Grain and boarding

What is a reasonable length of time for a barn owner to let you know you are out of grain or need to buy some? My relationship with my BO was great for many years until I bought my new horse and stopped riding hers. I feel pretty shunned by her lol…

She told me I was low on grain on Friday and unfortunately because of thanksgiving we had out of town company. Now today she is texting me that I am out of grain totally and the grain store is closed.

I feel like more than 2 days notice would be nice :grimacing:

When I used to provide my own grain the barn owner would let me know when she thought there was about a week’s worth left but honestly I never needed a reminder and kept on top of it myself. Too anal to rely on someone else because of exactly the situation you ended up in.


I guess you’re right! I always just have trusted that since I am paying for a service then I would be provided with some consideration.

I’m sure my horse will survive a night without it, it was just kind of annoying, especially given it was a busy weekend with Thanksgiving.

I feel like the cold shoulder is a way to try and get me to leave without telling me to leave sometimes too. My horse is great, she was a bit much when I first bought her off track but otherwise she calmed down fast and is a great horse to handle and have around so it’s kind of frustrating.

Eh, I feel like it’s more of a courtesy than the BO’s responsibility. YMMV of course.

I’d say about a week’s notice is nice of course as neither of you want to run out.


If the agreement is “we will feed grain that owner provides” then I wouldn’t expect the barn owner to keep track of when you need more. I’d expect the owner to keep track and make sure the grain is where it needs to be so they can feed it as directed.

Basically they scoop out of the bag. No bag, no scoop. They may be annoyed that they have to keep telling you you’re running out. I’d have a conversation about expectations on both sides to make sure everyone is on the same page.


Well the grain is stored in her feed room in bins. I am not there every day… in the future I guess I will have to go and keep looking myself, I just figured since she is the one who is scooping it out twice a day then she would let me know.

Agree with this. When I’ve been at barns before that I provided the grain, the BO did not notify me at all regarding how much was left. What I have found helpful is to track how much I believe my horse should be eating and then make a note on the calendar to check how much grain is left ~1 week before I expect to run out. That way I have ample time to get more so it’s not a last minute rush for me.


She has always given me notice for when my grain is low, I have been there for 5 years and our barn has a total of 4 boarders besides me…

I also used to board at another larger facility and they always notified me too lol :woman_shrugging:t3: It was usually just a hey you’re low on grain when I was out there, but they always did.


If barn is feeding my grain that I provide then it’s my responsibility to determine how much horse should eat and schedule grain purchases accordingly. It’s pretty straightforward forward math. Board bills don’t include secretarial services IME. Same applies to if I use a different vet / farrier than regular barn provider, then it’s my responsibility to schedule and hold for vet / farrier.



There’s an easy solution. You find out how much grain by weight your horse is fed every day. Then you divide that into the weight of the bag. That tells you how long a bag should last.

If your horse gets 2 lbs a day, a 50 lb bag lasts 25 days, or 3 1/2 weeks. You can then count ahead on your calendar and slot in when to buy grain. If your horse gets 5 lbs a day, the bag last 10 days, etc.

Having it written down also lets you estimate if your horse is being fed what the barn claims. If he’s meant to get 5 lbs a day and the bag lasts a month, he’s not getting fed. If he’s meant to get a pound a day and the bag is gone in two weeks you also have a problem.


I think we can all agree it would be nice to be given the heads up but if you have other examples and feelings of being shunned then this might go with new “energy”. Scribbler has a good idea to mark your calendar and just get it back in stock on your own.

Life gets like this sometimes and it’s either a situation to learn to let things roll and toughen up OR look for a new barn. Is the care good, safe fences, good amenities? You like the other boarders?

Since building my barn and bringing horses home it is an eye opener now that it ALL falls on me. It’s a lot to manage – the farrier, bedding delivery, hay, feed and supplements, vet visits, dentist, keeping fly spray etc etc etc. Sure, if I had a boarder I would hope to stop in the moment and text them - “Hey, you are about out of it…”

Good luck and keep us posted ok?


I check every Sunday. Its written on the calendar and I get an iphone notification! I know I’ll never buy + prepare so little as to need to refill EVERY Sunday, but it means I have a close eye on how much is being consumed each week and I am certain I have enough time to go buy more. Also gives me leeway and peace of mind when I am going out of town or if there is a holiday.

It takes three seconds each week to walk into the feed room and take a look. It’s worth it.



I also think it’s normal to have the relationship shift when you get your own horse. The BO is going to want to micromanage everything when you are riding her horse, and be more of an active participant in your riding.

Once you get your own horse she is going to back off because it’s not her horse at stake.

Honestly I find the continued involvement of the horse owner that’s necessary in a lease to be the cause of many conflicts especially when the leaser is a more experienced rider and has their own ideas. I love having the horse fully under my care with of course a coach and mentor for advice.

