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Owning a boarding facility

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  • Owning a boarding facility

    If this isn't the correct place to post this please let me know and I'll move it to the correct place.

    My wife and I in the next 5-6 years are looking at purchasing a horse boarding facility. My question is in regard to horse trainers.

    We are wanting to have an on site horse trainer/ stable hand. We are looking at providing free living(except food) and up to two horses boarded for free. They would keep 100% of their training fees in exchange for helping with stall clean up and general maintenance of the facility along side me. We would like someone that is a competition rider(mostly western disciplines) to help promote our horses/ facility. We are located in the greater Houston area. To you trainers or boarding owners is this normal practices/ feasible? If not what are normal practices?

    The idea is to have a covered lighted arena, at least 2 round pens, calves/cows for tie down breakaway roping and cutting practice. We are teachers and looking at life after teaching and this appeals to both of us. The biggest hurdle is having a trainer/stable hand to be on grounds in the event we leave town for a few days.

    Anyone that could shed some light is truly appreciated.

  • #2
    You might want to move your post to "Off Course" which is kind of a grab-bag area.

    Good to search COTH Forums for boarding threads- there are a lot. You will find the consensus is that boarding is, at best, a break-even business. And there are a ton of variables that can make it be a big loser, as well.

    You sound like you are actually looking for a competent caretaker, rather than a trainer who would run a business with other clients out of your facility? If so, that might be possible. But the words "trainer" and "stable hand" are usually mutually exclusive. A trainer trains horses, and a stable hand feeds, cleans, and does maintenance if you are fortunate.

    If you want a nice place to rope with friends, that is very different than a commercial boarding stable with public trainer on site.

    The light I can shed is to find exactly what you want and board your horses there. You will avoid the headache and heartache of trying to run a break-even business, you'll only be responsible to pay for your own horses, and you'll be able to go wherever you want, whenever you want.


    • #3
      I agree with Miss Motivation. Trainer and stable help are 2 different people. Especially if you factor in a competition trainer. That = travel which = not available to help around your farm.

      If you want a live-on trainer I would still insist they have their own personal insurance.


      • #4
        Don’t do it. Doesn’t sound like you have the level of experience with commercial boarding operations to even begin to anticipate the relationship between barn owners and trainers working off their living expenses as a stable hand. It doesn’t work long term. If they are any good at all, they will want more income and take your boarders with them when they find a better deal allowing them more time to train and teach and getting paid upfront instead of bartering labor for rent. They generally won’t manage their business as you expected them to and may try to manage yours in a way you don’t want as well.

        Theres also many hidden expenses in running a boarding barn including insurance, legal advice, the skyrocketing cost if hay and mental health therapy from dealing with slow pay, non pay, know it all, whack job boarders calling you or walking into your home ( if you live on the property) at all hours. Search and read the countless threads on here by barn owners tearing their hair out over boarders who ruin their joy in life itself let alone running a boarding barn. Then there’s threads by whack job boarders upset because barn owners won’t cater exclusively to them at no increase in rates. That’s on top of potential combination stable hand and trainer pitfalls.

        Really need to think about your plans and do more research on the reality of running a boarding barn as opposed to what it looks like on paper.

        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


        • #5
          Contact Michigan State University. They have a program that teaches up and comers for just what you are looking for. Talk to Karen Waite or Paula Hisler.
          Crayola posse ~ Lazer Lemon yellow
          Take time to is too short a day to be selfish. - Ben Franklin


          • #6
            Don't do it.. LOL

            we own a nice 50 acre equestrian facility outside of Houston. Spent years looking for trainers to rent. Nothing but one disaster after another. Hard to find a legitimate trainer who wont take advantage and trash your place, ect.

            You need to figure out your staffing (they are even harder to find!). Do you provide housing on site? Property rental only? Partial or full care?