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Anyone ever do a breeding/foaling co-op?

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  • Anyone ever do a breeding/foaling co-op?

    Has a small group of breeders ever gotten together, bought some land, and built a "breeders co-op" farm for foaling and raising the babies until it's time to be sent out and started under saddle? I've been thinking about this, and there are several advantages to doing something like this including saving quite a bit of money.

    First and foremost, a breeder wouldn't need to actually live on the property which would save them oodles of money on their personal mortgage or rent. No need to buy or live in a house with acreage.

    The facility could be kept very simple. No need for riding arena$, indoor$, or $tallion housing/breeding shed. One or two simple fenced in, flat areas to video youngsters, hold inspections, or show buyers youngstock. Horses could be kept largely outside 24/7, with access to good sized, well designed shelters. A well designed shed row barn with some large foaling stalls, an office/apartment (for foal watch), a palp/breeding/exam area, and one pole building for hay and equipment storage. Care and upkeep could be done in a co-op fashion, both giving people an occasional break, and/or having a helping hand (in another breeder) around when you really need one.

    Such a facility could also provide buyers with the ability to see more youngsters in one location -- a HUGE issue here in North America.

    Discuss?
    www.sauconycreeksporthorses.com
    Dedicated to breeding Friesian Sporthorses
    with world class pedigrees and sport suitability

  • #2
    I just can't see a coop situation working with herd turnout. Broodmare management can be intensive. In briefly considering your idea, feeding came to mind. Lactating broodmares need to eat. A lot. And in several meals a day. Late term pregnant mares need a lot too, and they can't hold as much so at times I've fed the hard keeper at least 4x per day. That's too many visits, too many different owner schedules, and too much pandemonium for a coop.

    I've thought for a long time that some of these TB farms in KY would be smart to aggressively go after the sporthorse breeding/raising market. They've got the know-how on raising, they have the facilities, they would just need to spin up on the whole AI things. Lord knows they have access to some of the best repro vets and neonatal facilities in the world.
    "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by ahf View Post
      I just can't see a coop situation working with herd turnout. Broodmare management can be intensive. In briefly considering your idea, feeding came to mind. Lactating broodmares need to eat. A lot. And in several meals a day. Late term pregnant mares need a lot too, and they can't hold as much so at times I've fed the hard keeper at least 4x per day. That's too many visits, too many different owner schedules, and too much pandemonium for a coop.

      I've thought for a long time that some of these TB farms in KY would be smart to aggressively go after the sporthorse breeding/raising market. They've got the know-how on raising, they have the facilities, they would just need to spin up on the whole AI things. Lord knows they have access to some of the best repro vets and neonatal facilities in the world.
      I was kind of thinking that the "co-op" would be more connected to the real estate than anything else. I sort of envisioned each owner owning a certain block of stalls and turnouts (private fields) -- meaning your horses will get as much feed as you want to give them. Obviously YOU are responsible for your own horses, and taking care of them and being at the property is the same as "going to work". -- But in a pinch, (say you MUST be somewhere else one afternoon) one of the other co-op owners may be able to help out.

      For me, the best advantages would be not having to declare it my residence, and I can actually live less expensively somewhere else without acreage. Where I LIVE affects important stuff -- especially school systems. The best school systems have higher real estate values. That really wouldn't need to be a high priority for where the farm is located.
      www.sauconycreeksporthorses.com
      Dedicated to breeding Friesian Sporthorses
      with world class pedigrees and sport suitability

      Comment


      • #4
        Ah. Thank you for the clarification.

        I think that there is just way too much management in breeding, foalwatch, foaling, caring for the newborn... to make a commute multiple times a day viable.

        Now young horses..... I can see that.
        "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin

        Comment


        • #5
          There are a few riding co-op barns around here that run fairly well. Sometimes there is that "one person" that doesn't pull their weight, but I think they are quickly run out of the barn. I don't see why it couldn't work, but a few things would have to be aligned for it to work:

          1) a group of breeders living close enough to the "co-op" farm to help out with the rotational care.

          2) a group of breeders that have similar ideas of how care should be given

          3) I do think you will need some riding facilities. If you end up with young stock at 3-4 years old that have not been sold you need a place to start them. It might not be possible to send them off for training of that particular breeder also wants to start their own young stock and are already paying to be at this facility.

