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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, if you have read my other posts in this section, you know that I am the stable hand of a barn that is offering boarding for the first time this year. The BO and I work together to help build the barn up and manage everything. I'm the only person here mon-fri, and often work weekends aswell as week days. I also live on the property and am here 24/7. so I more or less manage the physical aspects of barn ownership, maintenance, the care of the horses, etc. the BO deals with finances, promotions, etc.

There is certainly a lot to learn, and though we try to educate ourselves and learn and take advice from more experienced BOs and trainers, there are still things we overlook or don't think to address (as was the case with the farrier)

So, I was wondering if any barn owners, or barn managers, had any advice or lessons that they learned, or any suggestions/tips to keep everything running smoothly.

If anyone in general has any ideas or suggestions, that would be great! I rarely, if ever, get feed back from the boarders or my BO, so I'd love it if there were things that I could improve upon or avoid doing, or start doing to improve the experience for the boarders.

Thanks!
 

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I'm not a manager or owner, but I am a boarder. I've had a few issues that have caused me to leave barns and some that have made me enjoy the experience of boarding much more, so I'll comment on a few.

Fairness. Each boarder should be treated the same unless there is a specific reason (something they've done a previous barns and gotten the boot for, per say) behind it. This doesn't only encompass the boarder his/herself either, it goes for their horses.
-My mare leads beautifully, you don't even need a lead on her, nor do you have to hold her halter. She'll wait at the gates until you either walk her through or give her the go-ahead to go through on her own. The first barn I was at refused to turn her out when I moved her to stall board (with daily turnout) because she was "dangerous" and wouldn't lead. That's absolutely ridiculous and I told them she needed turned out..Said they would but everytime I found her she was in the stall that was messed as if she was in there all day (I cleaned my own stall at night).
-I was also harassed by the BOs husband. Her husband knew nothing of horses and when BO and I worked out deals in exchange for hauling, if he ended up driving he refused the deal and wanted cash..That wasn't what was discussed and worked out, I would not have asked for the service if I knew he only wanted cash. BO would always take his side and tell me I "misunderstood", of which I didn't. There was no communication between the BOs/managers and that's not okay. It makes unhappy boarders that eventually leave.

What I've loved at barns (including when the above is taken into account as well) is BOs working with someone on board (as long as they can afford it). I have a very odd job. I make plenty of money, but the first or last week of the month I might not work at all and can't afford to have board there on the first or by the fifth. While, this is definitely not necessary to do and I have never expected it, it's nice when you know the person will keep their word or create an extra contract to attatch to the boarding that state dates/amounts.

A family/friendly atmosphere. If I didn't feel at home at the barn, I doubt my horse will. If staff is inconsistent/rude/etc I have no interest in seeing them everyday when I come to see my horse. I won't spend money somewhere that doesn't have the social skills to be courteous to paying customers.

I'm sure there are others, but that's all I can think of now. I know I'm not the audience you were looking to ask, but I think it's always good to get perspectives from everyone involved.
The issues I've had are what I've heard a lot of people having, so it's over the board that it happens. Hope it helped some.:)
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Your boarding contract must make it very clear to boarders, in writing that there is a $10 per day late payment fee that will be added to the regular board fee. Some boarder get a bit slack on this. Also, make it clear that after 30 days of non payment, the horse will be sold at auction. We've heard countless tales of non-contract boarding situations backfiring and either the BO or the owner getting screwed.
 

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Agreed on the strict boarding contract. Make sure that before this happens you know EXACTLY how much of the board money per horse will go to you, and how much goes to the owner. If not, you'll end up with a mess of a situation. Keep the lines of communication open between the two of you and the boarders. Try to keep things consistent. Say that the horses get fed at 7 and 4 every day (or whatever times work for you) and stick with it! My current barn manager doesn't feed at the same time everyday and it frustrates me to no end. Same with turnout- the horses go out at 5 after they eat, that way folks know what to expect. Keep a presence there. People are less likely to cause trouble or mess with someone else's horse or belongings if they know you may walk in at any second.

