Through the years...
During the last ten years of boarding horses as a business David and I have dealt with some pretty crazy issues when it comes to the tack rooms. We have two very large tack rooms in our big barn and one tack room in our smaller barn. There is plenty of room in all three for all of our boarders but if I don't keep track of everything, soon people will start bringing in more an more things until their tack and stuff is spreading into the next persons area. It happens more than you would think.
When we first opened our business we had a couple of people try to bring huge tack trunks and even one over-sized Armoire to keep at the barn. They were allowed at their previous barns and when I said no to this request it became a sore spot for these people who had always been allowed to at other barns. They adjusted but I heard complaining for a while.
We now give each person two saddle racks but I have had quite a few people over the years that wanted a third saddle rack and requested to bring their own saddle stand. Again I said no to this request. I have had people switch other boarders saddles to different racks without asking which caused huge drama in our tack room and I had to correct that situation quickly. I have been given a doctors not from a boarder telling me that she needed a lower rack. I have had issues with boarders that are very messy and don't follow tack room rules which affects everyone else who is sharing the same tack room. I have had people become offended when I have asked them to clean up their area and take some of their stuff home because it was spreading into the next persons tack space. I have had people take empty saddle racks and use them (without asking) just because the saddle rack was empty for a short period of time while we were in transition waiting for the new horse and client to come.
Some of your boarders will watch what others are doing and that includes space in the tack room. As a barn owner or manager you are going to be busy enough without having to monitor the tack rooms each and every day. There are many days when I don't even go into the tack rooms and then when I finally do I am sometimes shocked at what I see. A tack room can become a mess quickly if you allow it. You need to be smart about how you design it and the rules need to be direct and very clear for all on what you allow and not allow in your tack room. If you don't do this you will regret it down the road and it will make your job much harder dealing with things you shouldn't have to deal with to begin with.
A few things to think about when designing your tack room.
Set an equal amount of space for each boarder with no exceptions.
If you give someone a bit more space, I can promise you that it will come to bite you in the butt when someone else notices. Your boarders will adjust to the space allotted and they will take the rest of the stuff home that they don't use.
It doesn't matter if you are going to offer one or two saddle racks to each boarder. what does matter is that you keep it fair and equal for all. In the beginning of our boarding business we had designed our tack rooms and some of our boarders only had one saddle rack and the rest had two. It became an issue and it was my mistake for not seeing this ahead of time. Our boarders were paying the same for board but were not getting the same equal amenities when it came to the tack room. We have changed that now so everyone has two saddle racks per horse that is boarded. What a difference that has made in my life. The same will be true for bridle hooks. Keep it equal and it will make your job much easier in the long run. I promise!
Be very direct and clear on what a boarder can keep in the tack room
You need to set clear guidelines on what your boarders can use for tack boxes otherwise you will have some that will want to bring extremely huge tack trunks that don't fit in your tack room. I encourage you to measure the space you allow for each boarder and give them the measurements and make it clear that their tack truck needs to stay within the size limits. They may not like this but you need to think of everyone that is using the tack room. It is much better to start off doing this in the beginning than to have to make changes later on and then upset your clients even more. I learned this one the hard way.
The tack room at your barn should not make your job harder or add more stress into your life but it can happen if it is not set up properly. Each barn owner will design their tack room differently and that is the fun part. It sure was for me. I just want to open your eyes to a small part of barn management that is overlooked but will affect your clients and you on a daily basis if it is not designed well.
Remember that your tack room doesn't need to be fancy at all. Just well designed for the number of clients you will have at your barn. Also it is important to remember that most of your clients will be fine with what you offer for space and saddle racks in your tack room. It is usually only a couple of people that will make your job more challenging but if you keep it completely equal from the beginning it will reflect on you as a barn owner and manager and it will only add to your great reputation as a well run boarding facility.
If you are new to my blog, then welcome! I wrote my newest book to give you an in-depth look into the business of boarding horses and all that it entails. This post today is one small example of what my new book addresses. If you are boarding horses or are planning on it, please check out, "A Step By Step Guide To Starting And Running A Successful Horse Boarding Business." It is a very comprehensive book on boarding horses and covers every part of it from building your barn or stable to solid barn management. I wrote this book because I realized there is an information gap when it comes to this subject and my goal is to help others so they don't make all the mistakes I made when we first opened our boarding facility. I want you to be prepared for the crazy and wonderful new career you are going into.
I wish you many blessings in your horse business,