Stable Manager  What They Do

Just the Facts

Farmers, Ranchers, and other Agricultural Managers Career Video

Insider Info

dotStable and barn managers feed and clean horses, keep the animals exercised and healthy, and keep saddles clean and ready to go. Their job requires an extensive knowledge of horses -- from their nutritional needs to how they give birth. They may also oversee the rental of stalls and handle financial considerations.

dotRacehorse ranches may have hundreds of horses. Often, these ranches employ more than one barn manager. In other cases, a barn manager may oversee a stable with six or 12 stalls. Either way, the work is fast-paced, constant and varied.

dotHorses can be fussy about what they eat and drink. They're usually fed once in the morning and once at night, and they have to have a constant supply of fresh water. Each animal will probably get a different meal, depending upon whether it's a pleasure horse, a stallion, a show horse, a racehorse or a workhorse.

dotStable management isn't a 9-to-5 job. Days start as early as 6 a.m. and finish well into the night. Since stables need tending every day of the year, many managers must work weekends and holidays.

At times, managers have to be available to assist horses 24 hours a day, especially during foaling season.

Lauri Kenny is a stable manager. "You have to be here. It's a 24-hour-a-day job [in the spring]."

dotMany barn manager jobs are live-in positions -- a free apartment or room is offered as part of the employment compensation package. Others receive the same benefit for their horses -- free stall rental as long as they're employed by the stables.

dotStable managers need to be in good physical condition. The job requires lifting heavy bales of hay, buckets of water and bags of feed. Managers should also be competent horse riders and able to work long days shoveling out or hosing down horse stalls.

dotComputers can control the lights and heat in a stable. Science has advanced understanding of animals' diets, and even helped shed light on what type of barn design is the most efficient.

dotBarn managers often develop strong bonds with the horses they care for, especially those that they track from birth.

According to equine teaching specialist Nicky Overgaard, managers know their horses' pasts in order to care for them properly and give them the time they need.

"You don't necessarily have to be there [all of the time]....It depends on your horse and the situation. It depends on the horse and her past foaling, if she's had complications or anything like that," says Overgaard.

At a Glance

Take care of horses, rent out stalls and handle finances

  • This isn't just scooping manure and baling hay -- horses are big business
  • Days start as early as 6 a.m. and finish well into the night
  • Many managers have degrees in equine or animal science