Let’s talk serious, for the entrapment, we’re gonna ask you for 4 big ones $4,000 for that, but we are having a special this week on proton charging, and storage of the beast, so we are gonna ask for $1,000.
~ Dr. Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters
When I was boarding one horse, my life was very simple. I put her in a full care, higher priced facility and she was taken care of. That was until she developed Cushings and I had to go to self care board due to barn staff not understanding how to care for a Special Needs horse.
We moved to a sound facility where the male BO (women BO’s are typically nosy hysterics) acually limited the amount of horses on the facility, where he mowed and fertilized his fields, kept fence intact (even if it was wire and t-posts) and had a nice barn with tack room. However, this property was 40 minutes away with no riding arena and feeding a special needs horse for three years, twice a day, started to wear me down.
I made the decision to move closer (two miles from my home) so I could care for her better. That is when trouble started…. The close-in barn was falling down and we had a verbal agreement on fixing it up for greatly reduced rent. I had four horses and if I put them in a full care facility, paying board would be more then my house payment so at the time I thought this was a Godsend!
The naive mistake I made was not getting this in writing. Three months in he tripled our board due to our improvements. I learned a valuable lesson – trust no one, especially in the horse industry.
From there we bounced around a bit trying to find a close in place which I could afford to pay for four horses. That’s how we ended up at the Hell Barn. The two Monsters were notorious cheapskates. They wanted a million dollar facility with absolutely no investment.
This meant, in order to do my job, I ended up buying feed tubs, storage bins, muck buckets, muck rakes and a slew of small stuff (that racked up my investment) just so I and my part time worker could feed and muck 20 stalls when horses were 24/7 stalled during days of flooding that happened on a regular basis. This time I kept receipts and labeled my belongings.
When we moved – and Charbydis accused us of being thieves (and he would call the police) we told him to inspect the TWO FLATBED LOADS of materials (!!) and find anything that was his. He couldn’t come up with one damn thing the Monsters had bought. Although, Syclla later told the horse community I had STOLEN THE TOWEL DISPENSER FROM THE BATHROOM!! Too bad for her that I also kept THAT receipt for my tax purposes! ROFLMAO!
At FR, I did improve the run-in off the barn. I put it all in writing with emails that I kept. Materials such as the gravel, the railroad ties, and the fencing we would not remove but they were a minimal investment that made my horses’ lives more comfortable. The attached hay racks, stall mats, gates and gate latches I would remove. Looking back the only thing I would change is putting in portable fence panels so I could remove them also.
The reality is that if you own more then one horse you will need to make compromises to keep their board affordable and to keep them close to you. I live in a major metropolitian city where keeping a horse within 30 minutes of my home is hard to do. Countryside is being taken up with real estate development and I can think of three major stables that have folded in the time I’ve lived here (14 years) whose land was sold off to build houses.
The only thing I regret is not being smarter about it in the beginning. Here are my tips if you have to become a renter:
Try to invest in portable items you can take with you. For example, buy portable fence panels over installing fence. Buckets, water troughs, portable electric fence, etc…
Get everything in writing. At the very least send off an email and get a reply. Store that back (either electronically or in paper form). If you use texts to communicate be aware that texts get wiped off your phone past a certain date so print those out too. Since my current barn owner never gives me a board receipt, I text her that board has been left and where and she texts back she got it – that is confirmation that would hold up in court.
Right now we have the agreement at the CCamp property that I will be leaving gates behind but saddle racks and hay feeders attached to the barn will be removed when we leave. This is important to get in writing because, by LAW, anything you attach to a structure becomes the landlords property unless designated and agreed to otherwise.
Label everything that you bring on the property. That includes buckets, fence panels, water troughs, tack, fence panels etc… Snap a photo with your cell phone and then email it to yourself describing the number of items, color or whatever. If you are claiming these for a business expense (which I did) then you will also be keeping receipts.
When buying used, print off your own receipt. If I buy something off CL that I plan on confirming ownership (i.e. for taxes), I print off the initial ad and have the seller sign the paper. It’s not classy perhaps, but it gives some verification of what you bought, for how much and when.
Take before and after photos. Especially if you are staying long term, take these photos to prove you improved the property and expect to see your deposit returned. If improving the property, with the landlord’s written permission, keep reciepts to prove what you did and get your deposit and items returned.
Have it clearly outlined who will do what in managing the property. This includes fertilization, mowing, fence and gate maintenance, pest control, driveway maintenance etc….
Get a Rig – truck and trailer – so you can move IMMEDIATELY. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve given notice and then suddenly the nice BO becomes a First Rate Bitch. They see a loss of income and get furious at you! It has nothing to do with you personally… it’s all about their lack of planning and thinking they would have your money coming in every month.
Now, here’s some stuff I need within the next 90 days for the CCamp:
Look into gravel – the driveway, area around the front of the house, and the barn needs it.
Fence Charger (used from CL), electric tape and plastic temporary t-posts for Z’s barn pasture.
2 portable fence panels (used from CL) – extends pony’s paddock to the size we were wanting to build.
Pony’s stall ~ stall mats (Tractor Supply recycled) and stall gate (which will remain).
Western saddle rack.
Stall U-channels (possibility if we build the two bigger stalls)
Landowner has alot of wood and supplies already in the barn so I think we can recycle a lot from what is already there.
Flat bed trailer- we’ve been moving so much stuff and I’ll need it for when I buy the lawn mower, gate panels and stallmats. Also, for winter hay, square bales.
Chainsaw – our current one is a small electric one which is great for taking off small branches on felled trees. For this property, we will need a bigger, gas powered one to fell a few more, bigger trees.
Leaf blower (gas powered) and weed whacker (gas powered) ~ the ones we have now are electric and obviously won’t work on a huge property.
Lawn mower (riding) – our current, surbuban lawn mower is electric and a push mower. Since the acreage is small a riding lawn mower as opposed to a tractor and brushhog should do just fine for this property.
Dryer (110 v) for the house as our dryer won’t work.