Research for farm start up - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-04-2013, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Research for farm start up

Hello Everyone,

I had an Arabian when I was a kid and I have been dreaming of the day I would have horses again for 15 years. I always pictured a couple of horses and a full-time job though... 5 years ago, I saw my first Gypsy Vanner horse at the Kentucky Horse Park and I haven't been the same since. I dream about little Gypsy foals and green pastures and arenas and lots of people learning to ride and sharing in the joy that is MY OWN horse farm!

So after much consideration and deep discussions with my husband, we have decided to take the leap. We are going to begin looking for either an existing farm or land next year. In the mean time I am reading book after book and learning as much as I can.

I am hoping that some of you experts(those who operate a horse business) can give me advice. Did you start small and build up or create a business plan and get a loan? What things do you do(ie. breeding, boarding, training, etc...) to create revenue? Are you able to break even(this is what I am hoping for, my husband will continue his full-time job to support the family)?

Any additional advice you can give me will be appreciated. I am hoping to go into this as prepared as I can be.

Jenn81 is offline  
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-04-2013, 09:29 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Upstate, NY
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Where are you located

What farming experience do you have (hay/equipment/horses)

What business experience do you have

I will say on the breeding end of things, in my experience (with cows) you can buy into great genetics but they still won't produce animals worth what you see others selling for because a lot of the "breeders" have built names up for themselves or it's a family that has built a name over 10-20 years+ so not to discourage but the pleasure market of horses I imagine would be very similar to the world of show cows
tim62988 is offline  
post #3 of 10 Old 01-04-2013, 09:50 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Indiana
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Do you have friends that own horses on their property? Maybe you could go look at their barns, watering, feeding, storage etc.... Ask tons of questions! What why and what would they change. I'd start just with your own horses. See what works for you and the new property. Some property's are better suited to horses the others, while some just need considerations as to property management. Ex. Don't fence in the lowest land of the property lol. Little things make life sooo much easier. Having barns or any kind of out buildings would be nice for starting up. But, they may may not fit your end need and youll hate using them for horse stuff. Soooooo many variables is why I'd guess you haven't gotten too much info. As far as making money at horses? Breaking even would be amazing! You could board, but then there is insurance and people at your house EVERY day. Among other issues. You could get rescues or rehab/ rehome horses, lord knows there is a ton of good horses out there that just need cared for that you could resale. Breeding your own is a risky business plan. Still borns, loosing a mare, care and costs of mare and foal, plus a stud fee or care of your own stud. Then handling and breaking colts and fillys so someone may want to buy them, if they are good horses. Ugh..... What do YOU want? Lol
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-04-2013, 09:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
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I am curious and will be subbing/checking back to answers. I have some questions:

What kind of insurance would you be buying (or would a person buy, if they were to have others riding on their property, and potentially expensive horses living there)?

What kind of heavy and/or expensive equipment will you be needing? ie tractors, lawn mowers, tillers, utility ATV (like a Gator), pickup trucks, and the like.

Do you plan to start small and add on, or build a business plan and secure a loan/line of credit?

If you purchase raw land, will you be constructing outbuildings, putting up fencing, running water lines, electricity, etc by yourself, with a contractor, as your own contractor with hired help, etc?

If you purchase pre-existing property, do you have in mind what kind of amenities you would like to have? For example, water to each stall individually vs a hose outside, individual runs attached to each stall vs closed stalls with separate pastures, wash rack, tack room, arena/s, dry lot and/or area to quarantine new horses or sick horses, etc etc

Will you be looking for land to grow your own hay, or will you be purchasing from outside source? If you are growing your own, do you have the necessary equipment to harvest and bale it, or will you need to hire someone?

Will you have a place to ride and train, or will you have to ride in the pasture or trailer somewhere?

Do you have a trailer?

Some things that come to mind :) Certainly not everything to consider, but some important things, I think.

I have said what I have said. I have not said what I have not said.
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-05-2013, 03:03 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: california
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I really dont think there is much money to be made in breeding and selling horses. After you pay for land, taxes, water,feed, Vets. etc you really dont make any money. You have trainer fees. If it cost for example $100.00 a month to feed that preg mare, and the sets of shots she needs while preggers another couple three hundred , Vet checks, Vet check on foal when born, Foal shots, farrier , for mare and foal.. after you are in for 2-3 grand , How much is your foal really going to sell for ? Is there a real Market for the breed ?
I dont want to be a downer for your dream, but you really need to do a Lot of research before you risk everything for this. Property taxes only increase, water cost only increase, Even if you have a well, as teh electric to run it cost, wells go dry, wells get contaminated.. etc etc.. I Like my place but there are many times I wish I had municipal water and not a well, and not a septic tank, and a nice Paved road.
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-05-2013, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
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tim62988 -I am located in Central Ohio. I have horse experience, training and Western show. My farm and equipment experience is lacking but I am doing lots of research so I can be as prepared as possible. I hope to grow my own hay eventually but do not expect to start this initially. I will gradually expand once I have acquired the land. I hope to find an existing farm to purchase and fix up rather than land. As for business experience, I have lots but not in the horse market.

Phly -Thanks for the tips. I will definitely visit a couple farm owners I know and ask lots of questions. I had thought about boarding and am not sure whether we will embark on this or not. I had initially thought that I would just board a couple of friends horses but if the insurance is going to pose problems, I will be rethinking this. Even if I decide to board it will be after my family and horses are settled.

I am not really interested in making money with horses but rather generating some revenue to offset the expenses. So I am interested in the little things that people don't think about. Composting is the only one that comes to mind but I am sure that there are more.

Breeding is kind of a passion of mine. I wouldn't be doing it for the money but if it costs more than it brings in, it may not be a venture that I can pursue.
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-05-2013, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
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The horse breed that I am obsessed(only word for it) with is the Gypsy Vanner. They have only been in the United States for a couple decades. So most of the horse farms with this breed are relatively new in the scheme of things. These horses are selling for $5000 to $15,000, depending on the bloodline and training.

I would like to breed if only just one foal for myself but will have to decide if the risk is worth it. This is a personal journey that I will not take lightly.

Thank you all for your responses. Keep them coming.
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-07-2013, 08:33 AM
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Location: Ontario
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You need to do a feasibility study, cost of facility, regular insurance, additional coverage if paying cusomers are involved, monthly costs which include maintanance (barn, feed, fencing, farrier, vet bills which are only a guess but don't skimp), cost of horse/s, mortgage and anything else you can think of whereby money will be outgoing and anticipated income.
Saddlebag is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 01-07-2013, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
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for hay I would try to get the ground now and pay someone else to maintain the hay ground for you at this point. if you have extra ground great that way you can sell a bit and in low hay years like this one you shoudln't be as bad off, or if you expand past your personal horses you have that option too.

even worth letting someone else use the ground before you have horses just so they don't lay fallow
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-11-2013, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
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If you are interested in starting into Gypsy Vanners I'd ask these folks Prairie Thunder Ranch - Home Page
They brought the first GVs into Saskatchewan. They started with importing, I think, four bred mares. They have done quite well, and now own Romany King! I knew them before they started, we all thought they were a bit crazy paying so much for a painted draft pony, but they know what they're doing. I'm sure they would be happy to answer questions that you have. Even if you don't contact them, take a look at their horses! They have some of the better names in the game.
I am interested in starting my own farm in a couple of years as well (maybe not breeding right off). So this is good for me to read.

I figure if a girl wants to be a LEGEND, she should just go ahead and be one. ~Calamity Jane
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