Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thinking out loud.

I am taking MuddyK's advice and thinking out loud so I can see on paper what I want and so you can get me thinking in directions I may not see.

What is my idea of the type of barn I would like to have.  Ideally I would like a 10 stall barn with a small indoor arena.  But that is not neccessarily what I mean by what type of barn.  My ideas of the type of barn or environment I would have if I took on boarders.  I would like a nice, clean, safe place for horses and a family type environtment for the owners.  They will know that I will be the primary care taker of their horses and will treat them as if they were my own.  I would mostly like to board beginners adults/kids to amatuers adults.  Discipline not really an important thing.  Though I would like to have a 3-4 acre cross country course for myself and/or any eventers that may board.  I will also have a 60x120 meter outdoor arena.  We will have 3 2-3 acre pastures.

I have gotten a price for shavings by the truck load before but do not remember what the price was.  There is a local amish saw mill that you can buy shavings from.  As for insurance we have a farm insurance right now that covers animal liabilty.  As in if someone were to get hurt by an animal we would be covered.  Though I do not know if more would need to be added.

I would offer beginner lessons and would be willing to take riders out to shows during show season as requested or wanted.  I will definitely start to look into the kind of need there is around here for good boarding facilities.  I mean I know there is definitely a lack of them but my only concern is the economy of this area for people to afford horses and good boarding.  Though I know that it is not a rich area there are plenty around that do have money.  Namely we have a huge hospital that is the largest employer.  But how does one go about finding boarders??  I plan to have horse camps this summer and I am hoping that gets my name out there and I can get more lesson kids from it. 

I do know a lady that has a barn and runs it very much how I would want mine to run.  Their boarders are a part of their family and love that.  I am thinking of talking to her about starting up but I am concerned she may see me as trying to get info and then take that info to become competition.  I don't know her real well and don't know if it would be rude.  What do you think?

PS the part time job is going fine.  I am learning everything fast and of course they love to have me around because I am friendly, a quick learner and a hard worker but I have to say it is a neccessary evil for me and really am not enjoying it AT ALL.  I work with people that I would never hang out with and have very little in common.  I mean most people that work there that is their primary income and they are very low income households.  Not that that is a bad thing and I hope this doesn't come off the way it is sounding but it is not what I mean to do.  I am not a judgemental person at all and this is not coming across as such.  But the people that work there lead very differnt lives than I do and handle themselves very differently.  As far as lifestyle, mannerisms and even language.  OK I don't think I am doing a very good job at making my point here but I guess the point is I kinda stick out like a sore thumb.  But having the job has made a huge difference in my husbands attitude and to me that is worth it and the entire reason I am doing it.  I think he just needed to see that I am willing to do what needs to be done to relieve the pressure on him.


  1. If I were that lady (with the barn with run in's) and some horse person asked how I set myself up, I would take it as a compliment. If she's a good egg, she'll be cool with it. The only issue would be competition for her for boarding?? But even then, there is enough to go around. :)

  2. Hey I'd board with you. Your plan sounds exactly what I think most people would want. By "most people" I mean the hard-working amateurs or junior who need a reliable place to board and ride that is friendly, in their budget and low-pressure. :-)

  3. Finding boarders will be the least of it, I think. We horse lovers always have our noses in the wind, looking for just the right place for our horses. Plus there are so many forums where you could post about it.

    I think you're off to a good start in thinking out loud. My only concern is adding in things like taking boarders to shows, etc. The facility you envision already sounds pretty charming to me. You likely will need to study the law in your state about equine liability. In my state, we by default sign a waiver any time we walk in the barn and pass the posted notice on the way.

    I absolutely agree with Kristen that asking for advice can often be (and should be) taken as a compliment. You can approach her as a mentor, or even someone to talk you out of this "crazy idea." Ha!

    Anyway, it's a fun and dynamic process you're going through already even just thinking about it. Way to go.

    I get you about the job, and thanks for letting me know. I was wondering.

  4. I have done a lot of boarding, good and bad, and have learned a few things.

    (1) You will always lose money on boarding. The cost of keeping up the property + insurance (you need a lot!) + everything else + your time = if you really charged what that was all worth, no one could afford to pay it. And on the insurance thing -- BO has insurance, still got sued because a kid snuck into a pasture with an aggressive horse when the parents looked away and got knocked down. Fortunately no serious injuries, but parents still got money despite insurance and liability signs and waivers.

    (2) You will never make everyone happy all the time. Not possible. And not everyone will have the same horse-keeping philosophy as you. Horse people are batshit crazy. The trick is finding crazy that is compatible.

    (3) I board at a private farm now, where BO will only invite pre-screened close friends in. It's great and has taught me that you need to be VERY careful about who you bring in.

    (4) Beginners -- I love teaching too. It's fun. Be you need a lot more insurance and parents often have their own ideas about what you should do: "Why hasn't Pookums won a blue ribbon over 3' fences yet" (when Pookums can't even post without yanking on horse's face)

    (5) Disciplines. People really do prefer to be around those who share similar disciplines. When you get say a western pleasure person and show jumping person, it can lead to some real friction just because training and philosophy can be night and day. I've seen it happen even between people who were friends. It's not pretty.

    (6) Time. 10 horses is a LOT for one person. We have 7 right now. BO does a lot of the work, I help a lot, but I don't live there so I can only do so much. Mowing pastures, dragging rings, dragging pastures, getting hay, maintaining tanks, fencing, blanketing, feeding, these are things that take large amounts of time and it doesn't matter if it's pouring down rain and everything is a slop hole or your water lines are frozen.

    Anyway, I don't mean to be a parade crusher, just wanted to point out some very real considerations that go into running a boarding operation. I would definitely not want to rely on a farm to support a family, it's such a losing game. Those who make money are usually really good at flipping horses (buying cheap, training quick, and selling high). I think it's definitely a good idea to have a conversation with your friend and get her honest opinions what she likes and doesn't like. It can definitely be a positive thing as long as you don't get in deeper than you can manage with too many horses.

  5. Eventer has some very good points . . .

    I understand what you are trying to say about the job. I've been there too. The people I worked with thought I was a snob when I first started working there because we were so different, but I'm good natured and get along with most peopleso most of us got along. I've actually made some very good, unlikely friends. We were like a big family. :)


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