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Do I want to be a barn manager?

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  • Do I want to be a barn manager?

    Tell me your experiences being a barn manager. Trying to pick a path. But which one?

  • #2
    If I had to pick a job in the horse world aside from the one I chose (veterinary medicine) or my real dream of being filthy rich, owning 20 top horses and showing year round I would probably choose being a barn manager over a groom or trainer.

    I'm an organized, slightly OCD personality which fits with that. You have to be able to handle stress and have 100 things going on at once from managing finances to figuring out pasture rotations/vet/farrier/chiro/dentist visits to making sure Fluffy gets hand walked and Boarded X pays his/her bill on time this month. And you have to be okay with working all year long, rarely having vacations and making very little money compared to jobs outside the horse world that require a similar skill set.

    Perks would be working in a barn and with horses all day though. Hopefully having time to ride sometimes and some places offer a stall to their barn managers as part of the job to keep their horse. Most offer housing/living expenses. Those things are really variable though and usually only very big operations can afford a lot of perks for their managers.

    If you want to spend a lot of time at the horse shows this probably wouldn't be right for you since barn managers usually stay home to man the fort. Most managers I know do get to ride horses left behind to keep them legged up/fit but that isn't always the case.

    Comment


    • #3
      I've been following your other thread, and perhaps a BM would be a better fit for you and your family? I agree with everything Worth the Wait posted. A successful BM is a successful business person IMO. There a quite a few posters here that are BM's, hopefully they can offer some advice and suggestions. Good luck with your dreams!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by WorthTheWait95 View Post
        If I had to pick a job in the horse world aside from the one I chose (veterinary medicine) or my real dream of being filthy rich, owning 20 top horses and showing year round I would probably choose being a barn manager over a groom or trainer.

        I'm an organized, slightly OCD personality which fits with that. You have to be able to handle stress and have 100 things going on at once from managing finances to figuring out pasture rotations/vet/farrier/chiro/dentist visits to making sure Fluffy gets hand walked and Boarded X pays his/her bill on time this month. And you have to be okay with working all year long, rarely having vacations and making very little money compared to jobs outside the horse world that require a similar skill set.

        Perks would be working in a barn and with horses all day though. Hopefully having time to ride sometimes and some places offer a stall to their barn managers as part of the job to keep their horse. Most offer housing/living expenses. Those things are really variable though and usually only very big operations can afford a lot of perks for their managers.

        If you want to spend a lot of time at the horse shows this probably wouldn't be right for you since barn managers usually stay home to man the fort. Most managers I know do get to ride horses left behind to keep them legged up/fit but that isn't always the case.

        That describes it pretty well. I am a barn manager without workers, so I also do all the daily chores along with everything else. Its not necessarily a hard job but I like organization and being in charge etc etc... I find that when I do have vacation which is rare or a day off that I constantly worry if the horses are being taken care of the way I do it and if they are happy or not.

        Its a great rewarding job, but there is not much money in it and it takes a certain person to be able to handle it day in and day out.
        I love cats, I love every single cat....
        So anyway I am a cat lover
        And I love to run.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          I don't know if I could handle all of the people problems. I think it might be too stressful for me. I enjoy working with the horses. They don't talk!

          Comment


          • #6
            while it's not something i want to do anymore, for a while I wanted to be a barn manager. i would hate being a trainer, and hate being the barn owner if i wasn't also managing.

            i think it's a personality thing. do you prefer picking stalls and waiting on someone hand and foot, do you prefer standing in the ring instructing or riding other horses all day, or do you prefer to organize things and do book work as well as manual labor?

            i like book work and i like to clean. i love cleaning. it's a little scary. give me your disgusting tack, i will make it new. give me a dirty tack room, i will make it organized and shining. give me a bucket, i will scrub it. i like grooming too, but the life of a groom is not the life for me. i dont have enough patience to even consider being a trainer.
            (|--Sarah--|)

            Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3

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            • #7
              Probably not.

              If you're dead set on it, get an education first, something you can really fall back on, then let yourself do the horse thing for awhile until you decide whether it's for you. If you decide it's not what you thought, you at least have the education to fall back on.

              Comment


              • #8
                Dont forget that there are very few barn owners who offer health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, etc. Not to mention no sick days, no vaca, usually 14+ hour days with your day off being spent at the barn anyway.
                What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm

                Comment


                • #9
                  NO.



                  Don't get me wrong, I love caring for the horses, I love teaching the riders, and I love training the horses. And I love taking care of MY farm the way I want.

                  But I could go without some of the people drama, which tends to be part of the package with a BM job.

                  Of course, being an instructor & trainer has it's own set of drama....

                  Dang it, I gotta win the lotto so I can be a personal barn and deal with lots of horses but very few people
                  www.englishivyfarms.com
                  Hunters, Jumpers, & Welsh Ponies
                  All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by WEF2011Dream View Post
                    I don't know if I could handle all of the people problems. I think it might be too stressful for me. I enjoy working with the horses. They don't talk!
                    Don't be a BM for a boarding barn! Find something private. The headaches from the boarders are NOT worth it. Ask me how I know.
                    you look vaguely familiar.

