When I moved to Bavaria, all was well. The place was lovely, I got on really well with my landlady and her son, we had BBQ’s, and did stuff together.
I rented a flat with 2 boxes in a large stable, and the fields in summer.
No tackroom access, so my saddle lived in the kitchen. No big deal.
They work in Austria, so every now and then I looked after the horses and dogs for a few days.
All the horses were in one herd, and one of hers frequently ran through the fence and took all the others with him.
So I got much exercise catching horses. Eventually I took mine out of that lot, because I didn’t want mine to get on the road.
Shit happens, I thought.
Also, when I went to open the window in the kitchen fully — I found out it’s actually loose on one side. So I tell them that there is a problem that needs fixing before winter. Son comes to look at it, agrees — does nothing except take a bit off.
The flat feels chilly, even in summer, but it’s kinda nice while it’s very hot outside.
That was in 2016.
Because I have an indoor cat, I only tip the windows anyway, so it’s no big deal about the kitchen window while it’s still warm out.
2016-17 was a harsh winter, but hey… what’s a bit of snow, right?
Except, the snow is blowing in under my front door, because there is a sizeable gap.
And the window is still not fixed.
And never mind I’m digging my way to the stable every day. Two or three times.
That’s directly in front of my door. Just sayin’.
2017 started with snowstorms, bad temperatures (-30) and I’m still having the horses, dogs and cats 2-3 days a week.
That might not sound like much, but when you dig your way to the stable through 3 feet of snow every morning, and trudge to the barn every night at 11pm to let the dogs out, snowstorm or not, then it gets a bit tedious.
I also can’t stay up past 11pm, because the second the heating is off, the temperature in the place drops rapidly.
It’s a freezing cold spring, snow on the 29th of April, and the horses aren’t allowed out until June.
Summer rolls along, I take my horse out — and suddenly have 4 warmbloods (16-17h) on my tail.
Fine. Shit happens, but it kept happening. It happened to the point where I didn’t take my horse out anymore.
Every time I went out, her horses went through the fence. EVERY damn time.
So I didn’t ride a lot, but concentrated on the youngster instead.
Meanwhile, I built a Catio (A cat enclosure) outside the living room window, under the roof, using coated chicken wire, in July.
To protect at least some of it, I used two big tarps, hooked onto the wire, to keep the rain out on days when it poured, but the weather was mostly very hot and sunny, so the tarp went up maybe 10 times in oh… 4 months? Think of it as a curtain on a bungee line. Now, bear in mind that no matter how well you secure a tarp, the wind is still going to blow through, since it’s not exactly hermetically sealed. It’s also about 4 feet from the building.
I mentioned the flat feels damp and cold (in June) and that it looks like the back wall is damp. (We’d had some heavy downpours, and hurricane strength winds) I also mentioned that the bedroom window has the same problem as the kitchen window (if you open it all the way, it falls off one hinge.) Since I’d only tipped the windows prior to having the catio, I didn’t know this was the case.
No one is interested.
By August, that damp patch was bigger. I show her. We investigate, but I mention it might have to do with the window not being tight, and that there is mold on the inside of the window. Renovations are mentioned, but nothing is done. (At this point, the tarp had never been closed. Not even once, because I only got the tarp in August after a heavy rain that soaked everything.)
I’m still looking after horses, dogs and cats — but at least the horses are out, so it’s just checking to make sure they are all ok.
I wanted to lead the youngster out, so he gets a change of scenery… and was greeted by a 16h bulldozer thundering toward us — outside the field.
Just what you want with a 1.5 year old on a rope.
I put Stormy back, and went to catch her damn horse.
This happened over and over and over.
Eventually I told her that I’m not comfortable with this, because I can’t go out to ride, and I really don’t want to be here on my own, having to find and catch and return 4 huge horses.
So the main culprit got a headcollar with wire on it, which he wore constantly.
2017 summer passed, roll on autumn.
In September I had the horse dentist coming, and asked if she wanted hers looked at, because her mare is very thin.
