Profitable Horseman Newsletter - Is Your System So Easy, A Cave Man Could Do It?
Douglas Emerson Profitable Horseman
Profitable Horseman Newsletter 
September 17, 2009
Is Your System So Easy, A Cave Man Could Do It?

You probably hear a lot about systems in conversations.  Often in reference to money making systems like: internet marketing , horse betting , stock investment  and multi level marketing.  Usually complicated, these types of systems have a degree of success directly in proportion to the business owner's effort to understand and follow the system.

But, not all systems are complicated. In your home, you might have a system for doing the dishes, or folding laundry or feeding the dog.  You have them because they simplify your life by helping you doing things efficiently without reinventing the process each time. 

I had lunch recently with Mike, the owner of a roofing company and Frank, a retired roofer and estimator.  We talked about their experience with systems and the crews that work for them.  While the business of roofing and the business of horses are very dissimilar, they have common ground as far as the need to accomplish a lot of physical work during the day. There are no cubicle jobs in either business.

Both businesses involve material handling.  For example, roofers tear off worn out roofing materials and install new roofing.  Horse businesses remove manure and bedding and replace with fresh bedding.  Both businesses involve physical labor, hand tools and machinery.  Both businesses employ experienced and inexperienced help.

Mike and Frank agree that without a system for work, productivity falls and profit falls even quicker.  A foreman who leads a crew with a system and expectations for time requirements, is essential for company profitability.  When crews know the way to do a job and the time allotted for completion, they perform.

Well, duh, that's just common sense you may think.

Common sense yes, common practice?   NO.

You know what I mean if you have visited horse businesses where the help operates behind schedule, doesn't have the right equipment and tools and thinks that any motion, including backward, indicates work is being done.  You may have this problem at your own business.

I'd like you to consider the importance of systems in your horse business.   Written systems add stability for the day-to-day operations of a business as well as encourage efficiency. Some things that we consider routine and expect everyone to know may still need to have an established system.

As an example, let's take a look at a simple system for water buckets in stalls. My system includes checking water levels four times daily and refilling if under half full. The system demands emptying the buckets and refilling whenever they become contaminated with bedding or unwanted hay droppings. Buckets are to be scrubbed with a special "water bucket only" brush once a week to remove accumulated residue.

Even though you know all of these things are part of good horse health care, your employees and helpers may not. A written system helps eliminate confusion and smooth out the day.
Examples of other parts of your business that will benefit from having a written system are:
  1. Stall cleaning and manure handling
  2. Daily feeding times and procedures
  3. Welcoming new customers
  4. Collecting payments from customers: Cash, check and credit cards
  5. Answering the telephone and taking telephone messages and relaying to the proper recipient
  6. Arranging and filing horse registrations and health papers
  7. Reimbursing employees for expenses
  8. Preparing for travel to a horse show
  9. Dealing with sick or injured horses
  10. Checking, changing, removing and storing coolers, sheets and blankets
My point is that every part of your horse business that can be made into a system and placed in writing will be one less opportunity for confusion or opportunity for someone to say those dreaded words, "you never told me that."

Invest the time into making systems for your horse business. The benefit of having simple, smooth and synchronized systems is happier employees, less stress for you and more profit.

Others Have Said 
"Once a week, do a thorough review of all your projects in as much detail as you need to. If you do, your systems will work. If you don't, no system will work. " --David Allen

"Work expands to fill the time available for its completion"--C. Northcote Parkinson

"There it was, hidden in alphabetical order." -- Rita Holt

Have Voice, Will Travel.


There is no easy path to success in this business of horses.  Clients and audiences I've talked to have confirmed that reality many times.

 I've been writing this newsletter about success in the business of horses since 2005.  It's brief and takes only a few minutes to read. That's because my intention is to provide an idea, ask a question or simply inspire you.

I'd like your help with my goal of helping 10,000 horsemen in the next ten years become profitable horsemen.  I'm looking for public speaking opportunities to associations, groups, councils and businesses to tell the story about success in the horse business.
Please contact me about your group's event, the subject and the possibilities.  E-mail me here or call me (716) 434-5371.

walnut 3Back At The Barn

I've been enjoying sensational late, late summer weather here in the western part of New York state.  I call it working weather: Sunny days, low humidity and cool nights.  And there's plenty of work to do on our farm.
I've been working very hard at delegating more farm work to any of the children who happen to be within earshot.
They've been working hard at avoiding me.

And so it goes just about everywhere with children and parents.  

Took some time off before Labor day to spend the afternoon with long time friends on a boat. We cruised from Wilson, NY along the Lake Ontario shoreline to the mouth of the Niagara River and then up the river to Lewiston for a dockside restaurant lunch.
As we relaxed, we watched passengers board the commercial jet boat for a ride upstream through the thunderous lower Niagara River rapids. Shortly after the boat left the dock, the pilot spun the wheel and his screaming passengers in a few warm-up 360 degree spins on the flat water in front of us.

Sipping my beverage, I wondered if he'd started his day with a cup of coffee or a gallon of Red Bull.

Ihelp professional horsemen and horsewomen struggling with the business half of the horse business. 

Not enough time, not enough money or not enough of the right people working for you?

Is your horse boarding business unprofitable?
Contact me to see if I can help. 

Until next time,

Doug Emerson
Profitable Horseman Deewochagall
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