Hello all! I am new to this forum and hoping that some of you veterans can give me some advice and some more things to think about.
I will be moving "home" to my family farm that is currently not being utilized for anything other than sharecropping. I'm tired of seeing corn year after year. It is located about 10 miles from the nearest gas station, no main highway any where near it, and surrounded on all sides by woods. In other words, in the middle of no where! ;)
It truly is a heaven for horses and it has always been my dream to turn it into a retirement farm for horses. Creeks running through every pasture, old growth pine stands and roughly 60 acres of established pastures. I would be running all new fencing, building a 6 stall barn and a hay barn with various run-ins in outer pastures.
I also have a family friend who is a vet living 4 miles down the road who would partner with me while she is starting her own organic farm.
I know I would have to be selective of the people and horses who come to the farm. Since I have limited help, we could not board horses who need to be stalled 24/7, and I wouldn't want to. I envision a farm where a horse can live out the rest it's life as if it were just a horse, grazing and basking in peace. I believe in natural horsemanship philosophy and want to make this farm a haven, not just a boarding farm.
And I would want to provide a service for people who don't have the means to allow their horses to die in a natural setting. So I would not want to charge an exorbitant amount per month. Since we would cut our own hay, I would like to keep the monthly fee around $250/month (including hay, grain when/if need and daily care), the boarder paying for supplements, farrier and vet. I don't want super rich boarders, I want people who truly love their horses like family members and want them to die in a place that will make them feel like a wild horse. (Sappy I know, but true)
I would also be blogging and keeping an online journal for my boarders to check in on their horses daily or weekly.
We also have about 60 miles of trails that run all through the farm and down to the lake (Kentucky Lake). I would love for boarders to come and stay, check on their old friends, and bring their young ones for a weekend trail ride. Maybe later on, we can build campsites!
Horse lovers, boarders and barn managers - can any of you give me any advice or share your thoughts on this idea?
I have boarded at multiple farms, but I have never ran a boarding facility. So please share anything you might think would be helpful for me to make this a smooth operation for horse owners.
Excited and hopeful!