“Nah, they don’t need it. She’s always a bit skinny, it’s the breed. (Trakehner) Besides, I’m worming them soon.”
I suggested to do a fecal test, including tapeworm, to be sure it’s worms, and to make sure to worm for the right parasites. “No, I just worm them.”
That horse was more than “skinny”. Everyone is still out grazing 24/7 on less than nutritional grass.
Her son lost his driving license, so I ended up picking him up from the bus station, because landlady wasn’t around. At 11pm.
Okay, fine. He also lent me his car for a long journey, and they fed the cats. I was gone 1 day.
In October I mentioned that the mare could use supplementary hay, because the pasture clearly wasn’t feeding her, or she was very wormy. Or her teeth were bad. (Or all of the above.)
In October, I also took the catio down, having already brought in all the stuff prior to this, as the weather was turning. I didn’t want stuff to get soaked.
The tarp (which hadn’t been up more than 10 times, and which was not keeping the wind / air out, since it was hooked to a WIRE FENCE) was blamed for the damp and mold, because “We’ve never had that problem before.”
I brought my horses in on the 1st November, because Oz is very suceptible to cold, and it was getting rather chilly at night.
Hers were still out “grazing” (meaning no hay) on the 6th November.
The mare was…beyond skinny.
We also have no heating oil, so she’s running the wood burner (which I am not allowed to touch), but never enough to get decent heating in the place. It’s cold, and I have 3 naked cats. The damp gets worse, because there is still a gap under the front door, the windows are still off the hinges at the top, and there is no direct sunlight coming in. So, no heat + damp = very uncomfortable.
To top things off… the heating oil people are supposed to come on a Thursday. I am left alone with instructions (verbal, not showing me) of where the truck has to go, and whatnot, for when the delivery comes. She also leaves me the number of the heating oil people — bear in mind that I have NO heating. At all. None. In NOVEMBER.
Well… it doesn’t come. I call, they say they told her they can’t get up the drive.
I spend 2 days without heating before they get back. Luckily it’s not mega freezing at that point. (Around 10C during the day.)
The oil arrived, yay. I still don’t appreciate being left to take care of the oil delivery, and having no heating (or hot water!!) at all, for 2 days.
But…there was also still no bedding for the horses!!! I ended up buying shavings by the bale, to the tune of €15 a bale, for about a month.
I also pointed out that the mare needed tons of groceries, but again “she’s always a bit skinny”
I was not comfortable with this, at all, but figured she’ll come in soon and get hay, and put the weight back on.
It snowed on the 19th of November. Her horses finally came in.
Still no bedding. Her horses are standing in damp, old muck.
Now, we’d been screwed by the neighbor, who’d sold me 26 round bales of hay — and then sold them to someone else without telling us. We found out after the hay season, so hay was tight.
I’d bought 360 small bales of hay. A bale weighed about 5kg. (That’s about 11lbs for the US people.) Even though I knew my hay would not last beyond *maybe* February, I still fed enough to make sure their engines were running properly and they were able to be warm. (Hard to do when you only have minimal shavings in the stall, because you know otherwise you’ll run out by January!!)
In December I bit the bullet and started to eradicate the mold and repainted the walls after that was done. When I get to the back corner… there was a patch that was so thick with paint and plaster — and damp as all hell — that belied the “never had that problem”. I know what rising damp looks like, and that corner (and all along the bottom of the outside wall) was a posterchild for it.
The bedding arrived early December, and I pointed out it is not enough.
Well… maybe for her, because her horses were literally standing in damp poop.
December also brought lots of snow — again — and I –again– shoveled my way to the stables every day.
I bought a draft excluder because the snow is blowing in under the door — along with cold wind.
The kitchen window, and the bedroom window are STILL not fixed, the damp and mold I fixed around the window is back with a vengeance, because the heating is OFF from 10:30pm to 6am. Down there, it’s fricken COLD.
Meanwhile she is bitching that there is “not enough bedding in the stalls” and tells me that she’ll put hers in the stable area in front of my boxes, so the stable is warm. (There’s not enough bedding for that, either.) Also, she tries to rent out the front area of the stable, but people who come to look don’t want DIY, they want full service — which she doesn’t want to do. (In hindsight, I’m glad she wasn’t offering full service — because I’d have ended up doing it.)
