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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We recently had a situation at our barn - The boarder had her horse on the list to be done by the farrier. She told us the day the farrier was scheduled to come out that she would not be able to be there to hold her horse.

The BO assumed that meant that she wanted us to hold her horse for her, as 99% of the boarders we have we do that for aswell, and she gave no indication that she meant that she wanted her horse taken off the list.

The horse went lame soon after due to the trim job. The owner told us that she didn't want her horse to be done by the farrier in the first place, and that she thought that if she wasn't there then that means her horse is left completely alone by barn staff (how she wants it). We both apologize for the misunderstanding, and do not charge her for the trim or the holding fee.

Now, the horse is going to be taken to the vet, and might be un-ridable for a few months. The owner hasn't requested we pay for her vet bills, and we haven't offered.

How would you respond and handle the situation? I feel terrible that a misunderstanding on our end has caused this sort of problem for the boarder, and though it is not my responsibility to handle it, I ask purely for my own information, so that (in the future) if I do take on a barn manager type role, I'll know the appropriate way to handle it.

Thanks!
 

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I would just let it go, to be honest. She should have been clearer about wanting her horse taken off the list. If anything, the farrier should be liable for providing the trim job that lamed the horse.

I have put my horse on the list to be trimmed at my old barn. If I ended up having to work that day, I told the BO straight up to take my horse off the list because I wouldn't be there or that my friend was going to hold him for me since I couldn't be there. In both instances, I was very clear about what I wanted and expected to happen.

It's not your fault this girl was unclear about what she wanted. If she wanted her horse taken off the list, she should have said exactly that instead of just assuming that you could read her mind.
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If the horse was on the list, he's on the list. If scheduling the farrier is part of the owners job then it's her fault. Does the BM or BO keep a schedule? I know a few farriers who also keep schedules when they do multiple horses in a facility.

At the end of the day I'd be most upset at the farrier. Regardless of how much or how little hoof the horse has the trim should be appropriate to the horse. Sounds like he is giving a one size fits all trim.
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since the OP is givng second hand info, has the owner of the horse ever expressed that anyone else is to hold her horse ? was it a misunderstanding on the BO part ?
Does the horse have special trimming or shoeing issues ? Has this farrier ever trimmed this horse ? is it a coincidence that horse is lame after the trim and not due to the trim?
As 'staff' you would not be liable for anything. The BO BM farrier or owner would be.
It would be interesting to know what the Vet has to say
 

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It sounds as if this is a lack of communication on the owner/BO's part.

If the owner had her horse on the list for the farrier than it is pretty clear that they wanted the horse trimmed. If she said that she wasn't going to be there to hold her horse, so take them off the list. That is much clearer than "I'm not going to be there."

How long has the owner been boarding at the barn? Has she ever gotten her horse trimmed before by that farrier?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
since the OP is givng second hand info, has the owner of the horse ever expressed that anyone else is to hold her horse ? was it a misunderstanding on the BO part ?
Does the horse have special trimming or shoeing issues ? Has this farrier ever trimmed this horse ? is it a coincidence that horse is lame after the trim and not due to the trim?
As 'staff' you would not be liable for anything. The BO BM farrier or owner would be.
It would be interesting to know what the Vet has to say

This is the horse's first trim at our barn, and the first trim from this particular farrier. The owner didn't say what she prefers if she's not there to hold the horse. I'm the barn's only employee, so usually if someone can't be there for the farrier, they know that I'd be the only one holding the horse, unless that person requested a friend or someone they know to be there instead.

I'm not 100% sure what the boarder and BO talked about, though she seemed fairly surprised when the boarder expressed that she didn't want her horse trimmed in the first place. I was told by the BO that the boarder would not be there to hold her horse, so I was to do so instead.

The horse had no special trimming or shoeing instructions that we were aware of, there was nothing in her boarding contract that mentioned anything (we ask about special needs, care, etc.), and she had never talked about or told us of any need for special farrier work

The reason behind the horse's lameness is only really a guess on our part. She went lame a day after the farrier, with no heat or swelling anywhere on either leg, though she wouldn't put weight on the heel of one of her hinds. The BO and I both thought perhaps a chiropractic issue, or a pinched nerve, but since the ice and snow created such un-even and hard ground, we (BO, me, and boarder) thought that it was most likely that she severely bruised her heels, as the farrier cut away enough to leave that area highly vulnerable.

