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The tack room

Am I a mug?

36 replies

Wbeezer · 06/11/2023 00:27

I got friendly with a woman at an exercise class. Not a serious friendship, more aquaintanceship.
It came up in conversation that she had two retired Highlands, I said they were my favourite breed and she invited me up to meet them, I admired them, as you do.
She then asked if I would look after them when she's on holiday, and feed her cat. I was happy to do it once or twice but she now " books" me in several weekends and one or two longer breaks of up to 10 days. This has been going on for several years.
It's awkward as DH is freelance and can't plan breaks far in advance, a couple of times I've had to turn down trips away as I'm " booked" to ponysit.
They are nice old ponies but I find looking after them makes me anxious, eg. I get home and worry did I remember to switch the fence back on etc. I go twice a day and sometimes have to administer meds. Also I have the vets number as if one goes down they are to be euthanised together 😭.
The thing is she doesn't pay me, I get bought lunch or a nice bottle of wine, but I only work part time and have little money of my own. I often have to cycle to their field if DH has the car.
My resentment is building up, especially when I realised that one weekend her husband was at home but obviously couldn't be bothered to feed the ponies in the paddock next door!
Last time I saw her husband had a new Jag parked outside.
I feel taken advantage of but politeness makes talking about money very awkward...
What would be the going rate for twice daily visits to ponies that live out. I move the electric fence and poo pick in the shelter ( and feed the cat!)?

OP posts:
XelaM · 06/11/2023 00:34

Omg OP what are you doing?!? Just tell her you are no loner available. I actually can't believe what I've read (and we have a pony). Please stop doing this. She's a CF! Just text her that you can no longer do it if you can't tell her. I wouldn't ask her for money, as she's clearly a CF of the highest order and people like that are just best cut off completely.

LighthouseTheme · 06/11/2023 00:41

She is taking massive advantage (not unusual in the horsey world), and it's not nice!
The fact is - money aside - do you want to continue? What are you getting out of it? The stress - when they aren't even your horses - can't possibly be worth it.
She won't want to pay you, I'm sure you know that.
But if you do want to put thigs onto a more business-like footing, it could be a minefield.
(You could charge her a basic fee for the visit, and then separate add-ons for non-basic things such as waiting for blacksmith or administering medications/wormers. I assume you're not riding them but if you were, that would be another cost for exercise [even if it is fun for you] or schooling etc. Or just charge by the time at minimum 25% more than NMW, plus your travel costs, even if by bike. Also cost of insurance for at least third party. She will soon see that she has been getting a bargain!)

Howbizarre22 · 06/11/2023 00:47

Wtf. How have you allowed yourself to become someone’s skivvy like this??? You are working for someone for free-this is mind blowing- it’s not even someone you’re close to!! She’s massively using you and I don’t know how you haven’t noticed -years??? Tell her you are no longer available you have your own life to live then please seek help in building your boundaries and self esteem through counselling

YerArseInParsley · 06/11/2023 03:33

Jeeze oh 😬 I'm shocked at what I've just read.

You could always tell her you can't do it anymore as you are going to increase hours at work or you are looking for a second job but if you want to pay me for my services then I will not need to look for another job, that's if you want to continue doing it.

I get the feeling you don't like confrontation therefore couldn't tell her she's taking the piss?

OrderOfTheKookaburra · 06/11/2023 04:07

Next time reply "I'm sorry but I've been overstretched lately with too many things on my plate and just can't commit to any more things so won't be available to help with the horses for awhile."

And for each subsequent request "sorry, can't help with that."

TheSandgroper · 06/11/2023 04:11

This is sexist but you could always say that your husband has plans for your weekends. It’s astounding how often people just don’t argue with husbands.

Hearmenow23 · 06/11/2023 04:18

Please text her today to end this madness. Would you even see her around? Is she still at the class. Find your anger.

PaperDoves · 06/11/2023 04:56

This is madness. You clearly have a problem saying no, but you have to find it within yourself to say "sorry, this doesn't suit me anymore and you'll need to find someone else".

Some friends and I swap holiday cover for our horses but even that is met with endless thanks and returned favours and all of our horses are at the same yard! Asking someone to come to yours and do this massive favour for FREE is absolutely taking the piss.

The fear of telling her no and upsetting her is much worse than the reality. Cut her loose and be free.

HerMammy · 06/11/2023 05:25

I'm pretty disgusted that's she's ok'd you to euthanise her ponies if need be, does she actually take any responsibility for them? She seems rather callous and arrogant.

JustWhatWeDontNeed · 06/11/2023 05:38

Has she asked again or do you anticipate an ask?

