This is mostly a vent and perhaps a plea for someone to talk me out of making an expensive decision in a fit of pique.
I love my barn owner. She’s a genuine animal lover who about 15 years ago decided she wanted to build a small farm in the middle of a horsey community, so she did.
I’ve kept my retired gelding there for four years now. BO is out of town frequently for travel, business, has a second residence out of town, etc. The basic agreement is that I keep her horses fed, watered, blanketed in exchange for board. She pays a handyman type of guy to spend about 6 hours a week (typically on one day) doing general property maintenance.
It’s been fundamentally an easy setup where the horses (three, including mine, plus one mini) have free access to their stalls and shelter, so I can literally mix grain, throw hay, give everyone a once over. I keep the feed room stocked, pick out manure from the area around the barn once or twice a week, meet the farrier and usually the vet, and sometimes pick up/stack hay. BO sometimes asks me to take a package into town to be mailed or some other general errand, but nothing major. She’s typically happy to feed when she’s at the farm so I coordinate being out of town with her schedule where possible.
We’ve always had a bit of friction in winter regarding when horses need to be stalled. I’m happy putting turnouts on everyone (except the mini, who is a beast to catch) and leaving them out unless there’s genuine inclement weather. No one is clipped, we’re in the mid-Atlantic with mild winters. But to keep BO happy I will also generally stall them and close up the barn when it’s below 25 at night, simply because it’s not that often.
Lately I would say the workload has increased significantly, mostly related to BO acquiring a second (semi-feral) mini that she will not turn out with the larger group. The minis now have no access to shelter and cannot be blanketed, so that means she prefers to have them stalled most nights in winter and just about any time it rains.
I’ve been considering trying to renegotiate the arrangement as it is. I pay someone to cover me as needed, so I know the going rate for what I do day-to-day is $40-50 a day. In our area full-care board at a barn with no arena/jumps is probably $600-$800. My other horse is on self-care at another farm nearby, with arenas and onsite professional, and with everything included I’m spending $650-$700 plus doing all care.
Should I ask for the difference in cash, given the added workload? I can’t decide if that’s actually reasonable, or if I was “spoiled” previously with how simple the situation was.
Or should I just accept that all good things come to an end and find a new situation?