She was on stall rest since she came up lame, and showed no real improvement over the week she was there. She was taken to a vet clinic for treatment, though I haven't heard any of the details as far as what the vet said
 
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Could the "new" farrier have caused the lameness? Of course.
Does that make you liable or the BO...no!

First time farrier work by a "new" farrier....you bet as a owner I would have "pre-discussed" any issues my horse has before that farrier ever touched him.

To me, the fault and cause if it firmly lies on both the owner and partly the farrier...
The owner for not relaying clear past history and what was currently being done.
The farrier for being to aggressive in his trimming on a new client...

The owner pays any vet bills...have a feeling it isn't "just" from a trimming that the horse is sore. There are underlying reasons...

If the farrier is a good farrier he probably trimmed to where this horse should be, maybe a little to "radical and abrupt" a change, and not knowing the horses history, maybe those long heels and toes were there for a reason...
Farriers I had contact with on a "first" time new clients horse wanted to see that animal moving for evaluation before they ever put knife or nippers to a foot.

If that horse is unrideable for a few months... there is more happening than a to short trim taken place.

jmo...
 

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I agree, Horselovinguy. I don't think that a farrier that does most of a barn is going to be so far off in the trim it makes the horse lame and needs months off. Did anyone check the hooves and look for thinks that might cause lameness? Did the farrier come back?
 

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Why hold The horse? In my area the horses are tied up. And most farriers get the horses and tie them up themselves, no owner needed.
My farrier's time is too valuable for him to catch and tie the horses himself. That's not his job, his job is to trim or shoe the horse. If the horse isn't ready and clean, he leaves. I wouldn't expect my farrier to catch and tie my horse for me, but to each their own.

A horse would not be lame for months on end because of one faulty trim(unless he totally swiped the heels off and the horse tore some tendons). I would be leaving more towards laminitis, which could have been exacerbated by the trim. Or the timing could have just been a coincidence. The BO has done everything they can by not charging, they are not responsible for anything else. If she's not making a fuss about vet bills, then I would say something else is definitely going on.
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I find the holding varies from farrier to farrier. I know several who will catch and tye their own (we only have 8 acres, so you can get pretty much any horse from anywhere in under 5 minutes) once they establish a relationship with the horse and owner. Some won't even take the horses from the stall to the cross ties. Every farriers works differently.
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That makes sense. Im also used to absent owners. With some horses I see them weekly and yet don't ever see the owner (know one lady who MAYBE once every 2-3 months will come out and do something with her horses.) I always wonders WHY some farriers tolerate having to get the horses themselves. I don't hold my horse because my farrier is BF's dad XD so THEY deal with the silly mare.

On topic, I agree there might be an underlying reason, but I have seen a horse lame for weeks on end because of a bad trim. A trimmer in our area was somehow giving horses abscess. IDK how that possible, but if 90% of the horses he is trimming suddenly start getting them when they had no history of them, is rather odd.
 

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Hopefully, the next time the horse needs a trim the owner will be there. Something is going on if the horse is lame in her heels. If you hear what the Vet says let us know.;)

I have never Heard of a trim giving a horse an abcess, trimming can expose and or open an abcess or a stone bruise.

My farriers have caught horses for me. The current one has a helper, and they usually hold the horses.

If they ( farriers) get to content and sloppy after a number of years, and dont get it together , I fire them.
 

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Why hold The horse? In my area the horses are tied up. And most farriers get the horses and tie them up themselves, no owner needed.
That is exactly the way it works at our barn. There are 3 different farriers who come out on a regular schedule for different sets of boarders. The agreements on scheduling, payment and who handles the horse are strictly between the owner and the farrier. The BO has no involvement at all. We are lucky enough to have farriers who don't mind getting the horses out of the stalls, cross tying them, doing the work and then leaving a bill on the stall when we can't be there.
In this day of cell phones there is really no excuse for the major misunderstanding that happened here. Has a professional (vet)diagnosed the lameness in the horse and pointed to the farrier being at fault? Barn drama is the bane of most stables and rumors/blame fly around all the time.:-(
Obviously, the lesson here is to do nothing at all to, or for this horse. That's a real shame because at our barn the boarders do jump in to help when a horse is in trouble or if another boarder needs help. Just last week we had a horse get badly cast in its stall and 2 other boarders spend an hour rescuing him.
From now on you will probably have to make her arrange her own services and make her be present for all of them just to protect yourselves from the liability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The farrier was back to do a few other horses at the barn, and he did stop to take a look at the horse's hooves - he said he didn't think he had cut the heels too short.

