The Grand Horse Giveaway

People keep offering me their horses. Only the title is actually misleading, they aren’t offered them to me to keep, most of the time, they are offering for me to take their horse to care for it, until they are ready to come get it. As though I won’t mind at all, what’s one more horse to take care of?

There was one time I didn’t mind. My friend had two horses, she was in college, and then something happened that severely cut back on her available time. She offered me her nice jumper horse, one that she had been actively competing, and is just a good horse. I don’t mind being offered nice horses. People can definitely offer me lots of nice horses, not that I can always take them. But I will respect that offer.

Most recently, as in, today, I was offered the privilege of taking care of another horse. The owner decided she wants to move, and her Go-Fund-Me to pay for her horse’s move isn’t working out, so she wants to find a place to leave the horse for a while.

The horse in question.
The horse in question.

Horse is a lovely thoroughbred mare. The owner and I used to ride together, I helped her with flat work, she helped me with jumping. She wasn’t a bad mare, she was just green. I haven’t seen this horse (or friend) in about 6 years now, so I really don’t know how they are now, but I think the horse is mostly the same, as the owner didn’t put her in any kind of training program after we went our separate ways. The point of all this is that the horse is mostly fine, probably a bit green for her age at this point, but nothing seriously wrong. She’s still a good horse.

I cannot take the horse, and here are the reasons I gave the owner:

I cannot take on the financial obligations of a horse I don’t own. Not only do I just not want to pay for another horse (because if I did, I would already have said horse), I do not want to have to pay for someone else’s horse’s bills, right up until the moment they swoop back in to take their horse back. Only moral obligations would in any way make them pay me back for whatever vet and farrier bills that pile up from this horse’s care. Would they do it? I honestly do not know, and it’s not just this person, there’s very few people that I believe would truly pay back the money I put into this horse. Because if the bill isn’t in their name, it’s easy to just give it the side eye and move on. They could justify to themselves, “Well, it was a free lease, that means she’s supposed to pay the bills on this horse while she has it.” It was not. It was me helping out by taking care of their gigantic pet, and then I end up having to pay for it. That is not a chance I’m willing to take. Honestly, if they are being put in this situation to began with, they probably don’t even have the money to pay me back to began with. You can’t get blood from a stone.

I explain above (in way less words) to owner, and she replies with, “I’d pay you!” Well, even if she did (which I have my doubts due to the blood from a stone), that still means that I have to take the time to physically take care of the horse. I know we all (should) know this, but horses do require care. At the super minimum, they need those feet picked out so they don’t get horrible hoof problems. If you have a rugged one, it could probably go without grooming, but most of them require grooming to keep their coat clear of fungus and scratches. One more horse means one more stall to clean (if I had an empty one, which I don’t!), it means the trough gets dirty faster, it means the pastures get muddy faster, it means more hay to throw out, it means one more horse that needs a big serving of grain to keep their weight up. Since I don’t have a stall, it would mean figuring out where to separate this horse to feed, and where to put her when the weather’s bad. To sum it up: One more horse means a huge amount of work for me. I don’t want to sound snotty, but there’s a reason I stopped doing working student positions and got a job. I’d much rather be paid lots more money to lazily sit in a chair than earn peanuts doing physical labor. And if I believed she would pay me, that would be the compensation I would get.

One visit to her barn, I lunged Dave. He was a bit frisky on the lunge line.
One visit to her barn, I lunged Dave. He was a bit frisky on the lunge line.

My home owners insurance does not cover boarders. I do not wish to lose my home owner’s insurance, as it was annoying enough to get a farm insured in the first place. There’s a whole different insurance for people who want to make boarding income off their properties, and I do not have it. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking having boarders will offset the cost of their farm. I don’t know the details of it, so I won’t go into it, but if your home owner’s insurance doesn’t know about your boarders, there’s a high chance they will be pissed off to find out you have boarders.

Finally, the reason people think I should take their horse is because then I get the privilege of riding it. Well, first off, I have three equines, and it’s hard enough to find the time to ride just one of them. Second, in most of these cases, (minus girl above with nice jumper) I would be doing them a favor by riding the horse. In the case of the jumper, if I had taken the horse and had lessons on her, I would have been improving my skills because the horse was better than I was. In the case of everything else, I’m better trained then the horse, so it just be me training the horse for free. Most of the time, these horses are either super green, or just relatively green, and therefore, I’d be more like a crash dummy to train their horse than someone who’s benefiting from riding it. What a deal that would be for the owner, free care and training!

I did not explain the last reason to the owner, because most people do not like to hear such things. My offer to her was, if you give me the horse, I will find her a new home, but I will not take her without you signing her over. So far, she has declined. Which is fine, I hope she figures out how to transport her horse. If she changes her mind, I may post about it: Lower teens, 16.2 chestnut tb looking for new home! Training level uncertain, but she does know how to launch herself over a jump.


This seems a good a time as any to bring up a woman I used to know, Jeanie, who presumed to place her horses at my farm. The backstory: She owned the farm across the street from my parent’s house. She is the perfect example of why it’s a very, very bad idea to spend lots of money without thinking it through.

