If you are a professional horseman, I know you are
skilled at: horse handling, horse grooming and most
certainly, stall cleaning. Most professional horsemen
tell me that they are magnificent muckers. When it
comes to manure handling, no one can do a better
job than they do. Often, teaching the help to
properly clean and bed a stall is as thorough as the
housekeeping staff training at the luxurious
Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York.
However, getting the help to perform their duties as
the Ritz-Carlton staff is a challenge for many
professional horsemen. The hired pitchfork
operators just don’t seem to pick up the finesse of
the professional horseman.
When this happens, the business owner, in a state of
perfection overload, picks up the shovel and fork and
cleans the stalls, too. Sometimes help is sent off to
do other things around the farm, sometimes the help
is sent off permanently.
The result is perfectly bedded and manicured stalls,
perfect economization of bedding use and a
perfect waste of the owner’s time.
Practicing the art of delegation is key to success in
business. You can’t grow a business if you are doing
all of the jobs in the business. The time
spent swinging a pitchfork in the morning is
opportunity time for creating revenue. This is time
that should be spent with your hands on a telephone
and a keyboard, not time to hide in a stall with
I hear the money argument of some horsemen at this
point. The statement “I can’t afford to hire the
stall cleaning done. It saves me money” is
a common counterpoint to hiring and delegation.
You can’t afford not to delegate this work.
Face it, it’s an entry-level job not requiring high
pay. I’ll grant you the fact that it’s not easy to find
the right people all of the time, but I know you can.
As the business owner, your time is best spent
producing revenue for the business like:
- Giving riding lessons
- Training client’s horses
- Training your horses
- Selling your horses
- Selling other horses on commission
When you change your thinking to be a Profitable
Horseman, you will begin to ask yourself this question
as you start each task: “Is what I’m doing the
best use of my time, or should someone else be doing
Once you adopt this habit, you will begin to notice an
increase in your productivity for getting things done
each day. Sometimes, the choice to delegate a task
requires admitting that the reason you don’t want to
delegate is that your enjoy the comfort from doing
easy tasks that provide “see where you’ve been”
satisfaction. “See where you’ve been” jobs provide
instant gratification; mowing hay, cleaning stalls,
dragging the arena and painting the barn are
The most important tasks for the business owner
often provide little instant gratification and much
frustration. I offer you a simple sentence of advice
when it comes to dealing with the frustration of
being the business owner and the occasional mood of
depression that can creep up on you. The advice is
Get Over It!
Seriously, remember that every small business owner
has the same type of problems to deal with that you
do. Work on doing the important things in your
business that make it grow and find good help to do
everything else. It’s a formula for success . . . and
profit in less time.