Horse Boarding Operations - What is Involved?

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with my horse University and extension horsequest live webcast on horse

boarding operations we're excited to have you all here tonight and I think we

are going to have a rather large crowd our presenter this evening is Kristen

Wilson from University of Maryland extension Kristen earned a Bachelor of

Science degree in animal science equine industry with a minor and agriculture

business from the University of Florida in 2003 she remained at University of

Florida to earn a master's degree in extension education with a minor in

youth development in 2005 as the extension horse specialist for

University of Maryland extension Kristen provides a statewide leadership for the

Maryland 4-h horse program by coordinating statewide and equine

contests and educational programs for 4h ORS volunteers and County educators in

addition she teaches within the Institute of Applied Agriculture's

equine business management program she is also active in showing Tennessee

Walking Horses at the national level and recently received six national

championships in 2011 with her mayor please note that you're able to ask

questions during the presentation using the text chat on the left of your screen

questions tonight will be answered throughout the presentation by Jennifer

Reynolds the extension coordinator at University of Maryland and we'll also

have some time for questions at the end of the presentation our webcast tonight

will be recorded and uploaded to our website my horse University comm by the

end of the week if you'd like to review it at a later date and at this time I'll

go ahead and turn the presentation over to Kristin good evening all it's

exciting to see so many people on this evening I'm gonna go ahead and advance

through some of these sides so tonight we're gonna be talking about horse

boarding businesses and all that is involved in it as was indicated if you

do have questions since we do have such a large group feel free to put them in

the chat box and general Reynolds will be happy to answer those as we go

through and then we should also have time at the end for questions so I just

wanted to start off by giving a little bit of a overview of what we currently

have here in the US horse industry most of you being horse people probably know

this but the American Horse Council in 2005 did a study and they

valued the goods and services related to the horse industry at almost forty

billion dollars these goods and services create a market for several services

such as that's farriers training breeders and of course horse boarding

operations so it shows you that there is an industry there that has needs and

services to be offered to them our us first industry as of 2005 also offers

four hundred and sixty one hundred forty six forty six hundred sorry full-time

equivalent jobs annually we have nine point two million horses in the United

States probably more now since this was done in 2005 and we have approximately

4.6 million people that are involved in the horse industry not including

spectators that attend horse shows and other things like that so this as you

can see that we really have a large number of not only horses but also

clientele that need services such as horse boarding operations to be offered

to them so many people think that running a horse sporting business is an

easy way to make money they think that it really just goes with feeding horses

providing stalls providing what care they need and being able to make easy

money but before diving into any type of new equine business or endeavor such as

this you need to realize that there's much more to it and you need to know

exactly what's involved with it in order to be successful so some basic facts to

consider starting out is that it does require considerable amount of knowledge

and experienced you are taking care of a living animal you're taking

responsibility of that animal and therefore you need to know what it takes

to responsibly take care of it because horses are very different from other

livestock species as well as other companion animals like dogs and cats

that people typically have it's also important that you understand that if

you're going to have this bit this beyond your own personal property

that there may be a result it may result in a loss of privacy on the farm you

also need to be able to deal with a variety of personalities horse people in

general can be different I'm a horse person but I still feel comfortable

being able to say that and so you need to be able to deal with people that have

different opinions about how you care for their horse or are just very

particular about ways that they interact with you as well as their animals it's

also important that you look at the liability issues that may be surrounded

by having a horse sporting business because this can be a major concern and

you also have to expect to work 365 days a year because even if you're on leave

and you have people taking care of the facility you still have to be a phone

call away in case there is a problem going on at the farm so why don't you

consider those things you really need to decide whether or not there is a need

within your own community for another horse boarding facility you need to know

your market and you need to do your research to try to figure this out so

one of the first things that you can do is you can look at the current horse

population not only in your state but also in the county or city that you may

reside in this information by state is available through the American Horse

Council survey that was done in 2005 and in addition there are other state

agencies for example here in Maryland we have the Maryland horse industry board

that is under our Maryland Department of Agriculture and they do studies every

few years economic impact studies which also break down the numbers based off of

counties by population you can also find out what the current horse population is

