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Horse boarding questions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking a lot and I would like to do something with horses, but I do not have the skill and experience to be a trainer, and I know breeding is a good way to end up losing money so I was thinking... Maybe I could board. I have a whole slew of questions about it but I wanted to start out with this. I currently have a fairly good size lump of money, I'm using half to build a "tiny house" like the houses you would see on 'Tiny house, big living' or 'Tiny House Hunters'. But I'm keeping the other half in the bank. My house will be on my parents land, but a little bit of the land will be mine. So, I will have 5-10 acres (probably closer to 5) to work with starting out. Clearly that's not a lot, but, if you have 5 acres, access to water, and a good shelter, can you board a couple of horses? I know most people want a barn and arena and seperate stalls, but are there people that would board on an open pasture and let their horses run with someone else's? (Given that there aren't any stallions and mares together and all horses are current on coggins, vaccines, and dewormed).
IF this is possible. I was thinking I could get just a couple loyal clients, and if it was all going good, I could use the other half of my money to put a down payment on some land, and then start boarding a few more and use the boarding fees to make my payment on the land.
If this sounds okay.. I have a lot more questions for any one who would know the answers.

*im not looking to make a bunch of money, just enough that I could make a payment on some land, and be able to afford buying feed for my horse, and my chickens and dogs. Just a little pocket money and a chance to spend time with horses and have some land, basically.

Also, can boarding horses be used as a tax write off?
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
I also know a girl who trains who I believe would partner up with me and do training/tune ups for the people boarding. If that would be something that would help things along.
post #3 of 8
You need to sit down and do some serious number crunching. Start with the amount of money you have, and start subtracting the costs of your endeavor. First. The cost of your house. Count on it costing more than any estimate you get. Don't forget to add in the cost of any permits you may need. If it will be on your parent's property, they might ask you to cover any increase in taxes caused by the tiny house being there. Or, if you will have deed to the land it is on, consider your cost in taxes, water, electric, or whatever it will take to run the place. Then, think about insurance. Not only on your home, but you will definitely want liability insurance for the pasture you rent. As you probably know, if there is trouble, a horse will find it, and someone will have to pay :-).
Personally, I would not consider renting pasture unless there were some sort of safe shelter for ol Wildfire. I might consider no shelter if I were desperate, but then, if I were desperate, you might have a hard time collecting rent money from me when it is due. (Another thing to think about).
Then there is safe fencing..on and on it goes.
All I'm saying is think it to folks who are renting space for horses. Not the renters, but the people who own the property. Listen to their pros and cons on the subject. Do your homework so you don't end up heartbroken, and wondering what happened. Always expect the unexpected, and get everything in writing. Good luck.
post #4 of 8
Hello! I know my mom boards horses at her house. She has 7 1/2 acres of land and has had people come and go with boarding their horses there. Most of the time they have old horses they don't want to sell or ride so they keep them there because it's cheaper than a big barn with a lot of people actually going there to ride. She usually charges around $300 - $400 a month for each horse. A good tip when getting new horses is she has a small round pen next to the actual pasture so the new horse will get used to the others and won't get hurt if actually turned out right away with them. She also charges more for horses that eat more (like Thoroughbreds). I don't really know specific questions that you have I just thought I'd give some simple advice and knowledge of my experience smile.png
post #5 of 8

Check with zoning and home owners insurance too. What would happen if someone were to get hurt on the property. Or if the horses were to get out and cause damage. 

