Starting a new boarding business - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-13-2013, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Starting a new boarding business

I am currently searching for land and was looking for some opinions! I want to know if I were to build an indoor arena (Cover-All type) and put stalls in one end, would you consider boarding this way? Obviously, turnout is a key, but in Massachusetts land is very expensive and barns and arenas even more so! This would be temporary until such time as I got the boarding business settled and was able to budget for a more traditional barn. I would be creating a tack room/grain room etc. as part of the "barn section" of the arena! Also, how much would you pay? This is in eastern Ma. so average full-board is about $600-650 without an indoor and $900+ with an indoor!
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-13-2013, 10:13 AM
Green Broke
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I wouldn't pay anything, I'd board somewhere that had turnout. I don't know what other facilities are like in your area, but I doubt you'll get many, if any, boarders if you don't have some kind of turnout besides the arena. Wouldn't having just the arena to ride in, no where else, cause a lot of frustration and friction in people wanting to exercise/ride their horse at the same time?

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post #3 of 10 Old 12-13-2013, 10:22 AM
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welcome to the forum. One of the big problem with that set up is dust and the cold I have see this set up at other barns and that is the two major complaints
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-13-2013, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Kayella---Not sure what you mean about the turnout? Like I said, "turnout is key"--i.e., I would rather spend money on turnout than a fancy barn. While there may be lots of room in Texas for a farm, in New England 10 decent acres can be in the $750,000 range---if you're lucky enough to find it! I have seen a 5.01 acre parcel listed last week for $2.4 million.....Forested. Clearing would probably cost another $200, sold in 4 days.

Loveduffy--Is it any colder than a regular barn? Or are the barns near you heated? How do the people there deal with the dust---do they feel it's worth it? If the horses are out with the exception of overnight, is there a problem with air quality?

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post #5 of 10 Old 12-16-2013, 04:40 AM
Green Broke
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Starting a business you've really got to weigh up costs (as I'm sure you know). With a mortgage that big I don't know if a boarding stable would ever be feasible.

To me the set out of the barn doesn't matter at all really as long as it has everything I want. Wind and rain protection, enough light, enough airflow, big stables made of safe materials. Safe walkways. Tack and feed storage.

Like others have said, I wouldn't ever board anywhere without turnout, and to me I'd want paddocks at least sort of 3 - 5 acres shared between 3 - 5 horses. I wouldn't be that interested in anywhere much smaller.
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-16-2013, 09:22 AM
Green Broke
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A barn attached to a indoor arena unless dust-free footing is used exclusively... it is going to be a issue and possibly a health issue foremost.

Those "temporary" structures like cover-all have good and bad points.
They can be nice and bright to ride in in winter without having to deal with snow and ice underfoot.
They can though also be very cold inside, yet during the day get hot from sunlight.
In summer they can be hot as hades to be inside of...think heat stroke!
They can also be a huge issue with animals working, breathing and sweating inside with the build-up of condensation on the roof and sides which can and will drip on you like riding in the rain.

You can buy any size you want, any height any width any length.
The entrance points though can get tough as they are also vinyl and vinyl zippers which don't last very long before issues start with zipper separation, tearing of material.... you would need to figure out some sort of airlock entry system.
Heavy winds and snow..well the snow letting go makes a incredible crash...the winds make the thing shake and billow.
You really need the thing to be so far away from any type of branches that could fly in the wind as the vinyl gets brittle over time and pierces easily.
You would also need to figure out a ventilation system, a big and heavy duty one to be able to combat the condensation issue you will be facing.
And absolutely NO SMOKING any where in the vicinity... they can melt and they can burn!
Lighting can also be an issue as lights on cause you go again with condensation and heat issues, sorry.

They are wonderful though too and I have seen a few work great on Long Island with good planning and forethought to some of the things I mentioned.
A bright, airy and nice footed indoor riding arena that met the needs of a small barn atmosphere...held them till they were able to build that "real" indoor.

