Questions & Answers
Suzi asks: One issue we struggle with is the screening process when it comes to accepting new boarders. We try to ask questions that give us a feel if a person will be able to afford the board or not but we have had a few boarders that we totally misread. What are your suggestions or how do you handle this issue?
Barn owner from Arizona asks: I have a boarder that is constantly wearing flip flops in the barn to see her horse. One of my barn rules is no open-toed shoes which as we all know is for a safety reason. Living in Arizona makes it really difficult to dress for the barn and still stay cool. A lot of my boarders show up to the barn with open-toed shoes and walk to the tack room to put on their boots. How do you recommend that I let the boarders know they cannot come on property with open-toed shoes? Should I prevent them from entering the barn to see their own horse until they have the correct footwear on?
How do you enforce a barn rule without losing that particular boarder?
Barn manager from Kansas wants to know: I have a boarder with a horse that has been sick for quite some time now. I have urged her to call the veterinarian but she keeps putting it off with many different excuses. The horse is not getting better at all and I am the one that sees the horse every day and has to deal with the sickness. I am not sure how I should handle this situation. I never dreamed someone would refuse to get professional help for their horse. Can you please offer your advice.
Tina from Ohio asks: I have a large boarding barn with twenty five horses. The business is going good but I am struggling with my barn manager. She is a sweet girl who is doing a great job but she is starting to make decisions that I don't agree with. I have lost focus on what my role is as as the barn owner and what her role is as the barn manager. I don't want to lose her but we definitely need to get on the same page when it comes to my business.
Can you offer some advice and direction?
Barn owner asks: I asked a boarder to leave my barn and now that she is gone, she is bad mouthing my business to everyone and trying to turn clients away from my barn. She is fairly well known in the area and I am concerned she is going to hurt my business.
This is something that I believe almost every barn owner will go through during their career in the horse industry. I definitely have had my taste of angry ex-clients and with social media it is even easier for an ex-boarder to run your name through the mud.
Barn owner wants to know: At what point do I ask a boarder to leave my barn and what is the best way to do it? I have a boarder that is continually late on her board rent and now that I am finally enforcing the late fee charge she has started to complain to me and other boarders about everything from feeding and turnout to how we clean stalls. I can't take it anymore!
Abigail from Illinois asks: How do I go about changing my barn hours without losing any boarders? The hours we have at our barn right now are killing me and I need to make the change but when I mention it to some of my boarders, they become upset and some have even mentioned that they would need to move to a different barn. I have wonderful boarders but I am losing my life because of the barn being open so early in the morning and so late at night.
Can you help with any advice?
Lisa from Wisconsin wants to know: My husband and I are looking at buying some land to start our own horse boarding business. I am looking at barn designs but I am really at a loss about how many stalls we should build. We want to make this our living but I have no idea how many horses that would take. How did you figure out the number of horses you needed to finally stay home full-time on your farm? Is there a formula?