Just a few things off the top of my head ;)
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When I boarded , I showed what was fed at each meal. How large a flake was etc. I also explained that on weekends and Holidays the feeding schedule would be different.
Weekdays the horses were fed at 6 am and around 4:30 or 5 pm in the evenings.
I had the Boarder supply the salt licks. I insisted on salt licks, If I had to supply the salt, then I would add a couple bucks onto the price of the salt lick, just for the inconvenience it caused .
I would also state.. the horse has Feeder, I am not responsible if your horse pulls the hay out and eats off the ground.
I had water troughs, and if the boarder paid to have the pen cleaned it included trough cleaning, IF the boarder did their own pen cleaning, they also were responsible for trough cleaning, And I hate scummy water troughs.
If I had to clean the troughs, I would add a charge . ( some people are just lazy)
I would not have shared tack or feed barrels. That is just asking for drama.
I would make sure every boarder knew not to mess with any other persons horse . ever.
If there was a problem to contact me.
no one was to mess with the hay stacks.
be sure to specify how often shavings are changed out, and how many bales of shavings per stall. or bales of straw etc.
If you are going to be giving supplements, make sure it is all written out Exactly, how much , and what time its to be given. And make sure the owner pays for the supplements or supplies them . State you will not give notice when the supplement is low, that is the Owners responsibility to have the supplemental feed there and ready to feed.

If you say a scoop you need to specify the scoop size, one quart or three quart . i have four different scoop sizes.

You need to specify how many times a week a pen is to be cleaned, daily or two times a week etc.

Be Specific .
 

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The first thing you need to do is identify who your boarder is. Based on the facilities and staff, what can you offer? Is your arena only large enough for pleasure riding or is it big enough to do other disciplines? Can you ride off the property or are you stuck riding down the driveway? How will you compete with the other facilities in your market? How competitive with them are you and how will you distinguish yourself from them? How much time a day can you dedicate towards the boarding operation? Riding your own personal horses will quickly take a back seat so decide where the balance is between income and free time. And on the note of free time, set hours of operation if you have to so people aren't wandering in at all times of the day and night. If Sunday's your day off, sunday's your day off otherwise you will get sucked into doing something and you never have time for yourself. Are you willing to blanket, feed grain, provide special diets or turnout and is there a cost associated with that service? Will you allow outside trainers and what is your compensation for them using your facilities while they make $$ (yes you should charge something to the trainer to come in and use your arena) It is hard for your boarders to not become your friends as well but you must do what you can to have a professional barrier between you and them. Makes it hard to raise you board or ask them to leave when they are your friends too.

Just some basics to start with.
 

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Your boarding contract must make it very clear to boarders, in writing that there is a $10 per day late payment fee that will be added to the regular board fee. Some boarder get a bit slack on this. Also, make it clear that after 30 days of non payment, the horse will be sold at auction. We've heard countless tales of non-contract boarding situations backfiring and either the BO or the owner getting screwed.
WOW. I would NOT board at any place that had THAT in the contract! I know the barn owner needs the money, but that is an awful clause to put in there! I agree that late fees should be charged sometimes, but to sell the animal after 30 days? So if the horse goes to auction, and is sold to slaughter after 30 days because the HUMAN failed to pay, the HORSE is the one that gets punished?
Makes no sense to me.

We had one woman at our barn who was from Russia, and stayed there half the year. She entrusted her ex-husband to pay for her horse while she was there. (It was part of their divorce settlement.) What would happen if we had a clause like that, and he just chose not to pay? That horse was compromised physically, and would have been sold to the packers. There was no way to contact her while she was in Russia. He would've been a goner with a clause like that.

Also - that clause is not a good idea due to the amount of unwanted horses just laying around. Want to dump your horse and make sure it has adequate care for at least a month, and have someone else deal with selling it? Just dump it at a barn with a clause like this! Genius!

Please, for the love of god, never do this.
 

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Ya know, NOBODY likes to get an attorney involved, but REALLY, in my job I see a LOT of "legal" paperwork cut and pasted together into 150 page documents with duplicates, poor grammer, badly constructed sentences and wording--all done bc banks are cheap and don't want to have a lawyer write it!
An attorney will provide you with fair wording and fair contracts. You won't have horses sold at auction bc of late 30 days, but there will be clauses that say after so many attempts at reaching you, your horse WILL be sold at a reasonable rate at an attempt to recoup losses from the care of said horse.
It is WELL worth your money. Plus, if there are conflicts you can settle them bc you have an attorney available.
 

