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caitlyn166
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:09 PM
I am seeking information on what it is like to be a barn manager. I am wanting a change in life, and feel that being around horses will be a great change for me. I grew up riding and competing in show jumping, and grew away from the sport in college because I didn't have the time; however, after doing some soul searching I have decided that I want to go back to the industry. Horses have been a part of my life for a long time, and I find them to be something that keeps me centered and settled. I have found a few jobs in Massachusetts at hunter/jumper barns, but I want to know what to expect before applying.

Thanks!

bjd2013
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:27 PM
Barn Managers have a very hard job. I was practically running a barn at my current age of 16, do to the barn manager/owners daughter never wanting to do anything but sleep and make cookies. You have to deal with customers who are never happy, and you have to do a lot of the work yourself, depending on how many workers you have helping you. You also want to ask around about your future employer and see what type of person they are (I wish I would have). It can be a fun and rewarding job, but it can also be very stressful. It dreadful or fun, like I said before it really just depends on who you would work for.

SidesaddleRider
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:42 PM
There is a wide disparity in the types of jobs that "Barn Managers" do, as so many BO's have a differing idea of what the title entails. To some, it means being in charge of everything, including daily feeding and mucking, turnout, etc. To others, it is more of management job: payroll, scheduling, ordering, human resources (of farm/barn workers), show entries, payment of farm bills, vet/farrier scheduling, lesson program scheduling, etc.

findeight
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:45 PM
There is no universally accepted definition of "barn manager" outlining specific job duties.

Ask specifically what the position with each potential employer is going to consist of. You should have as many questions for them as they have for you.

A Barn Manager can be anything from a $7 an hour glorified mucker with the title to an actual manager supervising staff, light bookeeping, vet schedualing, record keeping, payroll etc. That can pay pretty good for the industry.

You probably can get familiar with each operation before your interview by just asking around about their reputation and driving by.

LvdSprtHorse
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:46 PM
Don't want to be a Debbie downer here, but be realistic about expectations. To be a barn manager, you need very strong skills in both horse care and on the business side. Not just dealing with people but with actually running a business as well as the care of the horses in the barn. It would be extremely difficult to step right into a management position with ( I'm assuming, sorry if I'm wrong) no prior BM experience and having been out of the industry for awhile. It might be easier to reach your overall goal of being a BM by starting out as more of a general laborer until you get back into the swing of things and some recent experience under your belt.

jse
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:46 PM
I'm with sidesaddle rider. It varies as far as what duties you may have as a barn manager but all in all, it can be a pretty tough job as when things go wrong a lot falls down on you. It's a lot of responsibility. If I were you, I'd maybe start out by doing a working student type job.

findeight
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:57 PM
I think the OP wants a job, not an unpaid working student position where labor is swapped for saddle time, rarely works for adults that need a wage to live on.

Anway, since barns are so different, we really can't help OP with specific skills. If she has a bit of a business background and can hadle light office work, that would be a huge plus if it's actually a barn managment position.

I'd sure want to start as a barn bookeeper or secretary instead of a mucker or groom if I wanted to get to the management side of the business.

MoonWitch
Nov. 8, 2011, 02:04 PM
Before you do - read this thread - especially post #57

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=326092&page=3

CBoylen
Nov. 8, 2011, 06:03 PM
I think a lot of people don't realize that being a barn manager is more of a people job than a horse job. It's customer service and personnel management, first and foremost. Managing, you spend less time actually dealing with the horses and more time directing help and sorting out customer scheduling and problems. If you like horses better than people, it may not live up to expectations. ;)

MHM
Nov. 8, 2011, 06:12 PM
If you like horses better than people, it may not live up to expectations. ;)

Like many parts of the horse business! :lol:

hntrjmprpro45
Nov. 8, 2011, 06:21 PM
To me, the traditional "barn manager" job includes managing feed/turnout schedules, scheduling vet/farrier/chiro services, scheduling arena riding times (if you have multiple trainers/assistants), keeping up with the horse show schedule (scheduling for transportation, packing lists, special vet requirements or passports), managing your employees, customer service and payroll. But to some people it may also include actually feeding, cleaning, turning out, etc. Pay can range wildly depending on location, barn size, and duties.

Herbie19
Nov. 8, 2011, 07:39 PM
I think a lot of people don't realize that being a barn manager is more of a people job than a horse job. It's customer service and personnel management, first and foremost. Managing, you spend less time actually dealing with the horses and more time directing help and sorting out customer scheduling and problems. If you like horses better than people, it may not live up to expectations. ;)

And this is the EXACT reason that I leave the management of my family's farm up to my mother. I LOVE the horses, I DON'T do people.

Jsalem
Nov. 8, 2011, 07:46 PM
It's an up-at-dawn pride swallowing siege.....

Just sayin'

ACP
Nov. 8, 2011, 08:09 PM
Get things in writing. If you think that a BM is the person who supervises the person(s) who muck stalls, and the farm owner thinks you are the person who should muck, there's a problem.

hasahorse
Nov. 8, 2011, 08:22 PM
I was a barn manager for 5 years until I walked out in 2008. I hated doing that to my students and my fellow instructors, but the barn owner became increasingly hard to work with. When I was told that I needed to vote a certain way in the presidential election to keep my job, that was the last straw.
I was paid approx. $30k per year and I worked 70 to 90 hours a week (That works out to about $8.90 an hour). I was responsible for the employees and all of the horses. I hauled horses. I wrangled children. I took care of the owner's dogs, teenager, and home. I wrangled the owner's ex-husband.
I nearly lost my marriage and most of my self worth. Thankfully, Mr. Hasahorse is wonderful.
There are better ways to make money with horses.

wcporter
Nov. 8, 2011, 09:50 PM
When I was told that I needed to vote a certain way in the presidential election to keep my job, that was the last straw.


