Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Moving Early

 So, when shit hits the fan, all you can do is duck or move out of the way . . . 

I have been taking lessons on Thursday night for several years now. Sometimes it moves to Tuesday or Wednesday, but we always gravitate back to Thursday. I have been riding with one of my barn mates and sharing lessons with her, because we are both working on the same things. It gives the horses a break between pirouettes and half-pass and sometimes you can figure things out by watching them in front of you.

The barn we were boarding in had a huge indoor arena with decent footing and horrible lighting. We ride outside as much as possible, but late fall, winter and spring, we have to ride inside. Its a necessity. And its why we were willing to pay $600 a month for the privilege. Mind you, that's for the stall with run, cleaning the stall and run, water, hay, safe choice grain and use of the facilities. No blanketing. No turn out. An indoor arena that leaks badly. Snow sliding off the roof of the arena. Tree branches scrapping and banging on the walls in the wind. Flooded runs and a tack room with a wall that rains water like a waterfall during inclement weather. It was impossible to ride early in the morning because the barn owner uses the indoor for turn out. They watered and dragged the arena on her schedule, which meant that some nights the indoor was wet, muddy and slick. But, we made it work for us, the hay was premium quality, and the horses seemed happy. And no one ever really wants to move barns.

On the last day of September, the barn owner gave us notice of the board increase (with no upgrade in facilities - every improvement made in the past two years we've paid for) of $100 a month. We were bound by contract to give a 30 days notice, which meant we needed to find a place within two days. Not a lot of time to work with, but we made it happen. Once we knew where we were going, we all gave notice. Thirteen horses were leaving. Eight of them went to my new barn, three of them went to a second barn and the other two went their own way. I'm not sure what the BO was expecting, but it doesn't seem like this is what she thought would happen. Instead of seeing her profit margin increase, she took a huge hit in potential income. It made her a bit surly.

Two weeks ago on Thursday, we were taking our lesson with Amanda. All of a sudden, with no warning (door!) at all, the BO yanked open one of the doors on the show barn, which shrieked horribly and scared the bejesus out of both horses. She glared into the arena and then stomped off into her side of the barn. No greeting, no acknowledgement of her poor choices. She left the door open, which her husband shut about twenty minutes later. This last Thursday, my barn mate and I went into the indoor and started our warm up. We had walked around the arena a little bit and had just started a jog when once again the door was yanked open. (No warning). This time both horses spooked pretty hard and I'm not sure another rider wouldn't have hit the ground. The barn owner stomped across the arena while we turned to watch her. Two strides from the light switches she said "I'm turning off the lights. . . . you might want to get off." Then the lights in the arena went off. My barn mate had gotten off her horse but I was still swinging down off of Ashke when the arena was suddenly in pitch blackness. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and got it turned on which helped us get out of the arena safely. 

I was beyond pissed. It was unprofessional. Reckless. Dangerous. Horrible horsemanship. And a breach of contract.

Amanda had received a text from the BO about the time we were swinging into the saddle saying that if we wanted to use the indoor at night we had to pay her an extra $20 to ride. Everyone was pretty pissed as well. There were at least five of us riding in the indoor in the evening that this would effect. The BO expected it in her Venmo account prior to turning on the lights. We were already paying a premium price for board, it was flat out extortion to ask for more, a poor business decision on her part, and just petty.

We texted the new barn owner and made arrangements to move the horses two weeks early. I took Friday off to move hay and then we moved everyone over the weekend. I will post the new barn photos next.


  1. What a b!tch.. >:^[ Glad you moved, I'd have done the same thing.

  2. Ew, that's shitty. Glad you were able to get out ahead of schedule.

  3. Hideous behaviour! Best to get out quick in those circumstances!

  4. Moving barns is anxiety-inducing at best, and downright dangerous at worst. I'm glad you got the horses and yourselves out of there safely.

  5. Again, theme of the year, WTF is wrong with people? This barn owner just went from you possibly recommending a place and explaining it was out of your budget to telling people to stay away because she's crazy.

    I hope you and Ashke settle happily in to the new barn!

  6. Wow. I wish I could say I was surprised but I am not. Many people I know give 30 days notice but leave early and eat the extra cost. I once boarded at a place where the owner ws just plain weird (that's a long story by itself). I gave notice but was very careful to phrase it positively. It didn't matter. she stopped giving my horse his feed. So every day I went out and fed him (fortunately he was out on pasture so he probably didn't need it). Then I arrived one day to find my tack all locked up. I broke the lock, took my tack, took enough feed to last until I could get the person that was trailering us and went home. the next day at the barn the shit hit the fan and we had it out. Honestly, I know that there are horrible boarders but there are also crazy BOs too. My husband says that horse people are just nuts. He might be right.

  7. Sounds a bit familiar--except for the bad behavior by the barn owner. We had a great manager that is retiring at the end of the month. The owners decided they would run it when she left--and raised the board $110 per month. They were surprised when 17 out of 23 horses decided to leave. We are moving down the street where we will pay a lot less and not have to clean stalls anymore. What were they thinking?

  8. OMG that BO has serious problems. Why oh why did she not talk it over and say hey I am in need of help I am in financial difficulties. How can we work together, Instead she made a hell state for herself. Not to mention her total disregard for anyone else. Wishing you the best in your new Barn.


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