The boarder took the horse to a vet clinic to be treated, as opposed to arranging a vet to visit the barn. If she does return to board here, I will make sure to find out what the vet said and recommended. That being said, the barn owner and I are both doubting that this boarder will return.

Following the initial lameness, and the boarder's reaction to it, the barn owner and I did back off, and did as little with this horse as possible. We cleaned her stall twice a day, and left everything else up to the owner.

Also, because of this event, we did write up a form that will be given out to boarders that clarifies what they want as far as barn staff involvement in their horse, and what they can expect given situations such as this one.

Thank you all for your replies and opinions on the situation! This leads me to my next question (again, I am not the one who has to arrange and decide on this in person, but just for future reference and my own knowledge)

The boarder left for the vet before the 5th of the month (when the board is due), and did not pay for February board, and if she chooses not to return, did not give 30 days notice (in the contract).

Given that she left at the time she did, would charging for the month of board also count as the fee for not giving notice? Do we still charge her with the extra cost of having her horse in a stall, given that our farrier [might] have been the reason why she needed the stall in the first place? Would having the vet point to the farrier as the cause for lameness make the farrier, or the barn, liable for any costs in regards to stabling, hauling, treatment, etc?
 

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The farrier was back to do a few other horses at the barn, and he did stop to take a look at the horse's hooves - he said he didn't think he had cut the heels too short.

The boarder took the horse to a vet clinic to be treated, as opposed to arranging a vet to visit the barn. If she does return to board here, I will make sure to find out what the vet said and recommended. That being said, the barn owner and I are both doubting that this boarder will return.

Following the initial lameness, and the boarder's reaction to it, the barn owner and I did back off, and did as little with this horse as possible. We cleaned her stall twice a day, and left everything else up to the owner.

Also, because of this event, we did write up a form that will be given out to boarders that clarifies what they want as far as barn staff involvement in their horse, and what they can expect given situations such as this one.

Thank you all for your replies and opinions on the situation! This leads me to my next question (again, I am not the one who has to arrange and decide on this in person, but just for future reference and my own knowledge)

The boarder left for the vet before the 5th of the month (when the board is due), and did not pay for February board, and if she chooses not to return, did not give 30 days notice (in the contract).

Given that she left at the time she did, would charging for the month of board also count as the fee for not giving notice? Do we still charge her with the extra cost of having her horse in a stall, given that our farrier [might] have been the reason why she needed the stall in the first place? Would having the vet point to the farrier as the cause for lameness make the farrier, or the barn, liable for any costs in regards to stabling, hauling, treatment, etc?
As a BO, I'd just say lesson learned. I'd walk away and drop it. Cheaper in the long run. Your reputation is worth more than 5 days of unpaid board. Probably better for you that she leaves as well. There's a bitter taste in her mouth that will always be there. I don't feel you (the barn) did any harm but were naive in how things are conducted. Good time to review your CCC policy and see if there is any language in it that addresses this very issue. No reputable vet is going to blame the farrier and have it stand up without some past history. If radiographs were taken a week ago and another set today and there were changes with the farrier visit being the only thing that has happened, she might have a case but my gut says she's walking away as well.

On a related note (and monster pet peeve of mine) vaccinations and deworming. Again, I am amazed by the barns that do it for their clients. Unless you are a licensed vet, do not do it. You can buy the medication, recommend (demand) that it be done in a certain time frame but never, ever, ever stick the needle in the horse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you all for the advice, I can certainly see how forgetting about the few days of board is the better way to go. As I haven't heard my BO mention billing her for this months board, I think she has come to the same conclusion.

It was certainly naive of us, and we hope not to make this mistake again in the future. This is our first year offering boarding, so we are still learning how to handle everything and get things running smoothly.

Thanks again!
 
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