and what's going on within the horse industry through word of mouth by

talking to local feed dealers other boarding operations

horse owners and other industry people the next thing that you need to do to

determine whether or not there is a need for a boarding facility is to look at

the current boarding facilities or operations and this space is occupied in

the community or area that you're interested in opening that facility in

again here in Maryland and other states have it we actually have a license

boarding stable program through the Maryland horse industry board so we have

a license boarding list by county in which you can look and see all of the

different boarding operations that may be within that specific area you can

also look into the yellow pages as well as local horsey type publications to see

what else might be being offered within your state or your community and then

finally it's important that you also look at the demand in the area and the

growth potential of the industry or the area that you're in that specific niche

within the market that you're interested in going into you can seek this

information by looking at the changing population the land use within your

community as well as the income levels other major changes or shifts within the

community for example if there's a military base located there and there's

going to be a big push of them having a large number of military people being

based out of there in the next few years that is an example of a population

change in which you can see there may be more of a demand as you are moving

forward to try to figure out whether or not that business will work so once

you've done your research of the market and you identify that there's a need

there are lots of different things that you need to consider and know that

there's much more to it than just cleaning stalls and feeding horses a lot

of this will depend on how big your operation is how small or how small

you're up raishin is and whether or not you are

really running a real business for tonight's talk we are going to discuss

the basics of what needs to be considered

please think please keep in mind that as we go through each of the topics I

believe each of the topics could were in a webinar solely on itself

for example insurance and liability issues or but making budgets or looking

at building and facility design so we are going to talk about each of them and

maybe not in as great of detail as you'd hope but I'm also going to my hope is

that I can provide you with the resources that you need and answer some

of your questions that at least help get you started so when we think about a

boarding facility there's a lot involved as you can see here on the screen it's

the daily care of horses looking at your pasture management the maintenance of

buildings facilities and equipment customer service managing the people

that work underneath of you accounting and payroll marketing I mean there's

just a number of things in which you have to consider once you know that

there's a need you've identified that you really could have a boarding

business and hopefully get clientele in there in your community or in your area

and you kind of have an idea of the basics of what's involved you really

need to then ask yourself are you really prepared the first question I like to

ask myself or you could ask yourself is what do you really want to do with this

you need to be honest with yourself an answer is what you are wanting to do is

really to offset the cost of keeping your own horses or it's be able to have

people at your facility so you have people to ride with or are you really

wanting to make a profit and to have a real business if you do want a real

business then you need to then ask yourself what are the goals for this

business what kind of profit do you want to make and what needs to happen to make

sure that these goals are accomplished and that's where you can set up

objectives or specific goals that you may want to meet specific to your

individual business that you want to create the third thing you need to do in

asking whether or not you're prepared is to define what is success to you success

to some people could mean making a certain amount or a certain salary each

year it could mean offsetting the cost of keeping their own animals it's really

unique to your to you as an individual and to the individual operation that

you're trying to create so if you're really serious about making this into a

business then you need a plan plans allow you to look ahead to plan ahead

and to estimate potential expenses a good business plan is basically a

document that summarizes the operational and financial objectives of a business

and contains the detailed plans and budgets showing how the objectives are

to be realized this planning allows you to focus on your expectations and

develop a program to make them happen it also makes you think about what problems