          4) You would need clearly written out bylaws of how much stock one could keep on "their pastures", how to maintain the property structures, how to store feed, how to maintain fencing, what kind of foaling out facilities are there going to be (stalls, cameras, place for you to sleep), etc.

          For these kinds of places to work, and there is no reason it couldn't, there needs to RULES, RULES, RULES clearly outlined and all parties in agreement.
          Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses:
          http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2011.html
          http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2012.html

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          • #6
            would a weanling "farm" be more practical?
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            • #7
              Originally posted by ahf View Post
              I just can't see a coop situation working with herd turnout. Broodmare management can be intensive. In briefly considering your idea, feeding came to mind. Lactating broodmares need to eat. A lot. And in several meals a day. Late term pregnant mares need a lot too, and they can't hold as much so at times I've fed the hard keeper at least 4x per day. That's too many visits, too many different owner schedules, and too much pandemonium for a coop.

              I've thought for a long time that some of these TB farms in KY would be smart to aggressively go after the sporthorse breeding/raising market. They've got the know-how on raising, they have the facilities, they would just need to spin up on the whole AI things. Lord knows they have access to some of the best repro vets and neonatal facilities in the world.
              Not disagreeing with you but was wondering why you think TB farms would want anything to do with sport horses. In my experience TB people pay way more than a sport horse person would even dream of paying for their services. The last mare I had in KY cost me $35 per day for field board. That was four years ago. It was $150 for a ten minute van ride to the breeding shed. $5 per day for Thyro-L that was not optional. Not sure what foaling fees would be since they always came home when they were in foal but it couldn't be cheap. $5k is a dirt cheap stud fee for a TB too. I just don't see sport horse breeders wanting any part of any of it even with the lower sport horse stud fees.
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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Blume Farm View Post
                There are a few riding co-op barns around here that run fairly well. Sometimes there is that "one person" that doesn't pull their weight, but I think they are quickly run out of the barn. I don't see why it couldn't work, but a few things would have to be aligned for it to work:

                1) a group of breeders living close enough to the "co-op" farm to help out with the rotational care.

                2) a group of breeders that have similar ideas of how care should be given

                3) I do think you will need some riding facilities. If you end up with young stock at 3-4 years old that have not been sold you need a place to start them. It might not be possible to send them off for training of that particular breeder also wants to start their own young stock and are already paying to be at this facility.

                4) You would need clearly written out bylaws of how much stock one could keep on "their pastures", how to maintain the property structures, how to store feed, how to maintain fencing, what kind of foaling out facilities are there going to be (stalls, cameras, place for you to sleep), etc.

                For these kinds of places to work, and there is no reason it couldn't, there needs to RULES, RULES, RULES clearly outlined and all parties in agreement.
                Hmmm.........

                I think the term "Co-op" is confusing my intentive idea.

                When I say "Co-op", I really mean as a real estate entity. Not as a "shared chores" entity -- although I'm sure some of that could be integrated. All parties would have invested a big chunk of money in the set up of the facility, so the problem of them "pulling their weight" wouldn't likely exist.

                If one doesn't consider raising youngsters a full time job, and doesn't want to "commute" to work (the farm) and stay there all day, then I guess it wouldn't be the kind of thing you'd be into.

                Also, the point would be to save money. Riding facilities cost a lot. Personally, I think a place to start the youngsters and have them available for tryout and sale should be a whole 'nother different co-op. Lol.

                I'm talking a "raising" facility. Don't they do it like that in Europe? There's the breeders, the raisers, and the starters?

                With several different investors involved, buying power is leveraged, and certain aspects of the property could be shared i.e. -- hay storage, equipment, breeding stocks, bathroom, etc.

                ETA: Basically, you'd be responsible for your horses, your stalls, your feeding, your everything. Your farm -- ie "Flying Unicorn Lovepuppy Sporthorses" would occupy the front left quadrant of the 100 acre property. "Jump the Moon Sporthorses" would be on the right front quadrant. You share certain aspects of the barn and equipment. You are separate businesses. See what I mean?

