If you are passionate about horses, managing a horse farm is a great way to spend your days. Expect a lot of hard work in tending the farm and your horses, as well as costly startup expenses, to procure the land, barns, horses, farm equipment and farm hands. It’s a good idea to invest in an apprenticeship that will teach you how to properly breed and train your horses or find an experienced farm manager willing to teach you the ropes.
Don’t quit your day job. It cannot be stressed enough: operating a horse farm is a lot of work. You may not even begin to see profits for quite some time. To keep your business afloat, don’t quit your day job until you have to. Start small with your farm. As your business grows, you can procure more land, facilities and horses.
Select a Breed
Pick a discipline and a breed that will do well in your region for breeding. If boarding horses, you’ll also need to learn various breed nuisances, eating habits and how to identify illnesses. Find literature online or at your local library.
Consider the amount of land you want to invest in for breeding, boarding and training your horses. 100 or more acres may be enough to allow you to bale your own hay and allow room for your horses to graze, reducing the need for feed. However, harvesting equipment can be costly. It may be cheaper to purchase hay instead. As well, the more land you have, the more work it will take to manage it.
Hire Farm Hands
Determine your staffing requirements. Horses require a lot of care and maintenance. You’ll need farm hands to repair barns and fences, clean stables, exercise and feed the horses, maintain the pastures, test soil to ensure the horses are receiving proper nutrients and offer lessons.
Develop the Property
Learn about building barns, planning horse property, general horse care and stable management and then develop a business plan. Detail anticipated costs for insurance, feed, equipment, barns, stalls, stall bedding, watering systems, vet checks, footing, farrier work, tack rooms and amenities for customers. Consult with an attorney and insurance agent to help you determine liability concerns, insurance requirements, whether incorporating is right for you and what to include in your waivers. Stablewise.com is a good resource for horse farm planning.
Have volunteers help around the farm in exchange for horseback rides.
Find a good equine veterinarian to administer vaccinations and worming medication.
Understand that when boarding horses, the better you care for the horses, the more money and publicity you will garner.
While you may delegate many tasks to your farm hands, remain involved in the day-to-day operations. Implement feeding and cleaning schedules and check up on your employees regularly.
Visit the IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center online to get an idea of your tax responsibility.