Leaving a Barn .. When did you know?

… and how long did it take you to ACTUALLY make the move? What were the circumstances, if you dare to share them?

I have to apologize for the lengthy original post (since removed), I didn’t realize it would be so distracting to the original intent of my post! In essence, a situation transpired in 2019 that, in retrospect, made me wish I’d moved sooner.

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When I decided to leave my last boarding barn, I think it took me less than a month. I guess I probably could have moved sooner and saved myself a bit of stress. But nothing like 18 mos sooner.

I maintain good relations with that BO and was able to get a premium place to to temporarily evacuate my horse during a wildfire because of that.


which may have been the instructions they were told to obey by barn management

Over the decades of reading posts about boarding situations going bad, I really have no answer that is going to be acceptable

Why is it the barn’s responsibility to provide wasp spray that could be used in many unsafe ways?


I, personally, wouldn’t want to board at a barn where the owners or employees don’t care enough about their boarders to allow them the use of wasp spray when they are literally being chased by wasps. I’m sure they could put the cost of a $5 can of wasp spray on the boarder’s bill if she didn’t replace it in a timely fashion.


but this incident occurred nearly two years ago and it has taken this poster that long to move, so they have been fretting over this for a very long time

from first post, bold is mine

we’d been at our current place about 7 mos. when I stumbled across an active wasps nest in my trailer as I opened it up to load my mare back in 2019.


My point is there were many reasons I stayed-on as a boarder, but in retrospect, I’d have been better off to move much sooner.

I’d have happily replaced the spray same-day or paid a markup on my bill. A $5 can of wasp spray represents 0.08% of the gross board received from me by the barn over the past 18 mos. and I can assure you that’s peanuts compared to some of the special feeding requests other boarders make (and get) on a monthly basis at no extra charge to themselves. And none of them have had to blind-panic-run around the property to get those extra concessions, either.

Besides which, I’m not aware of anything else worth doing with hornet spray other than spraying a hornet’s nest (?). I’d ask you to elaborate on that thought but don’t think I really want to know as I find this a strange deviation from the original point of my post.


So, you Lived In Fear for almost 2yrs?
And are only moving now for some obscure reason you cannot control?
What am I missing here?

When I boarded horses (for 15yrs out of 30+ owning), a change of barn was generally made within months of whatever inspired the move.
Time was taken to locate a new barn & secure stalls as long as care at the current place was acceptable.
I never had to make an immediate move, but never made a move after such a lengthy period of chewing over a minor incident <described by you with much Drama

Good Luck in your new barn.
Where it appears you will be living on tenterhooks until the next Tragic Happening.
Being introverted to that extent does not sound healthy. Hope you are getting some help with that.

Sorry, but I don’t really understand why the wasps’ or hornets’ nest somehow makes the barn unsafe (unless this was just a “last straw” kind of situation). And I do understand that wasps and hornets can be dangerous and not just a nuisance. But I also see them as things that exist in the natural world, and so we occasionally have to deal with them; they’re not something that barn-owners can make magically disappear.

I also think it’s reasonable not to just hand over cans of dangerous insecticide to boarders. Really. Also, just as an aside, do you think putting your horse into a trailer that had just been bombed with insecticide would be a smart move? The horse might not be immediately impaired, but it can’t be good for them.

It sucks that you needed to get the horse somewhere instantly, but stuff happens, ya know?


There are some confusing elements to this story.

Why do you feel singled out? There must be more than this one incident to give you this impression.

Yes, 18 months is an unusually long time to stay somewhere you don’t feel valued. Did you ever approach management about the staff issues you experienced? If not, why?

The description of “the event” is rather hyperbolic. Its hard to determine from the post if this was an example of a common type of situation, or a one-off, in which case stewing about it for 18 months seems strange, honestly.

We must be missing part of the story. Was the wasp spray incident the only transgression? Were there other reasons to leave that you didn’t mention?

When it comes to boarding barns, I have found none to be perfect. You just decide if the drawbacks are tolerable or not. Poor care? Not tolerable. Poor instruction? Not tolerable. Unwillingness to give out a can of wasp spray 18 months ago? I’d let that one roll off my back, personally.


I think ultimately this barn was just too big and too busy for me, and the hornet nest thing was just a representation of that lack of a personal connection with the staff and other boarders.

My moving any sooner would also have affected another boarder’s rate as we had a stall-share set-up and a big part of me didn’t want to inconvenience her (it’s likely she wouldn’t have been able to afford to stay there otherwise). That’s now a non-issue as the barn is closing it’s doors.

