Helping you be successful in your barn and business!
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.
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.
One of the biggest shocks I experienced when we opened Vinland Stables many years ago was the turnover of boarders. It was like we had a revolving door and I was not prepared for it at all. My husband David and I had built this huge facility and we were getting ready to live our dream. I had been a boarder for many years when I was younger and I thought I knew the boarding world when we decided to start our horse business. There was another side-The side of the barn owner.
As a new barn owner and manager of my own business I was jumping on an incredible ride that would take me through many highs and lows and at times I must admit I felt like I wanted to jump off never to get back on! It became challenging, emotional and my self-worth at what I did for a living was something I started to question myself about often in those early years. It felt like everyone knew more than me and as boarders left our barn for something different I started to feel like David and I had chosen the wrong business to get into. I now understand and truly believe that every new business owner will go through this and this is where you need to dig deep to find that inner strength and keep going. Learn from your mistakes and move forward without looking back.
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.
"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.
You are a woman, wife, mother, grandmother, friend and professional horsewoman...Life sure got crazy!!
It is never easy to start a business and as women we try to do it all. Taking care of our family and the horses in our care on top of running our business can seem overwhelming at times. Figuring out our priorities and how to find balance in all of it takes time and growth. Ladies, you are incredible for taking this journey of becoming a professional horsewoman on top of everything else you do. I want you to know how much you bring to the horse industry and you add a depth and sensitivity that is incredible.
Running a business will come with many bumps in the road but the journey is worth it. Not only will your learning curve as a businesswoman sky-rocket but so will your growth as a professional horsewoman. You are going to learn so much about yourself and whether it is good or not so good, all of it is needed for you to grow into a confident equine professional and business woman.
I am so excited about my new book "One Horsewoman to Another" because I really believe so many women go through the same struggles trying to find purpose in their careers and business and trying to balance it all with their personal life and families. I hope you feel like I am looking into your inner thoughts and feelings and putting it on paper for you to see for yourself that you are not alone. The one thing I want you to know is that I have walked the same path you are on and have experienced the same joy and laughter, frustration and tears that we have all experienced at times in our life. I have made many mistakes along the way but looking back I can honestly say I am glad they happened because that is when I grew the most. Remember that people rarely grow when our trials are too easy and that will be so true for you and your horse business.
If you are looking for a book that will encourage and inspire you then you will want to check out "One Horsewoman to Another." I wrote this book for you because your roles all become one at times and in the process we sometimes lose who we are in all of it. You are a wife, mother, friend, horsewoman and equine professional. We are each on a special journey and the best thing we can do is to be there for each other. Becoming an equine professional is not an easy choice for a career but it is such an incredible career once we find a balance in all of it.
Take some time today and enjoy a book written to inspire and encourage you. You are becoming a professional horsewoman and I don't want you to let fear stop you from achieving it all. You can do it because you are stronger than you know.
"One Horsewoman to Another" please click on the link to read more about this book on Amazon.
Wishing you many blessings in your horse business,
Because a horse can’t tell us what is hurting him or what is making him nervous we do a lot of guessing. We spend many hours studying our horses trying to read any little sign they give us about what is wrong. Sometimes the answers are very clear and sometimes we have no idea what the problem is.
When you own a horse of your own or run a horse business, you will be in contact with veterinarians throughout the course of the time you are involved in the horse world. If you have horses, there will come a time when you need to call the vet. It just comes with the territory.
I ran into a situation years ago when one of my horses was hurt. I called the vet out to my place to take a look at the injury. The injury presented itself to the doctor as if it were one issue and then he had a second veterinarian look at the problem and the second doctor had a different viewpoint. They both had come from different backgrounds in the school of medicine and one had more experience than the other due to their age difference.
They were both great veterinarians but I really agreed with the second doctor on the injury and it became a little tense between the first doctor and myself. Where the problem came in was that one doctor wanted me to start a very aggressive treatment right away and the other doctor felt less was better to start. Because of my personality I decided to wait a few days and see if it healed with less evasive treatment. In the process of this entire ordeal I believe the one doctor’s feelings might have been a little hurt. It was definitely one of those awkward situations. After a few weeks had gone by and my horse was doing great I wanted to make sure that everything was good between me and the doctor that I disagreed with. He happened to be at my barn one day and we had time to talk. It was a great talk and it was a learning experience for all involved.
I learned so much from that experience about treating each other with respect even when you don’t agree. It can be hard at times but it can be done. When you run into a situation where you are not going to agree with what is being said and you feel yourself getting heated, stop and take a moment to pray and ask God for guidance and self-control. Include him in every area of your life not just the easy parts.
Psalm 16:7-8 NIV
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at tonight my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
If you are looking for some daily inspiration before you head out to the barn, check out my book, "Caring for horses with a Servant's heart." It will inspire you and you will start to look at your barn, business and horses in a completely fresh and new way. This book has 366 short stories for every day of the year February 29th for Leap year!! It will make you laugh, cry and most of all inspire you.
I want to wish you many blessings in your horse business,
When you choose to start a horse business and you live on the same property as the barn, things can get a little crazy especially when your home is only a few hundred feet from the business. How do you keep from bringing the stress of the day into the safe-haven of your home and family. This was something that I needed to figure out and it took me several years to learn how to separate the two and have my family and private time. Does the work ever truly go away? No it never does but you learn to manage both and boundaries are a huge part of making it work.
Today's post is about finding some of the tools needed to run your business efficiently but also equally important learning to turn it off when you can and free your family and yourself from the constant talk and even emotion of it all. If you don't learn to separate yourself from it all even for a little bit each and every day it will wear you down so fast and you will never see it coming.