New horse boarding question
I was wondering if anyone could tell me how to see what the demand for boarding in a particular area would be? There is a place that I would love to buy, but would probably need to board for the income. It has almost forty acres with about 30 in pasture. Already has a smaller indoor heated arena with a vet room. Stall barn currently with piped stalls, outdoor arena with piped fencing.
I know it would be a ton of work but I think getting my young family in a farm setting would be well worth it.
Call around to barns in the area and ask how much they are asking for board and if they have any stalls available. In my area, you cant touch basic board for under $250 and until you are around the $350 mark, there are no stalls available.
Thanks I will certainly do that. Does anyone have any good suggestions on reading materials for starting and/or running an equine business.
Should you decide to proceed there are a few things that come to mind that NOONE should start boarding horses without: a BOARDING CONTRACT, Riding/handling waivers, EXPERIENCE with caring for horses, an excellent relationship with a vet who can mentor you on various issues, and good intuition (if you think someone is going to be a poor fit for your vision of your farm, you are probably correct).
Drive around and look at other farms in the area: if you are near a city area but not quite "out there" in the country, there is a great liklihood that there are lots of city-folk with horses who would love to have them closer to home! If you are closer to a rural area where the acreage requirements for horse ownership/on property maintenance are low ask yourself what you have to offer that would draw people from keeping their horse at their own home, and it might make boarders hard to come by. Be ready to deal with people who think that because they pay you they bought stock in your farm (as opposed to paying for the equivalent of an "apartment" for their horse, exceptional care of the physical needs of the horses you board, and/or whatever other services you wish to provide). It is a good idea to have WHAT EXACTLY boarders are paying for listed in your contract. This is important for the instances when they decide to do whatever the heck they want and let their horse loose to wander in your backyard where your children and dogs play, where the horse could get into the road or just plain run away and you can say "Um - excuse me, that is not allowed" - they will likely pull the "It's my horse and I don't mind card" and you can point to your contract and say "Look, this is a safety issue on MY property..." and hopefully quiet the situation calmly. <<--- yes, this HAS happened to us, and the lady actually forgot she "turned her horse loose" and drove home with the horse free to roam wherever - luckily we saw the horse before it wandered out the back property gate and lost itself somewhere (or worse yet, got smacked by a car). I guess the bottom line is: how good are your customer service/complaint handling skills?
You need to have equine horse farm liability insurance.
Don't get me wrong - there are TONS of benefits to boarding horses (otherwise we wouldn't do it), but those are just some VERY HUGE things to consider that you may not think too much about right now...
Oh... there is a good book by Mary Ashby that you can likely find at your local TSC. Your local farm supply or book store should have a few books for you to look through and see which has the best readability (your own personal taste) and seems most like what you are seeking.
If you didn't have an indoor, I would say don't do it. Anything indoor or covered is golden. I would make a small fortune if I had a covered which would make ALL of the boarding drama and crap I deal with, worth it.
Thanks for the reply! I should give some background.
I grew up on a farm which we had a couple of farm/ranch horses. I as a teenager bought & trained a 6 month old filly. Though looking back I made some mistakes. I haven't owned a horse for the last 20 years (aging my self I know). I currently have an insurance agency in which I market to equine related business. This, I suppose, is a big part of what has gotten me more interested in horses again and wanting to get back on a small farm. I think with my insurance experience, I have a pretty good understanding of risk managment. I am in Topeka, KS (population 150k) and the facility in within 20 minutes of town. This particular risk appears to me to be vacant at the this time, though the owner has posted an ad in the last week or two about boarding this fall. The only way we could afford this place currently is to derive some income with it. I think from her ad on craigslist there is about 10 stalls for stall boarding and certainly enough pasture to board 10 horses. I think you could gross $4k-$5k a month if you did that. The draw would be the proximaty to town (Topeka) and the fact that there would be both a indoor and outdoor arena for boarders to use. I would not provide any lessons or training as I would have the time or qualifications to do either. My other thought was that we would be within 20 minutes of one state park and 30-90 minutes of many others I could include the use of a two horse trailer once a quarter for boarders (subject to availability).
I saw the book you talked about (I think) yesterday at TSC, but thought it had just a tiny section on boarding. I will admit I just thumbed through it.
And I do appreciate all advice given!
The indoor arena says heated as well. Though the pictures make it look pretty small. I think the measurements are 36x50.
Could you give some advice and examples of the drama?
No small fortune here.
Yeah, I have thought about the constraints of being 'tied' to the farm. I need to give that more thought as well.
Another question I would like to ask people is how or where they obtained financing for their farms. Here vacant pasture or grassland within 30-40 miles seems to run at least $2,000 an acre. Then you have to build house, barns, ect.
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