Ok, so I want to build a boarding stable

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Ok, so I want to build a boarding stable

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    09-21-2010, 04:05 PM
Ok, so I want to build a boarding stable

I have been lurking around here for a few days, reading over your posts, both boarders and barn owners. I live in Michigan, and in an area where there are few (nice) barns. I have friends with horses, most of them board, but they dislike where they are at and have no place to move to. We have 35 acres of woods and farm ground, just put a garage out there, and plan on moving out there in the spring. Have been getting prices on barns and arenas...but I havent owned horses in 15 years, grew up with horses, now I am 50 and just wonder if I am crazy or why everyone is shutting down their stables around here. I don't really want to ask them, in case its financial and embarrassing. I have wanted to do this for awhile, for my own pleasure as well. My horses were easy keepers, did all the chores myself, is it unreasonable to think this is for me? I have a daughter who will help(I will employ her), she is half my age! For now I am employed, but how much experience would a barn owner need? Is this a crazy idea? Seems I have worked all my life to get here, do I take a leap? Any advise would be welcome...
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    09-21-2010, 04:07 PM
I think you should just do it. Since you have the opportunity to.
    09-21-2010, 04:19 PM
Its been your dream.....so WHY NOT? I say do it :)

Just to add... (I live in MI too, so I have realized why people switch barns constantly)

1.People tend to like it when the barns are kept clean and organized.
2. Make sure you are easy to approach as a BO.
3. Read up on a lot of info. On medical issues with horses, because the BO is usually the one to be with the horses most often...even when a boarder horse gets hurt.
4. Make pastures/stalls look nice. People like to know there horse is living in a healthy, cozy enviornment.
5. Make annual "family" events (especilly if Boarders have lil kids)...such as a halloween party, easter egg hunt, or even a "ladies" ride.

- I hope everything works out for you!
    09-21-2010, 04:38 PM
Start out small. Get a few pasture boarders and see how it works then move up if you can handle it.

It's a lot of work and boarders can be very strange. Personally, I want my BO to be very involved in horses and extremely knowledgeable in feeding, vet care, when to call the vet, pasture management, communicable diseases, etc. Basically I want to know my horse is safe and the BO will know if anything is wrong.

If you have the set up for it (Proper fencing, etc) take on 2 or 3 boarders and go from there :)
    09-21-2010, 04:39 PM
People are closing down their barns because it is expensive to own and keep horses. Boarding can be very difficult business. Most people who pay to board want amenities. Indoor/outdoor riding ring, roundpen, stalls, maintained pastures, 24/7 access to hay, high quality grains, tack room, bathrooms, trailer parking just to mention a few. Most boarding stables barely break even. Hay alone is so rediculously expensive and neccessary...it alone can break the bank.

Example. The barn where I boarded charges $200/month. That's cheap. She makes her own hay (has 200+acres), has well water, feeds crap grain, has a crap outdoor ring and a nice roundpen. Horses have stalls and 24/7 turn out. In the winter they get 4 flakes am and 4 flakes pm. While it is actually a good price on board, she doesn't make much. She traded feeding and cleaning responsibility for board on 2 horses. There are 12 stalls. So that $1000/month income. $12k a year. It costs her about $600 to make hay. Her taxes are outrageous. She has to pay for liability insurance. Shavings cost $225/triaxle/every 2 months. Grain costs her around $150/month. What I am saying is, its the stuff you don't think about that really eat into the budget.

I am not trying to discourage you from chasing your dream. It is a tough business and there isn't a ton of money to be made...but if its something that you love and want to do, it would be worth it.
    09-21-2010, 05:07 PM
Yes, I have been reading up, getting informed, not only by books, but by this forum. At one time I did board one of my horses right after I first purchased...there were 120 boarders there, very hecktic to say the least, but I needed to get to know the horse and how he was taught, his little idiosicricies, etc, so we stayed for a month. That barn is now gone, it was a decent barn, but gone none the less.
From what I gather, communication is key to boarder/barn owner or barn manager. I also know of gripes such as bad grain, bad hay, thought I would leave the grain to the boarder, locked in a closet with their tack, but fed by us each day by their request. We also have hay growing on our 35 acres, and another 30 on adjcent land, being farmed by the neighbor. This land other than 10 acres of it was just passed down to my husband this summer from the loss of his father :( we have had the 10 acres for years now...so now is the time. Altogether there is 60 acres, but only 15 being passed to my husband, 15 to his sister, 15 to his brother, of which we will be buying 10 acres of wood from.
I thought about starting off small, 60x40 barn with my own horses, then go from there, but an arena 60x140 with a added 25x140 foot enclosed lean to is not all that much (materials only) but that 25foot enclosed lean to will only house 9 horses...not enough. If I am going to build I want to do it right the first time. That's why I love the advice...please keep it coming.
    09-21-2010, 05:12 PM
Around here...a very popular design is an indoor arena with stalls. A nice big building with good footing with 12 stalls on either side. I always liked these type barns as they have great ventilation, an indoor ring and good stalls. If you want, you could even build a horse shoe type around the indoor with even more stalls on the closed side.
    09-21-2010, 05:51 PM
I really like this layout plan...

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    09-21-2010, 05:54 PM
Here's the bad news - if you're lucky, and a very good manager, you can make a *small* profit or break even on boarding horses, *once you have your facility complete.* What is nearly impossible to do is to amortize the cost the capital expense of building a barn or arena.

If you want horses, a barn and a ring for your use, and want to run a small boarding business to help pay maintenence, that's doable. If you want to add boarders so you can afford permenent help, that's doable. Pay the cost of building the facility? - not likely.

Also note that at most large commerical barns (the ones you'll be competing with if you go with a larger operation) board is a "loss leader" sort of like the milk at the convenience store. The business plan takes into account that they will break even or lose money on board, the profit is in lessons, training, coaching at shows, buying and selling horses and ancillary services. They accept the loss on board to get clients for the other, profit making services.

However, there is definitely a niche for barns that *aren't* focused on lessons and training, it's just harder to make money.
    09-21-2010, 05:56 PM
Yes, carinowalk, that is exactly the type of barn I priced, only with the one side for horses tho, and across from the stalls, built locked rooms for each boarders tack, and grain or whatever else need be. I could put another lean too on the other side, but at 25,000. Dollars a side, I thought I would wait to see if there was another design that would be more cost effective. The design I had drawn has window all the way down the side, doors at each end. Arena entrance in the middle, that way it only takes one stall away.
With turn outs daily, what size of stalls seem appropriate? 10X10, 10X12, 12X12? Would you expect turn out in winter? I thought about turning out into the arena when cleaning in winter, that's what a friend of mine did, early in the am and late in the pm.

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