Myself, I would look into the cost of a clear-span "pole barn" type structure that would give you a covered arena to start with.
Finish it with 7' high walls and temporarily heavy plastic sheeting at the top of the wall where it meets the roof area... you will be needing a side wall height of at least 14' for riders safety astride maybe higher if jumping is done. Wall panel tops that can be removed or opened for ventilation in summer or warm weather and closed up tighter during cold winter weather.
A real roof structure that will shed snow and rain, tree branches, enable you to hang safe arena lighting and sprinklers to hold down the dust as needed and insulate against heat and cold and put ventilation fans up there for air movement during summer swelter and humid temperatures...and of course to help combat the moisture build-up that happens in all arenas attached or not to a barn.

I myself would rather a arena in close proximity but not attached to the barn.
Rather a dash through the rain than the coughing horse from to much dust suspended in the air from the riders riding.
Turnouts that allow my horse to be out some everyday. A riding arena that is fenced in and safely maintained. Nice barn with wide aisle, large stalls with ample bedding, good ventilation and lighting. A safe environment for me and my equipment, nice flat parking lot and trailer storage available... most important knowledgeable horse care givers and nice people...

I think what you will be spending on a vinyl structure could be better spent on a solid arena roof that will last you more than 5 years if you are lucky...good luck in your quest.... a very expensive one to contemplate taking on and doing from scratch.

Last edited by horselovinguy; 12-16-2013 at 09:25 AM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-17-2013, 02:21 AM
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You need to go price some barns, figure permit costs for building, ventilation, drainage issues for the stalls, where are you going to dump the manure ?, what size of indoor arena ? Is the cover sturdy enough for a snow load ? Do you have someone to build this ? or are you doing it yourself? I can tell you, between working, caring for horses, getting sick, colds flu etc,
sick horses, the daily upkeep, there is little time to build or repair .
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-09-2014, 09:01 AM
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The stables I first started riding at had this kind of a setup with their indoor arena, the BO had five stables facing inwards, but later she renovated those stables and turned them around so the doors were facing out. If you're looking to do an indoor arena with stables attached, the best bet is to build the stables facing out. Now they are some of the nicest stables there and there is no problem with arena dust getting into the stables as there is no way for it to get in there in the first place.

Sorry it's only tackling one issue, but it's the only one I feel I could help you with.

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post #9 of 10 Old 01-19-2014, 10:10 AM
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If this truly would be a temporary set up, it would work for a while however as the others have said, without turnout it is doubtful you would get those high boarding prices.
I boarded at a stable for a short time with stalls built inside the arena and the only way it works is A) the arena is watered constantly B)you do not try to also store sawdust in it. The air at this stable was horribly dusty and the horses coughed all the time because the BO didn't like people watering it. She also stored her sawdust in one corner and it made the situation even worse.
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-22-2014, 09:04 AM
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not sure how much this helps, but I currently live & work at a barn that has *generally* the same sort of set up as you described. We have stalls inside the arena, covered & enclosed on all sides with no heat. Tack barn is a separate building. However, we do have lots of turnout space (I know, there are some differences)

Anyway, up here in Alberta, we charge $175 for outdoor and $275 for indoor.

The average is $350 for outdoor and $500 for indoor (obviously some barns are higher/lower)

Dust is a problem, as it's winter we can't water the arena, so we open the large doors whenever possible to get lots of fresh air moving through. (luckily we don't have many active riders, or this problem would be much worse).

And the cold, well, you learn to live with it. at it's coldest, our barn drops to -15c (outside temps around -30c). I've found that unheated & uninsulated barns lose heat quickly and hold in the cold well (obviously the opposite of what you'd want). Layer up! I've worn up to 5 layers to work. Sure, I couldn't really bend my knees well, but I wasn't freezing lol

And as others have said, expect and assume that everything will be costly. I only hear generally what my barn owner has for bills, and with working full time and having 10-11 boarders, she REALLY struggles.

Best of luck!
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