:eek:

Summit Springs Farm
Nov. 8, 2011, 09:57 PM
Its what you make it, don't worry, follow your heart, just make sure your heart is in it and you will do just fine... or better!:)

Bluehorsesjp
Nov. 9, 2011, 01:12 AM
It's an up-at-dawn pride swallowing siege.....

Just sayin'

This.....

And a bit of that. :lol:
Been there done that. It was scheduling farriers, vet, vaccinations, exercise schedules,feed schedule, managing mexican men (which was not easy for a young white girl and held lots of drama), managing trainers and boarders who always want their horse put first, feeding, staying later than everyone else, keeping barn drama to a minimum, keeping track of used supplies or services for the book keeper, and keeping the BO happy.
A little bit of riding, which was most likely interrupted by a boarder with a request or a groom with a question.
It was a people job more than a horse job for sure.
Don't get me wrong. I loved the horses in my care. It was one of the hardest jobs I have ever had in my life.

And like Hasahorse said so well I too lost most of my self worth.

fair judy
Nov. 9, 2011, 08:06 AM
It's an up-at-dawn pride swallowing siege.....

Just sayin'

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

Rye
Nov. 9, 2011, 01:04 PM
mmmm....sounds like a hard physical and mental job. Worst part would be putting up with the neurotic owners.

findeight
Nov. 9, 2011, 01:21 PM
Its what you make it, don't worry, follow your heart, just make sure your heart is in it and you will do just fine... or better!:)


Actually, it's what the barn owner/employer makes it, not what the prospective employee thinks or hopes it will be. Thats's what OP has to find out and the BOs all want something different of the barn manager position.

As somebody else remarked, if you think you will be supervising staff, vet, farrier etc. and the BO hires you to muck 15 stalls twice a day and care for the occupants? You got a problem.

Isabeau Z Solace
Nov. 9, 2011, 01:39 PM
It's an up-at-dawn pride swallowing siege.....

Just sayin'

Too true:D!

BeeHoney
Nov. 10, 2011, 12:14 AM
There are a lot of threads on this BB that talk about what it is like to be a BM...and I can't recall too many folks describing the job as something that keeps them "centered and settled." It that is what you are looking for, that is not realistic.

Being a BM is high stress, low pay, and long hours. It's almost assuredly a lower paid and more stressful job than what you are currently doing. The exact job description will vary widely from barn to barn, but those three integral parts listed in the first sentence will be there.

Keep in mind that many barns don't really charge enough in board fees to cover someone "supervising." So managing a barn often includes being able to work hard doing whatever needs to be done, and whatever falls outside the hours or ability of the other staff.

copper1
Nov. 10, 2011, 07:48 AM
I have been a bm/trainer/instructor for many years and this job I ahve now is wonderful and I like going to work in the am! Wonderful horses and owners and it took me nearly a lifetime to find what is to me, a perfect job! Ours is a small facility and what I say generally goes! I am truly the boss when it comes to the actual horses and their people. I do have to work with the BO when it comes to improvements and changes but we get along very well and it works for this situation.
I make a good living wage and yes, if one puts it down to actual hours, probably less than minimum but I can put in as many or few hours as I see fit and I don't get questioned for arriving late or leaving early because we get it all done. Besides teaching and riding and showing, I do barn work to help my help, arrange schedules, order supplies, arrange contractors for outside jobs such as fencing, excavating, repairs; arrange vet and farrier;there to take care of late night colics. I also help out the BO with pet care or if they need something in the house and I don;t mind since they do not take advantage of me!
In return I get my salary, board for my horses, fantastic horses to work with, a beautiful facility to work out of and some wonderful people!

Ozone
Nov. 10, 2011, 10:09 AM
Being a barn manager is like being married with a bunch of kids that tug at you every day all day for something they need. It is a TOUGH job, it is a 24/7 even Christmas job. If you seriously are ready to drop your time, have your family wait on dinner at Christmas and Thanksgiving until you are done caring for the horses, having your cell phone ring at any given moment to tend to one of the horses, late nights, early mornings. Nagging boarders, raggy horses, nice boarders, nice horses well.. then.. go for it but remember only the strong survive as BM's.

I would not trade it for anything but I did not walk into it, I was born into it and that IS a big difference.

fatappy
Nov. 10, 2011, 05:10 PM
I am a "part-time manager." I don't muck stalls or feed or water (except Sundays when our stable hand is off). I'm really the face of the barn to whom boarders take their complaints... of which there are pleeeeeenty.

I have a full time job in corporate America and go to the barn before work in the morning to extinguish any fires that may have happened over night. Then I go out over lunch to see if there are any fires happening during the day, then I go out after work (by now praying there aren't any fires), cause now I'm exhausted. And usually by the end of the day, there is a fire that a boarder has brought to my attention via email/ text/ voicemail.

I might eek in a ride, but sometimes, I just don't have the mental capacity to be a functional rider. And keep in mind, I'm doing this part time, at a 12 stall barn with no trainer involved.

Oh, and I don't get paid, I work off my board.

It's very, very demanding even when it's on a small scale such as mine. People have a lot of time, money, and heart invested in this and they want things done the way they would do them if they had all the money in the world. And I get it, and I can appreciate it. But you can't make everyone happy, I've in fact learned that you can't make most people happy and that's exhausting.

I think something that people haven't mentioned is the PR/ advertising piece of the business. I have had to create/ maintain a website (which is my personal hell), create flyers, generate buzz, etc., cause at the end of the day, the BO is looking at me to fill her stalls. That's a lot of pressure. I'm lucky in that I have a patient BO, but I can imagine that if you can't deliever on that side, you may have some problems.