Mare was boarded at Barn A for the first 7 months I had her. The living conditions were absolute shit despite being ran by people who had the experience and knowledge to do better, but they didn’t care. Some barn friends (married couple, older than me) bought a property and offered to let me keep mare there for free since they only have one other horse and their horse needed company. I said yes and asked if we could have a contract in place. I got hand waived away, which in retrospect I should have insisted for a contract. I haven’t paid board the two months Mare has been there at their insistence.
I have about 15 years of experience on these people. They have only been involved with horses on a very casual basis for 3yrs or less. They bought a horse only about 1.5yrs or so in, it was a bad purchase for reasons I won’t get into. Second and third horses were pretty much equally as bad decisions, but not my place so I have kept my comments to myself. Anyways, from the start I have been anxious about keeping Mare with them because of the big gap in experience and knowledge levels. In the last six weeks they have:
- Hand grazed Mare right by the road more times than I have been made aware of and once sent me a picture of Mare grazing outside of the fence with no one holding the lead rope… I gave them permission to hand graze her because I thought it was a temporary thing despite being uncomfortable with it but alas. I have tried to push away the feelings of anxiety because I did give them permission but it’s been a constant fear that she’s going to get away from them.
- The wife didn’t even know what thrush was until I had been there for a few weeks already so how am I supposed to trust they would know what to do in an emergency or if Mare colicked?
- They feed hay via hay nets that they tie right at the perfect height for a hoof or leg to get hung and leave empty for the entire day.
- Uncapped t-posts as fencing right at jugular level, maybe I’m being too paranoid with this one.
- Let the horses eat on the round bales, unrestrained, in the wood shop with smooth concrete floors. They told me while laughing that Mare got freaked out this past weekend and got stuck between the wall and the round bales and their kid had to get on top of the hay and back her out. I was horrified. I asked them to not let her in the shop loose anymore.
- I was helping them put in fence posts and the husband seriously suggested tying yarn around the fence posts to trick the horses into thinking it was fencing and turning them loose into the yarn-enclosed area instead of hand grazing them… completely floored he even had this thought nonetheless thought it was valid enough to verbalize.
- They are going camping and asked to bring Mare with them so the horses wouldn’t be separated. I said no, Mare has a soft tissue injury and I don’t want her going, but she also cannot be alone for an entire weekend. I will be there to see her multiple times obviously but it is only Mare and their one horse on the property. I obviously can’t ask them to not go camping with their horse but now Mare is being left alone for an entire weekend, to which they asked me to board her somewhere else for the 2 days they will be gone like she is a dog.
Mare is 3yo and while she is an absolutely fabulous baby she is still a baby. They handle her constantly despite not asking me for explicit permission to do so and allow her to be pushy on the ground, which they call “lovey.” So now I have ground manner boundaries to correct after they have undone them. They kiss and hug on her right in front of me. The husband told me he had a dream that I moved away and let them keep Mare since they had been watching her for me anyway. Guilt tripped me for not letting them take her camping. Insinuated that just because Mare does dumb shit in the pasture that she isn’t actually injured. Lots and lots of small things and now I’m over it, seeing how extremely careless they have been with my very expensive and very dumb baby horse (I love her to death) literally keeps me up at night. I am moving Mare on Oct 1 to a legitimate boarding barn that I really like because the peace of mind knowing she is at a facility equipped to actually handle and keep her properly is worth paying board.
I keep telling myself that I have to advocate for my horse and that they have consistently put her in dangerous or reckless situations in the very short time that she has been there, in addition to undoing my hard work with her ground manners. My SO thinks I am slightly overreacting but is also completely supportive of moving Mare because he agrees they have been reckless due to their lack of experience/knowledge/care. I am trying to be confident in this situation because my concerns are valid (I think) but these people were friends before this and the relationship has soured very fast.