In the United States, stable managers are sometimes able to command a significant salary for their work, but this is a highly competitive industry. To do well, stable managers must demonstrate exceptional equine husbandry skills in a barn setting, and professionalism is even more valuable. A business focus is also essential to help them do well. If you’re thinking about entering this field, you’ll need to learn what it takes to balance manager-specific skills with solid business practice skills.
What Does a Barn Manager Do?
To be an effective horse stable manager or barn manager, you must be able to ensure the proper maintenance of the animals themselves. That takes hands-on experience as well as knowledge. Most will work hands-on with these animals and create solid bonds. However, a large part of the job is to lead other people. Most barn managers must directly supervise those working at the location. This is where having additional skills becomes so valuable.
What Skills Are the Most Valuable in This Field?
As with any management position, the goal is to learn how to work with other people to accomplish the tasks required to maintain an exceptional environment. This is not an easy job. Stable management skills that extend beyond professional equine husbandry skills often include the following:
Business Ethics and Responsibilities
The skills necessary for a traditional managing leadership role are also necessary for stable management – everything from leading staff with respect to meeting regulatory standards. You’ll need to learn how to properly manage employees according to local and federal laws. It is important to emphasize that a stable manager is not only providing care for the animals but care for the property of another person or a business. They have a responsibility toward many stakeholders.
Today’s horse stable manager will also need to have outstanding communication skills – projecting a respectful, authoritative manner appropriate for the environment. Learning how to ask questions, gather information, and create solutions to ongoing problems is key. In this industry, there are times when the capability to make a quick decision comes down to your ability to gather key information from employees and then tell them exactly what to do.
Another reason some horse stable managers excel in relation to their peers is because they understand the historical importance of their industry. No matter the location, there is a great deal of pride, accomplishment, and professionalism involved. Being able to understand the history of the equine industry has become one of the defining elements of solid employment in this field.
Utilization of Business Tools
It’s also important for barn managers to understand the fundamentals of managing a business – financials, payroll, and human resources. The ability to effectively and efficiently use payroll management systems, computer-based management systems, and record keeping tools can help you go a long way. Today, there’s a concerted move towards business management tools in the cloud. Managers with these skills tend to be very much in demand.
Solid Husbandry Skills Matter, Too
Your ability to maintain the very best standards within any horse stable or barn environment will still be a top consideration. There is strong industry preference for employees with practical experience in the field. This includes all aspects of horsemanship, medical care, equine nutritional needs, and behavioral management methods. It also means understanding how to maintain the property itself. Additional skills, such as working as a riding instructor or operating machinery, can also help you in the position.