The property was a horse property when she moved in, with 10 acres, 4 stall barn and pastures. She took out a huge loan to put in a HUGE riding ring, add 6 more stalls to her barn, two huge storage sheds, two huge tractors, and hay baling equipment. She thought that she was going to be able to keep 10 horses on the property, with two acres taken out for the riding ring, and yet still bale hay. Not sure about that one…

She was in way over her head. I boarded Vintage there for a while, and she would frequently ask me, or Dave to help her with farm work. A classic example is right after Dave had spine surgery, she asked him to move a load of square bales into the barn. He told her he just had surgery, and she responded, “Oh, that’s okay, it’s not that much hay.”

She would provide discounts and all sorts of incentives to her other no-show, non-paying boarders, but for me, who paid on time, and helped her out with barn chores (at first, willingly, and then because she would constantly ask me to), I didn’t even get a thank you. It didn’t take long for me to become very sour of this relationship. I don’t like being used, and I don’t like being treated like a servant when I’m a paying customer.

Her daughter had three horses. Jeanie decided that was too many horses (I would agree), so she lied to her daughter and told her that one of the horse’s old owner’s was demanding the horse back, and she had to return it. Her daughter was heartbroken by this, and the horse was sent a way. For whatever reason, the mom actually told me she lied to her daughter about the horse. She could have just told her the truth, which was, you have barely any time and three horses. You don’t need to have three horses.

So she was a bit of a trainwreck, and eventually, she sold the house. I’ll let these bits of email tell the rest of the story…

jeannie just called.  She has sold the house to the people who don’t have horses.  She wants to take the run in sheds with her


so jeanie sold off all the gates on craigslist, and now the new owners want to sue her because the gates were supposed to come with the property. She’s now begging my mom for gates so they don’t sue


she was asking my mom for help because she coudln’t get it herself. She keep saying stupid shit about how they didn’t want it as a horse property, and they clearly do. The 15 year old daughter wants a horse.
the new owners were asking my mom where the gates were and my mom had no idea. And for some reason jeanie is bitching to my mom about it
jeanie was trying to tell the new owners that none of the fences were missing, and the owners asked my mom if a fence had been in the empty openings between the fields. Which my mom said yes, because of course they had been. and then jeanie started bitching to my mom that none of the gates were missing, and there were never gates there
and then she asked my mom for her gates and my mom never answered her.
jeanie keeps harrassing my mom.
And then she emailed me directly to tell me she was taking her horses to my property.
Good morning Courtney,
I heard that you bought a house with some acreage with a small barn. Congratulation&lt:-P party….
Your Mom mentioned that you might be close to were I am and was thinking if you have space for 2-3 horses.  I know Jennifer would love that. Well? Let me know I/we are very interested in this. Right now I have a temp place on the way to Leesburg and Pavla and I have all 5 together but it’s to far for her and she is moving to Lincoln the end of the month, now Lincoln is further from me and I do not think I wanna drive so far to see Jennifer’s horses. Just let me know and I hope everything is well.
Naturally, I asked my mother about this.
Me: jeanie emailed me
 Mom no it looks like pasture mix

me:  asking me she can keep her horses at my property

 Mom:  don’t do it
me:  obviously…
 Mom she is a nut
me:  yes she isit’s not even a possibility
the way she worded the email was that you told her she could keep her horses there
Mom:  no such thing
I have not spoken to here
me:  i figured you wouldn’t do that
 Mom her
me:  i found it a very rude email like it was assumed that I would take her horses
 Mom:  she keeps calling about the gates and on Sunday she left a long message about needing a place to put HER boarders and wanted to know if you were close by and could you take them for a while
me:  oh jeez
yeah one of her boarders (dave and tank’s owner) went to my old boarding barn to ask them if she could move there
sarah was there when she went by
Mom:  good for her, it is a much better olace
me:  yup much better
Mom She keeps trying to find out where your property is located and I will not tell her
me:yeah don’t tell her
Mom:  I won’t
So I replied to her:
Hi Jeanie,
I do not offer boarding, but I do know there are tons of cheap places to board near Culpepper. The further south you look, the cheaper it gets.
I hope all is well.
To which she replied:
If you have list that would be great, like to be close to Route 29 or 3.
Thank you
It could just be because I was fed up with months of helping her out without even a thank you, but I found this extremely annoying. I replied:
why would I have a list? Search Virginia Equestrian, craigslist and google for a place to board.
You should consider boarding them near Virginia Tech so your daughter can actually see them during the school year, since they are her horses.
She replied she thought I knew of private boarding situations. I decided it was time to just cut it off then. Horse people are crazy.
The good news is that I never heard from her again, although I did later see an ad for one of her daughter’s horses on craigslist. Unregistered grade horse for $8k. I doubt it sold.
We have been offered other horses, but they didn’t come with particularly remarkable stories. We’ve also been offered dogs, and goats. Having a farm just attracts unwanted animals. We simply do not have time or room for them, and it makes me sad that so many animals are unwanted.
So now you know what a bitter, angry old woman I have become. I need to go on a mountain retreat or something, to regain my faith in humanity.

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  1. Bwahaha the Jeanine story made me laugh. Don’t we all know people like that… more money than sense & total users. Good ridance.

    1. Good riddance is right! I’m glad it makes you laugh, it makes me laugh now too, now that it’s over with!

  2. That email is. amazing. Sometimes when I speak with people I wonder what they sound like in writing, and sometimes I think that is probably it!

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