After a huge falling out with the family business (mainly my Mother), I placed an ad on an equestrian job hunting site.
Allen, found me on yardandgroom.com and told me about the equestrian center he was heading as part of an equestrian sub-division. They wanted an Equestrian to come in and run it as their own business. I could bring my horses and just re-build boarders, students and training horses and run the place as I would have done without anyone hindering it
They wanted me to come in and help them finish building the place, and they would pay my expenses until the place was up and running.
No I was not smart enough to push harder for a contract, and that is completely my fault. I packed up my trailer the first trip, with my entire life and furniture. Told Allen the things that needed to be in place before I got here with jus 3 of the 8 horses I was going to bring, which they agreed to feed and take care of until the place was done. That was in August '10. I came back a month later with my 3 horses, and very little had been done.
The minimum an Equestrian center needs to offer lessons and boarding are a safe arena with appropriate footing, boarder paddocks, a tack room and lighting on the property, and barn for safety.
I have tried for 10 months to get these things in place, even while still starting and running my business as best I could. I had a wonderufl list of potential clients who wanted to come in for boarding, but as the things were not in place for them, I had to tell them we were working on it. Meanwhile, I lost a LOT of potential clients over a year here.
Everytime I asked for things that were promised, I was told that they were working on. When ever I or any of my clients asked when the covered arena would be finished (just a matter of footing as it was covered and fenced), we were all told "in two weeks". Those two weeks have stretched in to a year.
Allen was always quick to tell me he'd start working on it right away and get the materials we (farm help) needed for the hot wire, paddocks, lean tos, and sand pulled out of ring.
A week would drag by. Then two. No changes. Then a month. Then 2. So on and so forth.
I would bring things up again, and people would come out to look at electrical and the arena.
Then a week would go by. Then two.
He did get one more paddock in and a lean to around July '11.
He made a big song and dance about the GGT footing being put in the arena. AWESOME I though! The facility isn't grand, VERY nice, but with footing like THAT... wow could I work that!
Still no tack room for boarders gear. Still no boarder paddocks.
I had 8 students (some trailer in, but my old horse is 23.. he can't do too many), and a list of over 30 waiting for lessons. Now in September '11, I have 3. Those that left did so because they needed more out of the facilty.
Whenever I bring up getting the rest of my horses from Florida, 2 lesson horses, he starts in with "where will the boarders go?" Now, keep in mind... he has said from the start, I could run the business here how I chose. I few boarders are great, but I never wanted a barn full. There are 10 stalls in right now, with room under the building for 28... which were also supposed to be added "as we need them". The latter being a famous line of his. I have had to turn away 3 boarders so far (not enough paddocks) and 2 others laughed. 1 over the footing, another about the shared tack "room".
Financially, I can not cut it here because I can never catch up enough and desperately need more clients. Which I can not get until the arena is done, my horses can get here, and the paddocks are in.
The last few weeks, he has been the king of dodging my calls, and taking off after paying the farm hand before I can catch him and pull him aside. I've tried numerous times to talk with him about these issues, and he always says "he'll start working on it". Or if I make a list, he'll take it to the owner (Damon).
Want to know what I do for the list? I hit PRINT. Yes, he's asked for it that many times.
I did get in touch with the owner today, and I was informed he would pay for the arena, and that was that. He'd dumped enough money in to the farm (keep in mind, neither of these men are horse people... and I truly have NO IDEA why they ever decided to build an equestrian center with ZERO knowledge. They owner was fairly pissy even though I made sure to thank him a few times for all he has done, and if I only had the arena in, I could double what I have now if I had my horses from Florida here. He promptly told me, the arena is the last thing he'd do.
So, ok then... am I the one who is supposed to be responsible for putting in paddocks, lean tos, hot wire, lights in the barn, lights in the arena, a tack room with lockers and put windows in the apartment I live in? Did I mention that one? The apartment not much bigger than a foaling stall, and NO windows. That would be a fire hazard in Florida. I don't even know how Allen, as a realtor, can get away with letting me live in this thing with no contract.
Yes, their paying my expenses is a wonderful thing that I truly appreciate, but I would NEED them too if this place was set up right. And I tried to very tactfully saying that much.
SO, here I am with my 3 horses and 4 dogs, trying to scramble and find something else that I can really do what I do best and work hard. And I work HARD. I rode 7 horses a day and worked up to 9 (not including teach yearlings to show in hand) a day in Florida. Here, I can't even ride my PSG stallion for fear of making him lame in the arena. And it takes EIGHT years at least to get a horse to that level! The ground here is slick mud when it rains and that takes 4 days to dry... then it rains again. When it DOES dry out, the ground here is too hard to ride on and the horses get shin splints.
I really do NOT like depending on people and this doesn't sit well.
I've been here a YEAR now (September '11), and nothing really has changed, and after talking to the owner, now I know it won't.
Other than the arena.
And now he is backpedaling on what we originally talked about. So much so, I finally went through our old emails and FOUND the proof I needed. Now they don’t want to help despite still not having the arena ride-able after a year.
I have most of my horses for sale now just to lighten my "baggage" and try and find a farm to work in. It is very disheartening to have to sell my main breeding horses I searched years to find, or bred myself, and have to start totally over. Hoping that some day I can save enough to start over again. All of my horses are like my children and this has been such an emotionally exhausting venture in so many ways.
Thank you all for your support.