Thinking of opening a boarding stable - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-27-2017, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Question Thinking of opening a boarding stable

Hey y'all,

So I currently hold an AA in business while pursing a BAS in business as well. I'm looking into opening up my own stables but I want to get some Equine Studies under my belt. Do you think getting a few certifications is better or worse than a BS in Equine Science?
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-27-2017, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dbru View Post
Hey y'all,

So I currently hold an AA in business while pursing a BAS in business as well. I'm looking into opening up my own stables but I want to get some Equine Studies under my belt. Do you think getting a few certifications is better or worse than a BS in Equine Science?
The only thing that would matter to me, if I was looking to board somewhere, would be your actual horse experience.
I heard a lady toot her own horn about having an equine sciences degree but her real hands on horse experience was severely lacking. Let's just say thankfully that was a temporary situation at the time.

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post #3 of 6 Old 10-27-2017, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by 4hoofbeat View Post
The only thing that would matter to me, if I was looking to board somewhere, would be your actual horse experience.
I heard a lady toot her own horn about having an equine sciences degree but her real hands on horse experience was severely lacking. Let's just say thankfully that was a temporary situation at the time.

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I agree! I have a Certification in Equine Science, this included Barn Management, Business Management, Horse Health, and Horse Training. I can tell you the "Barn Management" part was no different than working as a farm hand at an everyday boarding facility.

Experience is what matters most IMO.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-28-2017, 02:15 AM
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Experience experience experience. Degrees cannot tell when a horse is colicky.
there are many things to consider. Hay forage pasture ? types ? set amounts? water troughs ? automatic waterer ? stalls ? runs / who is cleaning ? how often? turn out arenas ? riding arena ? How often will the horses be fed ? Tack sheds ?
be sure to have liability insurance plus care custody and control ins.
good luck !!

and get use to complaints, bickering and drama .
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-28-2017, 04:07 PM
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Once upon a time my mom, who has extensive experience in business, human resources, payroll, etc. was contemplating potentially opening up a boarding barn one day when she retired. Then she started coming to my riding lessons and began chatting with the B/O about all that goes into it, and just observing what was going on, and she realized that, unless she spent the next several years really working with and around horses, she would be way in over her head if she just jumped into it with her business degree and a few courses in equine studies offered by one of our local universities. So she scratched that idea (and probably for the best, although my young self was kind of bummed).

No degree, even a PhD, could ever compare to experience and "work in the field". This includes opening up a boarding barn for horses. While these things will definitely help you in managing your business, they will not help you with the day-to-day things that build up and the weird (but very common) problems that happen when it comes to horses and running boarding barns. In addition to equine studies, I would also recommend taking courses in veterinary technology (specializing in equine if you can find a course), equine nutrition, equine behavior, agricultural management, etc. if you are really serious about additional "lecture" courses and information courses. But again, no amount of certifications, degrees, CE credits, etc. will take the place of good 'ol experience.

For example, I own my own dog training business. I have a single certification and a degree and am not registered with other dog training organizations, but I have over a decade of experience working with thousands of different types, breeds, personalities, and behavioral issues...from shelter dogs to service dogs to aggression cases, etc. I spent about five years interning under an dog behaviorist at our state's largest animal shelter while I was working on my degree. There are several other dog trainers in my area, all of whom have this and that degree and certification. They advertise their businesses as such and I don't advertise at all (I get clients through word of mouth). Usually, I have a waiting list at least a month out (if not more) for clients who tried the other trainers first and realized that those trainers couldn't help them or their dogs with their training because those trainers use "cookie cutter" techniques they learned in their certification and educational courses rather than go off of experience in previous training cases they had through the years and cater to each client's individual wants and needs and adjust as new scenarios and problems arise, as I do in my training courses.

If you are serious about opening a boarding barn, start volunteering (or better yet, see if you can get a working student position) at a local barn to really get involved with horse care and management "at the ground level". Take riding lessons, too, if you aren't already (you didn't state what your horse experience is). Go ahead and take some certification courses and if you have the time, money, and energy you can get that degree in Equine Studies as well, but again experience is where it counts in this type of situation. Boarders want a barn where the B/O is calm and collected at all times...not running around like a chicken with their head cut off if something pops up that their university course didn't cover.

Good luck! :)

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post #6 of 6 Old 11-05-2017, 12:22 PM
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It would be nice if all (or even most) owners of boarding stables were horse experts or even had basic knowledge but from my decades of boarding, training and instructing, I can vouch for the fact that this is the exception, not the norm. So, a basic knowledge of horses is good to have but not necessarily a requirement. What is a requirement for a good boarding barn is a owner/manager who can deal with people!

The boarding nightmares you see here on the Forum are almost always the fault of passive, passive/aggressive, wimpy (or overbearing) owners who won't strongly stop the issues that make boarders miserable . The ones who ignore what is going on and allow the drama queens/kings, the drunks, the bullies and the thieves to take over the barn and make the good boarders miserable. Not maintaining the property or even changing a light bulb or letting certain people take over the arenas so that no one else can ride. As a barn owner, you have to be willing to admit that some people are just plain trouble and kick them out. More important than horse skills are people management skills just as in the business world!

Inept/toxic managers and barn owners both cause the good people to leave and look elsewhere. A bit like owning rental properties. You want a tenant who will pay the rent on time, take care of your property and stay long term.

Management courses would probably do you a bit more good than going for an equine degree. Also, basic machinery and building repair courses. I can vouch for the fact that an equine degree is basically a complete waste of time and money (been there, done that!). No one except the newbies will be impressed by it-horse people only respect you when they see what you know and what you can do. Working in a boarding barn or two and even boarding in a couple would give you a taste of what you will run into as a barn owner.

It can be done, and done successfully but sadly this is rarely the case out here in the real world.
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