Well, if I had put in as much bedding as I *wanted* to put in — there wouldn’t have been any bedding left at all. Even so I supplemented with bales of shavings.
I was getting seriously fed up. Not just with the damp in the flat (my CLOTHES were MOLDY inside the wardrobe!!) but also with the constant “We’ll be back on Saturday, I’m leaving the dogs too.” — and no please or thank you. Just informing me when they will be back.
Not only that… She tells me on Wednesday that she needs to be at work early, and could I do the horses in the morning.
On the Thursday? She left at 3pm!!! How is that “early”?
(This happened more than once)
Roll on January. More snow. I’m fed up with constantly fixing shit up, being left with horses, dogs and cats, picking the son up from the bus at 11pm…and whatever else.
Add to that the heating going off at 10:30pm and by 11:30pm you’re down to about 15C.
I finally found some hay, as well. ME. Not her, who has lived here for 25 years and knows the area, but me, who doesn’t know anyone.
So I order the hay to be delivered, because the snow is so bad we can’t get the trailer out.
The day the delivery is due — I’m on my own. 5 roundbales of hay. Into the barn, up a step, to the back.
You can’t drive in there with a front loader or anything, it has to be done by hand.
(And she never paid me back for her part of the delivery.)
In January I’m told to “empty the muck against the wall in here for insulation”.
She dumps HER muck into the front of the stable as well, and tells me “We’ll clear it out together when they go out.”
Okay. Fine. Everything is frozen anyway.
Then… February. It all comes to a head.
First the water pump packed up. No water. At all.
This includes the stables. I’m lugging buckets through the snow from the water trough outside my door — the only source of water there is.
So…no shower, no washing, no flushing the toilet (except with a bucket). Water pump was replaced, and all rejoice.
Then the heating oil ran out!
It was -28C outside, and there was NO HEATING.
And again in the kitchen, at 6:30pm — with the wood burner “on” — and barely lukewarm radiators, which went off again an hour later.
The cats and I were huddling under blankets and going to bed early because it was just not bearable.
For 2 weeks.
At MINUS 28!!!
Charging FULL RENT.
Bear in mind — no heating also means no hot water. So no showering either.
The mold was back with a vengeance, too. So no, it had nothing to do with the tarp. It had everything to do with NO HEATING and a window that’s not sealed properly!
My kitchen door was frozen on the inside and didn’t thaw for nearly 2 weeks. ICE on the INSIDE of the door!
I’m barricading the stable doors every night with a stack of hay, because the gaps are quite big and the wind is howling in.
I pack all the sides with straw (given to us by a friend of hers) so everything is insulated, because it’s getting really cold.
The water in her mare’s stable freezes in — but all my drinkers are working, because they are packed solid against the pipes with straw.
Her son leaves the stable door open so the horses can go in and out…
And the water in my stable freezes solid. (Their stable is on the other side of the wall to mine.)
Gee… I wonder why.
Then I get blamed for the water freezing because “There aren’t enough horses in here, and not enough bedding, no wonder the water freezes.”
Err… no. That would be because the door is open all day in -20C with a wind chill of -30C, and the water should have been turned off, because…hello.
But the “no heating” was the final straw. I was done.
A friend offered me a place to stay, and I was getting quotes for removals and horse transport.
On the 6th of March (because she wasn’t here before that) I gave notice that I’m moving on the 15th of May.
And the shit hit the fan.
First she didn’t accept the notice, because it wasn’t on the 3rd. (She wasn’t freaking around to accept it on the 3rd!)
Then the wording wasn’t to her liking.
I kept resending the damn notice every other day.
Then she’s telling me I have to pay rent until the 30th of JUNE, because “it wasn’t on time”.
(I am STILL looking after her animals every week!!!)
I book stuff. I’m done. VERY done.
Then I’m told “Leave the muck in the stable, I’m going to use it AS A BASE LAYER when I put my horses in.
