horse boarding business vs dog/cat kennal?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by animals1981, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. animals1981

    animals1981 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2008
    anyone know the pros and cons of each?
  2. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    Horse Boarding

    -Pays for your own horses and taxes
    -Get to work with horses
    -Can often split vet farm calls with boarders

    -EVery day job, stalls and horses don't take holidays
    -Difficult to find reliable help
    -Not all boarders will pay on time (or at all!)
    -Not all boarders will vaccinate or deworm horses
    -Some boarders will nitpick about horse's care (Why didn't you bring Blue in when it rained for 15 minutes this afternoon? Why isn't Star's blanket on?)
    -Some boarders will have very high maintenance horses (Give Blue MSM every morning, Red Cell twice a day, wet down his hay 3x a day, needs a trim every 4 weeks)
    -May get stuck with unsellable horses if boarder desn't pay board
    -Inevitable gossip and arena conflicts

    Things to consider

    -Barn rules
    -Barn hours
    -Pay policy
    -What to do if a boarder doesn't pay
    -Manure management
    -Hay and grain storage
    -Arena time
    -Trailer parking
    -Quarantine area
    -Horse show policy (boarders take hay and grain as needed or they pay a small fee to take it)

    ETA: Some states and municipalities consider horse boarding agriculture, some business. You may have to rezone.

    Don't have a whole lot of experience with kennels, but I have worked at several boarding stables. Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  3. Sugar Sand Farm

    Sugar Sand Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2007
    North Florida
    We had a dog boarding kennel for 2 years. It is a 24/7/365 job. We loved the dogs and had a very good reputation for spoiling those that stayed with us but it was work. During that time I did not get any time away from the kennel. Holidays were for the people who boarded with us. Our holiday was always interrupted by someone who decided to come home early and would simply show up to pick up their pet no matter the time of day. Our kennel was on a large 3 1/2 acre plot that was gaited. If the gates were closed and locked they would climb over to get their pets. Phone calls were another nightmare as people thought just because we lived there they should be able to call anytime to come get their pets. We were closed from 12:00non on saturday thru sunday but there wasnt a weekend that someone didnt show up to interrupt us. Christmas morning, or whenever they felt like it. There wasnt much money made and DH still had to hold down a full time job so most of the constant cleaning and feeding fell on me. My days started at 6:00am and continued until 6:00pm at the kennel then I had to cook and take care of my family so it was a very exhausting time. Of course you develop favorites but the good memories do not count up against the bad memories for me.

    You were also responsible for special diets, medications, exercising the dogs, many times we had to give shots or heart medications. We only lost one dog during that time an older german shepard that was already living at the kennel when we took it over and he died of old age right before we left it.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  4. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Were you the one who didn't like dogs?

    No job is an easy job. All have ups and downs.

    I think the main difference between a dog and horse operation, is that a horse weighs from 700-2000 lbs, and a dog weighs from 4-150 lbs. A dog can bite you and kill you, but all a horse has to do is space out for a moment and you're a flat screen image on the wall. Old horse people limp a lot and creak a lot. Horses are big. And they are not always thinking through what they do. When I worked with other horses, I got stepped on, bit, bumped into and knocked over. Somehow, other people's horses never seemed quite as well trained as mine.

    Horses need hay and grain and bedding and dogs need dog food and meat. Though no supplies are cheap, horse supplies are not only expensive, they need a lot of space to be stored and the right conditions.

    That and horses are livestock and dogs are pets, so different under the law.

    Both never stop pooping, eating or looking for ways to kill themselves.

    Both kennels and boarding barns are regulated by state and local governments and have to follow all the usual laws businesses follow, but there are special laws for them such as those that cover what happens to the animal if the owner doesn't pay or abandons it.

    If I had to guess, I'd say neither make a HUGE profit, but I think it's a lot harder to make money with a horse boarding operation, and it's a much higher dollar investment to start with. Most folks say they 'break even on boarding', and make their money selling and buying horses and teaching lessons and training horses.

    I think running a horse boarding barn takes an immense amount of skill and experience or it falls to pieces, and you not only take care of the horses, you also have to babysit and supervise and somehow gently shepherd, their OWNERS.

    In horses, gossip is a big driver of who keeps business, gossip basically runs the horse business anyway. A person works very, very hard to try to run the barn without actually making anyone mad.

    And skill and experience....sooooo important. We were at one barn where the owner gave a horse a shot into a ligament near the top of the withers/neck, it threw itself down on the ground and writhed around screaming for quite some time. And just about everyone moved out.

    A person has to know - feeding, maintaining the buildings, riding areas, emergency care, so much. It's a very, very hard business. As one gal told me, 'hope for easy to please owners who never show up and always pay, and horses that don't poop a lot'.

    I actually think- probably very naively I'm sure, that a cat boarding business would be very interesting. Cats don't need as much space as horses (obviously) and setting up an operation like that might not be as costly. I cringe every time I go to 'dog and cat boarding' places and the cats look like they're caught in the middle of a thermonuclear meltdown - totally stressed (some places have separate areas for dogs and cats and avoid this). Many tend, even if the intake area has dogs, to be very stressed, and a week of loud barking of 20 or 30 dogs (even just nearby), a lot of cats would be - well - stressed.

    Cats do need to be cleaned up after, and the aromas are not always delightful, but they are for the most part small, clean animals and their supplies have modest cost (mostly). It would be so important to have a lot of knowledge of them, and to have a good vet available quickly for emergencies, and to have secure gates and doors so they couldn't sneak out(i've seen two-door setups to prevent escapes). I have seen some really nice boarding setups for cats that were very appealing. Washable cat furniture, cages with outdoor sides for mild weather, easily cleaned concrete floors, but with climbing areas and toys...and all the cats very quiet and content.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010

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