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post #1 of 18 Old 06-10-2019, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Question 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!
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post #2 of 18 Old 06-10-2019, 01:35 PM
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1. I'd just show up with the trailer, load, go. How much stuff do you have there (tack, supplies, etc.)? If you have your husband with you, could he collect the "things" while you load the horse? I would make a plan to do it quickly, quietly, and efficiently. If the owner isn't there, text her when you're on the road home and say the horse is gone.

2. Is your mare already on decent pasture now? If so, if no physical limitations like insulin resistance that mean you need to limit grass intake, I'd probably just put her on the grass you have. I brought my two home about this time last year to very tall grass like you described. They had been out 24/7 on a short pasture at their previous boarding barn and did ok with the transition.

3. Given the fact she's had some mystery illness and you're not happy with her weight, I'd just get a vet appt on the books the first week she's home and go over the plan for diet with the vet. Do you know what she was eating when she was looking good at the barn before the move so you can have that info to share with the vet? I'd probably also have the vet pull blood to do a complete blood count (CBC) and to assess metabolic/endocrine values just so you know what starting with. Is she up to date on spring vaccinations? I'd also probably save some poop to send with the vet for a fecal. Just cover all the basics.
3a. What state are her feet in if her care hasn't been great? Do you have a relationship with a farrier/trimmer you trust? I'd do that in week 1 as well.

You didn't ask about it, but do you have a sense of how your horse is going to handle being home alone? I wouldn't be able to keep any of mine as a single horse as they would absolutely freak out being solo. Not every horse is like that of course. Do you have another horsey friend who might be able to loan you a buddy temporarily if your horse is not ok being alone? Do you have extra fence or temporary panels or electric that you could use to split the pasture up if you have to separate another horse?

You probably know this, but unfortunately this likely means your friendship will be over or significantly strained. Hopefully you have records of all your checks/balances paid from prior months so she doesn't harass you for money you suddenly "owe" but never agreed to. Good luck!
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post #3 of 18 Old 06-10-2019, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, thank you for the reply! Good questions and suggestions-- so happy to hear you don't think the hay will be an issue as it is right now.

As far as a buddy-- I do have another horse that is a friend of mines that will be joining mine at my house once I get her. They used to be boarded together and get along very well, so I'm really happy to have my friends horse stay with us for a while! Both have always been easy keepers, in good health (knock on wood) and reasonably devoid of a lot of bad habits. The one caveat being that mine doesn't like to be stalled, at all. She will do it if she has to, but she definitely dislikes it! As far as the pasture, as it is right now, it is one solidly fenced big open field.

There's another fenced area that's about .75 acres where my dogs are, which in the future could be converted to another small paddock or possibly even room for a round pen out to the side of the house, but strictly pasture speaking, it's not sectioned off in any particular way right now.

I don't immediately have a vet, but our new neighbors all own horses and have given me some recommendations regarding farrier, vet, etc...

And as far as her weight over the Winter-- I'm not sure, to be honest, how bad it got. According to one friend, it was skin and bones, according to someone else-- typical horse weight drop. I will say, at her old barn, she did not drop weight significantly during the colder months. She always stocked up well in the Fall and by Spring was shedding out nicely and always very muscular and at an appropriate weight coming into the riding season after gaining nicely prior to the winter. So to hear she was significantly smaller than normal is alarming.

ETA: regarding equipment... I didn't mention it in my OP, but you made me think of something. I do have quite a bit of "scattered" equipment. I have several bits, lead ropes, blankets, saddle pads, headstalls and random other things that have never made their way back to me in the move. Luckily, I grabbed my saddles-- but I'm pretty sure I'm "out" my good headstall, bit and saddlepad-- none of which were cheap, so I have some replacing to do before I could even ride at my house, unfortunately.

I briefly mentioned it, but one of the reasons things happened in such a hurry (on my end) and things went dark is because not only was I heavily pregnant during a lot of this, I had a preemie and spent the first 6-8 weeks heavily enmeshed in being a new mom to an early baby! So during this time, when my child was 0-3m is when the bulk of the "controversy" started (people leaving, horses dropping weight, weird bills appearing, etc)
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Last edited by bengal14; 06-10-2019 at 02:18 PM.
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post #4 of 18 Old 06-10-2019, 02:46 PM
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I'll answer with my opinion right inside your post in blue type like this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal14 View Post
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
So, hopefully you paid your board bills with check or if cash you have paid receipts...make copies and bring them.
Bring a copy of your vet bills and coggins with you when you go to retrieve your horse.
You gave notice, I hope at or before you did that you also removed all your possessions leaving only a halter and shank, cuase it is your word against the barns what may be missing, and it is gone!!
You having on hand paperwork {COPIES} to show law enforcement should you have difficulties taking your horse off the property your proof of ownership is easier to establish.
If she is registered/papered and in your name...a copy made and with you.
You never bring originals or show them to barn personnel but to law enforcement officials in your presence so they can be returned to safe keeping immediately.

