So my husband and I have been entertaining the thought of starting a boarding facility offering natural horse care. We live in the Oklahoma City area.
It would offer only pasture boarding, but there would be small pastures, only 5 horses or less to pasture, with plenty of shelter offered. It would primarily be hay only with grain offered at additional cost to the hard keepers. There would be blanketing or fly masks if you provide them. There would be a large indoor arena that would be used as shelter to the horses in VERY bad weather (we're talking ice storm or snow storm, not thunderstorm). There would also be an outdoor ring, round pen (or two), and obstacle course.
Would you be interested in a place like that? How much would you pay a month? Anything else you would like to see offered? Advice for starting a boarding stable?
GS, I board horses and currently (because of the drought) charge $350/mo for pasture board. Back in April before all the prices went up, I was charging $150. Sad isn't it? I do whatever they need, blanket, fly mask (I made their owner buy them all fly masks), groom daily etc etc. They are fed free choice bermuda hay in big round bales, $125/bale and I go through 3/week, and they each get about 3 lbs of Strategy twice per day and salt of course.
I don't have an indoor arena, wish I did! And I will bring them in during T-storms, ice storms and snow if it's really heavy and for a long time like several days worth of storm. I want them in for T-storms because of lightning, not the rain. Because OK is so flat, they are frequently the tallest thing in the pasture, so the likelihood of them getting hit by lightning goes up exponentially.
5-10 acre paddocks SOUNDS ideal but the reality is this. An owner doesn't want to chase their horse all over H*ll and half of Georgia to catch him. I would want my horse in no more than a 1/2 acre paddock with a shelter and if the other horses he was pastured with were mine there could be another one in there so he wasn't alone. If I'm only boarding 1 horse, then he needs to be in his own paddock for safety and liability reasons. Also, I've seen dominant horses run the least horse on the pecking order out of a shelter and make them stand in the rain, just because they can, so you need to have considerations for that.
I'm with the others on the "natural" thing and here in OK you probably will get laughed out of town if you advertise that way. Naked fairies with flower garlands around their heads, playing pan pipes and chasing horses across the rolling green landscape belongs in a water color, not a boarding stable. Sorry!
I also have 14 stalls and offer full stabling, but if I'm not full, I will bring pasture boarders in for T-storms or if the weather takes a real ugly cold snap. If I'm full, pasture horses stay out no matter what, but they do have shelters available to them. If one needs nursing or isolation, then the owner gets bumped up in board status (and pays the extra charges) until the horse can be re-integrated in the herd or they can have the horse hospitalized at OSU (I'm just down the street).