Yard trouble... I need opinions please.

HaloHoney

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Apr 30, 2017
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Right. Struggling to be objective and I need input.

To save having to read previous posts, I'll give a potted history:

Me: rode as a child, took 17 years off, got back into it again almost exactly a year ago. Loaned a horse a couple of times from the RS and bought my own to go on working livery in mid-June. Total novice owner.

My horse: 16.2HH Warmblood cross gelding, been there done it got the t-shirt. Schoolmaster. 16 years old. He jumps, does a reasonable dressage test, a good XC, is a bombproof hack, and is an absolute gent on the ground. Sustained a kick to his right front in the field on 11th Sep, has been on box rest for 3 weeks, no hairline fracture, but bone is mending itself and showed up as a white area of distress after 2 weeks of rest, at same vet assessment he was 1/10 lame, but there was still heat in the area even though it didn't appear infected. Prognosis good, but will know more after repeat vet visit on 9/10.

The things I have noticed since he has been on box rest:
1. Vet attended on 25th Sept. No handover note was done. Nothing written in yard book or first aid book when a member of staff was questioned ("are his drugs in this feed?" "What drugs? Don't know...") on 1st October. I know on Monday, Friday and Saturday that week there were no additions to his lunch. So no indication that he's been having the correct medication for a week.
2. I mucked him out on Mon 26th myself, and left his straw banked up around the edges, said to yard manager "I've left his floor bare so it can dry out a bit. Can you knock the banks down and add more straw if he needs it before putting him to bed?" Yard manager said yes that was fine. When I saw one of the grooms on Wednesday she said that Flash's floor was bare on Tuesday when she went in to muck him out, the floor was just covered in poo, she thought he needed more straw but discovered there was enough when she knocked the banks down.
3. I went down to see him Sunday (1/10) 2.30pm. He has 2 x 42l tub trugs for water. He was tied up out of reach of one, which was empty. The other was full.
4. I went up to see him yesterday (4/10) during the day. All was fine. Clean bed. I groomed him and spent time with him in his box. I went at 1pm and arrived back for my kids' riding lesson at 5.30pm. His bed was filthy- the straw had poo stamped into it and was wet. I watched my kids' lesson and we said goodbye to him- saw loads of fresh straw in his bed, but under the fresh straw was the poo-ridden stuff.
5. When I went down on Saturday, I got there at 8.45 to ride a friend's horse on a hack (she owns two there, and kindly let me ride one with her) at 9am. At 10.30 I was told off for my horse having no hay and water, and then I was nagged to muck him out "because it's been hours."
6. When he was on his initial box rest he wasn't given his antibiotics one evening because they had been locked in the office.
7. He is being fed three times a day. In each feed he is having: 1 scoop conditioning cubes, 1 scoop calm & condition (1 scoop when made up), 1 scoop speedibeet (same), 1 scoop Alfa-a. When I said "should he be eating that much when he's standing still?" My concerns were dismissed and I was told he needs to put a bit of weight on for winter. He has ad-lib hay.
8. Head coach (also oversees yard manager's job) been there 13 years and her attitude is erratic and unpredictable. At best, unapproachable, at worst, hostile. Sometimes has a laugh and a joke, other times will bite your head off. You never know which.
9. Yard owner is not very mobile and is in the office all day behind two closed doors.
10. Before box rest he was turned out in field of 26 geldings, always coming in with bites, kicks, etc. Herd was split a few weeks before into a new field with 8-10 geldings including him. Seemed much calmer. But was injured in a field by one of them while I wasn't there. Some fields are 0.6miles away from yard. Bloody long way to walk when turning out.

I viewed another yard yesterday. Seems a tightly run ship, yard owner beyond nice, I know at least 5 of the other liveries there who have been there up to 8 years (and say owner is exactly that- lovely). Owner actually knows my horse as she was his previous owner's dressage coach. He also liveried there for a couple of weeks when his previous owners were on holiday. Turn out in a herd of max 4 horses.

I have to take my horse off Working Livery- obviously as he cannot work.

Option A: full livery (still have to pay for hay/straw on top) at current yard. Going back on working livery when horse is fit.
Option B: DIY at current yard assisted on 2 days I cannot manage due to work (not actually an option at all because it is financially unviable due to astronomical costs of extras)
Option C: DIY at new yard, assisted on days I cannot do, with the option to get a sharer for those days when he is fit and worth sharing. No option of working livery as only a livery yard with no RS.
Option D: full livery at new yard.

