Helping you be successful in your barn and business!
I was talking to a man who I met and we were discussing the horse boarding industry. He has been in the agriculture business for many years and has seen many horse farms in the Midwest area. He was telling me that many of them go out of business after the first couple of years and the reasons were usually always the same. Poor barn management and business skills. He went on to tell me that many of these horse boarding facilities were beautiful new barns with many wonderful amenities and so much to offer. These places had no problem bringing in boarders but they had a big problem keeping them. The turnover was extremely high. Another common thread to these barns going out of business was the lack of business skills the barn owners had and they would get themselves in over their head with debt and couldn't get out. Most of them didn't have a healthy grasp on how much it cost to feed all the horses in their care or the other huge expenses it took to run a large horse farm.
When it comes to operating a horse boarding business, I could easily say it wasn't what my husband and I envisioned when we were planning our new career and building our barn many years ago. I am going to be totally honest and tell you that I thought it would be much easier than it really is. The last couple of years I have had the privilege of talking with barn owners across the country and it is safe to say that most of them had the same idea of what they thought it would be, and later were very surprised and at times disappointed after the horses and people came. I now look at the business and what happened to us in the beginning as naivety as some would call it, or just plain not prepared and that is why I am so passionate to help others so that when they start their boarding stable they are much more ready to handle the ups and downs that come with boarding horses. It is a great business to be in but if you are not prepared for all that it entails then it will knock you down at times and many people burn-out and quit because it is just to much to take. I don't want that to happen to you.
I was on Facebook this morning as I am often in the early morning, and I read a post where someone was asking questions about how to start a boarding business. As I scrolled the remarks I noticed that many people were bashing boarders in general and telling this person not to do it. There were remarks about bad boarders and drama. There were statements about not getting paid and not being appreciated. There were many posts about all the special requests and the high turnover that is part of the business. As I read all the remarks I was both disappointed and even a little annoyed that boarders in general were getting a bad rap. I am sure this post today is sure to ruffle some feathers but I wanted to address some things about the world of boarding horses and our responsibility as barn owners and managers.
Yesterday I was doing chores as normal in the morning when I found myself becoming overly emotional and even teary eyed. We had just experienced a full force record setting blizzard named "Evelyn" here in Wisconsin in April! We were thinking winter was long behind us. Many people at our barn had been preparing for horse shows that are coming soon and we all could taste warmer weather in the air. Then out of nowhere we were surprised by a record setting snowstorm for this state. I have never experienced anything like this before and even a couple days later I still find myself looking at what happened in disbelief and exhausted at times both mentally and physically. I am absolutely sure anyone that is taking care of animals understands what I mean. I have learned a few things this weekend and the days following that I wanted to share in my world of horse boarding and how it affected not only me but my boarders, neighbors and friends that own horses.
Boarding other people's horses seems easy at first. Many people think that taking care of other people's horses is a great way to help pay for their own horses and all the costs associated with horse ownership. After all how hard can it be? I get it because I was the same way many years ago. Many people get into horse boarding and come to find out very fast how stressful and exhausting it is and many times they quit because they do not see a way to make it easier and cost effective. You see it all the time with boarding stables closing their doors.
I am so excited by the response about my new book, "A Step By Step Guide To Starting And Running A Successful Horse Boarding Business." I have spent the last year writing this book because I knew there was an information gap when it comes to all that is involved in trying to run a horse boarding business. If you are boarding horses and are struggling to make it financially or are starting to burn-out then you know exactly what I mean. The resources up until now have been very limited. I have heard from so many people that have been looking for a book like this to help answer many of their questions. I am equally excited and passionate about getting this book into equine programs across the country so that people coming out of college gain some extra knowledge for the challenges that come with running a horse business.