Horse boarding can be highly lucrative whether you already run an equine business or you want to transform your equine facility. Many equestrian families do not have the means to purchase their own place and care for their horses. This opportunity adds extra money to your pocket, especially if you have extra stalls and paddock space.
However, horse boarding has several financial and practical considerations to think about before you move forward. These can make or break your future ventures, and you must include them in your decision if you want to avoid a failed equine business. Then, you can learn about everything involved with a profitable horse boarding facility and prevent investing tens of thousands of dollars in an industry you can’t sustain.
Although amateur clients may let you board their horses with no questions asked, a majority of equestrians will ask about your horse experience. They want to ensure you as a barn owner know how to provide proper horse care, especially if they choose a full-board option. Feeding, watering, turning out, housing, and brushing their horses are all tasks they expect you to have expertise in. Otherwise, they will go with a competitor who knows more than you do.
You need to hire a veteran stable manager that can oversee your boarding facility if you are inexperienced or a financial investor. Although paying a salary will hurt at first, it will pay for itself in the long by providing a higher-quality service that equestrians will want. They will have confidence in your boarding facility because they can trust their horse with a reputable barn management name and face.
You should not expect your business to last without an experienced stable manager or person running daily operations since it cannot survive on “no questions asked” owners alone. Many people wonder if horse boarding is profitable and with cutting out more than half of your target audience, it is not.
You need to discover whether starting a boarding facility is relevant or necessary before marketing, looking for repairs, or purchasing anything. Your audience has to be sold on your boarding business just as much as you are and excited enough to tell others via word of mouth. Evaluating your local area’s horse boarding demand will give you a clear picture of whether they’re looking for a horse boarding facility or not.
We recommend doing this by researching every boarding facility in your city, county, and state, noting their strategic locations. This way, you can scope out the future competition and see whether your business offers customers value they can’t get anywhere else. Finally, you should consider your horse stable’s niche if it has one for youth, adult, dressage, recreational, etc., which will single out your audience and help you find its demand for your facility.
It’s common sense to look at your facility to see if it can support a profitable horse boarding business. But there are some normal and “hidden” costs you’ve probably not thought of that will affect your final investment decision. You can get too deep into the market with your personal funds and lose big time later if you don’t consider these factors now.
Space doesn’t just mean the number of horses you have room for in your boarding barn, but also your field and paddock. Your full-boarding staff and self-boarders may all want to turn out their horses at the same time, creating a problem depending on how many you decide to house. Your facility as a whole has to meet these kinds of needs or reject them, which would turn away business traffic and profit.
There is a real concern for pasture management, with potentially dozens of horses eating from the same field and trodding down the same paths. You should not be afraid of this consideration but rather embrace the responsibility. Refusing to manage your pasture properly proves to customers your lack of experience and “turns them out” instead of driving them in.
Pasture management involves working with a county extension agent to create a rotation-grazing strategy to stop your field from dying. This process is not as easy as fencing your property and letting horses roam free.
Smart horse owners will always ask what kind of footing you’re using if you have an indoor or outdoor arena attached to your boarding facility. The equestrian world understands that unstable footing leads to tendon injuries and other issues that stop them from competing. Dressage competitions, such as The 37th Champagne Dressage Show in San Tan Valley, Arizona, depend on a reliable footing so competitors can know their horses will perform at their best.
Therefore, you have to choose a high-quality footing at an affordable price point so you can win their trust and not overspend.
Lastly, you must consider all upfront costs of your full or partial boarding facility before starting or expanding your equine business. These expenses are the highest because you purchase everything necessary to get your operations off the ground. They will become cheaper as time moves along, only maintaining the facility and repairing broken equipment. Despite this promise, the initial investment is what keeps most horse boarding facilities from ever launching, even if you start with cost-effective boarding rates.
The primary upfront costs deal with the facility itself and the equipment/items you’ll need to operate. These will ensure everything is in working order and you are ready to rent stall spaces rather than disappoint new customers.
- Purchase a new facility (if applicable)
- Build a tack shop/room with lockers for boarders to secure their personal tack in
- Liability insurance
- Build a bathroom, so boarders do not have to use your restroom
- Add additional stalls to house more horses
- Repair gates, fencing, and arena construction
- Purchase food, bedding, footing, bridles, tack, etc.
Horse Boarders Request Reliable Footing
When you consider all these factors, you can get a clearer picture of whether you want to start your dream horse boarding operation. Passive income from extra stall space is a common misconception that will lead your facility to ruin if you go into it with that mindset. From pasture management and space to your horse experience and the market demand, there are several things to keep in mind before moving forward.
Most equestrians will want to know what horse footing you use in your facility’s arena, whether you offer full-board or self-board. This element is crucial for making a tip-top space that riders want to use and adds value to them. Our team can answer any questions you have about horse footing and tell you about the different options available.
You can speak with us by calling (877).835.0878, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.