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#728997 - 12/05/11 10:25 AM Stable management is an oxymoron
Susan - Horses/Animals Offline
Parakeet

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 1108
Loc: West Walworth, NY
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#729204 - 12/06/11 08:40 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Angela J. Shirley Offline
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Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 6412
Hi Susan:

Do you think the recession has affected how alot of stables are being maintained?

And by this I mean, are more closing down and corners being cut?

I grew up in the country in my island (Jamaica, West Indies) and still hope to one day be able to retire in the country somewhere. Living in the USA right now and get so EXCITED when I see some "green grass" versus the famous concrete...
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#729632 - 12/08/11 09:28 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Susan - Horses/Animals Offline
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Registered: 01/25/09
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Loc: West Walworth, NY
Yes Angela the economy has effected many in the horse world. People have been dumping horses, many of these wind up bound for slaughter - which is a very hot topic right now. Many boarding facilities have empty stalls - this is unheard of this time of year here in Western New York. I am fortunate as my stalls are filled. My lesson schedule has been cut as riding lessons take a back seat to other expenses. Things do seem a bit better over the last few month so hopefully we will continue to recover.

Hope that you have not been effected by the economy and that all is well.
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#730185 - 12/11/11 09:40 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Angela J. Shirley Offline
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Registered: 07/22/10
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Hi Susan:

Thanks for asking, yes the recession has been a CHALLENGE for me - but the "good news" - it forced me at age 53 to explore multiple income sources. It has not been FUN, but as of yesterday it is finally falling in place.

Now I have to figure out how to squeeze 2 online book reviews, one real book review(author sent me a copy yesterday) and some other freelance work that also hit me yesterday. Yikes!!! It is like, the day before it was "worrying" now I am every so GRATEFUL for the "too much" work...

LOL, it is time to test all those time management skills I had in the past and have totally not been using.

In ending, what has changed to make things seem a bit better over the last few months - to quote from your post above?
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#730311 - 12/12/11 07:59 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Susan - Horses/Animals Offline
Parakeet

Registered: 01/25/09
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Loc: West Walworth, NY
That is something that I have been wondering about myself. I think that people have down-sized their finances enough over the last few years that they are returning to the things that matter to them the most - horses in the case of horse people. This is a slow time of year anyway. We are cold in Western New York and with the holidays horse related activites fall off the priority list anyway but this year the reduction has been less than the last few - this points to a very slow recovery.

And in my business too it is usually feast or famine. I hope that you remain "too" busy for a long time - I think we all tend to do better with too much to do rather than too little.

Have a wonderful holiday season.
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#734204 - 12/26/11 02:28 PM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Angela J. Shirley Offline
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Registered: 07/22/10
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Hi Susan:

If you don't mind my asking, how do you deal with the "famine" times?

LOL, I am still learning how to operate on only commissions and love to LEARN from others. Some weeks I get ZERO, not fun at all.

Happy Holidays to you too & all the BEST for 2012.

Hugs,
A
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#737839 - 01/04/12 10:30 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Susan - Horses/Animals Offline
Parakeet

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 1108
Loc: West Walworth, NY
Anglea,

sorry so long but the holidays kept me off the grid for awhile.

budgeting is the only way - make sure not to over-indulge when the money is rolling in. Sometime hard to do when you have had a long spell of lean time but the caution is to really plan ahead.
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#738211 - 01/05/12 09:44 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Debbie-SpiritualityEditor Offline
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Easier said than done sometimes, especially when you have a string of unexpected circumstances hit all at once. All we can do is the best that we can to get back on track as soon as we get our footing once again. Of course gaining that traction back often takes a lot of time, especially in this tough economy.
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#738507 - 01/06/12 08:56 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Angela J. Shirley Offline
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Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 6412
LOL, having an income coming in also helps smile

Have not had any since 12/10/11 - but trusting God big time that my continued "hard" work and "discipline" will pay off SOON!!
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#738530 - 01/06/12 10:24 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Angela J. Shirley]
Debbie-SpiritualityEditor Offline
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I hear you, Angela. I am also unemployed for quite some time and my unemployment compensation has long run out. I'm trying to keep my two horses. It has become impossible for me to pay for grain and hay for them anymore. The farm owner where my horses are boarded calls me for money all the time now. She won't let them starve but I am between a rock and a hard place right now while trying to find work. I have contacted a few agencies for help but everyone is in a bind with this economy.

One day at a time.....
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#738602 - 01/06/12 01:57 PM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Jilly Offline
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Cassie, maybe the regional rescue groups nearby have some ideas for you? I call mine all the time to deal with the gazillions of stray cats that live in this area, and they usually have good ideas for me for acquiring financial help, free pet food or vouchers for health care. I hope there is some way for you to figure this out.

