was super excited to have her own horse. (She had been riding mine and this horse on weekends for a while.) So I agreed they could keep him at my place for only $100 a month as long as they came out every weekend and the girl cleaned stalls after she rode.
In my mind, I was keeping a riding companion, getting help with clean up and that $100 was just paying for hay.
Like most things, it started off well.
Now they are rarely out. The girl has gotten nervous riding this horse because he is hot and will test a rider. Before she would ride through it, now she stops midway and walks him back. I try to coach her, but she simply ignores me. Needless to say, he has gone downhill with astonishing speed.
This horse has gotten progressively worse on everything. He no longers lets anyone catch him in the field. I have to trick him into the stalls, and only when cornered does he allow me to catch him. He has become an escape artist and is out every single morning while the other two are still in the pasture. My morning routine now is running this horse down for 30 minutes before he will eventually tire and walk into the barn on his own.
After he broke the fence and took the other two on a 3 hour run through the woods, neighbors yards and tore up my front yard (this is all during rain storm) did I break down and told them he has to go.
My fences aren't keeping him in, all my time is spent on modifications to the barn (he broke the door), stalls (new latches because he figured out how to open the old ones) and pasture fences (and he still gets out!) for this one horse no one rides.
They are avoiding me now ... which makes me sad because I really do love them. The girl babysits for us, the mom is a great friend. BUT I HATE THIS HORSE. I really really do. I can't even work mine because if we ride out of sight, he jumps the fences and then I have to stop and spend my time getting him back in.
He is basically stall boarded now ... which means I'm cleaning out the stalls because his owners don't come out anymore. (They send checks via mail, so I'm still getting paid.)
I thought about taking over ownership and just selling him to recoup some loses, but that is a super sensitive topic because they and the previous owner are so attached to him. But my well is poisoned. This horse really brings out the rage in me.
SO .... I don't know what to do.
If I come down any harder, I'm going to lose friends and a great babysitter.
If I take over ownership, then there are going to be tears and animosity when he's sold.
My husband is ready to call them himself and make demands ... he doesn't ride or care much about horses anyway, so he's been OVER this situation for a while now.
Urgh ... this situation just seems impossible.