Helping you be successful in your barn and business!
They say that the best lessons in life happen from the mistakes we make and I agree wholeheartedly. Deciding to open a large horse boarding business seemed like an easy thing to do, after all, I love horses and how hard could it be taking care of them and the people who own them? No one could have told me many years ago that when we opened our boarding stable that I would one day be writing books and teaching barn management at our facility and giving talks at other places. Back then I was over the moon with excitement for our new business venture and I believed this was what I was meant to do. The years have taught me a lot and the lessons have been extremely hard but with each mistake and heartache it only made me want to do better at the career I had chosen.
I am going to come right out and say it-the boarding stable (no matter the size) is greatly undervalued as an important part of the equine industry. I never realized this until the last couple of years when I have had the privilege of talking to many barn owners and managers from all over the country. The sad truth is many barn owners and managers are beaten down and wore out while every other equine professional uses their facility and benefits from the facility. Each equine professional brings something great to your barn but you need to realize that you also bring something great to your barn! Many boarders also unfortunately don't see the value and worth of a well-run boarding stable and what goes on behind the scenes every day. I am not saying that equine professionals and boarders have been the cause for this burnout in boarding stables. I am saying that for too long barn owners and managers have allowed themselves to get to this point of burnout and they don't see their worth in what they do seven days a week for the horses they care for. There are many reasons for this and it comes from many different sources.
I want to address the importance of the boarding stable and how it affects and even promotes other equine businesses to be successful. No matter the size boarding stables are vital to the equine industry and without them the rest of the industry would wither and be in a very poor financial condition. Now if that sounds like a bold statement then keep reading because I have a lot to say about this subject.
I have always been crazy about horses and working in the horse industry seemed like the perfect way to make a living. I know that for many women, this is their dream come true. If you are obsessed with horses and would rather be out at barn in your old jeans and boots than dressed up for your office job, you are not alone. Many women fall in love with horses as young girls and the love for these animals just keeps growing stronger. If you decide to start a horse business of any kind, you are going to change in so many ways as you become a businesswoman and equine professional. Your love will still be just as strong but you will definitely look at horses and your life in a much different way as time passes by. I wanted to share ten things that I believe every woman should know before she decides to become a professional horsewoman. Some equine professions might have more risks involved than others but the emotional side of it all will be something that most women will experience on some level.
Thinking about starting a horse boarding business? Have you asked yourself the big question...Am I crazy? If you haven't asked yourself that question then you probably haven't told many people about your dream.
I can remember very early on when David and I decided to build our barn and indoor arena. I had talked to a couple of people about starting a horse boarding operation and I remember one friend of mine asking me if we had lost our minds! She smiled when she blurted out those words and I laughed. I didn't get what she was trying to tell me at that time. It wasn't until a couple of years later that I finally understood what she was saying to me.
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.
This summer was unlike any summer I have ever had since we opened Vinland Stables back in 2006. Not only did I have surgery (I donated a kidney) in July but I had to hand the reins over to a team of people who would run my barn from the beginning of the day all the way until barn closing each evening for the rest of the summer. It was something that I was secretly nervous about on the inside. If you have your own business then you know exactly what I am talking about. It turned out to be the most relaxing summer I have had in over a decade!
When we built our boarding facility many years ago, I had no idea how much my life would change. I thought it was only about the horses in the beginning...I was so wrong and I am glad I was. I never expected that one day I would share an entire week in a hospital with one of my boarders but it happened. I wanted to share this unexpected and beautiful story about horses, friendship and a much needed kidney donation.
If you are boarding horses for a business then I encourage you to read this post. Anyone that has owned a horse business has probably at one time or another second guessed their decisions regarding their business and fear usually plays a part in all of it. It can be very stressful and even scary trying to run a boarding barn especially when you have a business mortgage each month and empty stalls that aren't bringing in any money. I have been there and it is a terrible way to live and the more I talk with other barn owners I am finding out how common this is. What can be even worse is when you compromise how you run your barn and your beliefs for a few extra dollars. Do I have your attention? I sure hope so.
I have to say that I love being fifty-something! At this point in my life I am willing to be bold and try new things without much of the worry whether they flop or not. I was cleaning stalls this morning with my husband and these words kept popping into my head in a poem and I decided to take a leap of faith and put them all together. This poem is for anyone that has chosen to work in the equine industry and I hope it encourages you and lifts you up. Please never forget, we are all in this together to support each other no matter what part of the industry you work in. Here it goes...
Where does confidence come from? That is a great question and I believe as women we are always trying to figure out who and what impacts our confidence. Owning your own horse business will test you beyond your wildest imagination and put you in many situations where you have to make decisions despite lacking confidence to do so. You will not be given any other option and you will need to rise to the job ahead and not look back. The great thing about the whole process is even though you will start out with very little confidence, with every decision you make your confidence will grow. You probably won’t even notice all the changes taking place in you until you reach about the fourth or fifth year of running your horse business.