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What traits make an awesome BO?

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  • What traits make an awesome BO?

    The title says it all. Through your years as a boarder, what traits do you think that all successful BO's should have?

  • #2
    1. Honestly.
    2. Not changing the rules without telling boarders and making rules that are logical and written and posted.
    3. If you start drinking every day before noon to get drunk, please tell us when we first interview with you.
    4. If you are certifiably mentally ill, please tell us when we first interview with you.
    5. When I tell you exactly what is bad about my horse, don't tell me that is OK and then feign surprise and shock when he does it.
    6. If horses are going to be turned out 24/7 tell me, as my horse sunburns in the summer and when I tell you that, I am not lying. (his skin and hair will fall off.)
    7. If something cost extra, tell me, and I'll pay for them.
    8. If your husband abuses you and does so near the barn, please tell me when I interview (my ottb mare could not handle the shouting and yelling and screaming.)
    Well, you can tell I've been at some interesting barns. Alcohol, meth, fighting, gun pulling and police, etc. My 2 horses were never bored.


    • #3
      Horsemanship, true knowledge of horses, not just being able to tack up and muck a stall, but awareness of horse body language, nutrition is a huge plus (i.e knowing the difference between putting a ton of beet pulp in a bucket to add weight and frequent feeding of top quality hay and grains), recognizing top quality hay, genuine love of the horse (all horses), business skills are a plus, communication with a human as well as the horse also a plus...could probably think of more but these come to top of mind when I think of some of the best barn owners I have met and the ones who were not

      I would also like to add clean, as in keeping the barn and feed room, water buckets, paddocks and stalls c-l-e-a-n. To me this is common sense, but may need to be spelled out. For that matter, lets add common sense to the list too!


      • #4
        Originally posted by TraksRuleDutchDrool View Post
        Horsemanship, true knowledge of horses, not just being able to tack up and muck a stall, but awareness of horse body language, nutrition is a huge plus (i.e knowing the difference between putting a ton of beet pulp in a bucket to add weight and frequent feeding of top quality hay and grains), recognizing top quality hay, genuine love of the horse (all horses), business skills are a plus, communication with a human as well as the horse also a plus...could probably think of more but these come to top of mind when I think of some of the best barn owners I have met and the ones who were not

        I would also like to add clean, as in keeping the barn and feed room, water buckets, paddocks and stalls c-l-e-a-n. To me this is common sense, but may need to be spelled out. For that matter, lets add common sense to the list too!
        This, plus business sense and ability. Manage the board we pay so there is adequate hay/shavings on hand and things can be fixed as needed. Raise rates, modestly, every year so taxes can be paid and improvements made. Need gravel, sand or whatever to improve drainage? That money should have been set aside. A modest increase every year is SO much better than getting a whopping increase after years of no increases.

        I don't mind frugal. I admire it. But worn-out, broken-down things because you can't afford to replace them tells me a BO can't manage money or run a business.


        • #5
          The last place I boarded had THE BO. I could search the world over, and I firmly believe I could never find a better one than him.

          My absolute favourite thing about him was that he knew my horse from spending time with him. When you don't see your horse every day, the best thing in the world is for the BO to come up and tell you a cute anecdote from last night when he was just spending time with the horses.

          My BO delighted in the horses he boarded. Even though the stalls were cleaned twice daily, he would go down late at night, when everything was closed down, and push the wheelbarrow up the aisle, scooping up the stalls and spending several minutes with each horse.

          These are things I would never, ever expect from a BO. But they made for the most special years of my horse's life, and left me with no regrets when he passed.


          • #6
            I really like the BO I have now. Her rates are reasonable and she's receptive to complaints. She will actually work with boarders to find a solution to any problems. She also looks out for the horses. Overall she's one of the best I've dealt with.


            • #7
              Deep pockets, incredible tolerance, and an unbending sense of humor.


              • #8
                I would say that a barn owner needs to be knowledgeable about horses, have a genuine love for them, and be safety conscious. I also think that a willingness to work with boarders and a desire to have the going to the barn be a pleasant experience for boarders is important.


