Originally Posted by maura
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.
This is true around here, and with the economy still in the dumps, lessons and coaching are the only money makers right now.
Have you considered having some self/co-op boarding? It's popular around here, keeps you out of the long hours of full board, and comes out ahead if you take into account what your time is worth (you still have a hard time recouping any capital investment you want to make, though).