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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:
octoberfarm · 06/11/2023 15:37

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.

I would absolutely send this. It's polite, non-confrontational but firm and clear. You are a saint, OP, but she is taking advantage. Hope you get to enjoy your newly open weekends!

EverestMilton · 06/11/2023 21:02

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.

I pay £35 per day for my groom to do two horses and two cats. I value having someone reliable and insured. My old pony is 30 and my boy has had colic surgery previously so yes my groom has a letter giving her power to have them put down on vet recommendation if needs be. If either went down with colic I'm not going to put them through surgery so if vet can't get on top of it best thing would be to put them down promptly. I wouldn't have them suffer because I happen to be on a long haul flight or have no signal. We've also discussed what she would theoretically do with the body afterwards and who to call. Hopefully it's never needed but worst case the practicalities are in place and she knows what to do. Doesn't mean I don't love my horses, quite the opposite.

kweeble · 06/11/2023 21:35

Just stop doing it - she’ll never pay you the going rate and you’re missing out on trips so she can go away!

Mollyplop999 · 12/11/2023 16:27

Wow that's just unbelievable. It's also a huge responsibility. What if something did happen and she tried to blame you for taking the wrong decision? Other posters have posted some brilliant ways to message her and end it. Do it now.

YerArseInParsley · 18/11/2023 01:32


So, what's happened since? Are you still a mug or did you tell her your no longer available?
I'd be concerned about the verbal instruction to euthanasia the horses if there is no instructions written on paper. Who says the owner wouldn't come back from holiday and sue you saying they didn't give you permission to do that. You've got to think of things like this.

I really hope you come back with an update.

Buttons232 · 19/11/2023 22:11

She’s taking you for a ride OP ( pardon the pun)

Costs me £120 a horse a week for full livery and I’m guessing that at least half of that would be for the kind of day to day care you’re giving.

bananablues · 19/11/2023 22:21

The trouble with this situation is that it is one way and the op is being taken advantage of.

The other woman may not really realise she is been a CF but she is using this arrangement to her advantage.

start saying no, she needs to find others who can help (& probably have to pay them).

JLoValentino · 16/12/2023 20:27

I would properly explore similar 'wanted' listing/job ads work out what you would be paid and then thank her for giving you the opportunity to see that this is something you are good at and can earn good money at and you are going to make a career of. however, understandably this means you will not be available to help her out. Unless she would like to pay the going rate and book in advance x

Thindog · 17/12/2023 19:23

I pay £15 for someone to check my field kept horse twice daily when I'm away, and that is really cheap! She is taking the piss, tell her you can't do it anymore.

Newestname002 · 18/12/2023 11:18

@Wbeezer got quite defensive at the responses she got to her OP and has not been back. I wonder if she's decided to keep doing what she's been doing and not drawn up boundaries to make her own life better? 🌹

cerisepanther73 · 13/01/2024 12:37


I really like your idea in your post here,

Good idea.!

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