Instead of getting an extra load of shavings, she’s going to spread out a month’s worth of horse shit as a “Base Layer”!! And not even HER horse’s droppings!
What is WRONG with that woman?
Then she tells me at 5pm one night that people are coming to view the flat the next morning (!!!) at 11am.
I’m PACKING. The place looks like a bomb has hit it, because I pulled stuff out to pack and have piles of stuff sitting everywhere!!!
I spend the entire evening shoving stuff back into cupboards (yay), mopping floors, cleaning surfaces, bathroom, windows, redo the paint on the window — you name it, I did it.
I was done around midnight, and I hadn’t eaten. I just fell into bed, half dead.
Well, they didn’t take it, and insulted my cats on top of it all.
In April, I asked about the deposit (€700) and the money she owes me for horsefeed, meds and whatnot.
“I’ll transfer it” (Yeah, right.)
So I said it would be easier to just offset it against the rent, since I have to cancel the bank account here, as it can’t be done remotely.
“That’s not how it’s done, and you’re supposed to find me someone to rent, it’s the law.” (It isn’t.)
So I go “Well, you could accommodate me a little bit, after all, I’ve been looking after your animals every week since the year dot.”
AND SHE WENT OFF ON ME!
About how I hadn’t really given notice (LIKE HELL!!) because she didn’t get the revised email (which I sent TWICE, and she didn’t tell me she hadn’t got it!) and how “it was just feeding” and “No hardship.”
Let me tell you how my winter days went, when I had horses, dogs and cats
I get up, get dressed, go outside — and start digging, at about 8am, when there’s enough light.
And I MEAN, digging. That’s a Barzoi dog. Not exactly the smallest breed out there…
By 8:30 I’ve dug my way up to (my) the stables. I go back down and let the dogs out, then go and feed my horses their grain.
I go in the small door of the barn and get the grain for her 4 horses.
I feed them and check them, then go back in the barn and drag two winter rugs off the clothes line where they hang, take them to the stable and rug two horses.
Then I put hay out for my horses (because I prepare it the day before) fill water buckets, change / put on rugs, and turn them out.
Then I shovel my way to the big barn door and dig that out so I can get it open.
I go back to the small barn door and up to open the big barn door from the inside.
I get the hay for the 4 horses and put it out for them, fill water buckets, then I turn them all out.
Then I go back to my stable and muck out.
Then I go and get the hay ready for the evening and for the next morning.
Then I put hay into the boxes her horses are in — where I can.
I put the rest of the hay ready for the evening by the side of the barn under the roof, so I don’t have to dig out the barn door again in the evening.
So far I’ve made about 6-8 trips to the barn.
The dogs get some breakfast.
I muck out the poop floor as best I can. Not that it makes any difference, since they stand in packed/frozen poop anyway. I’d have to dig down about a foot to hit actual dirt.
Empty all wheelbarrows and put them where they don’t get snowed in. Put the dogs back in the barn.
Time for MY breakfast.
I check water buckets about noon, let the dogs out again.
(FWIW — when I mentioned her horses had no water in their paddocks (!!!) I was told “I never put any out, they eat snow”
At around 4pm I go out and let the dogs out. I either clear the snow again, or — if I’m lucky — go to my horses and bring them in.
Once they are in, I go down to her stables and put the hay into the mangers where I wasn’t able to in the morning.
The mare gets double the ration she normally gets, btw. Because normally, that horse — a 16.2h, 22 year old — had to make do with one bale of hay per day.
Remember — a bale weighs about 5kg. So she’s having 2.5kg hay per meal, twice a day. That’s not enough to keep a shetland pony alive, let alone a warmblood.
Once the hay is done, I go get their evening feed, mix that up with grain and dish it into the troughs.
I go in, make up the feed for the next evening. (Soaked sugar beets)
Then I go and get the horses in.
Then I take the rugs off two horses.
Then I drag the wet rugs back into the heating cellar and hang them up.
Close the doors and done with the horses.
I still have to feed the dogs.
And the cats.
