Opening a Boarding Facility
For some time now, my fiancé and I have debated over the idea of opening our own boarding facility. I’ve gone through the many thought processes and ideas that come with this. I’ve read how it can a bad idea, but then I think to myself, that if it’s such a ‘bad’ idea, why are there so many facilities out there?
Anyways, I’ve have property (16.5 acres), an 80x160 indoor arena, turnout pastures w/ board fencing, stalls are still a work in progress off the side of the arena. I’m am not looking to start this endeavor tomorrow, but thinking more for the future. I do dabble in training horses as well, I do not train for anything specific, but more for a well rounded horse – from the rail to the trail, and I do quite well selling these kind of horses. I also, have a young stud, that will be going into training next year, and then on to reining shows with his trainer.
I’m torn between just keeping my place as is (no boarders), and just continue what I’m doing – going to work, then coming home and doing my horse thing. OR, do I want to do the ‘dream’ thing, and get to do my horse thing everyday all day – this route gives me more time to work with my horses, but…will it really be worth it?
Help on the idea will be great, pro’s, con’s, etc.
Any questions, just let me know, and I’ll be my best to answer them.
We have a small boarding facility we lease from the land owner who has 3 pasture horses, we now have 5 horses with 6 boarder horses. They split time between the stalls and 40 acre pasture. With that being said, we have full time jobs on top of this and it does break it up a little bit but if I could stay at the barn and tend to things, work with the horses and just relax, I would.
On the other hand, the boarders can be very frustrating. Not that they physically abuse their horses because that's not allowed in our barn but the lack of attention the horses get (not get). Some owners may come out once a week, to turn them out or bring them in, maybe brush them down or clean their feet. Other owners come out, ride their horses, pick up after themselves, etc.
In my opinion, the horses are worth it, but you have to consider the hassel of some owners. You might start out with just 1 or 2 to see how it goes.
Hope this was helpful and I wish you the best of luck:)
Thank you for the response!
Being able to get up everyday and do what I love, is really driving me in this direction. And my fiance' is very supporting of it, which is a plus. He makes good money where he works and loves what he does, so I think seeing me happy is what he wants to see as well.
My big thing, is can I pay the bills this way, and what do I charge - we are in Western WA.
We checked around other barns to see what was comprable and what we wanted to offer whether it be full care, partial care or self care. Prices included with/without feed and hay.
The big thing is thats its really hard to turn a profit, but if your just in it for the passion then i would definitely go follow your dreams!
@Gable - That's what I hear...sadly, haha. What is it other than general feed, bedding that the $$ tends to go into?
Insurance is a big one!
Oh yes, that too! That one totally slipped my mind!
Feed and shavings are easy. Add insurance, wear and tear on the facility - (fence, stalls, footing, driveway) electricty, labor - additional hay to buy and store, manure handling, daily cleaning and fixes. Tack storage, trailer parking, loss of privacy.
It can be very rewarding and it can be very frustrating. It's truly not a horse business but a people business with horses thrown in for confusion.
Insurance, water, electricity and time are the big things. I had 40 horses to care for last year, including my own, and it was so time consuming I never got to ride for pleasure. I train out of state and most of my shows are also out of state, so when you throw the responsibility for other people's horses into the mix, I ran out of time. I did have 2 full time workers and an on site trainer for client's horses but still, just the logistics can be pretty overwhelming.
Especially when a horse becomes ill and you need to quarantine and do extensive care for the animal because the owner won't or doesn't know how. I had some, "That's what I pay you for" clients and they did pay, but still.......
I might enjoy it more if I stayed at home more but my training and showing doesn't permit that. I am taking this year off and since the majority of the horses that were here have been sold, that was why they were here, I just haven't advertised for more boarders. I've also sold several of my own horses and so I'm down to just 8 on the property now and it's much more do-able.
So......did I make a profit? No.....LOL, not even close, but it did cover all my expenses for my own horses and it did allow me to have someone work here to keep an eye on the horses when I couldn't be home. It was worth it but I don't know if I'll take on that many outside horses again, ever. It was a LOT of work. And now that I'm down to only 8 horses on the property......I still haven't found time to just ride for pleasure, though I'm seriously going to try when the weather cools down a bit more.
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