I received an email the other day that left me emotionally shaken most of the day. A woman had contacted me for advice on a situation she was in with a boarder that refused to leave her property and move her horse! If this sounds absolutely crazy to you then get ready because it happens a little more often then you would ever expect. I know this because I have experienced a similar situation along these lines as well and it can be extremely stressful while you are going through it.
The thing that upset me the most as I read her email was that she told me she felt captive in her own barn and that she had boarded horses for many decades and this was the first time she had experienced something like this. As I read more it was clear that this woman was being treated with absolutely no respect by the person who was asked to leave and it was affecting the entire barn and putting undue stress on the barn owner. It was maddening to me that this client had taken control of the situation and was calling the shots. She was telling this barn owner when she would leave and creating chaos on the property.
What is wrong with people?
I believe the world is changing and the horse world and boarding is not exempt from it. Boarding horses even back in 2006 when we first opened was much easier then it is now and I am sure thirty years ago was much different being a barn owner or manager. The one thing that is missing is respect. Respect for the way a barn owner or manager runs their facility and respect for decisions that are made. Even showing respect for the facility and following rules has become much more challenging to deal with when it comes to some boarders.
As I read this woman's email I was sad because I could hear the stress in her letter and that she did not know what to do to fix the situation and instead of enjoying a long career of taking care of other people's horses she was dealing with one person who was making life hell for her. She didn't deserve that at all.
As I emailed back to this woman I tried to encourage her and give her some direction on what steps to take in accordance with the laws of her state and I strongly advised her to seek an attorney immediately. It is absolutely crazy to think you need an attorney to get someone off your property with a horse but it happens and you need to be prepared because people feel they have rights for pretty much everything now.
I don't know this woman that emailed me but after reading her letter it was very evident that she loved boarding horses and had made a wonderful career of it with many wonderful clients. Shame on this one person that has decided to be a jerk. As barn owners and managers we need to stick together because this job is very hard at times and support is important for all of us.
This will never happen to me!
You might be reading this post and saying to yourself that this will never happen to me and my barn. I would have said this years ago also but it has happened to me and when it happens you are not mentally prepared for it. No one ever is! There is also the element of shock that it is even happening which can paralyze us for a bit until we develop a plan. It is important if you are going to board horses to protect yourself and that means find an attorney to write up your boarding contract and make sure you have a section in it that allows you to ask someone to leave within a set amount of time. For example - seven days. Thirty-days can be very long when waiting for a troublesome client to leave with their horse. I have experienced this firsthand and will never go through that again. My boarding contract was revised after a similar situation.
Boarding horses is a very unique business for many reasons. You are open and the work needs to be done seven days a week to care for the horses. Most people live on the same property as the stable which can create a feeling of isolation at times especially when you are dealing with something very stressful and you can't leave the property because you live there. It can also be very hard to find support from other barn owners and managers in the area because it is a business and many people feel threatened by competition. It is the nature of the beast which is sad. I hope that barn owners and managers will start to unite and support each other so that one barn owner doesn't feel alone when dealing with something as stressful as a boarder that won't leave or many others issues that can pop up.
Today I want to send out a huge thank you to all the great boarders out there at boarding stables across the country and world. Most people are wonderful boarders that follow the rules and have respect for the barn owner, barn manager and other clients and that is why we keep doing what we do. But remember all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the bunch. Let's keep supporting each other and stand strong together as barn owners and managers. Together we can make this career so much better.
If you are new to my blog, then welcome! If you are ready to start your business off with a good foundation then I encourage you to check out my newest book,
This book is a comprehensive guide into horse boarding and you won't find another book that covers in great detail every aspect of this business. This book is perfect for anyone that is boarding horses and I will walk you through every area of the business and how to think ahead specifically for your boarding business.
Wishing you many blessings in your horse business,