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.
I would not put my horse{s} on a field you intend to hay and bale immediately if ever...
You refer to contaminating the forage with feces.
Poop mixed in to the hay is asking for problems and simply wasteful since I know if my horses defecate on it they are not eating it, period.
It also could turn your hay and rot it, mold it, again ruining it.
Better to section off a small area with some sort of fence that can be used as a sacrifice area than ruin a large area of contaminated ground from urine and feces mixed in it.
If your horse is not accustomed to being on that much grass, that long and that rich you also ask for a potential vet bill.
Those of us with pastures for grazing also have sacrifice areas so when weather is crummy we not lose or ruin a large area nor sicken our horses with grass... to much to fast and to soon.

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?
You don't need a vet to check out that shelter and fencing is adequate to safeguard your horse, you know what is needed as you've seen it at other barns and where you are at currently.
If she is getting hay, then buy a few bales that is the same type of hay...if timothy then buy timothy, if Tifton then do Tifton, so on and so forth...be prepared to feed her hay near exclusively for a few days as you introduce her slowly to rich grazing.
Since you don't know how much of anything she is really being fed, start with just hay and give her a few days to settle in, 10 -14 days...
If under your care she not look like she is gaining {since you say appears thin} then find a feed you can start to introduce slowly to add extra calories so she can gain.
If feeding feed start with a 1 lb amount for a 4-5 days, then increase it 1/2 pound for a several days and watch her closely for her weight to increase, her appearance to improve...and hold at that amount fed as it is working...go slowly though.
If she is gaining with just hay/grazing then look for a daily vit/min supplement so she is offered what may be missing in her diet so she thrives in her new environment.
Till you get into serious feeding a general multi vitamin will work for now.
White salt block and ample fresh water offered 24/7 mandatory.

If you read all of this, THANK YOU!

We, the horses owner are the only one who will advocate for our horses..
Sadly, I have also found that friendships sometimes do not cross over to business deals and arrangements.
This sounds like where you are at, and your business arrangement took advantage of your "friendship"...
You have been taken advantage of with what was promised not produced.
Others bailed ship sooner and you were left behind, now though you take to your new home instead of another boarding situation...so all the control becomes you.
With the shady billing and not truly knowing what was or was not done, call the vet and check for what was done and was not done.
If no record...do it all so the horse is protected. Trust the vet you choose to do right by the horse so it stays healthy.
Same as the farrier...call and ask when was he/she last work done and schedule a new appointment giving your new location for the farrier to come to... Ask for the cost they will charge as it may indeed be different than what you were charged..
If the farrier will not come to you, then either you must meet them at another facility or ask for a name & number of someone they recommend to take care of the animals needs properly.
You need to have your resources all in a row so if a problem arises you have coverage to meet those needs.
Other than that, this is going to be a time of learning, exploring and some mistakes...that's happened to all of us.
No one has taken their horses home from a boarding situation and not had a oops...the secret is to make the oops as painless as possible so correction is fast, easy and cheap a fix.
The members of this forum are super friendly and very helpful...
Some are tops in what they offer in advice and you will figure out quickly who to watch for for comment...
A good vet though is a wonderful reference to call if a concern...
You will learn by doing, have a few missteps and much success...go slow and use common sense as that is much of horse-keeping...
Of course, you can always ask questions here and get responses...
So, once home please share some picture of horse and surroundings as we love pictures!!
...
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The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #5 of 18 Old 06-10-2019, 02:55 PM
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Oops...


WELCOME to the Forum!!


...
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post #6 of 18 Old 06-10-2019, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for all of that helpful information regarding the hay and potentially contaminating it. I hadn't even considered that, but it makes total sense to me when you put it that way.
Regarding the coggins papers, this is again where I am too trusting... all of the papers are with the BO and I've never actually received the coggins report for my own records since she never lived at home with me. I feel pretty stupid about it all now, actually-- but I do have the following:
- initial bill of sale
- registration papers
- I always pay in check with the dates and services marked. So for example my last check stated "30 day notice board for May/ exit services"... so I've got 5+ years of check stubs I could produce, if need be

But as far as vaccinations go, I have no idea what has or hasn't been done yet this past Spring, or whether or not coggins in UTD. I'm going to assume no and have a vet come out and check things over for me.

