Helping you be successful in your barn and business!
If you own horses in an area that gets snow then you will understand the ice issues that follow all too soon. I live in Wisconsin and the hardest thing about running a boarding barn is the weather. It plays havoc on how you do turnout with your horses. The once beautiful white snow that the horses loves to play in can quickly turn into a pad of ice that is extremely dangerous for horses to be on. What do you do then? If you are dealing with ice and your horses cannot be turned out because of the ice that is everywhere then I have a tip for you.
Running a boarding barn will have many challenges and some of them will surprise you when they happen. Blanketing horses is not a complicated thing but once you are the barn owner and/or manager, this part of your business might become much more complicated than you anticipated and for reasons you were not expecting. It sure did for me.
The truth is that putting on blankets and taking them off is an easy thing to do when you only have a couple of horses. If you decide to board horses for a living and you are now taking care of many horses, blanketing will not only take up a lot of your time but there are many more issues that will creep in with this part of the job. Some of them will have you wanting to pull out your hair in total frustration.
Christmas is only a few days away and again I am running behind on shopping for gifts and sending cards. The weather here in Wisconsin has not been kind the last couple of weeks and we have had painfully cold temperatures. It is the kind of cold that hurts to be out in and feeding horses and cleaning stalls is something that still needs to be done but often the joy has been replaced with frustration and exhaustion and survival! Now I know I am exaggerating about the survival part but when you are working in it, that is at times how it feels. The extreme cold temperatures will wear me out unlike any other time of year when I am working in the barn. With that said nothing else gets done for a few hours after I get back in the house. I thaw out a bit and many days (okay, almost everyday I need to lay down for bit) which drives my kids crazy!
This is a subject that I believe most equine professionals will experience sometime in their career. It is probably one of the most difficult areas to talk about because if you have ever experienced a friendship gone sour because of a business decision it will hurt unlike any other pain you have felt before.
The horse industry is unique in so many ways. Many people who run their own barns also live on the property and so the only people they come in contact with daily are their clients. Your world can become extremely small is you let it and it happens often to many barn owners. It seems only natural to want to become friends with your boarders and because you both love horses it seems like a perfect match.
I now believe in order to have a solid and healthy friendship with a client you really need to both understand the boundaries. After all the barn owner is still running a business and the boarder/friend is still paying the board each month. It may sound simple but I will give you a few examples of how things can go south quickly if you both are not careful.
I have always loved the Australian Cattle Dog. They are a wonderful breed and a great dog to have on a farm or ranch. I have owned a couple of these dogs over the years and they are extremely intelligent and very devoted to their owner.
My first cattle dog was named Crackers and I bought her as a puppy. When Crackers turned ten years old I started to notice that she was having a hard time seeing. She would bump into things once in a while but then I knew something was bad when she fell through the hole in the hayloft where we drop our hay. Thank goodness she was okay but I took her to my veterinarian and he right away told me she was losing her sight. He didn’t know how long it would take until her vision was completely gone but he figured within a year. Well my sweet little dog lost her vision much quicker and by the end of summer she was completely blind. I asked my vet what we should do and he told me she would be just fine as long as we kept everything the same in the house and didn’t change the furniture around. I would need to watch her closely when she went outside but for the most part blind dogs can adapt just fine.
It was late November and it was snowing outside pretty hard. It was our first heavy snow of the season and I let Crackers outside to go to the bathroom. I didn’t give much thought to the snow and went to the kitchen and a couple of minutes later I went back to check on her. She was gone! She never went far but she was gone and on top of it, she was mostly white herself. It was dark outside and I started calling and as I looked over towards our street I saw this little body standing out in the middle of the road. It was her. She was frozen in her tracks and couldn’t move. I ran over to her and picked her up and took her inside. I realized right there that she couldn’t feel the ground and lost track of where she was due to the heavy snow. It broke my heart but I was relieved she was fine. From that day forward I went with her every time she went outside. I didn't leave her side.
When I think about my sweet dog, I realize I am just like her in so many ways. I am blind to where I am going most of the time and that is when I need God to come and pick me up and take me inside where it is safe and warm.
Romans 8:39 NIV
Neither height nor depth, or anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Today's post is a short excerpt from my daily devotional book, "Caring for horses with a Servant's heart." It is a lovely book about life on our horse farm and how I see the lord in all of it daily. This book is 365 short stories that will have you looking at horses, chores, your horse business and all four seasons in a whole new way.
Wishing you many blessings in your horse business,
Starting a horse business was not supposed to be this way! I don't feel respected in my own barn and I don't even know who I am anymore. Why didn't I just say no? When did I become so crabby...I used to be fun! Crying seems to be part of my life these days. My husband and I don't talk anymore and I never see my kids unless they come out to the barn. I can't seem to find a balance in all of it. Can I do this? Do I know enough to do this? Have you said some of these things to yourself? If you have then I believe you are pretty normal!
I have had the privilege of talking with so many women from all over the country and I now realize that most women experience these same thoughts, feelings and struggles sometime during their business career. They have this passion and love for horses and turn it into a career but the career became much more challenging in so many ways. Becoming a professional horsewoman and making a living in the horse industry is a dream come true for many women but it can wear you down and burn you out easily if you are not prepared. I know this from first-hand experience. Not only is it a very physical and mental career but it is so unique in itself because you are working with horses that need care seven days a week, every day of the year. Then you add in the clients and you have a career that will have its own unique set of circumstances and rules.
Tugging at my heart
Over the last two years, my heart has been leading me to write my new book, "One Horsewoman to Another." I knew it was going to be emotional for me but I also wanted it to be a book about perseverance, courage and hope for the woman that you are and the equine professional inside of you. This book is unlike any book you will ever read in the horse world. This book is for you ladies. It was written to encourage you and have you reach deep inside yourself to find out what is really important in life and your horse business. It is about the journey we all take as businesswomen and equine professionals and finding out what works best for you and gaining confidence through all of it.
Remember that you are a woman with so much to offer. You give depth to business ownership that will make your business incredibly special. Don't underestimate all that you bring to your barn and the horses and clients in your care.
This book was written because I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to be successful in your horse business but not if it means losing yourself or all that is important to you in the process. I believe as women, we can have it all but we just need to find a balance in all of it.
My new book, "One Horsewoman to Another," has just been published and I encourage you to get a copy. This book will uplift you and get you to start looking at yourself in a new way. You are on an incredible journey and you are incredible for even taking a chance. Today I celebrate the horsewoman you have become! Christmas is right around the corner...Give the gift of encouragement this year to the horsewoman in your life.
Wishing you many blessings in your horse business,
It is early Sunday morning and the house is quiet except for me making my coffee. This is my favorite time to write and my head always seems to be the most clear before the day begins. Morning chores come early and soon I will hear the nickers of many horses anxiously waiting for me to feed them.
I have had the pleasure of talking with so many women from all over the country who are starting out in their horse business or have been in it for a while. Throughout all the conversations there has been one common theme. Each one of these wonderful people got into this business with a dream and passion and now were struggling in many different areas of their business and it was much harder than they ever expected. My heart broke for each of them and I could feel their pain completely because I have walked in their shoes and it is a difficult place to be.
"Without boundaries, we often find ourselves in situations that we should be slapped for!"
This is a subject that I know most women struggle with during many times in their life. This was a huge issue for me when we opened our boarding facility. I had no idea how to manage my professional life with my personal life and having clients at my home seven days a week made things much more complicated.