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WOW. I would NOT board at any place that had THAT in the contract! I know the barn owner needs the money, but that is an awful clause to put in there! I agree that late fees should be charged sometimes, but to sell the animal after 30 days? So if the horse goes to auction, and is sold to slaughter after 30 days because the HUMAN failed to pay, the HORSE is the one that gets punished?
Makes no sense to me.

We had one woman at our barn who was from Russia, and stayed there half the year. She entrusted her ex-husband to pay for her horse while she was there. (It was part of their divorce settlement.) What would happen if we had a clause like that, and he just chose not to pay? That horse was compromised physically, and would have been sold to the packers. There was no way to contact her while she was in Russia. He would've been a goner with a clause like that.

Also - that clause is not a good idea due to the amount of unwanted horses just laying around. Want to dump your horse and make sure it has adequate care for at least a month, and have someone else deal with selling it? Just dump it at a barn with a clause like this! Genius!

Please, for the love of god, never do this.
Curiosity here- what alternatives would you suggest? In some areas the barn owner can't legally take ownership of the horse because the owner stopped paying- even if they've been the sole financial caretaker for months. Legally, the horse has to be sold through auction or go through legal proceedings. At what point would you consider taking action? After footing the bill for this horse for a month? Two? Half a year?

I don't think the number of unwanted horses in the world has anything to do with the situation. If someone's not gonna pay for their horse, then they're not going to. The kind of person that would knowingly dump their poor horse on a barn with such a clause is the sort that doesn't care about their horse to begin with. Why dump it on the barn where it'll get sent to the stockyard instead of dumping it on the stockyard yourself and get a few bucks? I see why you aren't in favor of this clause, but I don't think that the unwanted horse population should be the reason :wink:

I would board at a barn with such a clause. I KNOW that if I ran into a dire financial situation that I would at least try to contact the barn owner and make other arrangements. The only reason something like this would affect your horse is if you're an absentee owner that stopped paying. IMO, part of owning a horse is looking in on its well being. In today's world I find it very hard to believe that, even living out of the country, a person would be completely unable to send an email or phone call once a MONTH to ensure that their horse is alive and ok. I wouldn't rely on ANYONE- much less an ex husband- to be responsible for the welfare of my horse for six months. That may come across as harsh since I don't know her full story, but that is far too long for her to have not had any contact.

I DO think that a barn manager should have a plan of some sort outlined in the contract to enforce payment. Were I in the position to come up with such a policy I would avoid the auction option if at all possible. You need to look up the legalities in your area to see what they include. My barn manager is WAY too lax about those sorts of things. There are currently a few boarders that pay less than full board, and a couple that have skipped multiple months in a row. The barn manager doesn't go after their money because she understands that they have fallen on hard times. She says that she has been in tough positions in her past, and if she were in their position she would hope that someone would cut her a break. Where does this kindness get her? Having to feed and clean a full barn, and coming up several hundreds of dollars short a month.

I'm not saying that you're a bad person for NOT wanting horses to be sent to auction. Trust me, I feel the same way! I'm just curious to see what you think would be a more reasonable alternative.
 

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If you do offer feeding supplements, make it so the boarder has to preportion the product so all you do is dump and go. They need to provide a week's worth of bagged product with horse and owner name on the baggie. This will prevent it running out on you and now it's your problem, you don't have to charge for it, if you do have a problem with people helping themselves to other's supplements, if it's all mixed together that's not as apt to happen and it will save you a bunch of time. 1 minute scooping X 10 horses twice a day is 20 minutes you didn't waste.

On the subject of late paying boarders, all I can say is if you let it happen, it will happen. People get penalized for paying rent late, car payments late, cc payments late but they somehow feel like they can skate and pay board the middle of the month when they get their next paycheck. Restructure the payment due time to the 15th if both parties agree if it's an ongoing problem. It costs you if you have to replace a boarder so work with them if the are worth it.

On non paying boarders, know your local agister's lien laws. Nothing anyone says on a forum such as this is of use to you unless they live in the same state and know the laws. Some states you can simply seize the horse and sell them out from underneath the boarder with virtually no legal steps while for me living in a brand state, there is a rather drawn out process that must be followed or else I am in violation of the brand laws and the sale is invalid. In 20 years, I have had to go that route only once. Your board fees can quickly exceed the value of the horse if you aren't proactive but you are running a business not a rescue.