You wouldnt want the BO micromanaging your new horse. Be glad she isn’t.


I’m in the boat of not expecting any notice at all. Old barn gave me a one day heads up (usually as I was on the way but I appreciate it) but I have done the math and know how long his feed should last so I can plan ahead. This helped me catch that he was being fed 4x the RB once, as well as was missing his supplements on weekends (two different barns, both issues resolved).

Tbh I’d count this as a horse owner learning experience to keep on top of grain, have extra around the holidays (and check when they are closed - keeping in mind deliveries can be weird around the holidays and their inventory can be low). I wouldn’t take it as a cold shoulder thing, just the change from “lease” to “regular boarder”. It’s a different relationship and one I prefer personally, but it can be jarring when you’re used to a certain level of constant checking in, taking care of everything, and communication. Unless this is just the last straw in a long line of issues.

I’m also one who would’ve left regardless of company to drop off grain - and I drive two hours round trip but YMMV.


The horse wasn’t a lease… he was a horse that I was training for her as a favour while I boarded another horse. So I guess that dynamic of the relationship may be different. There has for sure been a shift, and I am not treated as friendly as the other boarders anymore.

I have always been a really great boarder and friend too. I follow all the rules, I am friendly with everyone. Any time my BO has been on night shift and left the barn a mess I have cleaned out my own stall, I used to do all the stalls but I have a baby now so I just do mine, thrown bales of hay from the loft for her so she would be coming in to less work. I respect all the lesson times etc.

I used to be able to bring my dog with me and she decided all of a sudden I wasn’t allowed to, but other people are still allowed to being theirs. I never argued about it or pointed that out though. My dog is really well behaved.


You sound like a great partner in a barn and the situation would be very disappointing.

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It’s been over 15yrs since I had horses boarded.
But at any of the 4 barns I was at, if I fed anything - supplements or not barn-supplied grain - it was my responsibility to keep supplied.

How often are you at this barn?
Even once a week s/b sufficient to check your supply.

From your added info on this thread it sounds like you can expect only the minimal care outlined on your boarding contract.
No more, no less.

And maybe reconsider BO as a friend.
That hardly ever works in a business relationship.



If you know how many pounds a day your horse is eating then you should be able to keep track of how many bags a month you need. Then just buy it every month.
I wouldn’t leave it up to the BO to tell you ( for just this reason) .

Unless there is an agreement that states otherwise, it’s my responsibility to make sure feed, supplements, and medication that I’m providing, aren’t going to run out.

If my horse is supposed to get 5lb a day, 1 50lb bag lasts 10 days. If I’m not checking 1-2 times a week to see how things are doing, how do I even know 2 bags are lasting 30 days? Or 15 days.

This is part of why a lot of BOs don’t allow boarders to provide their own feed.

It doesn’t take being there every day to find the status. It also shouldn’t be a surprise to see on day 7, the 5lb/day bag is more than half gone.

Out of town company shouldn’t have resulted in just not going to get more food either on Friday or, assuming stores were open Saturday, that day, especially knowing stores would be closed today.

PS - today is Canada’s Thanksgiving, for those wondering :wink:



I’m now seeing two parts to your story and question.

The grain question is easy to answer.

The second half of your question is a common enough one here too. It is: I thought my BO/coach/trainer was my friend but now that circumstances have changed, I realize they arent really. I am starting to resent this. Is it time to move barns? If not, how do I recalibrate the relationship given my feelings of hurt?

You have a baby and a new horse. You are no longer doing so much work for the BO and are at the barn less. Were you cleaning multiple stalls to get the ride on the horse, or for pay, or just out of the goodness of your heart? In any case, when you stop all this you move from being part of the barn staff and volunteer crew, who need jollying along, and become a background boarder who doesn’t need any emotional energy.

I have a couple of trainers who I consider friends but I am also well aware that because we have long standing relationships, they are always going to be putting more energy into flirting with, chatting up, selling themselves to new clients and I need to let them do that as part of their business model. However I am also happy to be able to do my own thing.

As long as they are not snapping at me I am fine with benign neglect. I’m actually happy to overhear my main coach having productive lessons and conversations with her students. I don’t feel excluded or hurt. After all I am on her jobsite. Our closeness waxes and wanes depending on whether we are doing things together like camping or shows. There are things she still comps me for, but I make an effort to thrust a cheque at her for other things.

Obviously it’s impossible for anyone outside the situation to say what’s going on and how you should feel about it. I have no idea if your BO is being passive aggressive because they lost your free labor, or if they are just on to the next shiny thing because you are spending less time at the barn, or less work, or if they backed off because of your problems with your OTTB.

Adult relationships wax and wane, they aren’t always BFF, often they are contingent on shared interests like jobs or hobbies.