How To Start A Profitable Horse Related Business
A big hurdle that many face when learning how to start a horse related profitable business is treating it like a business!
By Tim Anderson
The equine industry is a diverse and vibrant sector, offering numerous opportunities for those of you who want to start profitable horse
related business. From boarding and training to specialized health services and breeding, each avenue offers unique challenges and rewards
. In this comprehensive guide, I'll delve into various horse-related business models, discussing their advantages, drawbacks, barriers to
entry, marketing, and financial aspects in detail to help you start your horse related business.
1. Boarding Horses
Steady Revenue Stream: Boarding stables provide a consistent source of income, as horse owners pay monthly fees for the care and shelter of their horses.
Community Building: Operating a boarding facility allows you to build a community of horse enthusiasts, leading to networking opportunities and potential partnerships.
High Overhead Costs: The initial investment for land, stables, and equipment can be substantial. Ongoing expenses include feed, bedding, utilities, and staff salaries.
Time-Intensive: Providing daily care for multiple horses is labor-intensive and requires a significant time commitment.
Excessive Owner Requests: Owners tend to make specific individual requests that sometimes are labor intensive or contradictory to your policies.
Barriers to Entry:
Capital Investment: Acquiring suitable land and building stables demands a considerable financial outlay.
Expertise in Horse Care: Knowledge of equine health, nutrition, and general care is essential to run a successful boarding business.
Income Potential: Boarding fees vary based on location, facilities, and services offered. On average, boarding one horse can bring in $200 to $800 per month.
Digital Presence: Develop a website showcasing your facilities, services, and testimonials. Utilize SEO strategies to improve visibility.
Social Media Engagement: Regularly post engaging content on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, highlighting daily activities and special events.
Local Partnerships: Collaborate with local equestrian clubs and vets to gain referrals.
Open Days: Host open days or free clinics to attract potential clients.
Many people especially those who say, "I'm just going to board a couple of horses to offset my expenses", soon realize how labor
-intensive and demanding this type of business this is. Feeding your own 1 or 2 horses twice a day every day is one thing but then when
you and 3 or 4 more it quickly starts to feel like a job that draws your time away from spending time with your own horses. You could hire
someone to do the feeding and cleaning up after but after you pay them out of the little bit of board money you are receiving and listen to
the owner complaining about how the work is done you start to question if boarding a couple of horses is really worth it.
On the other hand, if you have enough land to raise those boarding numbers to a level that brings in enough money to hire 1 full-time
person and you treat boarding like a real business with policies, a business plan with projected financials, and everything else that a real
business should have then a boarding business might be worth your time and a profitable horse related business. To do this requires a much higher level of commitment from you.
2. Starting Horses and Basic Training
High Demand: Many horse owners seek professional training for their horses, whether for basic manners, specific disciplines, or behavioral issues.
Personal Fulfillment: Training horses can be incredibly rewarding, as it involves developing a deep understanding and connection with the animals.
Variable Income: Earnings can fluctuate based on the number of clients and the types of training services offered.
Physical Risk: Working closely with horses carries a risk of injury, which can impact your ability to work and earn. If you get hurt working
with 1 horse, you are also not able to work with the rest of the horses.
Barriers to Entry:
Skill and Experience: A high level of expertise in horse behavior, training techniques, and various equestrian disciplines is crucial.
Building a Client Base: Reputation and word-of-mouth referrals are vital, and can take time to develop.
Earning Potential: Charges for training services can range from $30 to $100 per hour. Full training packages might cost significantly more.
Showcasing Success: Create before-and-after videos of training sessions to demonstrate your skills on YouTube and social media.
Workshops and Clinics: Organize workshops for local horse owners to showcase your expertise.
Client Testimonials: Use client testimonials in your marketing materials and on your website.
Networking: Attend horse shows and events to network with potential clients.
Nearly anyone can make a post on social media claiming to be a trainer so the barriers to entry can be low, but this also leads to low
-quality services. You have to have something that sets you apart as providing a quality service. This is why training under a well-known
trainer can be beneficial. A successful show career can also be beneficial to set you apart.
If you don't have any of these and are thinking about providing a service starting horses remember that this business model often leads to
injuries which makes doing this type of business long-term nearly impossible for the same reasons I discussed in the article, How Aging
Influences Our Horseback Riding and Showing. You should have a plan to pivot your business in another direction as soon as you can.
3. Equine Health Services
Specialized Niche: Services like equine massage, chiropractic care, and acupuncture cater to a specific market, often with less competition.
Growing Awareness: There's an increasing recognition of the importance of holistic care in equine health, expanding the potential client base.
Certification Requirements: Practitioners must undergo specialized training and obtain certification, which can be time-consuming and costly.
