This website is the one I've been searching for, for years; a compilation of knowledge on all things horsemanship, including practical advice on how to start an equestrian business.
No matter your experience level with horses or homesteading, I hope this is a place you can get lost in, and learn something along the way - we welcome everyone from vets, to lifelong ranchers, trainer, to nonprofits contributing.
There are a million ways to make money with horses, whether that’s boarding horses for private owners, selling horse products, teaching students, horse syndicates, or training horses.
As expected, most people in horse businesses have knowledge and experience with horses, but it’s not a requirement. More important than having the experience yourself is being willing to learn and hiring people who can help you succeed.
Contrary to popular belief, you can start a successful business without a lot of experience in the industry – and that includes equine businesses.
With an equine business, having business acumen can be more valuable than direct experience with horses. Some of the most knowledgeable and talented horse people in the world may not succeed at business if they don’t have the skill set.
It’s about more than just passion. In fact, businesses across virtually every industry have a lot of the same requirements – you just happen to be choosing horses.
Whether you just love horses or notice a current gap in the market, here’s what you should consider when starting a horse business with no horse experience:
It’s important to plan your budget to ensure you can fund your business idea. Horse businesses can have a lot of upfront expenses, including some you may not think of, so you may want to bring in an expert to help you with the budget planning.
You should also develop a financial plan to understand the costs involved in running your new business successfully. This can vary widely depending on the type of horse business you’re interested in pursuing.
For example, the costs involved in housing, feeding, and caring for horses are much higher and less predictable than the costs involved in opening a tack shop or creating a line of equestrian products.
All businesses require time and resources to gain traction. On average, it can take two or three years before a business becomes profitable, and you could put out a lot of money and effort before you see a return.
Before you start, consider the resources available to you. You should also consider bringing in a partner or a consultant to help you with the horse-related aspects of your business.
No matter the nature of your business, it’s important to research the target market and consumer base. With horse businesses, this can be tricky.
Some areas have thriving horse communities, but that doesn’t leave a lot of room for a new horse business. Other areas may have no horse businesses to serve the needs of local consumers, but there could be a reason for that.
For example, an area with a lot of equestrian activity probably has a lot of boarding or riding stables, so that’s not the best option for your business. But if you find an area that has no horse facilities within a reasonable distance, that could be because there isn’t demand in the area or there are laws or regulations that act as obstacles to equestrian businesses.
It’s important to find a balance and learn what consumers are drawn to from the current offerings and the possible gaps in the market that you could satisfy. You should also consider if your idea has enough demand to become profitable, especially if there’s a lot of competition.
Many businesses are born of passion or interest. With horse businesses, owners are often horse people who want to follow their dream to make horses their full-time job.
Though running a business often includes more of the boring day-to-day duties and less of the passion, business owners tend to choose businesses in an industry that they care about or have an interest in.
This helps, because starting a business comes with stress, long hours, late nights, frustrating obstacles, and a fear of failure. Without passion, some of that can be difficult to overcome.
There’s no way around it – having experience with horses is a help if you’re trying to start a horse business, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your idea completely.
This is where an expert or consultant can be a huge asset. As you’re conducting your research and applying your business knowledge, your consultant can help you apply those ideas to the horse industry specifically.
Of course, you should still brush up your knowledge of the horse industry as well. There are plenty of resources online to learn more about horse care and the world of equestrian sports. You could also take courses to gain foundational knowledge to complement the guidance of the consultant.
Equestrians and horse lovers often seek careers involving horses to turn their passion into a paycheck. While some pursue careers like horse training or stable management, others prefer to control and satisfaction of running a business of their own.
But is a horse business the right choice for you, especially as a novice? Here are some questions to consider:
Whether you love horses or simply recognize a lucrative opportunity in this elite sport and hobby, make sure you’re ready to live and breathe horses, because it will become your life.
Plenty of businesses are created because owners see a market opportunity, not just because they have a passion for the industry. If you don’t have experience with horses but want to make it your full-time business, don’t be afraid to take the leap and learn from experts along the way.
Still have questions? Here are some answers to the most common questions about getting into the horse business with no experience.
If you want to gain experience with horses to prepare for your business venture, you have plenty of options. Horse rescues are always looking for volunteers to help with stable chores, giving you hands-on knowledge of what goes into the care and maintenance of horses. You could also take courses to learn equine care and management or equine business.
It’s a longstanding joke in the horse industry that there’s no money to be made in horse business, but that’s not the case. The entire industry is teeming with money. Running a business in the horse industry can be challenging, but it’s not impossible to run it successfully and turn a profit.
Buying and selling horses requires a lot of time and resources before you see a return – if you do at all. This is generally not an ideal option for someone with little to no experience with horses.
There is another option, however. Investing in horses, either through syndication or sponsorship, allows you to make passive income from a horse’s winnings, breeding, or sale. But like other investments, there’s no guarantee.
Not necessarily. There are numerous options for horse-related businesses that don’t deal directly with horses, such as feed and supply stores, tack shops, trailer and venue rentals, sport photography, manure removal, and equestrian property maintenance.
It depends on the nature of the business. Naturally, the owner of a riding academy or horse training business needs to have a strong background in riding horses and proper care, first and foremost. The same is true of a stable owner who manages their own facility.
But overall, the most important skill an equestrian business owner can have is adaptability. Running a horse business can be challenging, but if you can adapt and get creative, you’ll have a better chance of long-term success.
While some equestrian business owners have degrees in business administration, equine management, or related fields, it’s not a requirement for success. People with good business skills – and the ability to recognize when they need help – have plenty of advantages with equestrian businesses, degree or not.
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