Have you thought about boarding horses on your own property? Whether you have been around horses your entire life or you are brand new to horses, building and operating a boarding facility is a big responsibility. There is a long list of questions and decisions you will have to make along the way but if you have the right location, materials and manpower owning a boarding facility may be the perfect fit for you. Here are just a few cost considerations when it comes to boarding.
Let’s just take a moment to decide if horsekeeping on your own property, especially if you’re thinking of opening it to other boarders, is right for you. If you’ve never owned horses before, starting with a boarding stable will be a big responsibility. You will defiantly need to have a knowledgeable barn manager, workers and trainer available. You will have total responsibility for your horse and the horse’s of others. Basic and special feeding, deworming schedules, getting horses ready for the vet or farrier, and basic wound care are all necessary skills. Since every horse is different, new horse owners often have questions about feed, shoeing and general health. It’s very important (and comforting) for boarders to know that there’s someone at the barn who can help answer their questions. And they will look to you to be that person. In addition, you will be expected to have adequate coverage to look after the horses if you decide to go away for a few days.
There are some cost considerations when keeping multiple horses at your barn/facility. One is cost of supplies. Remember that large boarding stables often buy hay and bedding in bulk because they typically have the room to store it. This can help lower overall cost.
Vet visits are another cost that can be reduced. Vets charge a “farm call” fee in addition to any medical treatment. With a stable full of horses, there is usually someone else at the barn who’d like to talk to the vet or have their horse looked at. If this is the case you can usually split the farm visit fee with another boarder. Spring /fall shots and dental visits are another way to save money. Boarding stables often have “shot clinics” where the vet comes out and all horses are given their shots as once. The same is true for dental work. Again, this saves you the cost of the farm call fee.
Finally, farrier services can be difficult to find if you only have one or two horses and live in a remote location. Farriers often like to work at stables where they can go to just one place, set up once and shoe numerous horses. It may not be worth his time to have you as a client if most of it is spent driving to and from your barn for just a few hoof trims. Therefore, more horses, more farrier options.
If boarding horses at your home still sounds like a good idea, the next step is doing a business plan. It’s a necessary step to ensuring that your barn is a success.