If you live in an area that has been hard hit with fluctuating hay prices, put a provision in your boarding contract so if hay goes over X (only you need to know what X is) you will tack on a surcharge of $ X until prices drop. Because I had 0 turnover with my boarders, I would tell them I need and extra $100 (whatever it was) before Sept 1 to buy my winter supply of hay. Some would spread it over a few months while others paid the fee all at once. It's so easy to just absorb the little extras here and there and by the end of the year, you're in the red. Review your pricing structure at least once a year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for the suggestions you guys! I can certainly see where we need to make some changes, at the moment, being such a small barn with only 4-5 boarders, it really is easy to kind of let the costs of the little things slide without realizing the toll it will take in the end. Especially if our barn gets more boarders, I'm seeing now that we need to clean up our act now before we get in over our heads.

I'm quite happy to be learning these things as a stable hand, I feel like if I ever do step into a role with more responsibility, I'll have been a bit more prepared.

It is quite common here for the barn to take ownership of a horse and sell them at auction in the event of unpaid board, it is in our contract to do so by following the legal process ( I think it's after 2-3 months unpaid board, then a formal letter has to be sent, and probably a few other things) that's in Alberta. This is (unfortunately) a problem we've already had to deal with. I think the BO will have to toughen up a bit, as she tends to treat horses like they're her own (something I'm not a huge fan of), so she often won't send them to the auction to get her money because she doesn't want to let them go. I'm hoping that strict personality is one that can be learnt over time

On a side note - are there formal courses that cover the responsibilities and obligations of being a barn owner, or are there books on the subject that I can study up on?

Thank you again! I'm really having a whole new appreciation for the BOs and managers of the stables I've boarded at previously
 

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Perspective from a boarder;
Personally, I won't board full care ever again as I have had very, very bad experiences with it. I am not particularly happy with my present partial boarding situation and if there were any other place to go, this barn would be empty, but at least I take care of my horses myself and know pretty much what's going on with them. You can limit a lot of your liability and complaints from boarders when you back off a bit from the "full care" idea.
Make the boarders responsible their own worming, vet, blacksmith and dentist visits. That way you can't get blamed if one of those professionals make a mistake.
We all supply our own hay and feed. If a boarder gets in the habit of not buying hay, the contract clearly states that the BO will supply a bale at a time and will be charged double the going rate per bale on their next board bill. Believe me, with an extra charge like that these people really wake up and never do it again! We don't have to fuss over shared feed bins, we all have our own 50lb bin to fill as needed. We all clean our own stalls so we are out there a lot-there are very few "absentee" boarders. Several boarders do the twice daily feed/watering in exchange for a little bit off their board fee.
As a previous poster said, don't play favorites!! Our BOs have done that and those favorites have chased many boarders right out of the stable and caused others not to move in. The BOs aren’t even aware that they have lost a lot of
business this way.
If you have an issue with a boarder, don't write a nasty-gram and put it on all the stall doors. (they do this where I board and it makes us all angry) Go straight to the one person you have a problem with and leave us out of it!
Keep the "don't do this, don't do that" signs to a minimum. When adults feel you are treating them like children they become resentful.
Fix and maintain the arenas, stalls and equipment! Replace what is broken. Pot holes too!! Our BOs refuse to fix the huge holes in the driveway and we all have had to replace shocks & brakes on our vehicles numerous times. Some people are so angry that they intentionally drive over on the tree lawn and leave big ruts in it. There are huge maintenance and safety issues where I board and the boarders are resentful and no longer bother to help keep the property nice. When the quality of your barn and grounds goes downhill, the quality and attitude of your boarders will too. Keep everything working well and your boarders will treat your property accordingly.
Make sure you have a helmet rule for ALL riders under 18 and enforce it!! Our BOs always had western horses and don’t have such a rule. I have seen little tiny toddlers out riding with a teenager in charge-that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen and your BO will not only lose the stable but everything else they own too!
Instead of getting nasty about board fee payments, our BOs gives a $10.00 per stall discount on bills paid by the 10th. Virtually all the boarders take advantage of this and there hasn't been a problem. They unfortunately haven’t been very pro-active about the 1 or 2 that have run up large unpaid bills-these boarders are also the ones who neglect their horses. On top of that, these horses would only bring $50.00-100.00 at the local slaughter auction even if seized.
The one smart thing (and there are very few) that the BOs did was imply in the boarding contract that this is a "membership". That separates it slightly from the outside public thinking it’s a business where you can come right in and wander around. Technically no one is allowed on the property unless they are a guest of a "member" or with specific permission from the boarder.
 

