Need Advice: Getting Horse out of "bad" situation
Woof-- this will be long, I'll try to keep it simple but could use several pointers as I venture into this.
I have one horse, have had her for several years (5ish?) or so now. I have had her at a boarding facility the entire time, one that is locally very reputable and that I am personally very good friends with the owners.
However; some changes in the ownership of the barn caused there to be a "split" between the two owners and in turn, my horse-- along with about a dozen others, were given the option to move to a new property with one of the owners. Being personal friends with the owner, I trusted and felt like this move would be beneficial for my horse because of the pasture mates she would be moved with (familiar to her and me), the owner / my friend would be in direct care and the "old facility" had become increasingly run down during the "split" of the two owners.
During this time, my husband encouraged me to find a new barn to board with, mainly due to some of the financials (more on that, later...) and due to him not fully trusting the situation of the split, the move, the competency of the owner(s), etc. Long story short: I decided to give the new place a try and see how things would go.
Over the course of the past year, the following isolated incidences have occurred:
(1) All but 1 of the horses that came to the new barn in our "group" left that facility and went elsewhere. I wasn't made aware of it until well after the fact. Not that I'm owed an explanation of another boarders decision to leave the property, however; part of *my* decision to move was due in part to these other horses/ friends of mine being at the same facility. Them leaving did affect me, being that they were my riding buddies and friends that I'd been with for years. The barn owner "swore them to secrecy" that they wouldn't tell me or make a big deal out of it.
(2)In regards to money. The old facility was reasonably priced in terms of amenities and the area where I live. I did pasture board, with some additional feed thru-- but also had access a number of well maintained trails, a number of tack rooms for storage, cross tie areas, bathing areas, round pens, an outdoor arena, use of horse trailers if need be, an "office" facility with a bathroom, fridge for drinks after a ride or lesson, seating area, etc. The new facility had none of those amenities, and quite frankly-- it became apparent that riding there was discouraged due to the barn owners relationship with the property owner. I'm unsure of their relationship, but what I can piece together is the barn owner moved to the new property (renting?) under the guise that there would be no lessons given, for liability reasons, and that there would be nothing structurally added to the property-- such as round pens, storage buildings, etc. The new place not only has virtually no where to ride, there's no tack room / wash area / arena. Now-- no one forced me to board here, which is why this is MY fault for not looking into it more, but the property was promised as one way, and turned out to be another-- hence why so many boarders ended up leaving almost immediately. In regards to money, it was almost the same at the new barn as the old, -$25 or so per month, However; the barn owner has been known to employ some funny math... and my bill(s) each month were totally different! One month it'd be X amount, the next I'd be hit with another amount + shoes + a vet visit I wasn't told about, the next month it'd be X amount + dewormer that wasn't calculated in the previous months so now I owed 3 months of dewormer. You see what I'm saying? My husband was getting increasingly agitated over this because we could never budget month to month. One month it's $200, the next it is $300 or $600 or whatever.
To top it all off, I was pregnant / have a new baby... so I was unable to be out riding or supervising much of what went on. Which is why I was trusting of the barn owner to keep things going while I took some "time off" to tend to the late part of my pregnancy and the first few months after baby was born.
(3) The 3rd and "final straw" came when I found out that my horse, along with several others, became pretty sick over the Winter and I wasn't told. This is where my lack of knowledge in the day-to-day shines through, but I was pretty upset that I wasn't told. However; what I WAS told is that its common for these things to happen in the Winter, that it was likely just a bad pasture parasite that happens when you change environments, that a good round of dewormers generally eradicates the issue and that there was no real cause for alarm-- they weren't in any REAL danger and whatever weight was lost, was put back on. No harm, no foul-- pretty much. Since I was dealing with a preemie, I wasn't able to go out in the dead of Winter to inspect (my fault, I definitely should've made that happen)... and I wasn't even made aware until the Spring-- so it's a moot point now. But it has solidified a decision to move my horse. Also to add, I'm the horsey one, my husband has no idea what to look for so sending him out would've been pretty useless!
SO, if you're still reading this, we made the decision to change barns. As I was barn shopping in our area-- a home came on the market that my husband and I could NOT pass up, and it came with almost 6 acres, a barn and totally set up for horses. Yay! Not only did it come really in the ideal shape (home is almost brand new, fencing / gates/ pasture / barn all in pristine condition)... but it happened at the perfect time to bring my horse to the new property.
I gave my barn owner over 30 days notice that my last month to board would be coming up in May-- prepaid for that month + some additional training so that way I could feel confident getting back in the saddle after such a hiatus and that was that.
Well, as far as I know, no training was or has been performed on my horse. It is now June 10, and my horse is still at the old facility and not at my home. One of the reasons is: the weather (??), I'd asked to observe some of the training sessions, partly because I wanted to learn and also because my husband was convinced they'd never happen unless someone was there making sure it was--- but we had a rainy month and I never could get a specific training week nailed down with the owner. I made a few attempts to schedule, but either texts or calls weren't returned or for one reason or another, it never panned out.
Another reason is, I don't own a trailer, so the BO offered to "deliver" her to me. I offered several delivery dates that would work, with either no response or the response being that they'd do it once they got back in town from an out of town trip at the end of May/ early June.
I finally had enough (and quite frankly, my husband was getting pretty insistent that I put my foot down with the BO), and didn't/don't want to be charged for yet ANOTHER month of board for June, so I decided that this week is the week. I'll go rent a trailer and pick her up myself by Friday if she isn't delivered like we'd previously discussed. What really makes this potentially awkward for me is, this is all with someone who is a close friend of mine and who I "stuck by" during the barn split. I do feel like I've been taken for a ride here, and that my lack of knowledge at times has led me to bankroll things that I should've questioned. Sigh, live and learn. I also am an extremely non confrontational person and in reality, I should've done this not only sooner-- but I should've gone with my initial gut to change barns over a year ago. But my friend was going through a hard time and I needed a place for my horse, friend had a place... yada yada yada
So, my question(s) are:
1- What should I do if I have to go "forcibly" take my horse from the property? Is there anything specific I need to do or be wary of? I doubt it would even come to that, but I want to be prepared if so, especially if (reaching here) the cops are called or something crazy like that?! I can't imagine anything like that would happen, but just want to see what others think
2- at the new house, I have 4.5 acres of open pasture fenced in, and have plans for 2 horses to be housed there. As of right now (with so much rain), it has NOT been cut for hay yet and the grass it pretty tall. Is it ok to have the horse(s) there until the hay gets cut? Likely that'll be this weekend if the rain holds off, so it would only be for a few days, maybe a week, but I'd be able to keep them in the barn if need be until it is cut. I don't know why it'd matter, but figured I'd ask.
3- What suggestions do you have for moving a horse to a new location? Vet visit to check things out? New feed? As of right now, she's just getting hay and pasture grass (as far as I know), but to me looks a little on the thin side... should I add grain immediately or wait?
If you read all of this, THANK YOU!