Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Getting kicked out of the barn, part 1

Panama and I had a very traumatic holiday weekend.

It should have been a fantastic weekend. I didn't have any work to do over the weekend and I had several trail rides planned. Unfortunately, I had no idea when I went out on the trail on Saturday that it would be my last ride for a while.

Sunday morning I had a disagreement with the manager. It's not our first. She flipped out and accused me of "trying to manage the property" a few weeks ago when I asked her to clean Panama's favorite water tank (and the only one he drinks out of in his stall), as the water was starting to look rather yellow. I suppose I was rather spoiled by the old manager, who never let the water tanks get dirty — but still, I didn't think my request warranted almost getting kicked out (which I suspected at the time, based on her response, and which the manager and owner confirmed on Sunday).

Sunday morning's disagreement was equally mundane. The manager texted me at 7:30 in the morning to ask me to help her move the horses around. When I found out she was moving a horse who was leaving in another week — a horse who has been on her sh!t list for the last month — without having talked to the owner first, I refused to help. I would be pissed if my horse was moved to another stall without my permission or knowledge, so I won't help do that to someone else.

I felt that my refusal was justified, firstly because it was the moral thing to do, but also because my contract says that I get free board in exchange for cleaning stalls, not answering the manager's every beck and call (which I was getting a lot of). Later she apparently told the owner that she was asking me to clean, not to help her move horses, but I think this is a lie because 1) her text messages said she "needed help with musical stalls" (i.e. moving horses to other stalls), and she didn't say anything to the contrary even when I said I wouldn't help her move the horses around; and 2) I clean the stalls every morning, so there would be no need to text me at 7:30 am to ask me to do so.

The owner also told both me and the horse's owner later that the horse was to be moved so that they could finish fixing the fence around that stall's run, which proves that someone is lying somewhere, because I have a text message from the manager stating that she was moving the horse out so that she could put a different horse in his stall (which is one of the best stalls).

Anyway, when I arrived at the barn to meet my friend for a ride, the manager informed me that I had 14 days to move Panama, but she threatened that if there was any "attitude" about it, it would be less. Of course, I'm not easily intimidated, so I argued with her about whether the contract allowed for this. Before I knew it, she was telling me I had to be out that same day.

In other words, I got kicked out for refusing to do something I wasn't comfortable with, and then for not lying down and taking it quietly.

Now on something else, I might have called her bluff, because I don't believe she had any legal right to do what she did. But in this case my horse's well being was at stake, because she was — quite gleefully, I might add — threatening to call a transport company and have him hauled away. And while I might be able to fight it after the fact, that wouldn't undo anything that had been done to Panama. So I did the only thing I could have done: I spent the day scrambling to get him moved.

To be continued...

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