The truth is drama in a horse barn can ruin the barn and business for all. A barn that has drama will have unhappy boarders and the atmosphere is like a cold fog that runs through the woods. You don't see it at first and before you know it, the fog is all around you with no way to escape it. Now I know I am being a little dramatic but sadly it is the truth. Drama is something that not everyone sees coming but once it hits your barn you will know it and it can be difficult to get rid of. In fact I am going to be very honest-in most cases the only way to get rid of the drama is to ask the boarders to leave that are causing the drama. For some barn owners this can bring an added stress if your finances are already very tight and you don't have a waiting list. This is where you need to dig deep and find an inner strength to make changes for the betterment of your barn and business even if it means less money for a month or two. I know because I have been there.
When it hits your barn
When we first opened our boarding facility many years ago I never gave any thought to having drama in our barn. I had heard of barns that had drama but it just never occurred to me that my barn could be one of those barns. Within the first year I was starting to see a glimpse of drama in our barn and it was so subtle in the early stages that I really couldn't pinpoint where it was stemming from. Once it hit hard and people were calling me complaining about everything I started to see it more clearly. Drama had hit our barn and I had no idea how to deal with it. I had clients that were trying to control others and the negative talk that was going on was enough to make anyone sick. The moment had finally come when I had boarders calling me and telling me they were going to leave if I didn't do something to fix the issues in our barn. I was a new business owner and I was in completely new territory and it was a very stressful time for me. I didn't like confrontation at all and now I was the one that was going to have to confront others at my barn and try to resolve the issues. I was going into it blind. I even looked and couldn't find any books that really talked about this kind of problem in a boarding barn. David and I had no support system back then.
Thinking about those very early years still bring up feelings but now I can truly say I am glad those issues and experiences happened to me. It wasn't good for business at the time but those are the things that changed me into a businesswoman and forced me to deal with the tough issues that any business owner is going to deal with. What happens in the corporate world happens in the horse world. Running a horse business doesn't exclude you from the negative experiences of owning a business. It can happen anywhere and the best thing you can do is hit it straight on and deal with it.
I now believe that if a horse barn has drama, that is only because the barn owner or manager are not doing their job. They are allowing it to happen and they are the only ones that can stop it!
As the barn owner or manager you are going to go through many issues at your barn and learning to handle issues like drama is something that is not fun but once you take control of it and banish it from your barn it rarely comes back. It may try (through new clients that don't understand your zero tolerance for drama) but usually those people figure it out very fast that it is something that you are not going to put up with. The best thing about a barn with a "No Drama" reputation is that you will start to only attract people that don't want drama either. The people that create drama will learn fast what kind of barn you run and they will stay away or they will choose to change. Usually they find another barn to board at.
Since those early years we have been so blessed to have a barn with with no drama and a wonderful atmosphere. Once in a while I can see a small flame start to flare up but now I am very aware of drama when I see it coming and I put it out before it ever has a chance to spread.
I encourage you today to take a step forward and stop the drama in your barn. It might mean losing a couple of clients when you do this but I can promise you that new clients will come that will embrace how you run your barn and they will be very happy that your barn is a no drama barn. You will never regret it. It will truly change your barn, business and life for the better and your business will grow in ways you never imagined.
Get ready to make 2017 your best year ever. Get ready to lead your business with confidence and strong leadership. Your clients will be glad you did.
If you are new to my blog, then welcome! If you are just starting out in your planning stages of your horse business or need some help now that you are in it, I would like to encourage you to check out my two books. My first one, "What it really takes to start and run a horse business" is my families journey of starting our horse boarding business (building our barn and all that went with it) and about learning from our mistakes especially during the first couple of years. My second book, "The Total Horse Barn Management Makeover," is about the relationship between the barn owner/barn manager and client and how to resolve the issues that will come up when you are running a horse business of any kind. This book is unlike any book you will ever read about barn management because it goes deep into the issues that every barn owner and manager will deal with at one time or another. You won't find more honest books out there about running a horse business.
I want to wish you many blessings in your horse business,