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Bad Management At The Lazy J

Posted by vwkoch, in horse stories 11 June 2012 · 510 views

Imagine going out to the boarding stable to get your horse and go for a ride, and when you get to the stall, your horse is gone and another horse has taken its place.  All your things are gone, and itís as if your horse never existed.  This situation is exactly what happened to me recently at the Rocky Mountain Lazy J Bar S Stable in Loveland, CO.

We had known for several weeks that a new trainer was going to be moving in with a lot of horses.  There were only eight horses in the 17 stalls on my side of the barn, and the trainer needed 16 stalls, so the rumor was that we were all going to be moved to the other side of the barn.  I didnít want to move, because my horse had been in her stall for ten years and became very anxious the few times sheíd been moved out of it for a few days for repairs.  The stable manager assured me that my horse would get to stay in her home, because the new trainer only needed 16 of the 17 stalls.

On Saturday, as I was leaving the stable, the new trainer was pulling in, with a caravan of trailers.  On Sunday, when I went out to ride, there was a new horse in my horseís stall.  Between the time I left Saturday and the time I arrived Sunday, nobody had contacted me to say anything about moving my horse.  For all I knew, she had died, or been stolen, or been taken to a vet hospital in an emergency.  This horse has been my child substitute for 16 years.  To say I was upset was putting it mildly.

As I wandered back through the barn, wondering what had happened and why no one had called me, I spotted some of my things in the aisle.  When I went over to check on them, I found my horse, looking anxiously out of a new stall, wondering what had happened to her.  I wondered if she was getting her feed, because there was no feeder in her new stall.  I wondered how she got the scrape on her forehead over her eye, and then the horse next door kicked the side of the stall, causing my horse to panic momentarily as the wall to her new stall rang and vibrated with the force of the kick --- answering my question about how she got the scrape.  I tried to open the stall door to comfort her, but the latch was stuck and I had to get a rock to hammer it open.  I calmed her down, then I looked through my things --- the ones that were put into the aisle --- and found that some of them were missing, never to reappear.  When I started to get my horse out of the stall, I discovered that my halter was among the missing items.  I decided to go down to the old stall to get my horseís feeder, so I wouldnít have to worry about whether she would get her evening feed.  On the way, I spotted my halter, lying crumpled on the floor of the aisleway into the indoor arena.  After I singlehandedly manhandled the heavy metal feeder (the kind with a hay rack over a feed container) from the old stall into the new one, I retrieved my halter, got my horse out, and went for a ride.  Coming back, I spotted the stable manager, who told me he didnít move my horse, but he would ďget it sorted out.Ē  When my horse was still in the new stall the next day, I sent him an email message, asking when she would be moved back to her old stall.  When nothing happened after several more days, I sent him another email, and his response was the following:

ďI DO NOT KNOW WHO MOVED THE HORSE, I WAS NOT THERE.  I HAVE TALKED TO JON [THE STABLE OWNER] AND WE DO NOT PLAN TO MOVE THE HORSE BACK.Ē

This response is in spite of the fact that, just days earlier, he had assured me that my horse would not be moved when the new trainer arrived.  Itís pretty obvious what his word is worth, and if the word of the manager of a stable is worthless, then the boarders are in trouble, in my opinion.  I find it amazing that a good boarder, whoís paid her bills on time for ten years, was arbitrarily turned out of the stall her horse had occupied for that entire time, without notice and in spite of assurances to the contrary.  I know a customer with 16 horses is more valuable than one with just one horse, but I donít think ANY customer should be treated the way I was.  Even more amazing is that the managerís response to me said, in essence, that itís okay for anybody in the stable to remove someone elseís horse from its stall and put his horse there instead, as long as the manager doesnít see it happening.  I pointed that fact out to him twice, and he never said I was misinterpreting his message, so I guess the stable really does operate that way.  Theoretically, therefore, I could move my horse back to her old stall, but then, the new trainer could just move her out again.  I would never subject my nervous horse to that kind of chaotic existence, but I am truly flabbergasted that ANY stableís management thinks itís okay for boarders to move each otherís horses around without permission.  I donít believe any other stable in the world would operate in that fashion.

Because I wasnít getting any satisfaction from the manager, I put the story into a poster and put it up near the several tack rooms at the stable.  The following day, I was given 30 daysí notice to remove my horse from the premises.  The only reason I see to kick someone out for spreading the truth is if you donít want anyone else to know that truth, and the only reason I see for not wanting people to know the truth is if it makes you look bad.  If you know it makes you look bad, that means you know what you did is wrong and you did it anyway.  What does that tell you about the management at this stable?

Luckily, Iíve found a new stable which I think will be a much better environment for me and my horse.  Itís a hassle for us to have to move, but I think, in the end, Iíll be glad that I was forced to do so.  The new stable isnít as fancy, but it has everything we need (at a cheaper price!), including good management --- and if you ever need a place to board your horse in the area of Loveland, CO, DONíT go to the Rocky Mountain Lazy J Bar S!




I worked at a boarding stable for over 2 years, and we would Never move a client's horse without very Good reasons (health issues, personality conflicts with the horse 'next door', etc.) & NEVER without first discussing it with the boarder! That is just unacceptable behavior on the part of Lazy J ~ I'm glad you moved to a better stable; even if it's smaller & not as 'fancy', it'll be better for both you & your horse. Sometimes (most of the time!), smaller = better, more personal, and that you n' your equine partner will be treated with respect, and as friends, rather than just a number, attached to a board check.... (;
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Holy frijoles! What an amazing tale of ineptitude and dishonesty. I'm so glad that I don't have to board my horses, and I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I think your points to the barn manager were excellent, and the fact that neither the owner nor the manager sought to make the situation right is insightful. Yes, you're just one little check a month, but I'd sure like to know who the trainer is that moved into the barn. If the manager didn't move your horse, then another boarder (the trainer?) did, and I would think twice about using a trainer who does that. The horse world is a small one and what goes around, comes around. Good luck in your new digs.
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Thanks for the support. It's been a real trial to move my horse, who doesn't take at all well to change, but it's been a week now, and she seems to be settling down somewhat. I can't imagine the management at the new barn allowing her to be moved without my permission, so she should finally be in a place where she can stay where she feels safe, barring any emergencies. Management at this stable CARES about the horses in their care. What a relief! :yay:
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