Regardless, I would send a message withdrawing your services.

Hi ###,
Hope you're well. Just to let you know I won't be able to look after the horses any more. They've been a delight, but it's too much of an undertaking for me. Just letting you know so you can make alternative arrangements going forward.

I wouldn't apologise, you don't owe her anything.

disappearingfish · 06/11/2023 07:39

You are the biggest mug in Mug town, the capital of Mugland!

So sorry OP, she absolutely saw you coming!

PictureOfFlorianTray · 06/11/2023 07:49

You need to end this and be prepared to be dropped like a stone. She's not even a friend is she?
She really saw you coming and is clearly not bothered about her ponies at all.

Just inform her that you've changed your hours and have had to take on other family commitments and that you are no longer able to help.

PupsAWeasel · 06/11/2023 07:52

And do NOT apologise.

tattychicken · 06/11/2023 07:53

I pay £12ph for someone to do horse jobs for me, with a minimum charge of one hour. So for two separate visits per day that would be £24.

tattychicken · 06/11/2023 07:53

I agree with PPs. She's taking the piss.

Wbeezer · 06/11/2023 08:39

@HerMammy if you were abroad and your elderly pony had an accident or colic wouldn't you want a trusted person to call the vet and OK things if it was difficult to get hold of you?
I think the problem is she probably thought it was temporary as she had a neighbour with ponies that she swapped with and another neighbour who was a retired vet who liked visiting them so she never had to worry for years but nobody has rented those fields for ages.

OP posts:
HerMammy · 06/11/2023 08:41

I agree on that level, it's the putting all the responsibility on you, she seems to do very little

Donotshushme · 06/11/2023 08:45

You need to start learning to say no.

XelaM · 06/11/2023 10:07

Wbeezer · 06/11/2023 08:39

@HerMammy if you were abroad and your elderly pony had an accident or colic wouldn't you want a trusted person to call the vet and OK things if it was difficult to get hold of you?
I think the problem is she probably thought it was temporary as she had a neighbour with ponies that she swapped with and another neighbour who was a retired vet who liked visiting them so she never had to worry for years but nobody has rented those fields for ages.

Stop finding excuses for her inexcusable behaviour! Find your anger!! We own ponies and my daughter and her friends help each other out taking care of each other's ponies if any of them are away, BUT it's reciprocated and they are all at the same yard. Asking someone to travel down and do this for free is utter madness and the height of cheeky fuckery!

ginasevern · 06/11/2023 11:13

OK, so she thought it was temporary but now she bloody well knows that it isn't. Two years did you say? I understand that you care about the horses and cat but you wouldn't have posted if you were happy with the arrangement. You either stop doing this, which really shouldn't be that difficult, or you ask for payment. I personally wouldn't go down the latter route because she is obviously tigher than a duck's arse and a user of the first order. That's how people like her afford new Jags.

SWSO · 06/11/2023 11:15

Wow 😮 my mouth fell open when you said her husband was home ! Cheeky fuckers of the highest order !

AnxiousPangolin · 06/11/2023 11:22

Bloody hell, what have I just read.

You’ve been this woman’s unpaid skivvy for several years and she ‘books’ you several times a year? I thought there were some pushovers on MN but that takes the prize.

Say no, obviously.

Newestname002 · 06/11/2023 11:28

@Wbeezer

OP she saw you coming and didn't hesitate to increasingly take advantage of you - to the degree that even though her husband was available to help out you were the one trudging to look after her ponies for free. I wonder how much she'd have to, realistically, pay someone to do what you do for zero cash, sometimes to the detriment of your own family commitments?

It's not as though they can't hire you, for proper wages (they have a nice new jag?). Some people will treat you as a skivvy if you let them. Do please reevaluate your own personal worth and don't let people take advantage of you. 🌹

SWSO · 06/11/2023 13:02

JustWhatWeDontNeed · 06/11/2023 05:38

Has she asked again or do you anticipate an ask?

Regardless, I would send a message withdrawing your services.

Hi ###,
Hope you're well. Just to let you know I won't be able to look after the horses any more. They've been a delight, but it's too much of an undertaking for me. Just letting you know so you can make alternative arrangements going forward.

I wouldn't apologise, you don't owe her anything.

This . Then block her .

HipposHaveNipples · 06/11/2023 13:18

This is insane OP. Especially the bit about the husband being home one time.

Just text her 'I'm no longer able to help with the ponies - just letting you know so that you can organise something else from now on.'

Then block her and move on with your life. As others have said, I've had reciprocal arrangements with people on the same yard before where we all help each other out. But this is just crazy.

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