Market Limitations: Not all horse owners are aware of these services or willing to invest in them.
Understanding Benefits: Many owners in certain areas don't understand the benefits of some of these types of care. You may need to
inform potential clients about the advantages similar to those demonstrated in the article "Transforming Crooked to Confident," illustrating how such benefits can positively impact their horses.
Barriers to Entry:
Educational Investment: Gaining the necessary qualifications and skills requires both time and money.
Equipment and Supplies: Starting an equine health service may require purchasing specialized equipment.
Service Fees: Depending on the service and region, practitioners can charge $50 to $150 per session.
Educational Content: Produce informative content on horse health and wellness, sharing it on social media and a dedicated blog.
Collaborations: Partner with horse trainers and boarding facilities to offer your services.
Workshops: Conduct workshops and seminars on equine health.
Targeted Advertising: Use targeted online advertising to reach horse owners in your area.
Because of the certifications required for this type of business, the barriers to entry are higher which generally means less competition and
higher prices. This type of equine business is a great way to start a profitable horse related business but this type of business takes long-term planning with a high outlay of money in the beginning.
The rewards of being in this type of business can be high but you must do your homework and planning. All of that time and expense
getting the certifications only to learn that your market does not support that type of business is a hard and expensive lesson to learn.
4. Horse Hauling
Flexible Business Model: Horse hauling can be operated on a part-time or full-time basis, catering to local or long-distance needs.
Broad Clientele: Services are required for various purposes, including shows, vet visits, and relocations.
Significant Vehicle Investment: A reliable, well-maintained truck and trailer are essential, representing a substantial initial investment.
Insurance and Liability: Transporting live animals requires specific insurance coverage, adding to the operational costs.
Barriers to Entry:
Licensing and Regulations: A commercial driver’s license and knowledge of transportation regulations are necessary.
Vehicle Maintenance: Regular upkeep of transport vehicles is crucial for safety and reliability.
Charges: Hauling fees typically range from $0.75 to $2.00 per mile, or a flat rate for shorter distances.
Website and SEO: Create a professional website with an emphasis on SEO to attract organic traffic.
Local Advertising: Advertise in local equestrian magazines and community boards.
Referral Program: Implement a referral program for clients who recommend your services.
Social Proof: Share customer reviews and testimonials on your website and social media.
Many people who go into this type of business underestimate their overhead expenses. Your truck and trailer have a finite life span and you
have to build in the cost to replace those every few years. You might already have an appropriate truck and trailer and think, "I can do it
cheaper". Only to realize in time that you now have worn out your truck and trailer and did not charge enough to replace them.
Many people start this type of business excited to travel and see different parts of the country only to realize they have a schedule they
have to keep and the interstate is all you get to see and that all looks the same. Then adding on top of that being out of town a lot and
missing your kid's events this type of horse related business hard to stay doing long term.
5. Training High Level Show Horses
High Earning Potential: Successful show horses can command high prices, both in winnings and in training fees.
Industry Prestige: Achieving success in the show circuit can significantly enhance your reputation and attract high-profile clients.
Intensive Training Required: Breaking and training show horses demands a high level of skill, patience, and dedication.
Competitive Nature: The show horse industry is highly competitive, with no guarantees of success.
What Have You Done Recently: In this business you are only as good as your last show.
Barriers to Entry:
Experience and Skill: Extensive experience in handling, training, and competing with horses is essential.
Industry Connections: Having a network within the show circuit can be a significant advantage.
Income Variability: Earnings can vary widely, with top trainers and competitors earning substantial sums per horse.
Showcase Achievements: Highlight your successes in shows on your website and social media.
Sponsorship: Seek sponsorship opportunities at horse shows.
Networking: Build relationships with breeders and other professionals in the industry.
Quality Content: Create high-quality videos of training sessions and show performances for YouTube and social media.
To determine if you have a training program suited for this business model you should read, Learning from Struggles with ‘End on a Good Note’ & ‘Choose Your Battles’. This article discusses a fundamental difference in this training program.
This business can bring high levels of notoriety and to some extent fame. Owners who are looking for this type of service only care about
what you have done recently and the success is highly dependent on the quality of the horse that is sent to you. One off year of being less
competitive and the quality of the horses sent to you the following year will be markedly lower.
The few people who make it in this type of business make it big but this is an, all your eggs in one basket, type of business. It's like a junior
high football player saying they are going to play in the NFL. Some make it but most don't. That makes this the hardest horse related business to be successful in long term.
6. Horse Breeding
Potential for High Returns: Selling well-bred foals or breeding stock can be highly profitable.
Contributing to the Breed: Breeding offers the opportunity to improve and promote specific horse breeds.
Long-Term Investment: Breeding requires patience, as it takes years to breed, raise, and train foals to the point of sale.
