There is believed to be 58 million horses and 28 million leisure riders worldwide. The international equine industry, valued at 300 billion dollars annually, is a large part of our global economy, and the cost of feeding and maintaining these animals continues to inflate with the rising price of grain and acreage.
The cost of boarding horses in a stable or pasture has also increased. Millions of people are employed in the equine industry and with adequate experience and careful planning; you could become an entrepreneur in the horse boarding livery business.
Your first step should be to determine whether there is a market in your area for equine boarding services. Research other local boarding farms in your area and determine if you have a potential client base.
Online resources such as stable-mates.com offer information on local equine businesses, so you can analyze the market or advertise your own farm. Next, create a business plan, contact your local zoning officer and affirm that the property you have can legally house equine stock.
The more horses you intend to facilitate the more complicated the endeavor will become. Start out small to gain more experience and prevent costly management mistakes.
Your facilities and acreage available will ultimately determine what your limits are. If there is not a safe barn with stalls, proper fencing, and storage for all of your farm’s needs, you will need to consider what must be built or repaired.
Many adjusted horses, healthy and well mannered, are able to live outside 24/7. This will significantly lower your operating costs but boarding rates will also be drastically lower.
Horses living outside, in large fields or paddocks, must also have plenty of safe grazing area, fresh water and some form of dry shelter from the heat and heavy or cold rains. In climates with abundant grass, one to two acres is the minimum without supplementing hay and grain, as well as allocating unused land to allow for the grass to rest and regrow.
Horses are known to pull grass roots out of the ground; if not given enough care, a pasture will turn to dirt or sand.
Boarding facilities have 3 main types of care: pasture, partial and full boarding. Pasture boarding is without a stall but may include feeding and general care. In partial boarding, the client arranges to manage certain aspects of their horse’s care, like feeding, cleaning stalls or turnout, while your staff assumes the rest.
Full boarding covers all of the animal’s everyday care. Management assumes responsibility daily for feeding the animal, keeping its stall clean, pasture or small paddock safe, turning out the horses and any other equine management practices you wish to install.
Stabled horses require diligent care seven days a week year round. Caring for a handful of horses can quickly turn into a full-time job. You will need to have either an emergency caretaker, in the event you cannot be there to perform your duties; or a part-time staff to assist you.
Larger facilities may benefit from a full-time staff, including but not limited to farm mechanics, grooms, riders, and trainers. You will also want to have a full contact list of trusted veterinarians, farriers, repairman, and hay/grain suppliers.
It is very important when placing the lives of animals in your hands that you have a few redundancies in place. Equine insurance will also be mandatory to a certain degree. Be sure to speak with a professional regarding any contracts you create for clients, and employees. Every state is different and equine related laws are complicated.
In your business plan, a large portion of your income will be directed towards the purchase of supplies. Many boarding programs include the cost of hay, grain, and bedding. Buying in bulk is the cheapest, but delivery, storage costs, and space are also factors.
Plan your feeding program very carefully and seek help from locals and nutritionists. A lot of money can be wasted feeding quantity over quality. A good feeding program has fresh hay as its foundation and a grain that adds only the missing essentials.
Horses kept outdoors will need a different diet than stalled horses, which will also require a lot of bedding, and safe disposal of such. There are great options for composting manure if biodegradable bedding is chosen.
Every facility is going to be different, just as every horse has different needs. Your clients may anticipate certain privileges and as your facility strives to accommodate issues such as tack rooms, arenas, blanketing, and grooming you will have to address each issue with a pragmatic agenda.
If the boarding farm is not properly managed and profitable, the care of the horses may falter. It is in the best interest of everyone that procedures follow a strict regime and routine. You can never be too prepared or ask too many questions when starting a business.
And don’t forget to create you free profile and listings on stable-mates.com!
Article by Brooklyn Morgans