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Ive been living in a renovated farm house for the better part of 3 years. My partner and i both love living in the country and managing the yard/house. We do have a barn with 3 stalls and about 140 acres of unfenced rolling prarie land. Today at work, i was approached by a acquaintance with a problem. She has been boarding a 20ish y.o. horse an hour away for the some time, and can no longer afford to keep it there. SHe doesnt want to get rid of the horse but understands that she is a college student (as am i) and may not be able to keep it. She heard that i had a barn and land and wanted to ask if i would be interested in having it. I told her im not interested in owning it but may be able to house it for free. Ive always wanted a horse, had one as a kid but never actually had to care or maintain a horse. Im willing to put a few hours a week into maintaining but dont fully understand what that may be. I do have a fenced in area around the barn that accounts to maybe a 100x100ft open area (total area around the barn)

Cost wise she's quoted us a total of about a thousand a year, 200$ for a 1 time vet visit yearly, 365$ for nov-march hay (.5 bale/day). 196$ for april-oct hay, 336$ for food at 28/month, and 180 a year for trimming at 30 every 2 months.

Im strongly considering it on the basis that i love horses and am prepared to care for it. My current stance is that i would only pay for food or hay and have her take care of the rest on contract. Im looking for advice on things i should be weary of. If anything is throwing up gigantic red flags to any of you, and what you all would do in my situation. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

For the record its a registered appaloosa, all materials (brushes/saddles/water/feed bin) would be supplied
 

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I don't see any serious red flags.

I would talk to her and agree with what her expectations of you being the border are and put in writing what you're to pay and what she is to pay, and what would happen if she were to welch on payments.

Another thing is that he is a senior horse and as such may need more attention to his feed, especially over winter - watch his weight and that he doesn't start loosing weight.

Is he going to be stalled at night? If so now you need to factor in bedding and who is doing the job of cleaning this stall. If your cleaning it then you need to think about if you're doing this out of the goodness of your heart or if your time needs to be compisated.
 

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How do you know the horse will tolerate living alone?
You will be stuck having to be home to care of the horse-no vacations or even over night trips unless you plan for someone to take over.
This sounds pretty one sided. What will the owner have to do or provide?
If the horse gets sick or injured & the owner can't or won't take care of it what will you do?
Who would be responsible if it gets out, gets hit by a car & possibly kills some body? Strange things can happen.

I wouldn't do it unless you offered your place as a self care facility & the owner was responsible for all the work but you'd still have to be back up when needed.
 

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How do you know the horse will tolerate living alone?
You will be stuck having to be home to care of the horse-no vacations or even over night trips unless you plan for someone to take over.
This sounds pretty one sided. What will the owner have to do or provide?
If the horse gets sick or injured & the owner can't or won't take care of it what will you do?
Who would be responsible if it gets out, gets hit by a car & possibly kills some body? Strange things can happen.

I wouldn't do it unless you offered your place as a self care facility & the owner was responsible for all the work but you'd still have to be back up when needed.
What natisha is saying is the "brass tacks reality" of what you may or could be dealing with in this arrangement for an acquaintance. Since the horse would physically be on your property you would be the one to be held accountable if the horse got injured, injured some other person or property. Even with a written contract between you and the horse's owner that contract could be only as good as the paper it's written on. I have actually been told that fact by a good friend who owns and manages a broarding barn facility.
 

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why would you pay to feed someone elses horse? and assume all liability ? Also she already says she cant afford it. You are gonna end up getting stuck with an old horse that is gonna need medical, teeth, farrier, and food. Then what are you gonna do when it dies ? which could be tommorrow or in 10 years, Horses seem to go about 24 years or so, some make it to 30. If you want a horse by all means get one, but dot get stuck with someone elses problem.
 

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I agree with everybody else. The ONLY people whose horse(s) I will keep are in my immediately family. I was also approached by a neighbor who keeps her horse 1 hr.15 minutes away, but she lives 1/2 a block from my property. TOO many risks!! Too much one-sided work. I am sure that she can find a less expensive barn some where else. Many college students often are used to their parent's lifestyles, anyway. You know, champagne on a beer budget?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies!
My partner and i intend to create an extensive contract that will be notorized (if that really would make much of a difference) that would place nearly all financial responsibility on her. Including medical/hay/bedding/upkeep/damage to property/upgrades required etc.. I will only be covering the grain at the price of 28 bucks a month for 2 bags, I dont mind putting the work into it (that may change) because i figure im young, have the energy, and wont be doing it for more than 2 years. I probably would not require compensation for cleaning out the stalls, but would require that she contributes to it at least 50 percent of the effort to do so.

If the horse got out of a fence put up and paid for by her, and the contract states that she assumes the responsibility, how much liability would i realistically have for any damage incurred by the horse?? I know its getting into a hairy situation, but assuming it wasnt my own negligence(forgot to shut gate or something) wouldnt the legal blame be shifted mostly on her??

Basically the agreement is going to state that literally ANYTHING that happens will be her financial responsibility other than the 28 bucks a month we will contribute towards food. and if she doesnt like the way we treat the horse, or if we dont like the way she's handling the situation (money, attitude etc.. ) then the horse will be removed at her expense within 30 days of notification in either direction.

I look at this basically as a learning experience for myself, i probably wont have the opportunity to have the land/equipment later in life, so with this presenting itself im interested in gainin first hand experience, but cautious towards the reality of the situation.
 

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Sounds like you're on the right track. My big worries are having her acknowledge that the horse may be injured in the normal course of events, and vet bills are her responsibility; that if the feed requirements change, that is also her responsibility (e.g. if the horse drops weight and the vet recommends changing the feed/increasing the feed). Also - think about what you will do about horse chores if you want to go out of town for the weekend. You need a horse-sitter that you can trust.
 

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I don't think that she is going to be able to afford what you are asking of her, as she cannot afford it now. The grain is the smallest cost, hay and possible vets bills being the largest.

It sounds to me that she wants you to keep and pay for the horse while she has the benefit of it - I would be very cautious if I were you.
 

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Weigh the cost of at home care, vs board. Likely she's paying board and that is much more expensive than home care.
 

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I still worry for your liability aspects of the proposed arrangement of your acquaintance's horse. I echo what AlexS said, "I'd be very cautious if I were you".
 

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The law is not always clear .... and there are ALOT of legal issues that could arise. And since it's YOUR property and you are agreeing to horse babysit/care, the burden of ANY damage to property (yours or someone else's) and/or injury to you, your family, neighbors, people driving by, her or her family would likely fall on YOU. You've heard the saying that posession is nine tenths of ownership? Well, the horse is on your property = it is in your posession. Hence the legal ramifacations do not favor YOU.

Case in point: if a child and her family are walking down the road, and she sees the pretty horsey and runs over to it and it bites or in any way hurts her, is it the supposed owner's fault or YOURS?? If you are going to say the owner's...don't bet on it.....YOU could be held liable even more so, as it is YOUR property, hence the safety of ANYONE and EVERYONE who walks, crawls, drives or floats onto your property (whether invited or not) is YOUR problem.

Even if you decide to not offer to horse sit or care for it....IT IS YOUR PROPERTY, IT IS YOUR PROBLEM

imo, What you are considering is legal and financial suicide.

What i can't understand is if you want a horse to care for so bad, why not get one from a rescue?? Or a freebie that can only be used as a pasture pet?

Why cut your own throat by involving yourself in a highly legally risky arrangement that could end up as your worst nightmare?
 
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Excellent post Beauseant. I agree with everything you said.

The fault generally does fall on the property owner and even if you were to have a contract, notarized, it doesn't always save you. Good luck in your decision.

Stacy
 
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