Start With the Contract
Any relationship goes smoother if each person involved knows exactly what the expectations and obligations are. In a contract, youíll probably want to have the following things set out.
1. What is and isnít included in the horseís feed and care.
2. The cost of the board.
3. The due date of the board bill.
4. Emergency instructions.
5. Extra charges for things like farrier visits and blanketing.
6. What is and isnít available for your use at the stable.
7. Stable Hours
8. Safety Rules
9. Health and Vaccinations requirements of the horse.
10. Rules about the age of riders and handlers.
Pay Your Board Bill
The fastest thing that turns a barn owner sour is someone who is chronically late in paying their board bill, or perhaps doesnít pay up at all. Stable owners have expenses, and that means bills they need to pay on time too. If you donít pay yours, they canít pay theirs.
Avoid Gossip and Drama
Itís pretty bad when stables start actually advertising that they are Ďdrama-freeí. But much gossip and drama can be avoided by simply being upfront when you have a problem. Cryptic notes written on the blackboard and snide remarks to other boarders will only cause resentment. If itís a problem with your horseís care, go directly to person responsible. Communicate clearly and honestly. If you donít like something that someone else is doing, say something only if it affects you. Otherwise, unless itís clearly a case of animal cruelty, mind your own business.
Donít leave your horseís hoof pickings, hair or manure in grooming areas for someone else to clean up. Tidy up the arena and put away any equipment youíve been using after you ride. Turn lights on or off, and doors open or closed, the way you found them.
Donít Borrow Stuff
Just because someoneís stuff is within reach, or they have something you donít have, doesnít mean you can help yourself. Leave other people's gear (and horses) be. Put your own stuff away so itís a temptation to someone else. Having your gear labeled is a good way to make sure you know what is and isnít yours.
Respect Barn Hours
A lot of people donít like that stables have regular hours when they canít visit their horse. But, sometimes owners and managers would like lives of their own for things like socializing, family and relaxing. And, thatís hard to do when there are people constantly coming and going. Likewise, respect the ownerís or managerís time by not calling constantly to check on your horse, or ask questions.
Leave Other Peopleís Horses Alone
Unless asked, donít feed other peopleís horses, donít move them in our out of the stable or move them to another stall. Donít give them treats without permission. Donít handle them and certainly donít help yourself to a ride.
Be There For Your Horse
A stable owner or manager canít be expected to look after your horse in an emergency situation. If you get a call that your horse is ill or injured, you need to be there to look after it. Itís a good idea to be there for the regular maintenance stuff like vaccinations and farrier work too. If you canít be, be prepared to recompense someone for their time.
Know When Itís Time to Move Out
If you donít like something about the stable, or you donít feel comfortable being there, itís probably time to find another one. Your contract will probably outline how the stable wants to be notified about your leaving. Once youíve done this, itís not the time to unleash your fury about all the past problems. You also donít have to explain to anyone why youíre making the move. Itís always best to leave on good terms. Donít burn your bridgesóor your barns.
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