The Bus Test

I was listening to a podcast this morning.  One that is specifically for women entrepreneurs.  The person being interviewed talked about “the bus test”. And she said that she knew she had to make changes when she realized her company failed the bus test.  And all I could think about was very boarding and lesson facility that I know of would fail the bus test.  For that matter I think most small businesses would fail.

The bus test is very simple.  Would your farm or business, be able to operate if you got hit by a bus? Or in the equine industry, could your business continue to operate if you fell off a horse and broke your leg?  What would happen?

I think for the majority of horse professionals, this would be devastating.  I think about how my income would be drastically reduced.  Even if I just had to take a couple of weeks off.  Hell, most of us can’t take vacations. God forbid we get hurt.  And we all know it. That is why when you see on Facebook or some other social media that one of us had a bad fall, we are all more than happy to donate.  We don’t even know that person, but we give what we can in hopes that if we ever need it, someone will do the same.

About 12 years ago, one of the local trainers collapsed while giving a clinic.  She was rushed to the hospital, put on life support, where she remained for about a month until the decision was made to remove her from life support.  It was a horrible situation.  Her family was devastated. And totally lost, not just because of the loss of a loved one, but also because they were now in charge of managing her farm.  The horse industry and the community came together, and the results amazed me.  There were trucks of feed and trailer loads of hay coming from 2 states away.  The horse world put their differences aside to help. 

This is heart warming. But how do protect our business and our families. Not just financially, but also operationally? How do we build a business, an equine facility that can pass the bus test? This is a daunting question.  And one many of us choose to ignore.  Maybe even secretly pray that it never happens.  I do the same thing.  And I feel guilty for pretending it is not an issue.  

Passing the Bus test, has many levels. I think that is why it is so easy to ignore.  It kind of funny because we as instructors, preach about how horses teach our kids responsibility.  And yet, we are not being responsible by ignoring the bus test. If you get hit by bus on your way home from a clinic, does someone know how to feed your horses?

If you get hit by a bus on the way to the feed store, is there an emergency fund to cover expenses until you are back at work? And is there someone who can access that fund? Is there someone who knows how and what to feed? If you get hit by a bus on the way to show, is there someone who know who owns the horses at your barn?

Is there someone knows where all this information is kept?

So today, I updated my emergency contact list in my barn.  And when I did, I included my information on it.  I wrote a list of who owens what horses that are currently boarded on my farm.  I also made a list for my son, so he knows who, I feel would be a good source of help for him.  Not just family members that he can turn to.  I know those people will be there.  But who would know enough about the lesson horses and my personal horses to help find them appropriate homes. 

There are other things we can look at when thinking about the bus test.  Things like disability insurance, health insurance, car insurance etc.  The list is long.  But please take an hour or so and write down some info.  

Feeding instructions written so that even non-horsey people could feed if needed.

Contact information on boarders

Where to order feed and what is the standard order?

Where do you get your hay?

My first thought is well, all they have to do is look at my phone.  But wait….. my phone is locked with a passcode and may not be available.  And the people I call are not identified in their contact listing.  For example, I order feed every two weeks from a young lady named Tiffany.  No one would know that. I don’t have her employer listed in her contact info.  I order hay from Guy, no one would know.  His name is in my phone. But his contact does don’t read Guy, The Hay Guy.  Maybe it should but it doesn’t.

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