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Perspective from a boarder;
Personally, I won't board full care ever again as I have had very, very bad experiences with it. I am not particularly happy with my present partial boarding situation and if there were any other place to go, this barn would be empty, but at least I take care of my horses myself and know pretty much what's going on with them. You can limit a lot of your liability and complaints from boarders when you back off a bit from the "full care" idea.
Make the boarders responsible their own worming, vet, blacksmith and dentist visits. That way you can't get blamed if one of those professionals make a mistake.
We all supply our own hay and feed. If a boarder gets in the habit of not buying hay, the contract clearly states that the BO will supply a bale at a time and will be charged double the going rate per bale on their next board bill. Believe me, with an extra charge like that these people really wake up and never do it again! We don't have to fuss over shared feed bins, we all have our own 50lb bin to fill as needed. We all clean our own stalls so we are out there a lot-there are very few "absentee" boarders. Several boarders do the twice daily feed/watering in exchange for a little bit off their board fee.
As a previous poster said, don't play favorites!! Our BOs have done that and those favorites have chased many boarders right out of the stable and caused others not to move in. The BOs aren’t even aware that they have lost a lot of
business this way.
If you have an issue with a boarder, don't write a nasty-gram and put it on all the stall doors. (they do this where I board and it makes us all angry) Go straight to the one person you have a problem with and leave us out of it!
Keep the "don't do this, don't do that" signs to a minimum. When adults feel you are treating them like children they become resentful.
Fix and maintain the arenas, stalls and equipment! Replace what is broken. Pot holes too!! Our BOs refuse to fix the huge holes in the driveway and we all have had to replace shocks & brakes on our vehicles numerous times. Some people are so angry that they intentionally drive over on the tree lawn and leave big ruts in it. There are huge maintenance and safety issues where I board and the boarders are resentful and no longer bother to help keep the property nice. When the quality of your barn and grounds goes downhill, the quality and attitude of your boarders will too. Keep everything working well and your boarders will treat your property accordingly.
Make sure you have a helmet rule for ALL riders under 18 and enforce it!! Our BOs always had western horses and don’t have such a rule. I have seen little tiny toddlers out riding with a teenager in charge-that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen and your BO will not only lose the stable but everything else they own too!
Instead of getting nasty about board fee payments, our BOs gives a $10.00 per stall discount on bills paid by the 10th. Virtually all the boarders take advantage of this and there hasn't been a problem. They unfortunately haven’t been very pro-active about the 1 or 2 that have run up large unpaid bills-these boarders are also the ones who neglect their horses. On top of that, these horses would only bring $50.00-100.00 at the local slaughter auction even if seized.
The one smart thing (and there are very few) that the BOs did was imply in the boarding contract that this is a "membership". That separates it slightly from the outside public thinking it’s a business where you can come right in and wander around. Technically no one is allowed on the property unless they are a guest of a "member" or with specific permission from the boarder.
Another perspective: My barn manager refuses to do self care board because of a history of people not taking care of their business. She won't walk by a dirty stall and leave it dirty just because the owner didn't feel like coming out today. I see where she's coming from.
 

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Another perspective: My barn manager refuses to do self care board because of a history of people not taking care of their business. She won't walk by a dirty stall and leave it dirty just because the owner didn't feel like coming out today. I see where she's coming from.
I was actually just going to ask about that - if I were a barn manager, I'd be wary about offering self care / half care, cause what if the care isn't up to my own standards?