                    "And somewhere -- wherever the racing gods live -- there was unabated laughter at this comeuppance. Karma's a Witch, babe, and so is the Triple Crown. "

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ShowMeTheGlory View Post
                      Don't be a BM for a boarding barn! Find something private. The headaches from the boarders are NOT worth it. Ask me how I know.
                      Definitely agreed! Although in my case it's not the boarders! They are great! It's the two different trainers who both bitch to me about the other. It gets tireing listening to all the BS. I am sooo over it!!
                      I love cats, I love every single cat....
                      So anyway I am a cat lover
                      And I love to run.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No. If you're lucky, you'll get a nice barn, but more likely than not, you'll just end up burning yourself out and making yourself miserable. I'm the OCD type that everyone says would make a great barn manager, but the last two months of my job, I just hated it. You will have to deal with crap from boarders, mothers, and trainers, and you'll find out real quick how low people's standards of care are. It's frustrating and not fun when you're working for a public barn.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Short answer: no.
                          The Little Red Mare: French Curve

                          and my non-horse blog: oh, rebecca!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Something that has been over looked and not mentioned - that is you need to be willing to follow through with rules, enforce them and be prepared that people wont like you.

                            If you are a person that is a people pleaser, you will not be good for the job. What I mean is if you like everyone to like you and you get hurt that someone may be offended by what you have said or done, management is not the job for you.

                            To be a manager of "anything", this rings true. You will make choices and implement rules that others just don't want to adhere to.

                            Of course depending on if you are at a public barn or a private one, it will be more difficult.

                            And let me say the difficult part is NEVER the horses..... it's the humans!!!!!

                            Good luck in your adventures.
                            Live in the sunshine.
                            Swim in the sea.
                            Drink the wild air.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by WEF2011Dream View Post
                              I don't know if I could handle all of the people problems. I think it might be too stressful for me. I enjoy working with the horses. They don't talk!
                              There is a ton of drama in managing a boarding barn. People knocking on your door all hours of the day/night, wondering if they can ride Fluffy when her shoe is twisted 2" away from her foot, or whether they should call the vet for the tiny scrape on Bonzo's elbow . . .

                              Maybe it's a people-can't-get-along-problem, like George doesn't like how Lisa spreads her crap all over the tack room & Lisa hates how Ann-Marie is oblivious while sharing the riding arena . . . and it's your job to make everyone happy.

                              BUT if you look at a private show barn where your job is horse care & legging up, it could be great. So long as you aren't expecting to make a decent wage while following your passion. And a lot of people make that compromise, because the lifestyle is so perfect for them.

                              One other possiblity - you could get out of the hunter/jumper barns & into the racing barns (TB, Standardbred or QH), where the owners almost NEVER show up (and if you are in a TB barn & like TBs, cheap (frequently free) reschool projects abound).

                              No matter your course, I'd suggest focusing on some business classes for small business management - and some psychology and "how people communicate" courses because this isn't a horse business; it is a people business. But it is definitely a business, so the business knowledge is crucial.

                              Another option - horse/house-sitting - pet care, clean stalls, keep the horses in shape (some owners will want that ) & the horses' humans are not around . . . Kind of like a barn manager, but you are your own boss, you meet tons of horses, and their owners are usually at work or out of town . . .


                              Best of luck, whatever you choose.
                              Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It's a kind of job you have to feel ok about getting married to.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Haivng followed your other threads, yes, I do think barnmanager woud be a good path for you.

                                  It is going to be a good deal of hands on horse stuff but you will be elevated form the grooms and workriders and will not have to partake so much in the heavy lifting but rather be the person that decides where things are put down! LOL
                                  There will be a good deal of organizing and office time, connecting with vets, shippers, feed deliveries etc. having the braiders on your call list, maybe the carservice too. You might be in charge of making the entries or firming up clinic appointements. Keeping books might be a small part of it.

                                  More of getting things done then the actual doing, but you would still be required to go out there and touch and feel the horses and make sure that they are well cared for etc. Plus perhaps step in and show the staff what to do. Sometimes you would maybe ride some or help with lessons, it depends on the barn you are at.

                                  Your age and prior experience would not nessecarily be an advantage when looking for a groom, but would be more interesting when looking for a barn manager.

                                  If you decide to go that path and get a manager job, most important is phonenumbers.
                                  Get everybody you ever met on your cell phone. In 6 months, when your boss says I think Barney is colicking we need to call the vet, you can ask not only which clinic but which vet at that clinic and call them directly before you get to the office.
                                  When they are at the Hamptons you can call a limo service in NY to take them to the airport.
                                  When barney then throws a shoe you know that your farrier is out of town and can't be reached but have the number for his backup.

                                  Barn manager is actually a very fun and rewarding job if you find the right place. It has challenges, sometimes like that of the devil wears prada but you get to be in the business you love and still be mostly in one place.
                                  Timothy, stop lurking

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I am an assistant barn manager/ trainer/ riding instructor at a medium sized training/boarding farm. If the Manager is not present I make the decisions. I also make my own riding instruction plans and schedule after the main duties. We do have three stall cleaners that primaily just clean stalls, but I do all of the disinfecting of the water buckets and feed tubs and grooming equipment. I do most of the Feeding with help from my Manager/boss in the evening. I will also do the tack cleaning of the working tack and most of the training or working of the horses is both managed between me and my boss. We both keep up with charting and documenting but he does most of the bookkeeping and all of that good stuff. Sometimes I play secretary if he is behind on some of the chores and work load. My boss is pretty fari and we get along pretty good. He knows to back off if I am in a bad mood and vise versa. He is farily leanient when it comes to my son. He has two kids himself and can relate. I even get a percentile of a commision if we sell a horse. When we sold Buzz I got a decent comission from it. I cant complain. I put 90% of all comission money into a college fund for Chris my son. Every little bit helps.

                                    For the most part my job is pretty rewarding, but like with everything its has its trying times and hair pulling times.
                                    Take time to stop and smell the flowers.

                                    Don't poke the Bear!

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