Risks and Challenges: The breeding process can be unpredictable and fraught with financial risks.
Barriers to Entry:
Breeding Knowledge: A deep understanding of genetics, horse conformation, and breed standards is crucial.
Facility Requirements: Adequate space and facilities for breeding, foaling, and raising young horses are necessary.
Sales Prices: Depending on the breed, lineage, and market demand, sales can range from a few thousand to several hundred thousand dollars per horse.
Website Portfolio: Develop a comprehensive website showcasing your breeding program, lineage details, and success stories.
Social Media Showcasing: Regularly post updates, photos, and videos of your horses, especially foals, on platforms like Instagram.
Industry Events: Attend horse breeding shows and auctions to network and showcase your horses.
Email Marketing: Keep potential buyers informed with regular newsletters featuring available horses and breeding news.
Everyone hears about the yearling that sells for a record price but you never hear about all those that are sold at a loss. This is a high
-stakes business, with lots of capital investment in mares, breeding, and care hoping that you get a baby that will give you a return on your
investment. There are many variables that you have little or no control over.
On the other side, every horse owner needs to experience the excitement of breeding their mare and raising at least 1 foal. This is great but
it is not a business until you can demonstrate that you can replicate the process and make it profitable. For most, this horse related business is best left to being a hobby for most people.
7. Horse Sales and Flipping
Quick Turnaround: Buying, training, and selling horses can offer faster financial returns compared to other equine businesses.
Market Adaptability: This business model allows for flexibility in responding to market trends and demands.
Market Knowledge: A thorough understanding of the equine market and trends is essential for success.
Financial Risk: There is a significant risk of financial loss if horses do not sell or incur unexpected expenses.
Barriers to Entry:
Initial Capital: Purchasing horses for resale requires a significant upfront investment.
Marketing and Sales Skills: Effective marketing strategies and sales skills are crucial to successfully flipping horses.
Profit Margins: These vary widely and depend on the purchase price, training, and eventual sale price of the horses.
Online Listings: List horses on popular equestrian sales websites with professional photos and detailed descriptions.
Social Media Marketing: Use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to showcase horses, sharing their progress and training highlights.
Video Showcases: Create compelling video content showing the horses’ skills and temperament.
Networking: Build relationships with trainers and riders who might refer buyers or provide leads.
You can sell a great horse but if the buyer can not ride or has poor judgement in choosing a horse that fits their riding style it will be your
fault for "selling a bad horse". Buyers never take responsibility for their mistakes they always blame the seller. People who have this type of
business usually have a poor reputation sometimes deserved, but often not.
8. Horse Riding Lessons
High Demand: There's a consistent demand for quality horse riding lessons. People of all ages seek to learn horseback riding for recreation, competition, or personal fulfillment.
Emotional Rewards: Teaching horse riding can be immensely satisfying. Witnessing the progress and joy in your students can provide a deep sense of accomplishment.
Passion-Driven Career: If you love horses, this career allows you to combine your passion with your profession.
Income Variability: The income from teaching horse riding can fluctuate with seasons, the number of students, and economic factors.
Physical Demands: The job is physically demanding and requires long hours outdoors, often in varying weather conditions.
Risk of Injury: Working with horses always carries the risk of injury, which can affect your ability to teach.
Poor Working Hours: Often the bulk of the lessons will be after school, on weekends and holidays.
Insurance: Insurance can be high. Certifications help but you will see a large portion of your income going to insurance.
Lesson Horses: Maintaining a string of quality lesson horses is expensive.
Barriers to Entry:
Certifications and Training: Professional certifications from recognized equestrian organizations can be necessary. This requires time,
training, and often significant financial investment.
Facility and Equipment: A suitable facility with safe, well-maintained riding areas and equipment is essential. This can be a substantial initial cost.
Income Sources: Revenue primarily comes from lesson fees, which can range from $30 to $75 per hour, depending on your location and
expertise. Offering group lessons, clinics, or hosting events can provide additional income.
Expenses: Costs include facility maintenance, horse care, insurance, marketing, and possibly staff salaries.
Profit Margins: Profitability depends on managing expenses while maintaining a steady stream of students.
Digital Presence: Establish a strong online presence through a professional website and active social media profiles. Share engaging content, student testimonials, and success stories.
Community Engagement: Participate in local events, horse shows, and community activities to build your network and attract students.
Referral Programs: Encourage word-of-mouth marketing by offering incentives for referrals from current students.
Collaborations: Partner with local schools, equestrian clubs, and other related businesses to broaden your reach.
Giving lessons can be a good way to start in a profitable horse related business and some instructors make a good long-term living doing it
but this business is not for everyone. Often the cons begin to outweigh the pros if you are not well at managing your time wisely.