                • #9
                  I really love the barn where I currently board, mostly because of the owners, so I'll list some of their attributes

                  - Knowledgeable: Not "know-it-all, I know better than anyone" but someone who has been around horses their entire lives and really knows about them. I rely on my BO to alert me when something is off with my horses, and I trust her judgement when she calls and says "you need to call the vet" vs. "you can handle this yourself." It says something when our vet (a been-there-done-that vet) trusts her judgements and suggestions. She also treats everyone's horse just like it was her own. She never bats an eye at offering to clean up a scrape if the owner is unable to come in that day, or offer up her own meds/supplements if someone has run out and is waiting for an order to arrive.
                  - Honest: I don't like passive-agressiveness. If something is bothering the BO, she will say something. It keeps the air clear, and also makes it easy to manage expectations. I also feel comfortable talking to her about stuff. I don't worry about her getting defensive or angry.
                  - Professional: This is SO important. For some reason, a lot of folks in the horse world forget that this is a business, and should be run as such. I expect a BO to rise above the pettiness that is so rampant in our sport, and to squash any negative, malicious or nasty behavior by ANY boarder at the barn. For the most part, we have a fabulous group of boarders, mostly due to the fact that the BO will not tolerate people being disrespectful or mean to other boarders (of course there are always one or two exceptions, but my BO handles those situations diplomatically, which usually takes care of the problem).
                  - Responsible: This goes along with it being a business. The BO should be responsible about expenses, upkeep, etc. There should NEVER be a problem buying hay, grain, shavings, repairing fences, etc. We pay for these services and should receive them without question or prompting on our part. The farm should be very well maintained (I'm not saying everything needs to be brand new, but it should be functional and safe) and CLEAN. Everything on our farm is clearly well cared for...which makes me feel good about leaving my horse in their care. If I drove up and saw unmowed lawns, messy yards, broken down cars, I'd wonder about their ability to maintain a safe, clean business for my animals.
                  - Fun: a fun BO is definitely a bonus. Ours really tries to make the barn a great place to be. We usually have big cookouts and parties for various holidays and events. This makes it feel like a big family.
                  - Humble: I think this ties into my first bullet. My BO is incredibly knowledgeable but she will not force her opinion on anyone. If you ask, she's willing to help, but she will never tell you what you are doing is WRONG (unless she believes the horse is in danger).
                  - Friendly: this seems obvious, but some BOs aren't very friendly. I like to stop and chat with a BO, and know that they are "human" too. It also tells me they enjoy what they do. If you walk around with a pout on your face all the time, I might start to think you don't really want to be there.

                  Okay, I think that's it...I'm very lucky to be where I am. I've been at some pretty awful barns through the years and I was starting to think it wasn't possible to board at a laid-back, happy, fun, well-run place. Sure, there are one or two "bad apples" at the barn but I just let it go because it has nothing to do with the owners, and everything else about the place is so fabulous


                  • #10
                    1. SANITY...one that functions like a normal adult.


                    • #11
                      My barn owners treat me like family and treat my horse like their own. I am now having to face the possibility of moving to a closer barn so that I can work more on my goals... but if I leave my current barn, I will cry. I love that I can trust them 100% to take care of my horse in any situation.
                      "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                      Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                      • #12
                        open communication, Easy-going, willing to listen to boarders ideas(even if you will disagree). Knows your horse by name as well as by behavior.


                        • #13
                          A good barn owner, IMO, :
                          1) Doesn't make rules up as they go.
                          2) Clear expectations, that don't change day to day or situation to situation
                          3) Friendly, and STABLE!!! and they don't ignore you one day, and your best friend the next, or make you feel that they don't want you around.
                          4) Barn is clean, organized, scheduled/routine worming, vet, farrier
                          5) Takes time to get to know their boarders and their families and their horses
                          6) Doesn't put up, or start, barn politics or drama

                          My BO is a 75 year old woman who is amazing. We have 17 horses on site. She fixes fences, runs tractors, throws hay bales...amazing. She plans easter egg hunts for the kids of the boarders at our barn, a huge easter breakfast for the families, a christmas party, gives each of us beautiful pictures of our horses for christmas, a summer BBQ and absolutely loves and spoils all of our horses. We all self-board, but she is always around chatting us up. We all let her know how appreciative we are of her.


                          • #14
                            A Successful BO?

                            Professionalism and experience.

                            Good contacts in the industry and knows when to call these people, and not afraid to ask for advice.

                            Good communication skills.

                            Good Organizational & management skills.

                            Drama, pettiness, paranoia, narcissism and insane relatives let loose on the property do not a successful BO make.