I wish to thank you for the article on Boarders vs. Barn Owners by Susan Quinn?in the July 2013 issue. The use of the word "vs." implies conflict. That's sad in a way and, as a barn owner, we do everything possible to avoid it.
I view running a boarding facility as a service industry job. We provide a service--board and care of your horse. I am definitely in the customer service industry. I want my boarders to be happy.
We set the rules very clear and from the start. We are about safety. Unfortunately, with the Internet and other media sources, Boarder Betty gets an unrealistic view of what horses are really like, especially if she is inexperienced. When she shows up with the latest book by horse whisperer ?Red Rider,? we know we have a problem and must watch carefully to make sure "Betty" doesn't get hurt.
Red Rider has a right to market his books, but he doesn't run a boarding facility or doesn't run this one. Fortunately for us, Betty took her horse communing elsewhere. We were too restrictive for her.
And as for kids and dogs, I've listened to boarders complain for years about this subject. But anyone with half a brain cell and a bit of good manners leaves their dogs at home. The ones who want to bring kids and dogs don't fall in this category. Barn owners restrict them because they are a liability and just plain annoying to everyone else.
Boarding is a marginal business. Any profit at all is small. We expect to get board checks on time as we have bills to pay. We treat boarder's horses as our own and we work hard at building good relationships. We want this to work. It isn't a "them and us" situation. Everyone can do their part in making it positive.