I’ve mentioned several times that I just wish barn owners would treat their boarding establishment like a business. What do I mean?
1.) Billing statements. Should be sent to me at least two weeks prior to board being due. You may think, “huh? board is always the same.” Nope. I have had my board go up and down depending on if the horse is on medication, stall rest, being fed hay, winter board, and for services such as holding horses for vet and farrier. The most obvious reason for board to fluctuate is that I’ve added or subtracted a horse from the stable.
I am fine with email. How many times have I received statements? I can count on one hand for over 20 years of boarding my horses. How many times have I received receipts for paid board? I can count on my other hand the number of times.
What business do you know takes a check without giving a bill or a receipt? Businessess that aren’t a business, under-the-table establishments giving a wink to the IRS, and people who are incompetent with their business practices.
2.) Basic standard of care should be met. Horses should be fed on time with the feed and supplements stated in the boarding contract, water and shelter available at all times, and turnout as described in the initial boarding agreement. Left the premium barn with 3 arenas, one indoor, because medical supplements that I had counted and kept track of were not fed to my special needs mare. Mare was denied access to to her stall except during feeding.
How many times have I left both high and low end billing stables due to an issue in the BASIC standard of care in 30 years of being involved in horses? Probably 70 percent of the time I’ve left was due to lack of basic standard of care.
3.) Contracts are not only made for the protection of the barn owner, but also for the boarder. Too many times what was outlined in the contract (i.e. feed, hay, shavings, maintenance, arena use etc…) was not what was provided. Then the BO gets angry? Change your contract then.
4.) Access to my horse. I except reasonable access to my horse. Unlike other boarders, I don’t show up at 1 a.m. in the morning, and neither do I show up on days the barn is closed for holidays. Post your hours and stick to them and you won’t have to chase people off.
If I give you the departure notice as expected in the contract, I STILL expect access to my horse if my board has been paid up. Guess what happened at the last barn? And guess what is as illegal as hell?
5.) Take care and maintain the facility. This means cleaning stalls, harrowing the arena, fixing fences, keeping the electric maintained… etc… but how many barns actually spend the money on maintenance?
Whether rich or poor, barns do not put money back into their business. With the amount of damage a horse can do to property, this, in the long run, is self-defeating. Probably the second highest reason I’ve left a barn – and what I hear complaints about the most is the footing in the arena and drainage in the dry lots for horses.
Wake up call – would you give repeat business to a restaurant that had roaches, dirty tables, booths with splitting vinyl covers?
Would you give repeat business to a dry cleaners that threw your clothes at you when you picked them up, stank up and damaged your clothes and refused to give you a receipt?
Would you trust a mechanic that gave a good talk about your car but every time you drove it away, it still had that same problem of leaking oil and squealing when you touched the brakes? When you bring it to the mechanic’s attention, he screams at you that HE IS THE EXPERT and you are a dumb idiot who wouldn’t know a carburetor if it came and bit you on the ass?
So why should I patronize a stable, with high or low rent, that simply doesn’t treat their business as a business? I sure wouldn’t use any of these restaurants, dry cleaners or mechanics. But yet stables who insult my intelligence, don’t provide the services outlined in their own contracts, and treat me like I’m an idiot, expect me to keep paying for a LUXURY hobby, month after month…. so who is surprised when I leave? The Barn Owner! So who is really the dumb idiot in this scenario? ROFLMAO!