Problem Horse ... Inexperienced Owners - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 03-14-2019, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Tennessee
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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.
KBA6 is offline  
post #2 of 38 Old 03-14-2019, 10:08 AM
Join Date: Apr 2015
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You need to sit down and have a serious talk with them and explain how this horse is not a good match and should be sold. Be honest and say that you value them as friends but that the situation has become dire and that something will need to be done soon. Honesty is always the best route
carshon is offline  
post #3 of 38 Old 03-14-2019, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Ditto what Carshon says. In addition, you need to realize your own liability. If that horse gets out and on the road and causes an accident, you could be held liable for the inability to keep him in. Really, you need to sit down with the owner, the lessee's have no legal say, and tell her she has until XX date (soon) to get him off your property. Her lack of finances are not your problem and at this point paying for daycare is probably cheaper than all the repairs and modifications you have been and continue to do.

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post #4 of 38 Old 03-14-2019, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Alabama
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I agree with what carshon and Dreamcatcher said. Have an honest sit down with the owner and the lessee. While the lessee has no legal say, they need to know what's going on.

You can't spend all your time and effort repairing fences, bars, barn doors, etc. and not expect to recoup some of your expenses, especially since it's not your horses causing the damage.

I don't know about Tennessee, but I do know, as Dreamcatcher stated, that here in Alabama, if your horse gets out and causes any type of damage to others property, we are liable. And I'm not just talking about auto accidents, but any damage.
So, have an honest talk with everyone involved, and get rid of that horse that no one rides before something does happen...

Good luck..

The silent communication with horses. A trust that can't be bought, earned, or convinced, you are either their kind or your not..
rmissildine is offline  
post #5 of 38 Old 03-14-2019, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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I agree with everyone else. You need to sit down with the owner, and the lessees if possible (even though they can't do much).

It's unfair that you have to repair all of those fences and doors, etc., and they never even come out to ride him or do anything with's not doing him any good, and not doing you any good either as the barn owner.

As the others said, you would probably be liable for any damage the horse has caused.

Their finances aren't your problem. You have to set aside the friendship right now and think about what is best, more importantly. They either need to get help from a professional/trainer (which is their problem, not yours, it sounds like they have just given up honestly), and that horse needs to get off of your property. Causing way too much havoc and it's not fair to you, or your horses, since it interferes with YOUR rides!

Put everything in writing as well. Just be honest.

Ride more, worry less.
PoptartShop is offline  
post #6 of 38 Old 03-14-2019, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Canada
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Yes, I realize it sucks, but you are going to have to pull up your breeches and ask them to come in for a discussion. Tell them you really value them as friends, and would really like to keep that relationship positive, but you just can't keep the horse anymore. You come off as wanting to maintain a good relationship here, and that will come through in your conversation.

Don't let them convince you things will get better - they won't. Tell them you just can't keep the horse for safety reasons. That you really wish you could, but it's not possible.
Acadianartist is offline  
post #7 of 38 Old 03-14-2019, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Colorado
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If you can't do it, let hubby go for it. Who legally still owns the horse? If it's not the girl and mother then they have no say. I would contact the owner, tell him things have gone south, the horse has 30 days to find a new place to live. Follow up with the same short statement in writing by mail return receipt requested. Then a courtesy call to mom and daughter, the horse has 30 days to move (maybe they can put some pressure on the owner to get busy). There's no compromise, no promises to do better, it's a done deal - period.
In a months time, you'll have some peace and quiet and your sanity back.
Idrivetrotters and Whinnie like this.
Boo Walker is offline  
post #8 of 38 Old 03-14-2019, 10:04 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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AND BTW, in the eyes of the law should you ever end up in court over something due to boarding, the day you took payment (even 1 red cent) for boarding someone else's horse you became a "Professional Boarder" or Barn Owner. Thus all the liability for neglect and negligence, is now squarely on you as the BO.
rmissildine likes this.

Dreamcatcher Arabians is offline  
post #9 of 38 Old 03-14-2019, 10:15 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Northern Florida
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What is wrong with the owner taking her problem horse elsewhere and the teen continues to ride your horse as she used to do. She might be quite relieved to ride a horse that she is not afraid of and you still have your friendship and babysitter intact.

There will be only one of you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.
Coffee is my spirit animal
LoriF is offline  
post #10 of 38 Old 03-14-2019, 10:49 PM
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my guess is that THEY want to be rid of the horse, too, but they want a convenient scapegoat to blame for that action.

Tell them they can pay proper boarding costs (400?) or take him elsewhere, or gift him to you to sell.

what a predicament!
tinyliny is online now  

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