might arise in the future for example what are those unexpected expenses that

you might have to consider and it's really meant to make you think about the

bigger picture of the business as you are planning so that you can be

successful so there are several items to think about with a business plan and

there's kind of ten areas and that's where what we are going to touch upon in

the webinar this evening the first is what services are going to be offered

are you going to solely be a boarding facility or are you going to offer

additional services the second is your marketing plan how are you going to get

the word out that you're a new business and people can come and be a part of the

services that you can offer you must also think

your customer service because the horse and the people are the clients that

you're trying to serve and you need to keep them happy you also need to

consider what resources are needed not only from the facility standpoint but

also from the clientele as far as writing facilities and other amenities

that they might want available and then you also have to consider safety

concerns and this is where having experience with horses can really come

in to be handy you know for example if you have a horse that just isn't acting

right they're not normal they're lethargic standing in the corner you

know maybe they're showing symptoms of that they're having a mild colic well by

having experience with horses and knowing being able to identify those

symptoms it can really help you and identify a potentially dangerous

situation it's also important with that that you also established barn rules the

sixth part the sixth part of the business plan is looking at nutrition

and feeding requirements then you must also consider the health program and how

you want to have that set up the biggie that I look at is having good contracts

and agreements because if you have good paperwork to start with it can really

save you from having a bigger such a bigger problem if a situation where to

arise you also want to look at the finances as well as the legal and risk

issues and what type of insurance type policies you may want to consider as

part of your business so now we're going to go into each part of the business

plan and kind of discuss them in more detail and again as you have questions

please feel free to put them into the chat if you do have anything so first

you need to identify what services you're gonna offer and this should be

based on the needs of the local market you need to consider whether or not

you're gonna offer pasture board which is typically a pasture with a fresh

water source and normally some type of shelter for the first to have

and or are you gonna offer stall board in which you typically offer a stall

that would be clean daily it also includes feed turnout time hay and

either one of these options can also be done as full care or self care the next

thing you have to do is really think outside of the box I hate to say it but

here's the reality check of this webinar boarding horses has a very small profit

margin and so you really have to think out of the box of what additional

services you can offer at the facility so that they can be extra sources of

income the more services you offer the higher the boarding fee and or the

additional extra charges you can add on to their boarding fee on a monthly basis

so some of these include extra benefits such as vet care grooming holding a

holding fee for the farrier vet each time they come out because that does

take your time taking care of a sick or hurt animals so if a horse has a

laceration and needs daily care wooden care and bandaging that's something you

could offer blanketing clipping TOC cleaning other additional services and

these are in addition to just the care of the worst can include offering riding

lessons having different riding facilities so we might have an indoor

arena which is of benefit to people who want to ride in the winter time you

could also offer horse training breeding services the list goes on and on with

really unique things such as field trips birthday parties or even lecture series

I know one of the local barns here and Maryland actually did a lecture series

once a month during the winter months for their adult women within the barn

and they did it on topics that they were very interested in learning about so I

want to take this time now to ask you guys are there any other addition think

of aren't currently on my list if you'd

like to enter them in the chat that would be great

so one of the additional services we have our hayrides looks like lots of

people are typing driving lessons other farm activities such as pumpkin patches

you pick berries so other like agritourism type things if you have a

lot of property and can do that clinics that's a good idea I didn't even put

that on my list and Carol did point out a good a helpful suggestion and that

when you're looking at what additional services and activities you're going to

offer you also have to consider what does your insurance cover okay so you

can keep putting those in and we'll get back to those in a while but we're going

to move on with our next part of our business plan the second part of our

business plan includes a marketing plan and any successful marketing plan will

help you to maximize your revenue studies have shown that boarding

facilities average an 80% occupancy rate with clients changing facilities once a

year so it's very important for horse owners to know about your facilities and

the great services that you can offer and the only way that they can do that

is if you have a good marketing plan the first thing to consider for your

marketing plan is looking at location location location you need to decide on

the location of your business and it should be something that is easy to find

or easy to locate and near the population that you are going to draw

new clientele from it's also then important to decide what

message you're going to use as part of your marketing plan to get your business

out to the public some of these techniques can include a logo or sign

and I find it's important that your logo or sign kind of has an indication of

what you offer so if you're not just a boarding facility and you offer other

programs or training for specific breeds you can see from these logos that are

listed here for example the right retired racehorse training project you

can see from left to right it starts out as a racehorse and then they retrain

these racehorses into being dressage horses and potentially being able to

jump or you can see from the Hard Rock sign logo that these people probably

more than likely train some type of gated horses I can tell you as they're a

firm that I've been personally related to they train Tennessee Walking Horses

other things that you might want to consider our business cards a website we

know that I mean we're doing a webinar now we know internet is just where

everyone goes to find information and you can create very simple websites for

not very much money you'll you also might consider advertising and local

publications doing some type of open house to invite the community into your

facility so that they can see what it's about as well as maybe putting fliers up

in local community buildings or at feed stores or other things like that the

thing to remember is that any of these marketing plans or techniques that you

utilize are gonna cost you some money so those are things that you need to

remember to put in your budget when you're looking at your overall expenses

for running your horse boarding facility so part three of our business plan

includes customer service your facility should make an make a favorable

impression on the clients that you're working with it's important that you

create a businesslike atmosphere and that clients

because clients are what keeps your business running you need to remember

that your clients are the people are the people and the horses so you need to not

only treat the people with respect but you also need to take good care of

their animals that they are paying you to take care of it's important that you

be ready as I said before to deal with multiple personalities it's also

important that you have communication with them and that it's oral

communication this can be in the form of via telephone or in person or it could

be as simple as you leaving notes if necessary if there are things that maybe

weren't happening that they need to start remembering as part of barn rules

for example it's also important as the manager as the owner of the boarding

facility that you're available and that you have additional staff as needed if

you can't physically be there or if you're out of town to deal with

situations however it's also important for you not to set boundaries and to not

be available you know at all hours of the day just for them to ask simple

questions you cannot be all things to all people

and you really cannot be available 24 hours a day just to answer simple

questions more so only for emergency purposes part four of our business plan

is to identify what resources are needed as I've said before this not only

includes the facilities but it also includes what are the customers needs

and what extra amenities as part of your facility are you going to need to offer

because our customers need or your customers are going to need to feel

comfortable and satisfied with where they are keeping their horses if you

already have a property and our buildings available when you think about

our fencing our pastures our facilities and things like that

you need to look at what you currently have and evaluate them to make sure that

they are safe for the horses and that it's meeting the needs

what your customers may be interested in having as part of their facility so for

fencing just a brief overview it should be a safe type of fencing sturdy visible

durable at least four and a half to five feet high

there should be no sharp edges narrow corners or projections you also need to

consider the initial cost if you don't already currently have it on your

facility as well as any maintenance that you may need to have from horses kicking

