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When Did I Become The Crabby Barn Owner?

Updated: Dec 3, 2018

I have always considered myself an easy going person that was until we started our horse boarding business! Now if I have your attention then you have probably said the same thing to yourself a time or two.  Running a boarding barn for years now has changed me in many ways but with each passing year I believe it has changed me for the better even if a few previous clients would disagree.  ​

Get ready because you are going to grow in so many ways and it is needed if you are going to run any kind of business.  It may mean learning to say NO to your clients or correcting someone at your barn but it will happen as you grow and your boarders will see the changes and some will call it being crabby while I call it becoming less tolerant.  Figuring out when I became less tolerant is something that I believe many women ask themselves as they grow with their business.  Could I blame it on my age or hot flashes? Sure I guess that might be part of it. Or could I blame it on the fact that it is extremely hard to watch a place that you have built with sweat and tears slowly start to wear out.  It might be watching certain clients and other equine professionals that use your facility treat all that you have for amenities with little or no respect or even at times are very hurtful towards their horses and fellow equestrians. Finding the reasons that you have become crabby at times definitely involves a little soul searching.  At least it did for me. 

In The Beginning... When you first open your boarding barn you will be over the moon with excitement and no matter what is going on - no one will rain on your parade.  You will probably say yes to almost everything that is asked of you and look the other way when you see something that goes against the barn rules because the client is extremely nice.  Don't worry we have all gone through this and I will be the first to admit that I let a lot of things slide in the beginning.  Then as time goes on you will start to get into a routine and you will be shocked at how busy you are and how tired you feel. You may also see that you are making less money then you expected and now you need to watch where every penny is going. Some of your clients will feel like it is a free for all when it comes to shavings and hay and now you will need to address this with them and your heart will start to race as you bring up the subject. You will also be up to your neck in special requests and you are now doing things that you were not planning on and it all takes time. That is when things will start to change inside of you and it all starts with a question you will ask yourself. Is this normal? 

You will experience every emotion during the first couple of years from excitement and happiness to disappointment and even anger and when you come full circle you will have a new peace, joy and confidence and be much more ready to handle what comes your way. I believe it happens to every new barn owner and manager without exception. This is why they say that most brand new boarding barns go through a lot of turnover during first couple of years.  It is because the barn owner is growing and changing things in all parts of the business and many clients will not like the new changes.  Don't get worried, it is all part of business ownership and if you hang in there it will settle down. 

Don't let the bad attitude linger Women can be highly emotional and we tend to keep mental notes of everything.  At times we may forgive but we truly don't forget. It lingers with us and as an equine professional you will find yourself having many mental discussions about the things you see and what upsets you. I still have these discussions with myself once in a while but thank goodness not as often anymore.  I have found that women tend to keep checks and balances where men just let it go and move on.  When you are running a boarding business this will prove to be very challenging especially because you will see your clients often and form relationships with them. 

I believe one of the reasons we as women become short tempered and annoyed is because we try to make sure everyone is happy and make our barn perfect for our boarders and when it falls short by how our clients act we become irritated.  You are going to see many things during the years that you board horses and most of them will leave you feeling good but some things will leave you disappointed, feeling intolerant or extremely annoyed.  It happens to everyone at some time in their career.  It is part of business ownership and dealing with people.  When our expectations of what we thought our business would be like falls short we tend to become upset on the inside and then if allowed will grow into other areas of the business.  This is where you need to be aware of your actions and feelings and make sure you can separate the business from personal stuff. I will be the first to admit that it is very hard to do this at times when your business is on the same property that you live and you never get away from it. It brings on a whole new dimension that most businesses don't have and on top of it you are dealing with animals that need care seven days a week.   

​Becoming less tolerant is okay I have definitely changed over the years as a businesswoman. I am less tolerant but have more patience at the same time.  Is that possible? I believe it is. I have learned to be slow to speak when something is upsetting me and to really think about how I want to say it before I blurt it out. This was a process that took me a few years to learn with many mistakes along the way.  I also don't have time anymore for people who don't want to follow the rules or have respect for my barn, property and especially other people at the barn. It is all part of growing as a businesswoman and it is a much needed part of becoming whole as an equine professional.  

Remember that there is a huge difference between being less tolerant and being crabby.  When you don't worry as often about what your clients think of you, your job will become easier when dealing with uncomfortable conversations.  You will also gain a greater respect for the wonderful clients you do have and they will gain a new respect for you.  Mutual respect and growth in a business comes with many steps forward and a few steps back.  Get ready because you are going to learn a great deal about yourself as you continue on this incredible journey as a professional. 

If you are new to my blog, then welcome! If you are ready to start your business off with a good foundation then I encourage you to check out my newest book, "A Step By Step Guide To Starting And Running A Successful Horse Boarding Business."  This book is a comprehensive guide into horse boarding and you won't find another book that covers in great detail every aspect of this business.   This book is perfect for anyone that is boarding horses and I will walk you through every area of the business and how to think ahead specifically for your boarding business.  

Wishing you many blessings in your horse business,  ​Sheri Grunska

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