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.
Most horse businesses are small businesses, not massive multi-national corporations or franchises. This creates an opportunity for owners to tailor their operations to the needs of their clients.
With that flexibility, you have many ways you can generate extra income streams to maximize your profits while offering the value-added features your clients appreciate. While your options depend on the type of equestrian business you have and what’s available, these should give you some ideas.
Boarding and riding stables are a common horse business. Many horse owners and riders don’t have the option to stable a horse at home, so a boarding facility gives them a place to ride and someone to care for their horse.
The amenities at a boarding facility can vary significantly, but generally, they charge a monthly fee to house a horse and provide for its needs. Beyond that, you can gain extra income for many services, such as:
A lot of boarding stables offer riding lessons to bring in extra money. Often, the instructor’s students will choose to board their personal or leased horse onsite for convenience. However, some may travel for riding lessons with a horse they have at home. This expands your income potential beyond just the horses and owners that are kept in the facility.
Though it may be challenging to find time to ride every day, some of your boarders may need their horses exercised or trained regularly. This can range from hand walking or lunging to intensive training, depending on the time and experience you have.
Some boarding facilities offer training as part of a higher boarding tier. The client pays for board plus a set number of training sessions each month. This gives you steady income and they get a small discount by paying upfront for training, rather than by the session.
Hosting instructional clinics at your facility. Clinicians, instructors, and event organizers need facilities for riding clinics and related educational activities. Other service providers, such as saddle fitters, body workers, chiropractors, and acupuncturists may want to rent your space to service several horses at one time rather than traveling long distances.
If you have a riding ring or indoor arena, you may be able to rent the space to clinicians for your boarders as a value-added feature. In addition, you can advertise the event and bring more awareness to your boarding facility.
Some boarding facilities are intended for short-term boarders, retired horses, seasonal boarding, or other circumstances that don’t involve regular use of the arena. Instead of wasting all that space and maintenance with your indoor or outdoor arena, offer the riding rights to others as a passive income source.
You can set up payment however you wish with monthly fees, fee per-use, partial use, or anything else that works for your needs. It’s important to include a contract that outlines the property rules and expectations to ensure you’re legally protected if there’s an accident on your property.
Leases allow riders and owners to share the cost and upkeep of a horse and enjoy mutual benefits. You can lease or part-lease your personal horse or your lesson horses to a rider to generate income from the horses you’re keeping anyway.
A lease agreement is key with a lease, however. This contract should include the length of the lease, how many days per week the lessee is given access to the horse, and the division of responsibilities with care and costs for the horse.
A lot of equestrians travel to new places with their horses and enjoy camping or wilderness adventures. They need a safe place to stop overnight, and if you have a lot of property, a good camping spot on your private land.
Horses produce a LOT of manure – over 10 tons each year. Instead of seeing it as a waste product you need to get rid of, consider composting it as a product to sell to local gardeners or farmers. A composting system takes a bit of work to set up and maintain, but it’s worth it for the “black gold” you’ll get in return.
Having a tack shop on premises is a one-stop shop for your boarders and riders to get what they need. It doesn’t have to be big and flashy – just a small shop with the essentials can help you generate extra income and elevate the experience for your clients.
You could also offer used and consignment gear to increase your income with your old tack and equipment and your boarders’ stuff. You’re helping them out while generating some extra income for yourself.
During show season, load some products onto a small trailer and take it to a horse show. It’s inevitable that some kids (and adult competitors) will forget small items they need for the ring, such as grooming supplies, ratcatchers, hoof picks, and hair nets. It’s also an opportunity to expand your audience for consignment tack and equipment.
When show season rolls around, busy parents and working adults may not have time for all the work that goes into it – bathing, braiding, cleaning tack, pulling manes. You can take on the tasks of preparing a horse to show on your own, or one of your employees can, you can make a lot of money from just your boarding clients.
Another option is to bring in a groomer. You can charge a fee to bring them to your facility, and the groomer benefits from having multiple clients seeking their services.
Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing relevant, valuable content to your target audience. As an expert in the equestrian world, you have a wealth of opportunities to share your knowledge about riding and horse care while attracting people to your business.
Content offers another opportunity – influencer marketing. Once you build a name for yourself or your horse business, you can become an equestrian influencer and review horse products like tack, grooming supplies, riding apparel, and stable necessities in exchange for compensation or a free product.
Along the same lines, affiliate marketing is an easy way to earn passive income for the horse products you know and love. All you have to do is post an endorsement link to the company’s website in your content. When people use that link to navigate to the product page and make a purchase, you get a commission on the sale.
There’s a lot more you can do with your horse property than just horse-related income streams. All that space is attractive to other sportsmen and adventurers.
Depending on the space and buildings you have on your property, you can rent seasonal storage space for equipment. Owners of boats, personal watercraft, recreational vehicles, ATVs, and other vehicles may not have suitable covered storage space for their toys, so they’re often happy to pay for a spot in a secure location. Just make sure you have a rental contract with clear terms.
Offering classes for drawing, painting, pottery, writing, or photography at your stable is a great way to earn extra income and create a space for budding artists. Plein air painting, or the act of painting outdoors, is a way for artists to connect with the world outside of their four studio walls. You have natural land for attractive landscapes, not to mention an ideal subject – a horse.
You can hire an instructor to come and host an art class, offering space for art class rentals, or simply charge a fee for artists and other creatives to spend time on your property and make use of the scenery.
Another way to earn passive income is by leasing or renting your building space to another business, such as an art restorer or a small repair shop. These businesses may not have the space on their own commercial property and would be willing to pay for yours. In this case, a rental agreement is important for both parties.
Outdoor, ranch, or country-themed weddings are always in need of locations for ceremonies and receptions. If your property has a barn that’s suitable for a formal event, consider offering the space for weddings, birthday parties, graduation parties, and other celebrations.
There are virtually limitless ways to add extra revenue streams to your existing horse business. Though it may take some experimentation to find the right offerings for your market and audience, you’ll be able to increase your cash flow while keeping your clients happy.
However you choose to generate more income, make sure you consider the legal aspects of your side business and how to ensure you’re protected. Remember, your existing legal protections may not apply to your new revenue stream.
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