now in the sense or just from you know general wear and tear of wood rotting or

other things like that it's also important that when you look at fencing

that you also consider whether or not what is the purpose of that fencing is

it perimeter fencing or interior fencing and could you get away with maybe having

a more sturdy fencing such as your wood three or four board fencing on the

outside and then utilizing something as like electric tape fencing defense off

certain areas on the inside types of fencing to consider for horses typical

ones we see include the wood board fencing on the bottom left the plastic

PVC fencing on the top right and or the V wire mesh fencing with the top board

on the bottom right and it's very important if you are going to use that

type of fencing that you use the view IR mesh as it has smaller openings not

allowing the horses to get their feet caught in the openings and it also has

the board on top so that it is highly visible for the animals to be able to

see when thinking about the pasture some simple things to consider are your

stocking rates it's suggested that you allow two to three acres per horse but

ideally no less than one to two acres per horse especially if you're counting

on that grass to meet any of the nutritional needs of the horses that you

have pastured there you may also look into possibly having a sacrifice plot or

a dry lot is what it's also called and this basically consists of a small

dirt area where horses can be kept when they're not on pasture or not in the

barn but it's allowing them to have time out for exercise or other purposes you

may also consider a rotational grazing system and this is especially good for

firms that have a small acreage this is where the land is split into smaller

paddocks and the animals are kept on each area for a shorter amount of time

till they graze down those forages to stay 3 inches and then they're rotated

on to the next to the next pasture and then other management considerations

include to avoid over-under grazing to do soil tests and fertilize and lime is

needed to also identify any weeds and poisonous plants and to choose a plant

species that will grow well in your region so that you do have forage is

available for the animals that you are boarding at your facility when you think

about facilities or building structures this can really be dependent on what

type of board you're offering if you're offering pasture board you may need

different shell different facility requirements than if you are doing stall

stall boarding it's also important to consider what your county regulations

may be on shelter requirements for example here in Maryland we have some

counties that require if horses are kept out on pasture that they have some type

of run-in shed or some type of shelter that they can go into in inclement

weather if you're looking at running sheds it's typically suggested that you

have 90 to 150 square feet per animal and the typical stall size for horses

twelve feet by 12 feet other things to consider with facilities include your

flooring because this can affect the cleanliness of your facility stalls

could have rubber mats you could utilize sawdust and shavings in the stalls too

also help with some of the cleanliness and to

make the animals more comfortable you also want to consider ventilation

because it's important for your horses and clients to be comfortable and there

needs to be good airflow through the barn so if you're building a new barn or

new facility you need to consider things such as placement of doors windows fans

and other things like that and then finally you also want to take a look at

what your manure management plan is typically there are two options one you

can set up a composting facility and the pros to this or that there is no cost

and then have it hauled away and it also creates a new product for you to use on

other parts of the facility the concert earth at its daily maintenance and time

that has to go into it and it does take up space on your facilities so you

really have to look at what your facility layout is and whether or not

it's worth having or you can also have your manure hauled away which will be an

additional cost but then it'll be you know something that you don't really

have to deal with on a daily basis when looking at the resources needed I

mentioned it's not only facilities but it's also your customer needs so some

things to consider as part of your facility can include a clean restroom

facility in the barn if it's something if you have a fresh room in your house

then that will decrease your privacy I'm of people coming in and out you may also