I’ve boarded-out for 20 years and can’t say I’ve ever felt this way about any of the other barns I’ve been at so I don’t realistically anticipate another “Tragic Happening” :wink:

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Mmm, while I’ve only ever boarded a horse one barn, I have worked (and ridden) at several. I could generally tell within the first month if it was a place I would like to stick around.

-Barn A: was a great fit for a long time, but as I matured in my riding it just no longer suited my needs. There were also housekeeping related items that became obvious as I gained more experience. Gave appropriate notice and moved on with no drama.
-Barn B: moved there with my trainer at that time. Didn’t care for it (very different style than Barn A) and stuck around for trainer. Eventually just stopped riding with that trainer all together, partially because I didn’t care for the barn.
-Barn C: moved there with a friend. Loved the barn but wasn’t a fan if the turnout situation and how catty people seemed. Left with the friend.
-Barn D: moved there for the experience. Had a nice facility but within a week I knew I was unlikely to stay long due to the vibe.

In my cases, I was free to come and go because I didn’t have a horse to move. Just riding or working at the barn let me see how the care and people interactions wore without having to worry “oh man how do I get my horse out of here”. I saw a lot of boarders fuss over nothing; I got the same way when my hire arrived and had to mentally check that behavior. Also met a lot of boarders who were completely checked out (or didn’t know) about the substandard care.


I’m absolutely getting help with that, thank you for your concern. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any fixing what you seem to suffer from!


Me-Owww! :smile_cat:
Where was that non-introverted gumption when you were facing The Great Wasp Cataclysm?
Coulda come in handy.


So, a wasp nest attacked you back in 2019, you didn’t get a can of wasp spray from the staff and since then have been feeling unappreciated. It is now 2021, and you’re moving out - but not because the wasps or anything, but because the barn is closing its doors, so you basically have no other choice. Did I get it right?

If so, I honestly don’t get your problem, OP. However, in my years with horses I’ve changed quite a lot of barns (due to moving, decrease of service quality, dramatic increase in fees, also one case of a nutty BO), and my advice would be to plan a move as soon as you start feeling unhappy, unless the reason for these feelings cannot be rationally solved and unless the reason is so minor that it does not justify looking for a new barn and moving the horse. To keep staying for several years where you feel intensely unhappy to the point that you stop enjoying visiting the barn - well, that’s just incredibly toxic and unhealthy, and nobody should do that to themselves. There’s always options.


Leaving a barn can be a hard decision. Often there are a lot of little things that niggle at you, but no one thing seems bad enough in itself to make you move. Also, there’s always the question of the unknown - how do you know that another barn will be any better?

While most people responding to this thread seem to think it’s a cut and dried decision and people always leave a barn as soon as they’re unhappy, you just have to do a quick search to find large numbers of posts about people agonizing over whether they should switch barns.


I am very much interested in how you calculate your barns profit margin of 50 dollar on a $400 gross board rate, assuming I have done the math correctly.

Great article about the true costs of boarding; EXCEPT that it doesn’t cover labor cost.

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I’ve tended to stay years at each board barn. I try to select carefully on the front end. And sometimes there aren’t good other options, so I’ll cope with some things that aren’t ideal.

In the two cases when I moved ‘for cause’, as it were, it took many months to move due to the care that I put into the search. The reasons for the move weren’t desperate enough not to go carefully. In one of those cases it took longer because I didn’t want to ask around the horse community that I wasn’t so familiar with, and have it get back to the barn current owner that I was looking. In both cases, once I found what I needed, I moved as soon as they had an available spot.

I really like my current barn, but it doesn’t have some things I need. Unfortu nately there are not many options in this area. I will probably have to provide what I need for myself, which is not all bad. The BO will be ok with it.

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Math is definitely NOT my specialty, so there’s a good chance I cocked that right up. I think I was trying to work the cost of that $5 spray into the last 18 months of board (?), although I’ll go back and edit out the percentage-of-profit bit because I don’t actually have those numbers.

I think @Gardenhorse nailed it (thank you for seeing beyond just the hornet story :wink: )… it was one of those things that niggled at me but didn’t seem, at the time, to justify leaving while my mare was being well cared for and the stall-share set-up between her and another boarder’s horse was in place. Leaving because I wasn’t personally enjoying the atmosphere didn’t occur to me, because it’s never been a problem in the 20 years I’ve owned horses! I considered leaving on occasion for other reasons related to turnout set-up but “the Devil you know”, and all that :woman_shrugging: Lesson learned!

I like that cautious approach very much. I imagine it’s served you well over the years!

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