Possibly opening a co-op, self care...what to do?!? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-28-2011, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Location: NY
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Talking Possibly opening a co-op, self care...what to do?!?

I have been working at a barn professionally managing it for about 3 years now. I currently co-own 3 horses with my aunt and sister. We keep them at my aunts home but we dont have alot of barn space (only a rough run-in barn with hay and tack storage) and only wooded paddocks (about 4 acres worth) with minimal grass and have a bad drainage issue.

We were very recently offered a really great oppertunity to lease a 10-12 stall barn and hayloft with 16 acres of paddocks and hay fields. The owner has offered us a 4 year lease at $200 a month. We pay about that for hay monthly so figure grazing alone will help offset costs somewhat.

Obviously there is more room then we could ever use, we plan on getting maybe one more horse in the near future and there is a slight possibility for a pony in the next few years as the kids get older and more into riding.

So my thing is would it be feasible to even consider opening a co-op or self-care boarding sort of barn? Not to profit, Im not considering 'boarding' other peoples horses, more like a few like-minded people to share the costs of keeping a nice barn or at the very least self-care to help offset the cost of rent..The owner is of course ok with us doing something like this..

We are in Upstate NY and there is a slight demand for boarding in my area. Here you either pay $500+ for full board at a nice facility or $200-300 for self-care/full board at some of the crappy barns in the area. There is even a barn a road over from me that charges $275 monthly for a 8X8 stall and turnout in a 6 acre pasture with 10+ other horses, you supply your own feed and hay and they manage to get boarders.

Just something I have been tossing around in my mind, we have an appt. Saturday to go check out the barn fully, have been there a few times but this time we will stay a few hours and walk the fence, check out the barn from top to bottom, talk to the owner and real estate agent ect. and possibly sign the lease...

Also what would the insurance risks be? We have basic insurance on our horses/current property that will transfer if we move but how would it work with horses that are not ours? Just confused on the insurance end of this as well..
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-28-2011, 12:48 PM
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NY does not have any equine limited liability laws so if you are going to board (even rough board) I would think you would require care, custody and control insurance along with a good liability policy.

I would also discuss it with the gentleman that actually owns the property.

The biggest problem with rough board is barn owner getting stuck taking care of a boarders horse when they are not taking proper care of it.

ETA - curious, where in this vastly different state are you?
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-28-2011, 03:48 PM
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It sounds like a really great idea...

Problem is going to be in the execution of that idea. First of all - finding "like-minded" individuals is going to be a trick. Invariably, everyone has their own ideas about things....even little things! And in co-op situations...because everyone is sharing costs and responsibilites - everyone is a "boss"...and feels they have the right to make decisions.

You would want to make sure that EVERYTHING - even the smallest details - are all spelled out and agreed upon.

Otherwise, you may wind up with endless petty arguments over the stupidest stuff. Which horse gets which stall? Who gets to keep their stuff where? Who gets stuck cleaning the bathroom? Why does X horse always get the biggest pasture? Why does so-and-so get to choose the hay supplier? How come A never works as many hours as B? and on and on and on....

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post #4 of 5 Old 07-28-2011, 07:19 PM
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Just curious, do people in your area call self-board operations co-ops? Because that's not what co-op means to me. Just saying you might confuse people.
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-28-2011, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ponyboy View Post
Just curious, do people in your area call self-board operations co-ops? Because that's not what co-op means to me. Just saying you might confuse people.
Down here, self-care, self-board, and co-op all mean the same thing. Folks boarding their horses are basically paying rent for use of the facility, which can be anything from just pasture to pasture/stall/ring/trails/etc. The boarders provide all the horse care, hay/feed, and keeping the stall/barn clean, etc.
In general, the boarders become fairly tight knit, often trading/sharing chores, horse care, etc., hence leading to the 'co-op' label.

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