consider having a telephone in case of an emergency and also for people to get

to call for information about what services you offer it's also important

that you have a space available for talk and equipment and if there is limited

space available you need to be able to tell people how much space they have and

make sure that they're not taking up too much space where other people may need

to store their items other things to consider are areas for riding this

can include outdoor ring an indoor ring it could also include trails and if you

are going to offer you know an extra nice outdoor ring or an indoor ring then

those are those are some amenities in which you could consider increasing the

price of board finally the other thing to think of is landscaping or the

aesthetics of the property these just add to the overall atmosphere of the

facility and increase that appeal to clients especially if you have new

people coming out to look for those so with that said I was kind of curious to

see if you guys have an any other client needs that we might consider as part of

starting up a equine boarding business if you do please feel free to go ahead

and type them in the chat box trailer storage that's a good one and that is

something that you can also charge extra for if you do have space available and

need to find ways to make extra money direct access the trails that can be a

biggie for people who like to do trail riding on a regular basis

washer and dryer facility I like that one cross-country courses handicapped

riding access it was also mentioned when we talked about the soil test that your

local Extension Office or USDA office can also help you with that a lower cost

to make sure that you're doing it properly a round pen that's also another

good amenity to have so thank you for sharing those suggestions so part 5 of

our business plan looks at safety concerns safety is key to a successful

boarding business and it's important that you're always aware of what's going

on it's important that you inspect and evaluate things frequently and that you

establish barn rules and post them make sure that everyone's on the same page

that they know what those barn rolls are so that you can keep order within your

facility other recommended practices include having safety trainings with

your employees so that everyone's on the same page and they're doing things in a

similar manner you may also look at the regular maintenance of facilities and

equipment if something is broke fix it then don't wait to fix it later after a

problem has occurred if you have the funding you may also look at installing

fencing around the perimeter of the property in case an animal were to ever

get loose so that you have that as a safety measure

you could also fence off hazardous areas such as ponds streams trees and other

things that horses may get themselves into trouble with and it's also

important that you put things away so store chemicals in secured areas but

also if you use a pitchfork but you normally keep it in the storage closet

put it away when you're done with it so it's not one of those extra things out

in the aisleway that horses could get themselves into some common burn roles

these came directly out of the stable management magazine which is a great

magazine if you don't currently subscribe to it it's actually a free

magazine you can subscribe to but they had a great article in August of 2010

looking at common burn rules some things they suggested included no smoking and

making sure that you post signs so that people remember that not allowing dogs

to come on to the property I know as being horse people a lot of us are also

dog people but dogs can easily chase horses boot courses and riders snapper

bited other animals and humans and it can be a bigger liability to you than

what you think it may be it's also important that people don't use other

people's property so they utilize only the stuff they're supposed to be using

they don't go into someone else's tot closet and take their brush or steal

some of their treats to give to their horses another rule is to close all

gates install doors I think the rule of thumb that a lot of us like to think of

is if you go through a gate close it or if you see a gate open

close it because that just helps to increase the safety of you know if a

horse were to get loose that they can't get through it's also important to

respect the hours of the operation this also it comes in handy if you do live on

the property so that people know that it's not just a barn it's also your

private residence and they need to respect that you can also look at

children being supervised different operations do this differently you can

have basic rules such as no running screaming or fence climbing or that

children under a certain age have to be supervised by an adult it's also

important that all riders sign a release before riding and depending on your

discipline you may require them to also wear an ASTM sei certified helmet

additional rules may also be that they have to have a specific health program

which includes vaccines and undie worming so the sixth part of our

business plan is looking at nutritional requirements feeding programs should be

tailored to meet nutritional requirements of each horse as each

horses nutritional requirements are dependent on their age breed size

temperament the degree of their activity as well as even changing weather

conditions it's important that you look for common groups of horses at your

facility and that you can feed them so that you don't have to have different

feeds and haze for each horse because that will drive you crazy and it's

something that you need to make sure that you don't let get out of control I

know some facilities offer say to feed options and maybe one or two hay options

and then if a boarder wants something very specific then that owner is then

responsible for purchasing that additional feed or specific supplement

that they want given to that horse so management tips when you look at

nutrition requirements include establishing and maintaining a

feeding schedule feeding several small meals per day and making sure that you

stick to that schedule when you're looking at your budget horses consume

approximately two to two-and-a-half percent of their body weight per day and

feed and or hay and it's important to feed horses at at least fifty percent of

their diet being from forages horses evolved as grazing animals and it's

essential for them to have a high amount of forages within their diet for their

digestive system to function well and then as usual you should also provide a

fresh source of water for them to have at all times the seventh part of our

health of our business plan is a health program generally this was the

responsibility of the horse owner but if at least you should do as a horse

boarding owner or manager is established an emergency plan of action you need to

have a conversation with the owner and decide what will happen in the case in

which there's an emergency and you cannot get a hold of them are you

allowed to call the vet and if so which that do you call other management tips

to consider include requiring a health certificate negative Coggins test and

isolating new horses for any new horses coming onto the property you should also

look into having a vaccination program a deworming program and making sure that

there's good records all facilities do this different but it's probably best

for you if you had established what you want to do and hold all borders to that

so whether or not you require that the vet do all vaccines for all versus at a

specific time of year or you leave it up to those owners and they have to provide

