Unprecedented times with our horse boarding stables
I along with every other barn owner across the world has had to make some very difficult decisions over the last two weeks regarding our boarding stables and the boarders who have chosen AND TRUSTED us with the care of their horses. I have seen many articles (with many opinions) on what the barn owner's responsibility is and also how the horse owner needs to handle this as well. There has been heated discussions on social media to the point where some horse groups have banned all posts about the coronavirus and your horse business. I have sat quietly back and up until now chose not to respond until I could wrap my head around all of this.
How each barn owner chooses to handle their state mandates for "shelter in place" protocol is up to them, and of course, I hope that each stable owner is not taking any chances and has put very strict guidelines in place if they choose to stay open. It is not an easy decision to make and much of it will be determined by how your stable is set up. Location, population in your area and many other factors are considered when states make up their state mandate. Some boarding stables are set up in a way that makes it very easy to follow the CDC guidelines and very easy for a couple of people to stay farther away from each other then it would be at a grocery store. You are also going to have many opinions on if a horse owner actually needs to come out and see their horse during this crisis. As the barn owner, you have the huge responsibility of answering this question and how it relates to your boarding stable. It is not easy no matter what you decide because there will always be people who agree and disagree with your decisions. It is all part of being a business owner.
As the barn owner, if you choose to close your stable to your boarders completely, then may I encourage you to try to help take away their fear of letting go and not having control. May I encourage you to send daily emails updating them on how the horses are doing and even send pictures. Maybe create a Facebook private group so that you can share pictures and videos during the day so that they can see their horse. To your clients, this will mean so much and they will start to relax. This is equally as hard for the clients as it is for all the equine professionals.
I am a barn owner and I want to serve my clients the best way I can and if that means posting pictures or videos on Facebook in our private group then I will. After all, if the truth be told, I am on Facebook much more than I ever have been before and for me it is a good way to stay connected to those I care about and the equine world. And from what it looks like, most of us are spending a lot more time on social media as well. Even with as busy as most of us are taking care of the horses, we seem to find time to log in and sit for long periods time looking at all kinds of posts. I personally love the funny stuff! WE ALL NEED TO LAUGH MORE THESE DAYS!
I also believe "the voice of reason" plays a huge part in this. I am not going to get into a debate on if a barn should be open or not but much of your decisions will be dictated by your state mandates BUT lets not forget personal opinions and feelings will also play a part even though we may not share those with others. We all will have our own reasons for the decisions we make over the next few weeks. For the horse owner who boards at a stable that has chosen to completely close their doors, trust them and the barn owner's decision to close and this time to shall pass. For the boarding stables who have chosen to stay open on a very limited basis and are following the CDC guidelines then I am asking that other stables do not bash them. We are all in this together and even though we may do things a little differently, we are all still here for two things - the safety of others at our stable and the complete care of the horse!
Fear does crazy things to people and at what point has fear made things much worse? Fear will either destroy us or we will conquer it. I choose not to be fearful but instead get down on my knees and pray to God. Pray that He will heal the sick and pray that he will heal this country and this world. I believe this virus will go away in time and I choose to let God be in control and I am trusting Him with my horse business and more importantly my life. We will get through this together only if we support each other no matter how we each decide to operate our horse stables during this time.
Today I am praying for you and your horse business,