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Barn Manger- job description

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  • Barn Manger- job description

    The barn where I board and have my teaching/training business has been a family run business for over 50 years. The owners, having never boarded anywhere else themselves, are unaware of the complexities of the term "barn manager." They simply hired a friend who boarded with them for 15 years who had no other experience either. This person is only on property a couple of hours in the morning and the same in the afternoon, usually leaving before all the horses are brought in. She does not know how to handle an injury, pull a loose shoe, or administer basic injections like banamine.

    The boarders have decided that since they raised the board to a price where, in our area, you would have a qualified on site manager, that we needed to address this with them before we pay this increase.

    If you were looking to fill a "barn manager" position, what would be the job description and what would be the qualification of a person you would hire?

    Thanks, we plan to present answers to the owners!

  • #2
    Take a look on yard and groom. Gives you an idea of hours/pricing too.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


    • #3
      I would think along the lines of "must hold hay or grain, sturdy, be devoid of sharp edges, may have to work extra on Christmas day..."

      (Teehee, your title says "barn manger, " but those would work for a manager also )
      "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


      • #4
        I was just talking to our "barn manager" today and was introducing them to my new farrier. When I said they were the "barn manager", they laughed and said that since the barn OWNER was very clear about how things were to be done, the barn manager job could be boiled down to "I get to drive the tractor!"


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for the suggestions. I guess what I would like is a list of qualifications and responsibilities for the barn manager where you board. Just a manager, not a mucker, trainer, rider, instructor.

          Ours is a glorified feeder/supply orderer. Can't drive a tractor, evaluate in injury (let alone treat it), give a shot, and is often afraid of some of the horses. So we need to present to the owners what we expect for our fancy new rate!


          • #6
            I really cannot comment on the barn manager job description but might be able to add some insight as why there was a fee increase.

            We, well my family, we have four horses, three minis and a pony that we keep at home.... the cost is now just about $1,000 a month for maintenance only without any labor cost...when we started twenty-five years ago it was about $400 a month for nearly the same size of a collection of hoofed beasts.

            Of course the $1K a month figured does not include fence repairs as the geldings love to play whose got my tongue over any fence line that they can find to put one on each side; nor the costs of the destruction the goofy TB filly can incur (well she is a mare now but never grew up so she is still the filly in my mind)

            I am just pointing this out as you may be surprised with the barn owner's response to an unsolicited demand of adding a professional barn manger to cost structure.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by clanter View Post
              I really cannot comment on the barn manager job description but might be able to add some insight as why there was a fee increase.

              We, well my family, we have four horses, three minis and a pony that we keep at home.... the cost is now just about $1,000 a month for maintenance only without any labor cost...when we started twenty-five years ago it was about $400 a month for nearly the same size of a collection of hoofed beasts.

              Of course the $1K a month figured does not include fence repairs as the geldings love to play whose got my tongue over any fence line that they can find to put one on each side; nor the costs of the destruction the goofy TB filly can incur (well she is a mare now but never grew up so she is still the filly in my mind)

              I am just pointing this out as you may be surprised with the barn owner's response to an unsolicited demand of adding a professional barn manger to cost structure.
              Believe me, I know all about the increase in costs. But in the area where we are, all other barns have an on site, experience, qualified barn manager for less than we are paying. The property has been in the family for over 50 years so you know there is no mortgage, as well as they have sold off hundreds of acres over the years. I have been there over 5 years and have increases every year, but this one was 7%. The years worth of hay was contracted and paid for last spring. Having managed a barn myself for years, I can pretty much tell you the increase in costs are all about mis-management.

              Like I said, I just want people to post a job description of what a barn manager's responsibilities would include and what level of experience that person would need, as well as hours worked. It's pretty simple.


              • #8
                I'm the barn manager and owner but I take care of everything around the barn. If I hired a manager, I would expect her/him to make sure all horses were fed, watered, turned out, stalls cleaned, fences fixed, manure pile pushed as well as arranging with a local nursery to haul it out when it got full. They would also get feed, order sawdust, and schedule hay delivery and possibly help to unload it.

                As a boarder at said facility I would want the manager to contact me if my horse came in lame or with an injury or was missing a shoe. I'd also like her to give me a heads up if my supplements were running low or even if my horse didn't clean up his feed as usual.

                Bottom line is that the barn manager is responsible for everything that goes on at the barn. If an employee doesn't show up, then the manager either has to find someone else or do it herself! The manger doesn't have to live at the barn but she better answer her phone or text messages if there is any chance a boarder needs a question answered and its during barn business hours. And if a horse is sick, she should answer her phone anytime of night! She should have a general idea of how to do basic first aid but I don't necessarily want her giving my horse shots without me (as a boarder) knowing about it and authorizing it first! And I don't want her to play vet and doctor a wound or give medication for colic without calling me (horse owner) or the vet first.

