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BearleySmokin 04-06-2011 09:43 PM

How to Begin Making a Living with Horses?
It is my dream to own a barn with happy boarders, nice lesson horses, beautiful facilities, etc.

I am not sure where to start. I am only in grade 10, and I know that horses cost a lot of money, and are a huge responsability... trust me, I own two at the moment and I notice that sometimes there isn't as much money for groceries than there was before my family bought them.

I am currently working 3 days a week as a farm hand to help pay for my horse's board. I also ride a fellow boarder's horse to give her more training and experience.

I was thinking of maybe taking a business course in college so I could run a business properly, but now I'm thinking maybe an equine management course?

I am currently working towards becoming a certified trainer; I already have some qualifications.

Where do I start? I can't get another job because of school and I am unable to drive yet.

This is my dream and I don't want to give up on it, but I feel that financially I will be unable to accomplish building and running my own horse barn...

I am confused on what to do, help? :?

--> I should have mentioned that I am fairly experienced with horses; I have been riding for 10 years, and showing for 7. I have helped my trainer with green and unbroke horses, and I have learned a lot from her.

upnover 04-06-2011 10:54 PM

The good thing is you have TONS OF TIME!! It takes some people decades before they can open up their own barn. It sounds like you're off to a good start though, trying to learn as much as you can. I would definitely take a small business course in college, along with management, accounting, finance, etc etc. I'd also try to work at more then one barn, possibly as a working student during the summers? The more you can see what works and what doesn't the better for your future business.

As far as training for a living, I think it's best to work under a well known trainer who can help develop you. That's fantastic that you've been showing. You definitely want some kind of a record so you can have something on your resume. Try to show as many horses as you can and get yourself out there so people at the shows know exactly who you are. Then when you're offering your training services they'll already have seen you ride and hopefully see you progress with horses.

Unfortunately, given your current circumstances you probably can't do too much more at the moment. But keep doing it, keep looking for opportunities to do more, and eventually doors will start opening. A recent high school graduate most likely isn't going to be training full time with their own barn (unless you're independantly wealthy). BUT that just means you have lots of years to keep learning! Be patient and keep working hard!

BearleySmokin 04-07-2011 09:15 AM

Thank you for the great advice :-)

CJ82Sky 04-07-2011 10:35 AM

its said that to make some money in horses start with a lot of money and then in a few years you'll end up with some haha.

in all reality, there are a lot of college courses out there on farm management, training, methods of teaching riding, equine laws and business management, and so on. keep in mind however that it is VERY hard to make money on a boarding facility and i'd always suggest a backup plan.

i have an equine degree, but actually work in online marketing bc horses just didn't pay the bills. if you can find something you can do part time at least to supplement barn income that is a good idea imo. barn business comes and goes - sometimes you have a full barn, sometimes you do not. sometimes you have a full lesson roster, sometimes you do not. the challenge is budgeting and making sure you have a plan for times when business is slow, when you are sick and can't teach or care for the horses, what about instructors, barn help, etc. it's a VERY BIG undertaking.

my suggestion to you is to research based on info out there but even more importantly - talk to some barn owners near you. ask them what it is like, how hard was it to get started, do they have other jobs or is the barn their only source of income? get opinions and feedback from people that actually do that for a living and don't ONLY talk to the big fancy show barns, talk to smaller barns, backyard barns, lesson barns, training barns, and get an idea of what it all entails.

good luck!

BearleySmokin 04-07-2011 10:48 AM

I was looking at some University courses like "Performance Horse Handling", "Equine Management", and "Equine Grooming One".

The Management course and Grooming course are online.

Do you think that maybe some of these courses could help?

CJ82Sky 04-08-2011 05:51 PM

absolutely - there are some great courses out there. also talk to people who do rely on different aspects of the equine industry as their main source of income so that you can get a real feel and understanding of what it really entails. i wouldn't change my education for anything - but that coupled WITH talking to barn owners, managers, trainers, etc., is what will help you really understand what you are looking at and get you as prepared as possible before you strike out on your own :)

VelvetsAB 04-08-2011 06:36 PM

The University of Guelph offers some Equine Science classes as well as another college up towards Ottawa (but not quite to Ottawa).

Save your money!

Think about going to clinics--to audit or participate--so you can learn from a variety of people in that particular discipline. You might learn something you didn't learn before, or have it put in a way that you understand it better.

Don't forget to think about where you want your property to be at some point. There might be a lot of barns around that already teach "insert discipline" and the area might not be able to support another barn geared towards that, so keep in mind that while you might want to train "insert discipline" might have to be willing to have boarders who support something else. Location also has a HUGE effect on price. Kitchener area for a small farm, and by small I mean a few acres....$350,000 plus usually. Going further towards Barrie (more between Kincardine and across) you can get 50+ acres for that price.

If you have more then -blank- amount of horses, will you have to have this as your full time job, or would you be willing to hire someone to be doing barn chorse?

BearleySmokin 04-08-2011 08:42 PM

I wouldn't mind hiring a stable hand if I had good cash flow. However, I was thinking of having the stalls open up to a small individual paddock for each horse. So I don't think I would need that much help OR acreage.

I also want to have a loft upstairs for me to live in.

I have big dreams, but hopefully they will come true :)

smrobs 04-08-2011 09:19 PM

That's the wonderful thing about dreams. They can come true if you are willing to work for them :D.

Great advice from the other posters and I really don't have much advice past what has already been stated, just save your money and work hard and you'll get there eventually. My Dad didn't get his own place and get set up until he was almost 30. He spent a lot of time working for big breeding ranches as a trainer and he showed all their horses for years until he had built up enough of a clientèle to make a go of it for himself. Just learn all you can and work with as many different trainers as you can. It probably wouldn't hurt to look for some classes that focus on horse health and first aid so that you can manage minor injuries by yourself, give your own shots, and don't have to call out the vet for every little thing.

BearleySmokin 04-08-2011 09:35 PM

Thanks guys, I've posted this on other forum sites and no one has been as reassuring. :-)

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