If you are passionate about what you care about, you will
not fail.
If you are passionate about what you care about, you will
not fail.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice! I have a budget set for my tiny house but I've also allowed plenty of room for extra expenses, and me and my parents have long since figured out how the taxes, electricity, etc. will be taken care of, so none of that is a problem. I've also talked to them about boarding, and they completely support it. I'll probably start with the five acres, which is fine because even if boarding doesn't work out, I do have a horse of my own and could potentially get another in the future, so it wouldn't be wasted. It would be pasture boarding but there is a shed type building on the property (I think it was a shelter for hogs or cows once a long time ago?) that I could fix up a little and use as a run in shelter. And I do plan on putting up a round pen, in or next to the pasture, I'm trying to figure out how to do water right now, as we don't have a pond on our property. We have a wet weather creek, but I'd have to have something else to use when it's dry, also trying to figure out how to do fence, almost everyone in our area does barbed wire, occasionally hot fence, no matter if they're doing small time boarding, breeding, riding lessons, rescues, or just have horses as pets. I don't want to do barbed wire, for obvious reasons, but what would be good that's cheaper than pipe?
Also, I know nothing about liability insurance or how it works, I'd say most if not all the people around here that board don't have it. But I think I would like to have it, does anyone know a rough estimate of what it could cost?
As for not paying rent, I would have a contract drawn up. I would also have in the contract that they need to provide proof of current coggins, vaccines, and deworming. I wouldn't want to risk someone else's horse getting sick if I have multiple, and I don't want to get burned if they don't pay rent for a certain amount of time.
I would probably charge a lot less than I could, just as long as I make enough to cover the things I need to cover, just because starting out I don't want people to think I'm too expensive and avoid using me, and because I would do it where they provide grain if they want it. I'd have grass in the summer and hay in the winter.
I'm thinking with just 5 acres, I would board three horses max, but if I can keep three horses boarded at all times, and I have other people wanting to board frequently, then and only then would I take the rest of my money to put towards more land, and my dad likes the idea enough that he said if it's going well within a year or two, or three, he'd be willing to invest in some land with me, and do it together. I know it wouldn't be a big money thing, but I think it would cover the cost of land and give us some extra money for taking care of our own animals. And I would absolutely love to be able to spend all that time with horses everyday, which is why I like the idea in the first place.
post #7 of 8

I am not sure where you are, but I can tell you a couple common complaints I hear from people who board horses. One of the biggest pressures is actually collecting on the fee. There are unfortunately people who will abandon their horse because they cannot pay for it anymore. You will need to have a contract that allows you to obtain ownership of the horse if a certain amount of payments are late and then you will have to go through the selling process. Most people don't recover their horses because by the time they can come up with money to pay for the board, it has racked up to more than the horse is worth, value wise.

Some jurisdictions are not lenient on businesses or land use, for instance CA. There will likely be increased scrutiny of your parents property (water testing at your expense, soil testing, etc.). Each stall can cost up to $500 in commercial boarding fees, alone.


Another thing to consider is the demand for horse boarding if you are in an area with a lot of open land. Typically places like that, people board their own horses on their own property.


It may be beneficial to look at other ways that you can utilize the land to generate additional income (in addition to boarding horses). You can breed other animals, like chickens or goats, or dogs. I think a partnership with that other girl who trains horses would be very beneficial. Even you can add on services, like lunging once a day or just a turnout fee. One thing that is really needed in my area is a brooding area. Many of the stables in the bay area don't have facilities for mares to birth and care for their young because they need double the space and 24 hour watch. This may also be something you can try to get into. You can also have pet boarding where you keep dogs while their owners go on vacation.


Good luck.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice! First thing I would do is go to the lawyer in my town (I guess that's where you'd go?) to get a contract drawn up that would allow me to do what I wanted with the horse if they don't pay after a certain amount of time, that way I wouldn't have to worry with that. And I still have a lot of other little things to figure out too. Where I live there's a lot of land, but there's also a lot of people who want/have horses, who can't afford their own land, I would say boarding would do decent. There's not much fancy stuff around here, so pasture boarding is pretty much all anyone does, and people don't generally get worked up like some might in bigger cities, etc. it's just kind of back woodsy, and old farmer type people around here, I know I wouldn't have any show horses or anything like that at my place, just people's trail riding horses, which I guess could be good and bad. But like you said I may try to incorporate some other animal stuff into it as well.
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