I go in and have some dinner.
At 11pm I run out, often in a snow storm, pouring rain, icy wind and what have you, to let the dogs out.
Now, there is NO LIGHT from my front door to the barn.
The light at the barn is hard to reach because there are old pitch forks and junk piled into that corner.
The light IN the barn is at the far end, again, hard to reach because of all the junk in front of it.
So I’m navigating with a torch — and I have the scars to prove it.
Fancy navigating this in the dark?
Or with two heavy horse rugs, for that matter?
So… that’s my day done then.
She calls this “Just feeding.”
I don’t think so.
So… the next day I get a text that is so incredibly rude, I didn’t bother to speak to her again.
Basically, it was “Because you are so overworked, I’ll take care of my animals myself. You can look after the garden slugs.” and some other rude stuff, accusing me of “using 4 stables but only paying for 2” and that “her generosity has limits”. Also that grazing season does not start earliest beginning of May and therefore my horses are not allowed on the grass.
I don’t know about you, but that looks suspiciously like grazing horses to me.
It is now the 11th May — and my horses are still not allowed into the field — but hers are out.
That’s the “4 stables” I am using.
I only see two horses, and 2 doors. So how can I use 4 stables, when there are only 2 boxes?
Screw them. Seriously.
They will blame anything that broke on me, to justify keeping the deposit, I know that.
However, if they do come after me… I will present them with a bill for services rendered.
That’ll be €450 per month, for pet sitting.
After all… 4 horses, 2 dogs (3 originally), 3 cats (4 originally) — try finding someone to pop in 3 times a day, 3 times a week, for less.
Yep. That’s what she looked like 3 weeks before I left.
It sickens me.
And she’s not the only one who looks bad, she’s just the worst one.
Yep. None of them look particularly healthy.
My last phone call and email before I left was to the Tierschutz (RSPCA/ASPCA) to report her. With photographs of how much feed, their condition, etc. Detailed info.
I hope they take the horses away.
Although, because they are all around 20, they’d probably get put down. :/
BTW — that bay? She RODE HIM in this condition, for about an hour. He kept tripping because his feet hadn’t been done in almost 8 months, and she kept yanking him up, scolding him: “Watch where you’re going.” That was the only time she got on any of those horses in the almost 2 years I was there.
I filled those buckets to the rim on the Saturday morning. (They were coming back Sat Eve.)
It was 28C. This was taken Sunday evening around 8pm, and it had been another scorcher that day. They still hadn’t been refilled from my last fill on Saturday morning. I know they weren’t, because the hose pipe was still in the exact same position I left it. (Which was the reason I checked, because I went to refill all the buckets for my boys, and wondered why the hose hadn’t moved.)
I filled them. They were home. They didn’t give a shit that their horses were standing in their paddock without any water.
This was in April btw. The busted water pipe (which completely flooded Stormy’s stable) wasn’t fixed, so all the water was turned off and we (mostly me) were lugging buckets or dragging hose pipes around. It still wasn’t fixed when I left on the 17th May.
I honestly don’t know what the hell happened between my moving there, and the shit that started in Autumn 2017. I didn’t think much of it around September 2017. But by December, I knew I had to get out. It just got worse and worse, and the no heating, no water, mold and whatnot… Nope. Just, nope.
She also bitched about my leaving “when I know she’s on holiday”.
The only reason I didn’t leave in MARCH, was because there was too much snow to get the removal lorry in, and safely load my stuff, and I could be (reasonably) sure that in May there wouldn’t be any snow on the ground!
So on the 17th May, the second the last item was on the lorry, I packed the cats in the car and left. Without saying goodbye, or anything. I just left. Cheering when I pulled away.
My contract said I have to paint the entire apartment before I leave.
Well, considering she charged me full rent the entire time (including when there were no horses — so it should be €200 less) and she had absolutely no intention to pay back the deposit… and I had already painted the place once, because of the mold — AND it hadn’t been freshly painted when I moved in — screw them.
So now we’re in France, about as far away from that place as is possible.
And that’s an entirely different story. 🙂