As a boarder, there are a few things that are important to me.
As someone else said, know your clientele. Do you want to be an affordable place that offers pasture board and caters to trail riders (i.e. no arena needed)? Or do you want to be an upscale sports facility? If you want to charge more, what is it you're offering that peoople pay extra money for?
#1: TRANSPARENCY and proper communication! Make sure boarders know what you are offering and what is expected of them in return. Doesn't need to be in a mean way, but e.g. give every new boarder a well-written info sheet with the rules (board payment, liability, cleaning up after yourself, arena use times etc). In return, make sure to let your boarders know e.g. who is working on which days. There's nothing wrong with the barn manager taking a day off, or people working casually. But it's no fun to come out to the barn and play a guessing game whether e.g. my horse has received his supplements / medication yet. Make sure that there is ONE person (BO/BM) to approach in case of problems or questions, and that all your boarders know who that is and have been introduced in person. Post the phone nrs of emergency contacts, farrier, vet etc in a well visible spot.
Being a barn manager doesn't mean you have to do everything yourself, or that you shouldn't have free time. But it does mean that you have to be the person in charge and be able to direct boarders and other workers. It needs to be clear who's responsible for what.


Horse care: ties in to the previous point. Make sure the people working and the boarders know what has been done and who has done it. E.g. get a big white bard for the feed room that has all the feeding instructions on it, and have people mark it on the board as they work off their chores. That way there's a lot less confusion and things will not get missed or one double.
One thing I really like at the place I am right now is that the girls are very attentive. They look at every single horse every day, even the pasture boarded ones, and they call right away as soon as something's wrong. Better call once too many that once too little, gives boarders a lot of peace of mind.
It sucks to get the feeling there is a difference in care between the BO's/BM's horses and the boarder's. It also sucks to get the feeling the BM is more interested in riding his/her own horses, showing, attending clinics etc than doing what s/he is paid for.

Arena / riding area: If you have an arena, make sure the footing is well taken care of. That includes e.g. watering and raking on a regular basis, and making sure that people pick up poop after themselves. Also, as a dressage rider, it's pretty annoying to remove the jumps that the previous riders have left. Especially when it happens every.single.ride. If jumps need to be re-used e.g. in later lessons, it would be nice if these lessons could be maybe once or twice a week and not every day...
 

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Arena / riding area: If you have an arena, make sure the footing is well taken care of. That includes e.g. watering and raking on a regular basis, and making sure that people pick up poop after themselves. Also, as a dressage rider, it's pretty annoying to remove the jumps that the previous riders have left. Especially when it happens every.single.ride. If jumps need to be re-used e.g. in later lessons, it would be nice if these lessons could be maybe once or twice a week and not every day...
Well, leaving jumps up would depend on what sort of facility you're trying to run. If you're catering to folks that jump, then it would be more of a pain for the administration to cater to the two people that exclusively ride on the flat than allowing the other 10 to leave the jumps up. If you're a dressage or western barn, then the jumper may have to just haul their stuff out before and after rides. In a mixed facility barn everyone needs to give and take a little. Maybe leave a couple of jumps up off centered in the arena so that the dressage riders can ride around easily, and the jumpers always have them up. At my barn we have a mixture of people that ride exclusively on the flat, a couple running barrels, and a couple that jump. I've never had a problem doing dressage tests around a couple of jumps, and if set up properly the barrels and a couple of jumps can be set up so they don't interfere with each other.

I think that this issue falls under your category of "making rules clear in the beginning". If you want the rules to be "nothing left in the arena when you're done", then put it in the barn rules. If you want it to be "Designated jumps can stay, everything else must be removed", then put it in. If it's "Do not remove or rearrange jumps without BM's permission", then put that in there. If you're fortunate to have multiple riding spaces, consider designating one as a "jump area" and the other as a "flat area". The BO at my barn cleared a nice large area in the back pasture to use as a jump field. My friend brought her jumps and set them up as she wanted, and it means that she can jump full courses without having to tie up the arena with them. My old barn had a big outdoor and indoor arena. The outdoor always had a full course up and you weren't allowed to rearrange the jumps and leave them. The indoor was mostly flat, and you had to take down anything that you put up. Know who you're catering to, and plan your barn policies around keeping people happy. You can't please everyone, but develop the policies around what suits your farm's needs best.
 