                I was thinking along the lines of what a housing co-op is like.
                From Wikipedia:

                A housing cooperative is a legal entity, usually a corporation, consisting of one or more residential buildings; it is one type of housing tenure. Housing cooperatives are a distinctive form of home ownership that has many characteristics that make it different than other residential arrangements such as single family ownership, condominiums and renting.[1]

                The corporation is membership based, with membership granted by way of a share purchase in the cooperative. Each shareholder in the legal entity is granted the right to occupy one housing unit. A primary advantage of the housing cooperative is the pooling of the members’ resources so that their buying power is leveraged, thus lowering the cost per member in all the services and products associated with home ownership.

                Another key element is that the members, through their elected representatives, screen and select who may live in the cooperative, unlike any other form of home ownership.[1] Housing cooperatives fall into two general tenure categories: non-ownership (referred to as non-equity or continuing) and ownership (referred to as equity or strata). In non-equity cooperatives, occupancy rights are sometimes granted subject to an occupancy agreement, which is similar to a lease. In equity cooperatives, occupancy rights are sometimes granted by way of the purchase agreements and legal instruments registered on the title. The corporation's articles of incorporation and bylaws as well as occupancy agreement specifies the cooperative's rules.

                The word cooperative is also used to describe a non-share capital co-op model in which fee-paying members obtain the right to occupy a bedroom and share the communal resources of a house that is owned by a cooperative organization. Such is the case with student cooperatives in some college and university communities across the United States.
                www.sauconycreeksporthorses.com
                Dedicated to breeding Friesian Sporthorses
                with world class pedigrees and sport suitability

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've been asked by other breeders to share land, duties, it a can work. we normally just call 'em "mare stations" for lack of a better term. You can also stand your mares at a stallion station...look for "mare & foal care." At the time when I was brainstorming with other breeders we just couldn't find a suitable location to lease...always some draw back like barbwire, etc. Good luck and keep thinking outside the box!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just throwing out my thoughts for you:

                    I think having shared work would be beneficial. I myself wouldn't want to drive out to my "farm" 2-3 times a day to feed and check my horses. Would the farm employ someone to do all that? That is the benefit of having your horses at home...no commute, can do midnight checks, foaling out, etc without another commute.

                    Just because someone has invested a chunk of change into some land and set up doesn't mean they are going to maintain the way you want You would need covenants essentially...fencing, sheds, etc. It would really be a bummer to partake in such a thing and you spend a lot of $ and effort to keep your "quadrant" nice while your neighbor lets their fencing go to pot. People get into all sorts of financial trouble and the first thing that is going to go is their piece of the farm.

                    My father lives in a co-op in NYC. They have a co-op board that maintains the standards of the building. Same as a home owners board. There are always problems between owners And these are folks in NYC that spent a lot of money to live in this building! And some just don't care to keep their space up to par. Not saying it couldn't work, but being in a co-op has it's own set of problems that need to be clearly outlined how they are to be handled and by whom.

                    In my mind I think what might be better would be almost like an equestrian community where you can live on a small property (1-2 acres) but have a central larger "mare & foal" area. This way one could be right there to care for their horses but still have all the benefits of shared facilities.

                    My understanding in Germany is that there are farms that do weanling to 3 year old raising, stud raising, etc. But these are farm owners that offer these services and is how they make their living (at least part of it...many of them also raise cows, crops, etc). I have visited may of these farms and they will have herds of yearlings-3 yr old where some are owned by clients all over the world...Germany, US, Japan, Egypt, etc.
                    Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses:
                    http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2011.html
                    http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2012.html

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Blume Farm View Post
                      Just throwing out my thoughts for you:

                      I think having shared work would be beneficial. I myself wouldn't want to drive out to my "farm" 2-3 times a day to feed and check my horses. Would the farm employ someone to do all that? That is the benefit of having your horses at home...no commute, can do midnight checks, foaling out, etc without another commute.
                      Well, as I mentioned, this type of scenario might not be for everyone. For me, there wouldn't BE "multiple commutes". I'd go to the farm, and that's where I'd be all day. It's my JOB And no, there wouldn't likely be "employees". The point would be to save money. One of the things I, personally, would plan into the facility is an apartment so that during foaling season, you CAN "sleep over". Also, in this day and age of technology, it's not difficult to set up multiple cameras and be able to monitor your property remotely over the web.