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#738750 - 01/06/12 10:23 PM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Susan - Horses/Animals Offline
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Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 1108
Loc: West Walworth, NY
Many rescues have emergency funds in place for such hard times - they might be able to offer hay/grain to the barn owner - rather than taking the horses this is often a less expensive way for them to help so definitely seek help as Jilly mentioned.

I would also look into boarding at a place close enough for you to work off your board - many stables find it difficult to find and keep help. Also those that have small private barns are often able to offer less expensive board especially if you are willing to do some self-care for your horses. There are lots of options out there - run an ad on craigslist for leasing them as well as for other boarding/work options - since you are not currently working make finding a suitable place for your horse a priority.
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#738795 - 01/07/12 10:22 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Debbie-SpiritualityEditor Offline
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Registered: 01/08/10
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Thanks for the suggestions.

I had already contacted some rescue groups last month who have emergency funds for horse owners in need. A couple of them have responded with financial help, and they will be crediting the store where grain is purchased for my horses, and one of them may cover some hay as well. It is enough to get my horses fed for a month, and for that I am grateful. My application with another group is still in the decision making process, so that may result in some help to feed my horses into the next month. It is a lot of red tape to go through but it is good to know that they are diligent enough to check out references and the situation before sending out money.

Board around where I live now is much more expensive than where I moved from, and where my horses still reside. Even if I could afford to pay the prices to board two horses closer to my town, I can't move my horses off the current farm until my past due bill for feed is paid to the farm owner. My horses are the only collateral that she has to ensure that she gets paid, and the bill is not small at this point. Because board is notoriously high in my state, it is not prudent for me to seek to increase the expense of keeping two horses when I am working again, even if it means they would live closer to me, unless the gas savings would offset that additional cost. It won't.

I already have the horses in the best scenario for them....I only pay for feeding them and they are used in a children's lesson program so I am not charged a board fee. They have good living conditions at the farm with personal care every day. It is good for them, but inconvenient for me, and financially it is the only way I can keep both if and when I find a job.

And stables in general do not pay well either, so even if I worked off board I would still need at least one other job to pay for my personal living expenses. I have worked off board before for one horse, and that took 3-5 hours of hard labor per day cleaning almost 20 stalls and then some. I was exhausted by the time I left. I was grateful at the time to have the work, but at age 44 I am not up for twice that amount of barn work and then an additional job.

I have hope that I will figure it all out and be working soon. Thanks for caring, ladies.
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#738906 - 01/07/12 04:37 PM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Jilly Offline
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You sound like you are doing everything you can. that's great you don't have board fees! That must feel like a blessing.

And if you are getting a few months of feed covered that will surely show the stable owner that you are serious about your horse's care and intend to do what you can to pay her back.

I hope you won't have to give up one of your horses.

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#738949 - 01/07/12 06:40 PM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Jilly]
Debbie-SpiritualityEditor Offline
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I hope not either, Jilly. It would be hard to part with either horse, but if it came down to them having to suffer with no food or regular care then I certainly would do what was best for the horses. I am not a little girl playing horsey. I know what is involved with horse care, and if I can't provide it someone else will have to.

With our country being so saturated with horses right now, I would prefer to know that my horses are safe because I have them (and the farm owner is a great caretaker, having several rehabilitated rescue horses on her property), then to wonder who is feeding them, or not feeding them, as the case may be. Also, with the president approving slaughterhouses to be built again, it will be easier now for someone else to ditch my horses to a killer buyer should I give one or both up down the road. I just can't in good conscience give them up if I can possibly afford them. It is just me. I take on an animal for life. It is responsibility.

I have had people tell me to give up my horses several times, and this really upsets me. This advice comes from horse people and non-horse people alike. I love my horses and I want to do all I can to keep them. I know practically I am better off without the expense, but these animals are family to me. My love of horses goes back to when I was about 5 yrs old, and I have only had horses for the past 6 1/2 yrs. Some people just don't get it, and their words can be very hurtful, especially since I am trying very hard to get my life back on track, get a job, and keep my animals. It just makes me more stressed out.
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#739050 - 01/08/12 09:12 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Susan - Horses/Animals Offline
Parakeet