9. Influencer in the Equine Industry
Flexibility and Creative Freedom: As an influencer, you have the freedom to create content that aligns with your interests and expertise in the equine world.
Low Start-Up Costs: Starting as an influencer primarily requires a good smartphone or camera and a stable internet connection.
Potential for High Earnings: Successful influencers can earn substantial income through sponsorships, brand deals, and advertising.
Building a Community: You have the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and build a community of horse enthusiasts.
Easy To Do: This type of business often requires just documenting what you already do with your horses.
Time-Consuming: Building a significant following requires consistent content creation and engagement, which can be time-consuming. This can take years.
Unpredictable Income: Earnings can be irregular and depend heavily on securing sponsorships and brand deals.
Market Saturation: Standing out in a crowded digital space can be challenging.
Public Scrutiny: Influencers are often subject to public opinion and scrutiny, which can impact mental health.
Technology: Successful influencers have a high level of understanding of the technology they use.
Barriers to Entry:
Building a Following: Gaining a substantial and engaged follower base is crucial and can be challenging and time-consuming.
Content Quality: High-quality, engaging, and original content is necessary to attract and retain followers.
Industry Knowledge: A deep understanding of the equine industry is essential to provide valuable content.
Income Sources: Earnings come from sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, brand partnerships, and potentially merchandise sales.
Potential Earnings: Income varies widely. New influencers might earn only a few dollars per post, while established influencers can earn thousands.
Content Strategy: Develop a content calendar focusing on various aspects of horse care, training tips, and personal equestrian experiences.
Engagement: Actively engage with your audience through comments, live Q&A sessions, and community posts.
Collaborations: Partner with equine brands for sponsored content.
Consistency: Post content regularly to maintain and grow your follower base.
Many people start this type of business and then realize that it is a lot of work. It's not just make a post and watch the money roll in. You
have to build a following and then monetize that following. Offering videos for sale and virtual lessons are 2 of the ways to possibly
monetize a following. This can be a very profitable horse related business but it takes persistent hard work, sometimes for years with little return.
10. YouTube Content Creator in the Equine Industry
Wide Audience Reach: YouTube's vast platform allows you to reach a global audience.
Monetization Opportunities: Apart from ad revenue, there are opportunities for sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and merchandise sales.
Creative Expression: YouTube provides a platform for diverse content, from educational videos to vlogs and training sessions.
Community Building: You can engage with a community of subscribers who share your passion for horses.
High Competition: Standing out on YouTube in the equine niche can be challenging due to competition.
Consistent Content Requirement: Regular uploading of quality content is necessary to grow and maintain your audience.
Initial Slow Growth: Building a substantial subscriber base often takes significant time and effort.
Technical Skills: Basic video editing and production skills are required to create engaging content.
Barriers to Entry:
Content Creation Skills: Skills in video editing, scripting, and production are necessary to produce appealing content.
Equipment Investment: While starting with basic equipment is possible, higher-quality videos often require investment in better cameras, microphones, and editing software.
SEO and Marketing Knowledge: Understanding YouTube SEO and marketing strategies is crucial for increasing video visibility.
Income Sources: Revenue from YouTube ads, sponsorships, affiliate links, and merchandise.
Potential Earnings: Earnings vary greatly. Smaller channels might earn a few hundred dollars per month, while larger channels can earn significantly more.
Niche Content: Create content in a specific niche within the equine world, such as training tips, horse care, or equestrian lifestyle vlogs.
SEO for YouTube: Optimize video titles, descriptions, and tags for SEO to increase visibility.
Cross-Promotion: Promote your YouTube channel on other social media platforms.
Community Engagement: Engage with viewers through comments, and consider creating content based on viewer requests.
Similar to an influence this type of business takes time to develop but if you stick with it, it can be a great way to start a profitable horse related business.
When you are deciding on how you want to structure your business it can be smart to combine more than one horse related business
sector. You need to be smart and combine sectors that makes sense together. For instance, a business where you show high-level horses
and offer hauling may not work because of not being home enough to work with the show horses. On the other hand, if you show high
-level horses and offer professional services like massage or chiropractic, that could work together.
A big hurdle that many face when learning how to start a horse related profitable business is treating it like a business and no longer a
hobby. You should develop a full business plan with financials and projections, proper bookkeeping, and everything else that goes along with a business.
Embarking on a horse-related business venture requires not only a passion for horses but also a sound understanding of the industry,
business acumen, and a willingness to face the challenges head-on. Each business model presents its own set of opportunities and obstacles
. Success in the equine industry is multifaceted. Once you have settled on a specialty area for your equine business, the next step is to make
it grow and thrive. The article, Building a Thriving Horse Training Business will help you with that.
For more information about Tim Anderson please visit HelpWithMyHorse.com
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