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Left hand Perch.. is correct, You need to have the agisters lein in the boarding contract .
You cannot keep a horse that has an agisters lien, it Must go to auction to be sold for the money due.
If you wish to keep the horse that has 3 months (what is legal here) past due board, then put a clause the owner will sign the horse over to you in lieu of back board.
Have it written that the owner does Not have first right of recovery and the owner gives up
all Rights of ownership without undue stress or pressure. That the horse is signed over with a clear and free title. If the horse is registered, you may also ask in the contract that you can purchase the papers for $$ . They are not required to supply the registration papers.
I would not hand over my registration papers, and would write deceased and mail to the registry.
 

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Another perspective: My barn manager refuses to do self care board because of a history of people not taking care of their business. She won't walk by a dirty stall and leave it dirty just because the owner didn't feel like coming out today. I see where she's coming from.
Stall cleaning when horses are neglected is done by the BO or another boarder and then a substantial fee is charged directly to the owner on the next bill. Having to pay extra usually gets these people's attention and they straighten up! (At least until next time:-()
 

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But if you're going to have to do it and charge anyway, then why not just do that? That's the logic that she has presented to me, and I tend to agree. The "until next time" is what would get me- the type of person to neglect their horse is the same type that would cause problems with billing, and then cause the same issue I'm the future.
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Turkishvan, you have the wrong idea about horse auctions. A horse that's worth much more than the low slaughter prices will not go to slaughter. An auction brings many potential buyers. Think of it. If you were looking for a horse, wouldn't it be easier and less time consuming to be able to look at 25 at one place in one day, than running all over the country for weeks or months?
 

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Turkishvan, you have the wrong idea about horse auctions. A horse that's worth much more than the low slaughter prices will not go to slaughter. An auction brings many potential buyers. Think of it. If you were looking for a horse, wouldn't it be easier and less time consuming to be able to look at 25 at one place in one day, than running all over the country for weeks or months?
I've been to many a horse auction here in Iowa, so I KNOW how they go. Auctions are not the place to go when you want a good horse, pure and simple. They're usually places people go to pick up a few, ride them out, then make a quick sale on. Anything that doesn't look even remotely possible of riding gets sold to the packers. Private sales are much better for the horse.

I will tell you that good horses (worth thousands!) WILL go to slaughter, regardless of breeding, training, etc. I've seen it happen. We had a nearby auction selling some very, very nice, very well bred Egyptian Arabians. Papered, nice conformation, been handled extensively, etc. They even had their own GROOM. Guess how much they went for? $25 a piece. Seven nice, nice horses. The groom bought 2, but didn't have room for more. He was devastated. But the owner said to sell, no matter how low the price. I heard several people joking about them being "cheaper than a bag of dog food", so you know what they were going to do with them. (I unfortunately I knew some of the slimeballs frequenting that auction, so I'm sure they did go and slaughter them for their dogs.)
Around here, an auction brings mostly packers. People wanting more than $1,000 for a horse usually don't get the horse sold. The auctioneer really has to work for a sale like that.

Personally, I try to avoid buying a horse from an auction. We never have, and we own 8 horses. (I only attend to buy cheap tack items, or see what the horse market is like.) We only buy through private sales. Auction houses are just rifled with disease, and I'm always extra careful to wash my hands so I don't bring something home to my own horses. I've seen wayyyy too many horses at the auction with obvious cases of strangles, bad injuries, etc. They're pushed through and sold, regardless of this.

Where is the vet in all of this, you ask?
Unfortunately there is not much the vet can do sometimes.
My cousin is a vet, and worked for two sale barns on two separate occasions, and told them she'd never come back afterwards. Being a very responsible vet, she demanded Coggins tests and health certificates for every horse, with thorough inspections and notes to back everything up. At first she wanted the buyer to pay for it, but they complained. Then she asked the sellers to pay for it, and they complained. No matter what she did, the buyers, sellers, and auction employees complained like crazy. She was met with quite a bit of animosity from random people, and got backed into a corner more than once by a yelling buyer/seller. Her male friend had to come defend her. When she contacted the state vet, he told her, "Oh, it doesn't matter who it goes for." The state vet was very wishy-washy about the entire affair, and although she filed complaints about situations at one barn, nothing ever came of it.
The problem is that none of the higher-ups care.

So no, I don't have the wrong idea about horse auctions. I would never subject my horse to one, even a horse that I didn't care for.
 
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