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 1108
Loc: West Walworth, NY
Cassie - it does seem like you are doing all you can and I agree that giving them up is not a great option - I have never been good at letting mine go even when the intent was to re-train for sale - something I only do as a way to re-home ex-race horses. Perhaps another thing to consider would be to discuss with the current barn owner that they take over complete care of your horses. If your horses are making a profit for the barn it hardly seems fair that you are incurring a constantly growing bill for feed. If the barn did not have use of your horses they would need to feed whatever horses they were using in their stead. I highly suggest that you make a written contract with this barn in order to make clear everyone's responsibilities - I have been in the business a looooong time and can relate many very bad stories with regard to casual verbal agreements between horse and barn owners. For instance if someone that is riding in a lesson gets hurt when on your horse are you protected from a law suit - also if your horse gets hurt in a lesson who will pay the vet bill. I do not want to give you more things to worry about but it is better to have all down in written form so there are no questions when bad things happen - as they often do with horses.

Can I ask where you live and what the board fees are - just curious as there are many situations that those not in the profession remain unaware of and I may be able to offer more suggestions based on locale.
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#739081 - 01/08/12 11:56 AM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Debbie-SpiritualityEditor Offline
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I used to pay a flat board fee of $260 per month per horse which included daily turnout, hay and grain. It was a rough board fee without a stall, but with guarantee of an outdoor shelter that the horses can walk into for cover during the night or in bad weather. The owner did put my horses in a stall anyway during the night for several months, but now with a few more boarders she may not be doing that because her barn is small with not many stalls. The $260 a month was cheap where I used to live.....where board can go up to over $350 for rough board, and easily over $500 per month for a horse using a stall.

Since I fell on hard times I have not been charged a board fee because at about the same time the farm owner started using my horses with her kids after asking my permission. It was an agreement we came to because she knew I was having financial trouble as well, and both of us felt it was best for the horses to be ridden. Not for every lesson but often, and also for trail riding. At the time I was going through my divorce, trying to pack up my things from my house, etc., so I did not have very much time to ride. So my cost going forward was only to cover hay and grain, but that has risen now to about $200 per month per horse with grain and hay prices having gone up. That of course does not include hoof care, wormings, vet, etc. That is also my responsibility.

I am in New England, which is expensive already, and the closer you get to water the more expensive it gets to board a horse, even if you are not in a coastal town. I have heard that where I have moved to board fees start at $500 and can go up to over $1000 per horse. Just insane, and far from what I can ever afford based on my credentials and ability to earn income. And I have to live where I do because I live with my boyfriend and I cannot afford to live on my own.

Right now just affording to feed the horses and keep them current with their vaccinations, dentistry, wormings, and hoof care.....it is going to be difficult even with a job, because I have other financial obligations as well, but I will do the best I can.

Once I get back on track I will discuss a written contract with the farm owner. So far any issues while the horses have been used while in her care and under her guidance have been taken care of by her. She also chose to enter my horses in some very small-time local farm shows with the kids this past summer, and she paid for the horses' rabies shots and Coggins. She is happy to have my horses for her lesson kids, and I am happy they are being used and loved every day by the kids who help out there.

Most of the kids work off part of their lessons by helping around the farm. I really don't see the farm owner making a huge profit, as the farm has several rescue horses as well that need feeding and other regular care. The farm needs to run itself, and the board and lesson fees collected goes directly into buying food for the animals, maintaining the farm, repairing fencing, and building more outdoor shelters for the horses. She does not run a fancy operation but it is run like a tight ship.

If and when I am caught up with the farm owner for my past due feed bill, I really do not think I will find another situation like that closer to where I live now, where all I pay for is feed and the horses are ridden and loved. Not all stables provide the diligent care that I know my horses are getting right now. It is a tough thing, because it is hard to know who to trust with your horses. I will always keep my eye out for another place to board, but I don't have faith that financially and otherwise it will be the same type of scenario.

So my horses will still live over an hour away from me until something very different occurs in my life, and I won't see them as much as I want to. Is it ideal horse ownership for me? No way. I am not getting out of it what I used to when they lived across the street from me. It is a part my life and who I am but I can't indulge in it like I want to. But I love them so I will have to sacrifice so that my horses don't have to.


Edited by Cassie67 (01/08/12 12:03 PM)
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#739105 - 01/08/12 01:12 PM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Angela J. Shirley Offline
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Hi Cassie:

Yes, girl - ONE DAY AT A TIME & some days, it is "one second" at a time for me wink
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#770846 - 07/01/12 02:51 PM Re: Stable management is an oxymoron [Re: Susan - Horses/Animals]
Encore DT Offline
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Registered: 12/22/06
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I have noticed a significant decrease in the number of horses in our local neighborhoods here, where I used to see dozens everywhere. Probably a sign of the times...
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