We live in a time when many people get bored very easily and like change. It is our human nature to seek the greener grass that might offer more. We get distracted very easily and fine something that looks brand new and inviting and will change what we are doing to be part of it. What we forget is that even though we as humans might like change (which is fine) our horses don't. They want to feel safe, have enough food, water and shelter from the elements. If they are given these things consistently they will not search for something new on the horizon unless of course you have a stallion!
One of the biggest complaints I have received over the years that many people share with me is the fact that the barn they were at was not consistent in the feeding program or turnout or basically anything else that had to do with running the stable. I would hear stories about how their horse would pace in it's stall or be very nervous when it came to feeding time or in some cases would be aggressive during those times when chores needed to get done. Time and time again we would see a change over the first couple of months after their horse came to live at our barn. They would tell me that they couldn't believe how quiet or calm their horse had become and he seemed to be more rested.
When I decided to write this post today, it really made me think about the world we live in and it became really clear that we as humans like change but our horses don't. They want to know what to expect and they do much better if they don't have to worry about when they are going to get fed. I also believe it can put much stress on many horses when they are being changed from herd to herd often.
Having a full barn is a great thing but if you have a high turnover of boarders and horses because people are not happy with the care, than you have just created a ton more work for yourself. When each horse leaves and a new one comes in, it takes time to get the people and horses acclimated and that is added on to your already busy day.
I don't enjoy the first day when I need to introduce a new horse into a herd. It always is a little bit of a guess on how they really are going to get along and the last thing I want is for new bite and kick marks those first couple of days. It usually gets everyone in the herd worked up and some introductions go very easy but then you will have the ones that don't go as well or take longer for the new horse to fit in. Horses like consistency and even the change of one horse can put everyone into a frenzy for a short time.
Now connect that with your business. When you have less change in boarders and horses than you will have less stress on the horses all together. That is a big plus for your business and people will look for that in a boarding facility. The word will get out that your barn is a very consistent barn and that is a huge plus for your reputation as the barn owner. Being consistent with a feeding program and turnout times for morning and afternoon will not cost you a penny but the dividends are unbelievable.
There will be many things on your farm that will not be consistent, for example the weather! Living in Wisconsin, the weather is different everyday. It affects what we do with the horses. There will be some things that are beyond your control and you will have to roll with it. But the things you can control-like chores and herd turn-out, those are the things the client will be looking at.
Consistency sells and I believe that is what has made our barn successful. I think deep down inside we all like a little consistency in our lives especially when it comes to our horses. In a hectic world the barn should be the one place where things stay the same for everyone and every horse. Your boarders will appreciate it and it gives them peace of mind when they are not there.
One more thought-What ever part of the equine industry you decide to be part of, run it consistently. You clients will appreciate it and they will keep coming back.
If you are new to my blog, then welcome! If you are feeling the stress of issues or growing pains at your barn, I encourage you to check out my newest book, "The Total Horse Barn Management Makeover." I will give you practical business wisdom from someone who has made many mistakes along the way and turned a struggling boarding facility into a healthy barn with clients that have made it their home. You won't find another book that talks about the real life struggles that barns owners and managers go through while running a business and this book will give you the tools to make the changes you want to make and move forward. I believe this book will inspire you in more ways than you could imagine.
I wish you the very best in your horse business,