August 30, 2011

I am so done with leasing....

This last experience has been horrendous and taken every last breath of sanity I have left.  There have been many instances that have occurred that have made me seriously regret my leasing of Millie and this recent one in regards to a miscommunication about turn out and a misrepresentation of turn out in the leasing contract, that I have finally thrown my hands up and said, "Enough!"

1) I have been required by my contract to muck the stall each time I go out which is fine, I always did that with Willy's stall even though it was not required in that contract.  The only time on Wednesday I've been going out is after work and all summer it has been during a thunderstorm with lightning too close for comfort (not something to mess with out here).  Needless to say I have not ridden on MANY of my designated days so in essence have paid $200 a month to muck a stall!

2) Multiple times when I have been out to the stable there has been an accusation by another boarder that I knocked over her equipment or used her materials, neither of these things have I done, in fact I have replaced knocked off items (the most recent one being a screw driver laying on the floor) and been very conscientious about cleaning any tiny amount of manure that looked like it spilled from Millie's pen to Misty's (since Millie's stall is uphill of hers) 
3) I have not been having fun with Millie (can you tell by the amount of posts I've made since the lease started?) any techniques I have learned on Divine have not worked with her and I have not been able to work on any riding objectives I've wanted to.  I don't know if it's her training but I'm so frustrated that I don't want to go out there anymore...I don't even see the point

4) I'm tired of the situation at the facility and worried because of the upkeep at the facility that any injuries incurred to Millie because of the facility issues could be viewed as my liability

a) broken fences in her paddock (I ended up duct taping the ends so it was at least semi safe for the horses and to this day the farm still has not been repaired)
b) barbed wire fencing in the pasture (many areas in back of the pasture I have noted are very dangerous for a horse with loose, loopy wire and bent posts where a horse could easily cut a tendon)
c) the waterer issue, many times I stayed later than intended after my ride to make sure Millie had water in the bucket since the water only trickled out, it took forever.  I also purchased a bucket since the owner did not have one on hand and never asked her to pay me back.
d) The arena fencing was bent inwards for so long causing a hazard to horses and riders alike.  I wonder if a boarder eventually fixed it since Terri, the owner of Millie, has had to fix knocked out walls in her stall in the past since the boarding facility has not held up their end of the bargain

6) I've disliked the nasty attitude of the people that own the facility, even Terri is afraid to ask the people to fix something for fear she'll be kicked out of the facility.  Really?  I would have left ages ago!  How can someone tolerate being made to feel like you are putting them out to take care of the horse you are paying them to take care of?

7) The manure pile is also not being either spread, composted or disposed of properly.  In El Paso County manure cannot be piled up to just sit indefinitely, it has to be composted properly, regular thrown out in the garbage or spread thinly over a field so it dries quickly and reduces chances of fly breeding.  Even Susan's facility had a regular (weekly) trash pick up of the manure pile. I know that there is no facility that can be perfect but I guess what I find deplorable some people find acceptable.  Facilities at least need to be clean and safe.

8) The turn out pastures were for a few hours a day (hardly any time for a horse) and I needed prior approval to release Millie with other horses, from the owner and from the other horses owner.  I received that a couple months ago with Misty, Millie's neighbor.  Apparently something changed and Frieda didn't want Millie out with Misty anymore but this was never conveyed to me.  The contract also did not state I needed to ask the permission each and every time I release Millie on pasture.  Terri stated it had to be every time, I mentioned it didn't state that in the contract so I cannot be held responsible since I DID have prior permission, it had never been revoked.  Uge.  In hindsight I should have required her to write up an agreement on each and every horse Millie could be released with and had her and I and the other horse owner sign it so I had documentation for the permission.  Either that or I just should have left poor Millie in her pen gazing at the other horses in the pasture.

So I'm out $400 for the last two months and I don't care, I'm just glad to be out of the situation.  I could go after Terri for the last two months lease because she did not have a clause about early termination of the lease but I'm tired of dealing with her and hearing about some sort of accusation from the neighboring horses owner on a weekly basis.  I've research contract law and her contract is not as tight as she would try and have someone believe.

