The barn environment and our struggle to preserve it.

Today I had a very new experience for me.  And I just have to share.  

I tried to fire a boarder today. And she would not leave.

Today is the first day of the month and as required by my boarding I emailed her last night to give her a 30-day notice to move her horse.  I wanted her to move because she just doesn’t fit in my barn.  I know that sounds stupid and a lot of you are thinking; “that a great problem to have”. But it is really not.

This client has been here for some time.  She is nice enough.  But she just doesn’t fit into the barn family.  I have this wonderful group of clients who are all very motivated.  Almost all of them come out and ride 3 or 4 times per week.  There an atmosphere at the barn that I am not really sure how to describe.  But this client just doesn’t fit in.  She has very different political beliefs and spiritual beliefs.  And it is very strange because for the most part I don’t know what my client’s beliefs are.  And I don’t want to.  But we all know her beliefs. She also brings with her a since that she is always trying to get something for free.  And it is annoying. 

She asked advice from people in the barn who are not qualified to give the advice she wants.  But doesn’t ask for the same advice from those who are qualified.  You know the type.  Ask every other boarder about the FEI rules of clipping your horse’s whiskers.  When she only rides once a week for maybe 5 minutes at a walk and trot.  She doesn’t take lessons.  She rides with a long floppy rein and stirrups that are 2 holes too long.  She never has money for lessons. Can’t pay her bill on time.  And really just doesn’t need a horse.

Anyway, I gave her notice last night and ask her to please move her horse by the end of the month.  It has been a long time coming.  I knew when she moved in that she won’t work.  I didn’t connect with her then.  I don’t connect with most people when I first meet them, but I really didn’t connect her.   But I was in one of those panic where I had an opening and was in a hurry to fill.

She had ridden with me years before. Taking one lesson a week.  I was never comfortable enough with her on a horse to have her try to canter.  And then she disappeared for about 4 years.  She came back asking me to help her find a horse of her own.  She stated the budget that she wanted to spend.  There was no money in the budget to pay me a commission. So needless to say, I didn’t look very hard.  I talked to her several times and relayed that I thought she would be better off to just take lessons. But that was not in her plan.

I was kind of hoping she would give up because the type of horse she needed was not going to be found at the price she wanted to spend.  Well, I was wrong again.  She found a horse and brought it to live at Pony Paddock.

So, she purchased a horse from a mutual Facebook friend who rehabs horses from the kill pen.  She had never seen this horse ridden.  But she knew “in her heart” that he was the right horse for her.  There was no per-purchase exam because that was not in the budget.

You see where all this is going.  Horse colics, she can’t come to the barn to help.  She doesn’t want to pay for the meds that I gave her horse because she can afford that and the vet fee.  

It is a long-drawn-out story, that could have all been avoided had I listened to my gut.  Had I not been in the mindset that I had to have any other boarder at all cost.  Had I been in a better financial position and thought through my decision to allow her to bring her horse here, I would not be in this position now.  I would not be avoiding the barn because she is there and I don’t want to deal with her inappropriate questions.  Or her telling me how to deal with things that she doesn’t even know.  Had I felt like I had the cushion to say no, I would be better off today.

If the situation happened today, I would be comfortable sending her to another facility where she would have been happy and would have probably thrived.  This is another layer of our world that no one want to talk about.  But we are responsible for managing our clients and the environment they create in our barn.  

Take a few minutes and think about who your best clients are.  Spend the extra time finding those clients.  It may take longer initially but in the long run it will save you a lot of headache.

If you need help managing and growing your business email me at Molly@ordinarydressagerider.com. or click the link below to schedule an initial consultation.

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