Stable Advice: Vet Appointments Are Not a Spectator Sport


    Editor’s Note: Horse Illustrated is introducing a new column for 2015. Stable Advice is a place for our readers to offer their advice on some of those uniquely equestrian problems. These aren’t the questions that you’d normally ask your vet or trainer. These are questions about horse life, like dealing with interpersonal struggles at the barn, juggling horse commitments and “real world” obligations, and generally navigating the challenges of living in the 21st-century horse world. Think of this as a place to share advice with a group of your best equestrian friends.

    If you’d like to submit a question for a future column, email it to and use the subject line “Stable Advice.” Any questions we use will remain anonymous.

    Equine Vet

    This month’s Stable Advice Question:

    I keep my horse at a fairly busy boarding barn, and I get along with the other boarders just fine. The problem I’m having is when I have the vet out to work on my horse. It seems like every time I have an appointment, another boarder shows up and starts asking the vet questions. I get that they’re curious about what’s happening and want to learn, but I also feel like the vet is only there for a short time, and I should be able to use that time to get the information I need. How do I politely tell my fellow boarders to butt out when the vet’s around?

    Have you been through this? Have any advice for this reader? Click “Submit a Comment” below to share it. Some of the best responses will be featured in a future issue of Horse Illustrated!


    1. Perhaps, you could speak to the vet, and let the vet set the limits, for other boarders. That way you would stay on good terms with them.

    2. hmm, id have to disagree, i think people can learn a great deal watching vets help horses, and its ok for them to ask questions and observe.

    3. If they’re asking the vet questions, then I would nicely ask them to pay for part of the vet bill. After all he’s there for your horse and you’re paying for his time.

    4. If the boarders are just watching and learning, it should be OK, but if they are asking question about their own horse, then the vet should say, something like…”I will glad set up a time, to come and see your horse….
      The first boarder is paying for the vet visit, and if she would let the other boarders know, ahead of time, perhaps the vet, could do a couple horses at the same visit, and all the boarder, can help pay for the vet’s visit.

    5. I have done this before with a boarder. She usually tells me when her vet (also a horse chiropractor) comes to see her horse. I am naturally curious so I asked the boarder ahead of time if I can watch her vet work on her horse. Maybe if you tell the curious boarders your vet is coming ahead of time and they are curious you can set some ground rules for the next time. I don’t ask many questions of her vet, unless it has to do with her horse. I’m not the one paying the vet bill.

    6. Do vets charge by the visit or by the hour? If by the hour, then I’d say you have every right to politely ask the others to leave…but if it were me, I’d try to say something like…”If you don’t mind, my ADD is kicking in, and I’m having a difficult time concentrating on what the vet is saying with all these extra people around. This is important, so would you mind excusing us, so I don’t misunderstand or forget anything the vet is saying? thank you.”

    7. Just tell ask them if they would like to split the barn call fee and see how quickly they walk away. Sometimes you have to be direct with people because they just don’t get it. If they get mad that’s too bad it’s your horse and your money not theirs and I’m sure that if it was them they would have no problem with telling you.

    8. schedule it early enough when no one is at the barn….if it is important enough to not want socializing ….say so…do it in a way that you don’t offend….take the horse to an area that you can shot the door…a clean stall….the shower rack and just say it….people are curious….say it is private time…I have no problem with speaking up….I don’t like to baby sit in the arena…so if you don’t like me telling your child what the rules are…pick another time or deal with it….

    9. I own and operate a stable n like everything else you provide leadership n manage. When the get is booked to see clients horses I generally have them write their questions down that way they can focus on what they need answers too. I do not allow clients who have not booked the vet to interrupt. If at the end they’d like to ask the vet for advice then can ask the attending vet if he has time. An emgerency situation would take priority n again we’d manage. If the client is not able to be there again having their questions written down allows me to ask n obtain the answers.

    10. The vet is on your time and your dollar. The others need to schedule him just like you did. It will take a combined effort between you and the vet to stop them from taking your time and money.

    11. A next door neighbor and I had shared ranch calls several times. But I found that when the vet was done at her place and moved on to mine, the neighbor would follow the vet to my place and continue talking. I’m hard of hearing and it is a real effort for me to ask questions and then be able to hear the answer. This neighbor is loud and a know it all, and she often went on and on, taking up the vet’s time and distracting the vet from the task at hand. I had to flat out tell the neighbor that I couldn’t hear the vet’s voice over hers, and told her she was not to come over to my place after her own vet visit. No friendship lost there.

    12. I would likely say something like, excuse me but could you please wait until YOUR appointment time to ask your questions. I have questions of my own I need to ask during my appointment time.
      And that’s just me straight forward… And this will definitely be quite clear to the person that they are intruding on your vet time…and wether or not the person has an appointment scheduled ( that day or another time) the person will clearly realize you don’t want your appointment interrupted.

    13. My vet does an excellent job of handling this problem Their group is well aware of who is paying for the visit and will say something like I”ll be glad to answer your brief question after I’m finished with this horse.” They take the hint better than from another boarder and don’t take offense.

    14. The vet should take the professional lead and suggest
      To the person or persons interrupting their work
      That they make an appointment of their own or
      Call the vet’s office to receive answers to their
      Inquiries. Time is money and the person paying
      Is doing so to have the professional’s undivided
      The owner of the farm/stables should also share
      This consideration with all boarders when they are
      Making the decision to board with the farm/stables.
      It is a fair rule and one that should be shared from
      The start. It’s unfortunate that it has to be laid
      Out, but so be it.

    15. Sticky situation! If you’re vet is willing I’d ask him/her to help you out and say that he needs to concentrate on the task at hand. Feel free to ask questions afterwards.

    16. Politely ask the “intruder” if she’d like to split the farm call charge. Or just say, “I’m not quite finished with Dr. Doe yet, can you wait a few minutes? Thanks.” I actually had this problem with a farrier who had other clients at the barn, and option 2 worked well with no ruffled feathers. Good luck to you.


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