What are your thoughts? What would you do if it were your horse?

I can see pros and cons to both places. I won't make a decision on anything until Monday when he next sees the vet. I may be asking her the question "would he be ok to travel 4 miles in a box?" Loads of dressage comps, showjumping etc at his current yard and I don't have transport. Other yard has good quality outdoor school, turnout on site, but no comps. Hacking is good at both (in fact, he probably knows all the local routes at other yard!).

I can no longer see the wood from the trees. All help and advice appreciated.
 

Cortrasna

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No contest IMO - you just have to get off the yard you are on - to my mind the only dither would be over which livery at new yard - DIY or full - only you can say if full is affordable but if you feel you can trust them 100 per cent with all necessary meds and care I would go for full at least for the time being - if you feel you cant trust them either then possibly this second yard isn't right for you either? :(
 
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HaloHoney

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No contest IMO - you just have to get off the yard you are on - to my mind the only dither would be over which livery at new yard - DIY or full - only you can say if full is affordable but if you feel you can trust them 100 per cent with all necessary meds and care I would go for full at least for the time being - if you feel you cant trust them either then possibly this second yard isn't right for you either? :(

I would absolutely trust the new yard. Having heard how well they have treated my friends' horses, for many years, and one friend's daughter works there. I booked an appointment to look around (turned up early as well) and it was spotless, horses happy, everything clean, everyone well cared-for. Stuck my head over one friend's box- she's on holiday, so they are on full livery. Horse's bed looked like one of those #horsebedgoals pics on a Facebook meme. LOL. At this point they had no idea I knew her, so couldn't have rigged it, so to speak.
 
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Tir

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I hate finding yards, I really do, so you have my sympathies.

I have to confess at this point that I am not at all impartial as I recognise the yard from some of your pics and vids (promise I am not at all stalkery :) )

I keep mine on DIY and, as my sister and I have them together, dont need to worry about services, but your current place is 5 mins max from my front door and I choose to drive down the motorway instead. Have been nearly 30 mins away at a previous yard. Probably says all I need to on that! :)

Their comps are fun though.

In short move. However, I would not leave yourself in a place where you need a sharer to pay for it, especially since you are not all that happy with the current yard cutting corners and you are paying them, it can be a lot worse if they are paying you. We have 3 sharers, but only 1 of them we trust to actually look after the horses if neither of us were about for any reason. There are also a lot of sharer about locally atm...winter is coming. :)

I am not 100% sure on which yard you are looking at moving to, but have an idea it may be BAR? If it is I went to have a look there and was very impressed. Just a bit too many ££'s with 5 of them.

If you want to clarify a bit more about what you are looking for and an approx monthly budget I might be able to give some more ideas, pm if you would like. :)

Kat
 
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carthorse

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No contest IMO - you just have to get off the yard you are on - to my mind the only dither would be over which livery at new yard - DIY or full - only you can say if full is affordable but if you feel you can trust them 100 per cent with all necessary meds and care I would go for full at least for the time being - if you feel you cant trust them either then possibly this second yard isn't right for you either? :(

This. Under no circumstances would I stay where you are, and being very cynical I'd also be worrying about them using him before the leg is fully healed & a proper rehab programme has been completed. I'd be grateful my eyes had been opened & get out asap.
 

joosie

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As above really. You wouldn't see me staying on your current yard for love nor money, it sounds badly run with low standards of care and the "yard manager" doesn't actually appear to be managing anything :rolleyes:
 

HaloHoney

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Thanks for the further replies. I dont need to get a sharer to afford him, just thought that if he's not doing much on those days, a happy hacker could enjoy him instead of him
Being in a field...

The fact that the YO at the new place knows him and has worked with him is a comfort, if I'm honest.

With a leg injury like his, would you move him? Or would you wait until he was able to start rehab?
View media item 25175
He is box rest but allowed out for "the occasion pick at some grass".
 

Jessey

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I'm with the others, the question is not stay or go, its where to go and on what deal :)

The new place sounds lovely and 4 miles back to the old place is hacking distance for a show IMO. Could you perhaps also discuss part livery with them, so not quite the full livery cost and still allowing you to regularly involved whilst getting the support suited to a new owner?
 

