What does it take to be Barn Manager?
Last week we researched careers in the equine industry. I dug deeper into the Barn Manager’s role and put together a job description to outline the responsibilities and qualifications it requires.
The barn manager plans and oversees the daily activity at the barn. The manager will oversee tasks including the feeding of horses, cleaning of stables, scheduling of staff and lessons, and coordination of vet and farrier visits to name just a few. If the barn is a boarding barn the manager will work closely with the boarded horse owners to ensure the needs of their horses are being carried out. If the barn is also a lesson barn, the manager will work closely with parents and new riders to set up lesson schedules, receive payments, and acquaint visitors with the barn layout and procedures.
Qualifications / Education
Degrees in equine science or management are available at several universities and the information gained there would be extremely helpful to a perspective barn manager. However, a degree is not required for barn management careers. What is required is experience and knowledge of horse care. Whether that experience and knowledge is gained through hands on experience or in a higher education setting is not as critical.
A barn manager must be organized and detail oriented. They must be self-motivated and able to juggle many tasks at once. Strong communication skills will be important when interacting with staff as well as clients.
Licenses and Certifications
Horse care and management certifications are available for various knowledge and skills but are not required for barn management. One certification that could be helpful for a young person starting out and looking to manage a smaller barn is the Groom Elite certification which covers horse handling, care, and injuries.
Those looking for employment as barn managers can find many opportunities online (eg. Yard and Groom, Facebook equine marketplaces in your area) or by networking in your equine community. The impression I get when chatting with barn owners is that good help is hard to find. If you are willing to start small and work your way up by providing excellent work, then you will not only gain valuable experience along the way but position yourself for management opportunities.
Related occupations include Groom where you can gain hands on experience with horses when starting out and Assistant Manager where you can get a feel for the management position and work your way up.
Header photo credit: Jon Phillips (via Unsplash.com)