1. Take advantage of scheduling tools. Carrying around a physical calendar isn’t an option for most managers, which is why digital scheduling tools are crucial for optimizing organization. Keeping your appointments, reminders, and tasks all in one place will help you maintain a more regulated barn and allow you to plan your days and weeks. These tools can also be shared with staff and clients for vet or farrier appointments and lesson schedules.
2. Communicate with your staff and clients. This can seem obvious, but there’s a difference between barking orders and having productive communication. A staff that works together like a team with open, two-way dialogue will be more capable and able to stay on top of the changing needs of every horse under their care. Creating an environment where everyone’s opinions are valuable allows staff to bring their unique skills to the table to improve your operation.
Communication with clients is equally as important. Setting expectations for horse care, training, lesson schedules, and show opportunities can help you organize your facility and calendar for a more structured program.
3. Praise your healthcare providers. The vets, farriers, bodyworkers, and chiropractors who keep your horses in top form should feel like valuable members of your team. Professional riders and trainers understand how important these individuals are in their program, and you should too. Ask your vets and farriers the best way to communicate and how they prefer scheduling and payment to be handled. A happy vet or farrier is more likely to squeeze you into a long day or come out last minute for an emergency.
4. Tidy and restock. Part of running a top-tier facility is understanding that there is a place for everything, and everything should be returned to its place! Organization comes in handy for saving time throughout the day but also can be important during emergencies. Your feed, tack, medicine, and other stored items should always be well-stocked and easy to reach.
5. Cater to the individual. There is nothing more impressive than a manager who seems to know everything that happens around the barn. It’s not likely you can remember everything that has happened in the last week or month if you oversee multiple horses, which is why keeping precise records on each horse’s training and health is so important. This can help you look back and pinpoint exactly when a horse’s health began to change, and it can also help you with preventative care and in making a training schedule moving forward. Clients who can trust that you know their horse and have its best interest in mind for all decisions are more likely to stay at your facility and recommend you to others.
6. Take it digital. Day sheets in a binder and calendars in the office may be the way things have always been done, but switching over to digital tools for your barn management can help save you time and money. Digital barn management programs, such as StableSecretary, elevate your record-keeping, ease communication and so much more! With everything you need to manage your facility available directly on your phone, you can be in the saddle, away at a show, or on a much-needed vacation, and still have access to everything!
7. Provide the polish. While well-cared for horses and quality training and instruction are the reasons why people come to your facility, investing a little extra in the little things are what makes a facility top-tier. Add tasks like cobwebbing, polishing, sweeping and other cleaning routines onto your to-do list to keep a sparkling barn. Open a survey for current clients of what services you could provide that would make your facility even better. Use the other tips in this list to organize your schedule so you’re more accessible to clients and not running around stressed and frazzled. A calm, approachable manager speaks volumes to the quality of a facility.
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