                      Originally posted by Blume Farm View Post
                      Just because someone has invested a chunk of change into some land and set up doesn't mean they are going to maintain the way you want You would need covenants essentially...fencing, sheds, etc. It would really be a bummer to partake in such a thing and you spend a lot of $ and effort to keep your "quadrant" nice while your neighbor lets their fencing go to pot. People get into all sorts of financial trouble and the first thing that is going to go is their piece of the farm.
                      One doesn't walk into a major real estate investment with just anyone. Deals like this are serious business, and partners with a similar vision would be of utmost importance. Of course there would be certain maintenance rules written into whatever agreement is made. Kind of like a condo association.

                      Originally posted by Blume Farm View Post
                      My father lives in a co-op in NYC. They have a co-op board that maintains the standards of the building. Same as a home owners board. There are always problems between owners And these are folks in NYC that spent a lot of money to live in this building! And some just don't care to keep their space up to par. Not saying it couldn't work, but being in a co-op has it's own set of problems that need to be clearly outlined how they are to be handled and by whom.
                      Of course!

                      Originally posted by Blume Farm View Post
                      In my mind I think what might be better would be almost like an equestrian community where you can live on a small property (1-2 acres) but have a central larger "mare & foal" area. This way one could be right there to care for their horses but still have all the benefits of shared facilities.
                      But the disadvantage of that is higher real estate values. People want to LIVE where schools and services are the best. "The best" costs money. Plus, I would think involving home ownership as well as a business ownership aspect would add in one more serious complication and something to muck up the deal. A broodmare/raising facility could quite likely be put together on land that has been placed in agricultural preservation -- which makes the land MUCH cheaper to buy. OR perhaps farmland could be purchased that wasn't YET in ag-preservation, and the buyers could receive a VERY nice grant from the government for placing it in ag-pres. An equestrian community would be a local zoning nightmare in many areas, and real estate taxes would be outrageous in most places.

                      Originally posted by Blume Farm View Post
                      My understanding in Germany is that there are farms that do weanling to 3 year old raising, stud raising, etc. But these are farm owners that offer these services and is how they make their living (at least part of it...many of them also raise cows, crops, etc). I have visited may of these farms and they will have herds of yearlings-3 yr old where some are owned by clients all over the world...Germany, US, Japan, Egypt, etc.
                      Maybe one of the investors could have an eye toward raising youngsters for a fee -- just like what you're saying.
                      www.sauconycreeksporthorses.com
                      Dedicated to breeding Friesian Sporthorses
                      with world class pedigrees and sport suitability

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I do think you will run into issues with husbandry between the different members. Yes you choose carefully but, like an SO, you don't really know what it is like to live with someone until you do.

                        I think a better idea would be a group that hires a manager to oversee it all (you). Yes they can be actively involved but you would over all be in charge and make sure it all runs smoothly day to day.

                        I know personally if DH and I didn't have our own acreage I wouldn't be breeding. Maybe if I rented somewhere but I doubt it strongly. Just too much overhead. I stand to make a profit (not that I truly care I just would like to break even if possible, it is my breeding vision not the $$ that appeals to me) only because we cut our own hay, I pay no board, do my own shots. So what you're saying has a very valid appeal. But I think too many cooks in the kitchen would kill this very quickly.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by magicteetango View Post
                          I know personally if DH and I didn't have our own acreage I wouldn't be breeding. Maybe if I rented somewhere but I doubt it strongly. Just too much overhead. I stand to make a profit (not that I truly care I just would like to break even if possible, it is my breeding vision not the $$ that appeals to me) only because we cut our own hay, I pay no board, do my own shots. So what you're saying has a very valid appeal. But I think too many cooks in the kitchen would kill this very quickly.
                          I disagree, really. I wouldn't be in someone else's kitchen to be one cook too many. Care of horses, and more importantly, property would really need to be delineated in a situation like this. For example, if someone has a section of their fenceline in need of repair, then they would need to fix it within x-amount of days. It would be like a condo association. And yes, "living" with other people can sometimes be a drag, but it also has it's advantages. Sharing the tax burden and expenses among them. And giving buyers the equivalent of a shopping mall of 0-2 year old youngsters -- all in one place -- has extreme appeal for them.