HaloHoney

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I'm with the others, the question is not stay or go, its where to go and on what deal :)

The new place sounds lovely and 4 miles back to the old place is hacking distance for a show IMO. Could you perhaps also discuss part livery with them, so not quite the full livery cost and still allowing you to regularly involved whilst getting the support suited to a new owner?
Pretty much what I had planned to do pending vet saying he's transportable on Monday. Need to give 2 weeks' notice on current yard.
 

Cortrasna

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Oh sod the 2 weeks notice - have everything of yours gradually taken out daily until the weekend then just load him up and go - give them the 2 weeks money obviously - but worth it just to get peace of mind IMO.
 
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Jessey

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Pretty much what I had planned to do pending vet saying he's transportable on Monday. Need to give 2 weeks' notice on current yard.
Given your bad experience, if it were me, I would probably pay for the 2 weeks and leave as soon as you tell them. I'd be worried about already poor care going even further down hill.
 
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Tir

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Id ask your vet about moving and transport and let them guide you. Bone injury is scary, but from what you have said everything else in the leg is fine, so little bit more time and it should be good as new.

Also something to bare in mind, its currently really busy all day atm and he is really chilled. Obviously the care is not ideal, but short term it might be better for the leg to have happy chilled out horse not making it worse, than it would be to have him throwing himself around a box when the whole yard go out and he is on his own all day...

Depends on him a lot, one of mine would be fine, one of them did go utterly mental (took the stable door of!) when he didnt have a mate.

Now you know you can maybe mitigate some of the issues short term...even if you are supposed to be paying for it.
 

HaloHoney

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Box at new yard unavailable until 2 weeks as one horse is moving up north and they have no vacancy until that horse leaves. If I'm going to move him, I'd give notice as soon as I get confirmation that the box is vacated at new yard. And then load him and go. I have travel boots and a fleece rug. He has his own bandages.

Complicating factor: we are loaning a horse for my son for half term at current yard. The timing totally totally sucks. Aaaargghhhh. :mad:
 
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Jessey

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When is half term?
To ease your departure, could you perhaps tell a little white lie that you're concerned about bringing him back to full work (like working livery) too quickly and need him somewhere affordable in the mean time..... I hate to fib, but in order to keep the peace for your son's loan, your kids lessons in future and if you wanted to go back for shows......
 

HaloHoney

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Also something to bare in mind, its currently really busy all day atm and he is really chilled. Obviously the care is not ideal, but short term it might be better for the leg to have happy chilled out horse not making it worse, than it would be to have him throwing himself around a box when the whole yard go out and he is on his own all day...

He is much happier when it is quieter- has to be tied up in his box because he kicks the door if there is too much going on outside.

He is a 100% chilled out dude. He trotted up as quiet as a mouse after essentially being fed rocket fuel for 2 weeks without leaving that box... I can't feed him treats just now or I get hassled by him, but no treats and he's fine.
 

HaloHoney

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Ok, the box is available on 26th Oct- all of a sudden the half-term loan looks a little less complicated...

But that begs the question, do I complain?

He's still on a working livery contract until Monday... if I say "yes, alter contract to full Livery" my notice is at that rate, not at the much lower. I don't want to give them a penny more than necessary, lol.
 

newforest

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I would part on good terms because you want to be able to pop back for the competitions.
Can you change to DIY for those two weeks as he is out of work. Give your notice as well. Reason for move is whatever you want it to be, nearer home, friends there doesn't really matter. You are not happy and not getting what you are obviously paying for.
 
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Mary Poppins

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I would take a few days to think about it. Yes you do have valid complaints. The medication being missed off the feed is terrible and he is not being mucked out properly. But these are things that could easily be solved with an honest chat with the YO. Both you and the horse are in a distressed situation and obviously you want what is best for him, but if you were previously happy there and enjoy other aspects of the yard, is it not worth at least trying to get your issues sorted? At least for the short term?

What I am trying to say is don't make any rash decisions when you are upset. No yard is ever perfect. You have previously posted very happy posts about the support you get there, the friends you have made and how much you enjoy the shows. If you were assured your horse was getting the medication, was mucked out properly and you could control feed more, would you stay?
 

carthorse

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For the sake of the difference in rate between working & full I wouldn't take the chance of them being a horse short over half term so giving him some bute & using him.

I wouldn't complain as in go & rant at them, but I would get the owner or manager on her own & mention that you've noticed a few things, in particular that he isn't always getting his meds & that you aren't at all happy with how much feed he's getting.
 
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