How many school horses and ponies would you suggest?
I own a barn in PA and we have been operating for about 3 years now. We have 7 boarders and about 25 girls that lesson here. Some of them are beginners but most are intermediate. Currently, we only have 5 school horses (4 horses 1 pony). How many school horses and ponies would you reccomend for my barn and how many does your barn have?
Many, or few, as you can afford. Maybe 1 or 2 more then you have now for 20ish lessons a week. Figure each horse can give 5 or 6 a week.
My barn has none any more. Between cost to acquire decent ability, training, soundness and attitude, insurance, upkeep and scheduling? It got to be cost prohibitive in both time and money to keep them. Unless you want to do projects which my barn did not- 4 or 5 kids working with a project each week is not always productive for horse or rider.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
If the 5 school horses that you have now do not have maintenance or soundness issues and can be ridden by a wide range of riders, you could probably get by with 1 more schoolie, though 2 would be better. However, I would first look into seeing if any of your boarders would be willing to have their horses used for intermediates one to two days a week in exchange for reduced board. Adding another mouth to feed and shoe for a lesson program is a significant expense, and you should come up with a formula based on your board cost to determine how many lessons a schoolie has to be in per month to fully amortize his care. A schoolie that can only be ridden by a subset of your riders is not likely to pay for itself; and at some point, your intermediates will need to ride non schoolies to progress.
Or consider getting new schoolies that would be appropriate to be leased or half leased by your better students - part of their upkeep gets paid for, they get a break from the school horse grind, and your students get to experience horse ownership in a limited way.
Sounds like the number you have is o.k. I can tell you that I have too many--probably around the same number of lessons as you and 11 (1 small pony, 1 medium pony, 2 large ponies, and 7 horses), and am actually getting another horse. But I also have lesson horses suited for advanced riders doing 3' to 3'6"...that is a bit of a specialty that not all barns can accommodate. So two of those horses are at that level. Actually, I have various level horses; some beginner horses (starting out riding to doing x-rails and 2'), some intermediate horses (doing 2'6" to 3') and some advanced horses (doing 3' to 3' 6") I think most barns I have talked to don't keep the 3' and 3' 6" horses. All of our school horses and ponies are expected to be able to go out and show as well as do lessons. It is tough to find good school horses. The easiest ones to find are the intermediate ones. The advanced ones are a little harder--to work here they need to be able to do the 3' and 3' 6", but need to be sensible enough that they can cross over to some of the intermediate riders to pay their way. The beginner horses are probably the hardest to find, because, again, to pay their way they need to cross over somewhat to the intermediate level, and as a result have to be very sound. But they need to be quiet enough for the rank beginners just starting out. I am lucky to have a good group right now that fits all of those profiles, but I haven't always had that. I have worked hard to collect and train appropriate horses. While I have been recently able to buy made school horses, in the past I have had to completely make them up--and I have some of those still in my program. Those are probably the most reliable ones I have, because they got trained my way. When I have a good school horse, I rarely sell it. I did once upon a time--and regretted it afterwards because it took me years to find the appropriate replacement. I make sure that my school horses do not get sour here, because I do not want to have to replace them. I am very careful to keep up on their health and foot care--if they need shoes they get them and are regularly reset. They get their own stalls. They get regular turn-out. I know of several programs that do not pay as much attention in their upkeep of their school horses--one doesn't shoe them even if needed, gives them only run-ins which would actually be fine if they were separated for feedings, but some horses get run down because they have to fight for their food, etc. To me this is false economy; the school horse is paying you, so the least you can do is take care of it properly. Interestingly, I think with some of these programs, the lack of care/food contributes to the quietness of the horses. It is a pet peeve of mine to see school horses cared (or not) for this way. It is also a pet peeve of mine when people don't want to pay for school horses--I find it irritating to see ads where people are asking for a well made, young school horse to be given to them so they can use it to make money...I'm not against a program getting a free horse to use for lessons, but I am against them feeling that they shouldn't have to pay fair market value for something they are using to make money on. I have always been willing to purchase at a fair price anything that I am using for lessons. Some of my school horses have not been cheap--I figure out how long the horse is going to work for me, and divide the purchase price by that to see if it makes sense; it usually does. Sorry for the long post; I just get aggravated because I also sell horses, and sometimes they are extra school horses I don't need, and invariably someone calls to ask if I will give or free lease this made horse to them to use for lessons so they can make money...and it is aggravating, because the answer is no. You want it to make money with it, you can pay fair market value for it, the same as I have done.
Definitely consider scheduling. If you could schedule the lessons any way you want, 5 school horses could easily handle 25 lessons per week. However, if most of your demand is on the weekends - you may need to add another 1-2, and try to find a way to increase demand during the week - possibly through half-leasing.
Nah, I have a sneaking suspicion she's my compulsive lying junky stalker, and sitting in her apartment in Virginia with her elderly fiance found on "sugardaddyforme.com". But just because it sounds EXACTLY like her.
Well, I need to figure out how many horses I need to fill my $55M equestrian estate in CT. Of course I will also need help when that lovely estate automajikally transforms me into a world-dominating jumper in the 2016 Olympics.
Or maybe I will to a schooling show and just call myself a GP rider and not have to work so hard...