                          For people who live on their own acreage and are paying a large mortgage, they really ARE paying board. If one's mortgage is $2,000/mo for their farm, but they COULD be paying $800/mo in a house without that acreage, then it certainly isn't "free" to keep their horses at home. If your lucky enough to not be paying a mortgage, all the power to ya!

                          Cutting hay requires the equipment and man hours to do so. Either that you can hire someone to do it for you. Both of which are very expensive and will oftentimes make simply buying hay a comparable alternative.

                          I dunno. I think it's a great idea and hope to be able to pursue it in the future with some other breeders/investors. Obviously, it wouldn't be for "everyone", but I personally see more advantages than disadvantages. It's not something that's going to happen anytime soon. that's for sure.
                          www.sauconycreeksporthorses.com
                          Dedicated to breeding Friesian Sporthorses
                          with world class pedigrees and sport suitability

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                          • #14
                            I'm confused - if the advantage is that you don't have to go out 3 times a day to do what needs to be done, then who does?
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                            • #15
                              This is completely off topic - but I just have to express my extreme sadness that a person would have to worry about living in an area where schools as not as good as in another area. :-(

                              As far as a co-op it reminds me a lot of Communism - awesome in theory - very very flawed in practice. One of those situations where if you take the humans out of the equation it would work great - but once you add in conflicting personalities (which the horse industry is ripe with) then eventually the manure would hit the fan. ;-)

                              I have always thought it would be nice to live in a horse community - one where everyone shared a riding facility - but enough bad experiences at boarding barns have soured me on that idea - I couldn't imagine being neighbors with some of the wack jobs I have met at various stables. :-P
                              Be firm, fair, kind, clear, consistent, patient, and, above all else, maintain a sense of humour.
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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Molly Malone View Post
                                I'm confused - if the advantage is that you don't have to go out 3 times a day to do what needs to be done, then who does?
                                Where exactly is this stated? Lol. Someone said that they wouldnt want to "commute" multiple times a day. I said I'd go there and stay all day.
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                                Dedicated to breeding Friesian Sporthorses
                                with world class pedigrees and sport suitability

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Ysabel View Post
                                  This is completely off topic - but I just have to express my extreme sadness that a person would have to worry about living in an area where schools as not as good as in another area. :-(
                                  Well, "not as good" doesn't necessarily="bad"

                                  A
                                  Originally posted by Ysabel View Post
                                  As far as a co-op it reminds me a lot of Communism - awesome in theory - very very flawed in practice.
                                  *SIGH* I think I need to change the thread title.
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                                  Dedicated to breeding Friesian Sporthorses
                                  with world class pedigrees and sport suitability

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                                  • #18
                                    *SIGH* I think I need to change the thread title.
                                    No worries - I completely understand what you are talking about - I was just being cheeky. :-) Regardless - what you propose requires people to get along indefinitely.... possible? - yes .... probable? - no. :-(
                                    Be firm, fair, kind, clear, consistent, patient, and, above all else, maintain a sense of humour.
                                    www.stargazerfarm.ca

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I am well aware of what the expenses are, I pay someone to cut our hay and while we are lucky to have a small mortgage I know farm owners that don't and compromised on, for instance, the home and layout and yes, area, and it is what I would want/need to do. Breeding or no I very much enjoy them being home.

                                      Anyway, I love the concept I just know how some people treat their broodmares and I wouldn't be okay with it and being stuck with that person/huge legal battle to get rid of them. How would it work if one of the co-op wants out anyway?

                                      You see so many boarding horror stories on here and you can kick them out usually in 30 days. What if you didn't have that option?

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Nootka View Post
                                        would a weanling "farm" be more practical?
                                        Actually, with all my acreage and down to 11 horses of my own now, mostly aged, and my experience with the youngins', I'd thought about doing something like this this down the road. Well, you know my set up - big fields, big sheds (and now, plenty of empty stalls if needed.

                                        Might be a great use of my farm now that the busy breeding, baby and training stuff is over -- without being uber time intensive for me as I get older. Hmmm...you got me thinking. In fact, with the indoor and the training set up, it could eventually be a young horse training facility (as long as I don't have to do it...too old for that now!)
                                        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                                        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                                        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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