                It's a huge job with tons of responsibility! And it doesn't pay well most of the time either! If you find a person that fits the above criteria, hang onto them!


                • #9
                  I really hate it when people say "oh the property is paid for, etc. etc."

                  So what? Means they aren't entitled to a profit? Means they shouldn't up your board?

                  The term Barn Manager is whatever the Barn Owners think it is. Apparently, they didn't have one before, so even if this one is't as "qualified" as you think they should be, it seems the BO is willing to pay This Person for whatever They think the job should be.

                  If you do not like the care, or the price increase, then just go somewhere else. What they have done in the past 50 or the past 5 years with regard to their finances, buying hay or anything else is none of a boarder's business. It simply comes down to this. Either you think that the facility and care are good value for you, or you don't.

                  I think if I had a little training, lesson, sale business in someone else's barn, if they didn't ask me for my imput on their hiring or management process, I'd probably keep my mouth shut, pass the increase on to my customers and go about my business.



                  • #10
                    And people complain about barns shutting down left and right.

                    Sounds like the owners basically hired someone to oversee chores and then raised the board, both likely aimed at making boarding less of an abysmal time and money pit.

                    Consider how much it would add to the board to have a vet tech on-site 40 hrs/week. (and really, no one but the vet and the horse's owner, in most jurisdictions, can give shots.... Particularly IV shots like banamine! Not to mention the liability involved in barn staff 'treating' a fresh injury, beyond stopping gushing blood and immobilizing the horse they really just need to call the owner and the vet!) So teach them to pull a shoe correctly and apply basic first aid for chrissakes. Takes ten minutes.

                    My part time 'barn manager' cleans stalls, feeds, hays, waters, turns out. I order feed etc and groom the ring/do maintenance--don't want the tractor and/or tools endangered :-). One of my w/s had a barn management position where she did EVERYTHING from ordering feed to helping with chores to contracting pasture improvements. Salary tends to vary with duties and experience, of course, also.

                    Third Charm Event Team


                    • #11
                      As I read it, OP and the other boarders are aware of other boarding options and prices in the area. Rather than simply leaving, they are wanting to discuss what they are paying for, as the board increase is attributed to the barn manager; i.e., they are giving the BO a heads-up that they are not happy before they all leave.

                      Since you are comparing board at your barn to that of other in your area, I would contact them to learn what those same barns require of their barn managers. That is comparing (road) apples to (road) apples, and allows you to present facts rather than just opinions to your BO.
                      They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

                      Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth


                      • #12
                        When you look at "barn manager" want ads, you can see a vast array of what people think barn manager means. I had to laugh at a lot of things I saw a year + ago when I was looking.

                        I have been a barn manager for the better part of 10 years. First for a trainer (we boarded horses that were in a training program), and now for a pretty high end boarding operation. There are some differences between the former job and this one, but the meat of the position is generally the same.

                        - I over see the general care and well being of all the horses on the property. Both jobs have had me very hands on in this regard (I'm the one who feeds, turns in/out, changes rugs, etc, etc, etc).
                        - I keep up with supplies, feed, hay, etc.
                        - I discuss issues, concerns, health, feeding, etc, etc, etc with the owners.
                        - I am very capable of assessing and treating injuries, ailments, and the like. I know when to call the vet, and when I can address the issue without costing the owner a vet bill. Our main vet is well aware of my competency (well, there was some question over my skill at wrapping a HEAD...yes, a head, but I got that figured out, too) and knows that when I say I need him, I MEAN IT.
                        - I can and do administer injections, both IM and IV, and will give banamine and ace in an emergency. Some of my clients as me to medicate their horses for various things, as well.
                        - I work closely with the horses' vets, and try to be available for appointments so I can fill in details that their owners may not be aware of (I am with their horses all day, every day, so as much as they think they know, sometimes they don't. Just a fact of boarding your horse).
                        - I work closely with SOME of the farriers (I have closer relationships with the guys who do the majority of the horses, but there are a couple of others that I don't deal with as much).
                        - I over see the general well being of the property. There is a farm hand who does the grunt work in the barn (stalls, water), and also does the property work. I discuss with him when things need to be repaired, built, moved, etc. I make sure he stays on top of ring dragging (though, I can and do occasionally drag myself).
                        - I can drive the truck and trailer and know where the vet hospital is.
                        - I can drive the tractor (though, I rarely do).
                        - I answer phone calls and emails, manage the ring schedule (we are open for haul ins), and talk to drop ins when I am around.

                        It is A LOT of work and I find it equal parts gratifying and frustrating. I am well compensated (for the horse industry) and am lucky enough to work for farm owners who don't like to skimp (though, I've saved them money with a few changes). The job will vary from place to place,, depending on the type of barn, how big, the level of care, etc, but I think everything I listed should be fairly standard, give or take a few things. I think of myself as a "horse" manager as much as a barn manager, as I manage the care and well being of the horses, and make decisions that are best for THEM. I think that's a big part of the job.