Most (but of course not all) of us keep our horses at boarding facilities. So unless you work at a co-op barn, or own your own place, you’ve learned the value of a good barn manager.
I’ve learned over the years that a barn manager can make all the difference in the world, that a so-so facility can be the best option with a good person in charge, and likewise a great place with a poor manager is reason for instantaneous departure.
These good barn managers are worth their weight in gold in my eyes. And the qualities that make them so valuable?
First and foremost, they put the horses first. They are observant, and take the time to notice if something is out of sorts with a horse, whether that be suspicious rolling or a lost shoe. And they communicate- keeping the owner or leaser in the loop and collaborating on details such as nutrition and turnout. They do the absolute best with what they have to create a safe place for the horses, even though that may mean taking on tedious projects and longer hours in return. And all this, often with no extra reward or compensation. Pretty much, they are gator-driving, muck shoveling angels.To show appreciation for the hard work that these guys (or gals) put in, I like to try to make things easier for them wherever possible. If smartpaks make life easier, I’ll order smartpaks. I’ll make horse cookies to stuff medication in, so he doesn’t have to wonder if the horse got his meds. I’ll pick out the stall whenever I have time, refill the water, and change blankets when need be. And when helping out isn’t possible, I’ll bring beer as a token of appreciation.
I know I’m not alone, as I see many of my fellow boarders put in these little “favors” to help a good manager out. After all, we all know how lost we would be without them.
What do you do to help barn management? If you own a facility yourself, what do/could your boarders do to help you?