paperwork and proof that they have gotten those vaccines or they have URM

those horses and then you have a good record-keeping system as part of your

business plan to keep track of that part eight of our business plan includes

contracts and agreements it's so important that you have written

contracts and agreements and that you do not agree to things orally it's

important to have that documentation there are free examples online that you

can download and you can find all different ways to write up different

contracts and agreements but if there's one thing that I suggest that you invest

in having a lawyer have legal advice as to having input on something as part of

your business this would be one thing that I highly recommend it for it's

gonna cost you money to start with but if there ever is an incident later on it

probably is gonna save you money in the long run when looking at a boarding

agreement it should include things such as a description of the horse or horses

that they're boarding with you what services are included so is it full

board is it pasture board is that saw board is it self-care all of those

different things it should also include when fees and charges must be paid so if

it's the first of the month then you may also put in that contract that if it's

not paid by the first that there is a $10 late fee um those are things that

you can add into that you must also list who is responsible for each area of

horse care and that's when that plan of whether or not you do the vaccinations

or you do the deworming or they do when all of those things come in to be part

of the plan you also want to include verbage on the termination of things so

that is where it would outline under what circumstances the agreement may be

terminated so for example you need to give them 30 days notice of the horse

needing to leave that would be an example you should also include risk of

loss indicating that it is the responsibility of the horse owner if

something happens to the horse you can also include right of lien in which

cases if the stables are not paid the bills

for the horse that the stable can obtain the right of that horse now that is

dependent on each state and that's you know really one of those things that is

really good to seek legal advice on and then you can also include waiver of

liability which waives you and/or the business from being liable if say a

rider were to fall off and break their arm another thing that you may consider

adding is also putting the Bern rules as part of your boarding contract and

having a spot at the bottom where they have to sign so that they really do know

what those barn rules are because even if you have them posted in the barn they

may never read them so it's good to have bern rules in multiple places and by

having a good contractor agreement as part of your boarding facility it really

will help to make sure that everyone is on the same page the ninth part of our

business plan nine out of ten so we're almost there is finances finances are

really the heart of the business and that's why it's so important to it's

such an important aspect of helping aborting business to be successful I'm

things to think about are the rates of your services I you should be able to

identify expenses that you're going to have you should be able to develop a

sample budget as something that you can stick to and tweak is needed as things

as you continue on with your boarding business as well as having a good

bookkeeping system

so rates of service first and foremost you need to figure out how much you're

going to charge this can be dependent on the industry as well as the market

demands I wish I could have given you exact numbers to tell you this is how

much it costs to keep one horse and feed it and this is how you can base your

prices off about what you should charge unfortunately because we're all from

different parts of the country or me maybe even out of the US

you know these prices are going to be dependent on your specific area for

example you know up north where we grow hay our hay cost is much less than what

they may pay in Florida where they only grow very limited types of hey alfalfa

for example is something they import in a lot and when you may pay something

like you know eight dollars a bill for alfalfa up here you may pay upwards of

fifteen sixteen eighteen twenty dollars a bale down in Florida because of them

having to haul that type of hay down there

you also should make sure that you're pricing things realistically this is

where your research can come in to looking at what other facilities are

charging and comparing what the prices they're charging based on what are they

feeding the horses and what extra amenities are facilities they are

offering to their borders and then I also suggest that you use caution when

bartering or offering in-kind compensation to employees because it's

very important that you do not make too many free arrangements because you could

really be making money by having an actual border in that stall and

occupying that space

so given examples that people automatically think about when

considering what they need to pay for for boarding horses things that people

automatically think about our feed hay betting potential labor costs but a lot

of times they don't always um

as well as pasture management cost other expenses to think about because there

are a lot more to it than just those five are utilities insurance advertising

workman's comp payroll taxes and benefits and you can see the list just

goes on and on especially if you don't already own your property outright

you're also gonna have those extra expenses of a mortgage or renting the

facility as well as any additional expenses you might need to look at if

you've built new buildings or new fencing and those payments that you have

to make once you've identified the potential expenses for your operation

you must then build a budget to see if you can really be successful and make

some money at running at running a boarding business as I said before just

boarding horses typically does not make large profits by itself therefore it's

important that you look at those additional services or benefits that you

can offer your clientele to make sure that you can be more successful and

actually make money at running your boarding business as I said before your

budget is unique to your operation and location and the costs of the different

supplies or feed or other things that you need to take care of those animals

can be very dependent on your business's location once you come up with a budget

it's important that you stick to that budget and that you continue researching

to make sure that you're keeping up with the changes and trends within the

industry and how that affect your overall business there are a

couple places that offer some example budgets that you can go and look at one

being from Virginia Tech their firm business management group has put

together several budgets not only on horses also on other livestock species

but they have budgets on horse boarding for full care who are sporting for South

care they also have budgets that you can look at for self in-home care budgets

and whether or not you currently own your land or you're still you know

making payments on it and they even have neat budgets for putting up different

types of fencing um now it's important to remember that these budgets and some

of the cost that they have put in there based off of this region or this area in

the northeast area and Virginia area and so as you look at those it's important

that you take that research that you've had and if you say well they're saying

an average cost of hay is five dollars a bale but say you're feeding alfalfa then

