Even though my articles are geared toward the equine professional, I am so thrilled that so many people who are boarders also read my posts. The great thing is it has opened their eyes to what the barn owner or manager is going through on a daily basis. Equally important it has also given them a voice and even confidence to ask questions about the things that don't seem right where they are boarding. As one person wrote there are two side to every story and I also agree.
This article is not about bad barn owners who don't do their job or fix things. This article is truly about running a horse business and if you have clients than they deserve the best if they are paying you for services and that includes safe conditions for their horse. I am going to be totally honest and tell you that if you are not fixing things that are safety issues for the horses at your barn than your clients have a right to be upset. Many barn owners don't see how important this is to their business. If you really want to put your barn on the map and set it apart from all the rest in your area than fix the things that need to be fixed and that will speak volumes to your clients and your community. That alone will keep people knocking at your door to board at your barn.
The honest truth is that horses and even some people can be very tough on stuff. If you are going to board horses for a living than you are going to have pretty much everything broken that can be broken at one time or another. Fixing both wood and electric fences will become a weekly project and will become a normal part of your work week. It always seems to happen when it is freezing outside and the weather is horrible! Fixing stalls will be part of your job and usually it happens at a time when you were just getting ready to sit down and watch a good movie or something else along that line. Replacing broken boards and broken corner feeders will happen more than you expected and of course there's the fixing or replacement of the kicked in water tank. Cross-ties will be pulled down and saddle racks will break. Screws will start to become loose and nails might even start to show in places you never expected. The wash stall will overflow because it is not draining properly and of course it gets really good when the toilet overflows. I even had a vintage stingray corvette drive to close to my barn and the three sharp points on the front of the hood went right through my siding! I wished I could have kept that beautiful corvette in trade for the new siding!!
I am just trying to get you to understand that this will be part of your job as a barn owner. How you choose to deal with this stuff will reflect on your business in ways that are huge. I do understand the boarder when they are frustrated because things are not fixed at their barn. I truly believe that if you are going to run a boarding barn and you are entrusted with the care of the horses at your barn than it is your responsibility to fix the things that need to be fixed in a timely manner.
A new way to look at things
Can I strongly encourage you to treat your barn like a well maintained business. Every well run barn has someone who will go around fixing and replacing the things that need to be replaced. It might be you or your spouse or you might have a grounds keeper but it is a vital part of keeping your place in order and the horses safe. When a boarding barn is well maintained it is one of the first things people notice.
Are you going to have days when you don't feel like fixing the broken boards or fence that came down that morning? Of course! My husband David has had many of those days when the last thing he wanted to do was go out and fix the fence again. But he does it because we have chosen to care for horses and we want the best for them and the owners who pay us to take care of them.
I truly believe the reason a barn has a hard time keeping boarders or keeping their stalls filled often stems from this area of concern. Your barn will start to get a reputation. It will either be a good one or bad one. It is up to you what kind of reputation you want for your business but I can tell you right now that if you take the time to fix the things that need to be fixed than you will set your barn apart from so many others and you will set the standard for great care for boarding barns in your area.
I wish you many blessings in your horse business,