I'm just set on paying off debt, saving up money and buying my horse this spring, so I can settle into horse ownership, get training with the horse when I need it and continue lessons with Laurie on my own horse (trailer willing!).  Just wish I had not done this lease at all, $1200 could have been a lot of riding lessons with Laurie or a bill paid off....uge.  We live we learn, eh?

At least I've learned more about what signs I need to look for when I buy a horse, to take my time, since rushing into this lease was a VERY stupid mistake; to really get to know a horse and assess their training level.  A facility that is safe and has an indoor arena is a PRIORITY for a boarding place.  The price is worth it and I'm willing to pay for a nice facility that is up kept and has an indoor arena so I can ride with my limited schedule...and hopefully I can find one fairly close to either work or home!   I need to over analyze any contract I sign (including boarding agreements) and perhaps even have a legal person look over it...have money set aside for a lawyer just in case! 

I'm so tempted to "bring it on" but I'm just not like that.  The situation was getting bad, I wasn't having fun and I was being accused of things that were not true and I feared that I would get held liable for something that I did not do and have to go to court anyways!  I'm just glad to be rid of the situation!  Everyone, be very careful when you lease a horse and when you lease out your horse!  I saw so many loop holes in this contract that this lady could easily have been taken to the cleaners.  After finishing my end of the bargain and paying off the rest of the lease and mucking stall fees she still even had the nerve to say that I took advantage of her (referencing that it costs her $50 extra a month for mucking not $25 but sorry, $25 was in the contract she wrote).  She has $400 and $65 more for mucking I really didn't need to owe since I terminated the lease (contract law states that if there is not a termination clause deeming fines etc. that a contract can be terminated at any time unless otherwise written), with no lessee riding her horse for the next two months and that is taking advantage of her?!!!!???!!!  Hmm... 

Thanks everyone for letting me vent on this blog, I'm so angry at this situation and mostly angry that I was naive about the facility, the horse and the contract (which wasn't well written).  I've learned that legal documents need to be very specific.  In a court of law I don't think she would have much to stand on but again, it's something to remember for the future.  Cover my butt!  I have a nice riding lesson with Laurie to look forward to this Friday and now that Wednesdays are open I can see what would work best for Laurie and I's schedule.  I want to do two lessons for a little while since Laurie is working on my seat and balance with's hard and frustrating and sometime I want to quit but darn it, I can do it!  Cherrio!


Breathe said...

It's difficult to have a lease go well, I think. I had a tough time leasing too, but the experience of test driving was a good one in other ways. I was able to asses the time and commitment really required and figure out if this was a passing fancy or true long term desire.

I hope your search goes well! It's as hard finding the right horse as it is finding the right lease...

Barbara said...

I was lucky in that the first horse I leased everything went great for 8 years. Later I half leased my own horse out and that went great also. After that horse died I tried to lease a horse and very quickly decided that either the owner or I was just batshit crazy and ran from that. I spent about $700 on a couple of rides. That one scared me from leasing forever.
So sorry that you had just an awful experience. I think leasing horses is a crap shoot, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and there is very little warming.
There are lots of nice horses selling cheap in this economy, I'm sure that when you are ready you can find a nice one to own. (Buying is ANOTHER crap shoot!)

Christie said...

My first lease with Willie was pretty awesome, pretty laid back once I got in touch with the owner and she actually met me to test ride him!

My second lease lasted only one day, that was Pstar a mare I'm in love with since she is so sweet, but she's really green and young and I was unsure of the situation so it really didn't work out but the lease went well since her riding instructor was so awesome and understanding about it.

I'm just done for now, was planning to be after October anyway so I can use the lease money to get ready for my horse. There are so many horses right now I would die to test ride since the price or adoption fee, is so low but I really can't let myself buy a horse just yet! Soon enough!