Also, great idea to have a stool sample handy. Hopefully we get a clean bill of health back!
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post #7 of 18 Old 06-10-2019, 03:40 PM
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I agree with having your husband come and help gather your stuff so you can be in and out as quickly as possible. This BO sounds a lot like mine (I'm still there because I can deal with it and it's hard to find a place for three horses), and my guess is that she will not make a stink when you leave. The people who left my barn notified the BO and told her at what time they were leaving, and the BO didn't even show up (they seemed surprised and a little disappointed by this). I agree with having whatever paperwork you have with you, just in case.

WRT the feed, I'd just wait and see. I think horselovinguy had a good point about not having your horse out there if you're going to hay, but .... if she really doesn't like being stalled, and it's only a few days until you can harvest, I'd probably put her out there anyway. It sounds like it isn't too far from where she's currently boarded, so the grass shouldn't be anything she's not used to (although if it is a different type of grass, I would stall her and just let her out for a few hours a day at first).

I'm sorry that all of this happened. I can see that you are a lot like me -- you want to have all of the possible worst-case scenarios laid out so you can prepare for them, just in case. Still, based on what I've seen, you probably really don't have anything to worry about. The only thing I'd really see as being as maybe an issue would be making sure you get all of your stuff when you get your horse, as you probably won't be welcomed back afterwards.
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post #8 of 18 Old 06-10-2019, 03:41 PM
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I would go out and gather up anything I owned at that property and bring it home now. Then I'd go out and get the horse, just as soon as physically, financially possible. Just load and go. If you can time it when the BO isn't there, all the better. If not, then if necessary you can always have the local law enforcement come "keep the peace". Take copies of all bills and checks that you've paid, with you just in case she tries to claim unpaid bills. Also, let her know that any overage that you paid for training that didn't occur is to be used for any extra days board.

And quick point here, she is NOT a friend, let a lone a close one. She's barely a business acquaintance, friends do NOT treat friends how you've been treated, so quit worrying about how this will affect her. Take your horse and move on.

I agree with what HLG said about fencing off or putting the horses in stalls until the hay can be cut and baled.

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post #9 of 18 Old 06-10-2019, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
I agree with having your husband come and help gather your stuff so you can be in and out as quickly as possible. This BO sounds a lot like mine (I'm still there because I can deal with it and it's hard to find a place for three horses), and my guess is that she will not make a stink when you leave. The people who left my barn notified the BO and told her at what time they were leaving, and the BO didn't even show up (they seemed surprised and a little disappointed by this). I agree with having whatever paperwork you have with you, just in case.

WRT the feed, I'd just wait and see. I think horselovinguy had a good point about not having your horse out there if you're going to hay, but .... if she really doesn't like being stalled, and it's only a few days until you can harvest, I'd probably put her out there anyway. It sounds like it isn't too far from where she's currently boarded, so the grass shouldn't be anything she's not used to (although if it is a different type of grass, I would stall her and just let her out for a few hours a day at first).

I'm sorry that all of this happened. I can see that you are a lot like me -- you want to have all of the possible worst-case scenarios laid out so you can prepare for them, just in case. Still, based on what I've seen, you probably really don't have anything to worry about. The only thing I'd really see as being as maybe an issue would be making sure you get all of your stuff when you get your horse, as you probably won't be welcomed back afterwards.

Crazy that there's 2 BO's out there cut from the same cloth! :)
With everything shrouded in so much mystery, I'm really unsure how the other boarders managed their exit... but I'm sure it'll be uneventful and I'm just overthinking things. I've tried to do this as nicely as possible, but be prepared for any fallout
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post #10 of 18 Old 06-10-2019, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
I would go out and gather up anything I owned at that property and bring it home now. Then I'd go out and get the horse, just as soon as physically, financially possible. Just load and go. If you can time it when the BO isn't there, all the better. If not, then if necessary you can always have the local law enforcement come "keep the peace". Take copies of all bills and checks that you've paid, with you just in case she tries to claim unpaid bills. Also, let her know that any overage that you paid for training that didn't occur is to be used for any extra days board.

And quick point here, she is NOT a friend, let a lone a close one. She's barely a business acquaintance, friends do NOT treat friends how you've been treated, so quit worrying about how this will affect her. Take your horse and move on.

I agree with what HLG said about fencing off or putting the horses in stalls until the hay can be cut and baled.
This is something I'm trying really hard to come to terms with, to be honest. I can't decide if it's just a simple case of "don't mix business with friendships", which is totally sage advice... or if it's something else entirely, skewing into the "this person isn't actually who I thought they were to their core".

I didn't know my BO until I started boarding, so I had no idea we would become such good friends or else I probably would've stayed away--- but over the years, we have become pretty close and its definitely been a blind spot for me. My husband has the same sentiments you do regarding how good a friend they could possibly be, given how taken advantage of I/we have been
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