you're gonna need to plug into that excel sheet you know that higher costs

for that hay that you might be feeding Penn State University also has another

great resource through their agriculture alternatives fact sheet series and at

the end of this publication it also has a sample budget that you can utilize to

at least get you started and thinking about about this the Virginia Tech

budgets are something I've been around for a while but they've recently updated

them as of May 2011 so they should be very current and helpful as something

for you to use as a tool as I said the other thing that finances is having a

good bookkeeping system it's important that you record every transaction and

anything that you do as money gets put down gets recorded and and any way that

you can think of doing it depending on what type of business entity

you are several of the expenses may be tax-deductible so it's important that

you keep track of them it's also important that you take time to

categorize each transaction and that you track the income and expenses that are

occurring within the business having good records of what's actually going on

in your business will tell you one when you've made a profit two it helps you to

manage yourself more efficiently especially if you read the financial

situation often it also helps you to comply with state and local government

regulations and let's face it it's something that the IRS is really going

to hold you to if you are truly an equine business if this is an area that

you're not comfortable with this is another expense that you might look at

is hiring an accountant to take care of your bookkeeping and your tax needs the

final part of our business plan is looking at legal and risk issues these

can include insurance licensing the form of business entity you decide to be as

well as the environmental and zoning regulations and this is really where you

could get into trouble so it's important that you keep up with with these areas

the first thing that consider is insurance and when you're looking at

what type of insurance policy you might need you can consider several things the

first would be the financial stability of your business you can also look at

the value of the horses if you're gonna take out individual horse policies you

should also look at the level of risk and the activities that you are going to

have going on at the facility on your level of personal involvement and

whether or not you really need to protect yourself from your personal

assets not being touched if there were an incident as well as looking at the

likelihood of experiencing a covered loss while insured by doing so this will

help you to anticipate all potential situations in which the horses

our business may be at risk and it really helps you to it's just part of

that bigger picture of what you're trying to look at when putting together

successful business there are several different types of insurance policies

you can consider and again like I said this could be a whole webinar in itself

but first and foremost is to look at commercial liability this is what we'll

cover all horse related activities including riding lessons horse shows

clinics meetings and actions resulting in any property damage or injuries to a

third person I have to tell you if you're running a business on your own

property a lot of times people think things like this are covered under their

home insurance but if it's a real business I'm sorry to tell you more than

likely it's not the other mistake that people also make when it comes to

commercial liability insurance is that a lot of times they think that if they

have people sign a written release holding the operation harmless they

think that that is will protect them but unfortunately those releases don't

always stand up in cases of negligence the third mistake people make with

liability is some of our states actually have equine activity laws and they think

oh well then I'm protected well these laws really only help and limited when

to limit or control liabilities not to have zero liability laws they're not

zero liability laws so they are only going to protect you to a certain extent

other things that consider our property insurance fire and theft care custody

and control policies this is where if you already have liability insurance you

may also take this out and it would help you in the case that say a horse say I

boarded horse got off or got out of the property

to the road and a car hitting well your liability insurance would help cover the

damage the car the injuries to the person that are riding in the car but

it's not going to cover that horse and so if you have care custody and control

a care custody and control policy then that can help you in the case in which

that horse owner may come back and try to sue you because their horse got out

that's an example when that might help you should also consider individual

horse policies whether it's for your own horses and depending on what their value

is and then workers comp insurance is also another option and as many of you

probably know this covers work-related injuries and lost wages of employees if

something were to happen it generally is fairly inexpensive and it's probably

worth you paying it to start with instead of having a big fee of something

were to happen with one of your employees on the job other things to

consider under this also include if your state requires a licensing to become a

body a boarding facility here in Maryland our Maryland horse industry

board actually inspects and licensed stables if you have five or more horses

that you're boarding it's a requirement that you have to go through this there

is an annual fee and basically they inspect the property to make sure that

the facilities are meeting minimum standards for care of horses as well as

they look at the how the animals are being cared for and what their current

animals that that facility look like you must also consider what kind of business

entity you'd like to be and I could talk for hours about this but you need to

look at the different forms of business that you can do some general ones are

sole proprietor in which it would be one person running the business you could

also have partnerships and that's in which you may have to work two or more

people in some cases you may have one person

that runs a business but one person that also finances it as a silent partner and

so that would be an instance in which a partnership would be a good way to run

that business and you can also look into becoming a corporation but becoming a

corporation does have its benefits but you also need to seek legal assistance

in order to become one if you are a corporation typically we see most often

the LLC or the limited liability corporations being formed but by doing

so it helps to separate the business from personal assets it also makes only

the operations assets be at risk if something were to happen and typically

you have a lower taxation rate on your income so if you are a real business and

this may be something that you want to look into and then finally you must also

consider environmental and zoning regulations several counties have zoning

ordinance ordinances based on how you can use the land and how it can be used

and what public facilities and amenities are needed to provide to our communities

