What Do You Need an Equine Facility Employee to Do?

Stable Management's Finding the Right Employee series is designed to give horse farm and stable owners tips on finding and keeping the right person for your equine operation.
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Know what jobs and tasks and employee will be responsible for before you begin the hiring process.

Editor's note: We will run a series on Finding the Right Employee. Spring and summer are the busiest seasons at a horse farm or boarding facility, so how can you make sure you are hiring the right employees? This series should help.

Finding the right employee for your stable starts with understanding what it is you need them to do. Every barn’s routine is different. The facility’s size, specialty and clientele play a role in determining a staff person’s daily tasks.

Start by considering the chores you need completed in relation to the number of hours you expect an employee to work in a week. A part-time person might only have enough time in the day to clean stalls or teach a few lessons. A full-time person might be responsible for feeding, turnout, mucking stalls and training.

“Keep a notepad in the stables. Throughout the day write down all the things that you’re doing,”said Thomas Schin, a client relations executive for AccuStaff, a staffing agency in Malta, New York. 

At the end of the day or a week, review what’s been jotted down. Then decide which of those chores an employee will be expected to handle. Even if this not the first employee you’re hiring, it’s important to revisit what it is you need an employee to do. When you’ve had a dependable worker for any length of time, you might not realize all he/she has been doing on a daily basis.

“I always caution clients to avoid trying to replace the person that just left,” Schin said. “It’s inevitable that over time that person had been given more responsibility, and you may not be able to get all of that in a new person.”

Take a step back and evaluate all the tasks that former employee performed. If they gave advance notice before leaving that job, ask him/her to keep a running list of daily activities. Review that list and consider what is absolutely critical and what is optional for the new employee.

Keep in mind that adding duties to someone's day after they have started working for you might be the cause for that person's departure! Just because someone takes on more tasks and does specific jobs doesn't mean that person should do all those jobs.

Clearly define your barn’s needs and the duties of an employee before beginning the hiring process. That will set you up for finding the right person for your barn, and keeping that person.