and they also have restrictions on how many horse some have restrictions on how

many horses you can have on so many acres you know the shelter requirements

I referred to before how you may deal with your manure or horse disposal I

mean the list goes on and on it's important that you contact your County

Planning and Zoning office to see what type of ordinances may be in effect for

the area in which you're living other things that you may look into I know

here in Maryland several of our firms can have soil and water conservation

plans in which the soil and Conservation District gives the landowner

recommendations on how to make decisions in the protection conservation

enhancement of our natural resources such as water soil animals and all

things that are included in a boarding business and

and also specifically to Maryland and there may be things like they're

specific to other states we if you meet certain requirements you also have to

have a nutrient management plan which is just another piece of paperwork that

you're gonna have to add as part of your business plan

so in conclusion profits can be low if you're just running a boarding business

but if you can think of those out-of-the-box unique services or just

services that are needed to entice the clientele in your community you can be

successful and you can make money as part of offering this equine business

endeavor it is something that requires hard work and dedication and you really

need to have a business plan and stick to it you need to make sure that you

have a business mentality and that yuria what you're doing on a monthly basis

so that you can see where the holes are in the plan that you may have just

started out with it's also important to continually educate yourself I think as

horse people and that's something that we typically do anyways

and it's important to remember that you're not gonna be successful overnight

this takes years to be successful and to establish a business within the industry

so build yourself slowly I'm start out with the basics and then

build on more services and amenities as you see what the needs of your clientele

are we had a local farm horse boarding farm called full full moon farm give a

horse boarding talk at our recent Expo and they had a quote that said you know

horse boarding businesses are not necessarily about a good living but it's

a great lifestyle or a good lifestyle so you might not always make you know six

figures but if it's something that you enjoy doing you can be successful at it

if you do have the right type of business plan in place and you

continually evaluate it to see where you're at with your business

so just real quick before we take questions some helpful resources that

you may consider looking into for our equine business management class here at

the University we use a book called complete guide for horse business

success it's the second edition it has all kinds of great stuff on the business

side of things and then there's also another great book that I utilize a lot

called horse keeping on us on a small acreage and this has a lot of great

information specific to facilities and needs of horses so if you're looking at

starting from the ground up or if you have a current facility in need to

revamp it that can be a great book for you to look into both I believe are

available through amazon.com if that's an easy way for you to get to it and

then some other additional resources are that your soil conservation district

extension horses which has a lot of great business resources and other

things specific to horses your local land grant University as well as any of

your state agencies such as a state horse industry board your Department of

Ag and/or your state horse council so with that said I'd be happy to take any

questions again please utilize the chat box I know some of you have already

asked some but if you have additional please feel free to go ahead and put

them in the chat box

there was a question about whether or not this PowerPoint will be posted the

whole entire webinar will be posted on to my horse University website for you

all to view at any time that you'd like

can we do have one question from Lisa it says what about neighbors friends

signing liability waivers for riding on the property once you become a business

I think that all comes back to what I said earlier about whether or not you

have oral agreements versus having some type of signed contractor agreement so

if you do have something in place once you become a business and it's something

that's easy for them to sign I would definitely recommend having them do that

I'm even though they are a neighbor or a friend it's just part of having a good

business practice to have anyone do that whether or not they're related or

there's someone that you're just providing services to

any other questions


Amercia had a question about whether or not a burn manager would have insurance

as well as the property owner I think depending on how the situation is set up

if the property owner just owns the property and then the barn manager is

running that business and yes they should have their own insurance if it's

a partnership then they would need to discuss you know how that insurance is

taken out and who would be included on the policy and then other forms of

insurance would also be if you have say visiting riding instructors coming onto

the property they may also have their own inch liability insurance connected

to the training and lessons that they are providing on your property


we also had a question about what about a partnership with the trainer who has

clients boarding at your facility and uses your facility for lessons I would

suggest that that trainer has their own insurance to deal in situations with

their own clientele

okay so it looks like maybe we don't have any other questions I don't see

anyone else typing I did want to let you all know that go ahead

Amanda no that's okay I was just gonna conclude but if you have something else

to say first and that's fine no go ahead well Kristen I just want to

say thank you so much for your presentation it seems like everyone

learned a lot and again it will be it was recorded tonight and we'll post it

to the my horse University comm website by the end of the week if anyone wants

to review it or suggest it to anyone else

and thanks so much to all of you for your participation and your questions

tonight we will probably send you a survey by email in the next few days and

if you could just take a few minutes to give us your feedback that will

certainly help us as we plan future webcasts that will benefit you and we

hope you'll join us for next month's free webcast on the topic of managing

live horse events which is scheduled for March 27th at 7 p.m. and registration

for that is online through my horse University comm and my horse university

also has Facebook and Twitter sites for anyone who wants to follow us and get

the most up-to-date information on our events courses webcasts and more and

again thanks everyone and if you have any feedback or follow-up for us you can

reach us at info at my horse University comm or visit us on our website and we

hope to see you at another webcast