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Horse Boarding: Your Path to Extra Income

Published on: July 6, 2023

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

Horse boarding is akin to running a bed-and-breakfast but for animals, not people. It’s about providing a home, meals, and care to horses. For those familiar with stables and passionate about horses, this venture can be both fulfilling and a lucratively stable (no pun intended) source of income.

However, this isn’t a business you can jump into just for the money. If you’re here, you’re likely already a horse lover – and that’s crucial. Working with horses is rewarding, but it’s also demanding. They need daily care, regular exercise, and sometimes even overnight observation. It’s a commitment that requires true dedication and a real passion for horses.

In this journey, you’ll find that your love for horses can merge beautifully with your entrepreneurial spirit. Running a horse boarding business successfully will take effort, patience, and perseverance. But for those ready to accept these challenges, the financial and personal rewards can be huge. Get ready to take the reins; your path to earning extra income starts here.

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Understanding Horse Boarding

Before we delve into the practicalities of running a successful horse boarding business, it’s crucial to understand what horse boarding actually entails. In its simplest terms, horse boarding is the act of housing, feeding, and caring for other people’s horses, usually for a set fee.

Now, there are several types of horse boarding that you should be aware of as a prospective business owner:

  1. Pasture boarding: This type of boarding involves horses living predominantly outdoors in a field or pasture. They have access to shelter for protection from severe weather, but the essence of this style is allowing horses to live in a natural, social, and spacious environment. It’s typically the most cost-effective option for horse owners.
  2. Stable or Full boarding: In this case, horses are housed in individual stalls within a barn or stable. They are given daily turnout for exercise and socialization. Full boarding often includes services like feeding, grooming, and regular exercise. This type of boarding usually commands a higher fee due to the increased care level and amenities provided.
  3. Part-boarding: Also known as co-boarding, this type of boarding is a more shared approach. There are two main ways this can work.
  • In the first scenario, the horse owner provides all the necessities like bedding, hay, and supplements, and the facility staff uses these to care for the horse. It’s like catering your own event at a rented venue.
  • The second type of part-boarding is closer to a lease arrangement. A person pays part of the boarding fees in exchange for the privilege of riding the horse. It’s a win-win for everyone. The horse owner gets some relief from their boarding bill, and the part-boarder gets to enjoy the benefits of having a horse without the full cost of ownership. This arrangement is also beneficial for the horse, ensuring it gets regular exercise and interaction.

Regardless of the boarding style, horse owners typically have some common expectations when entrusting their horses to your care. Safety, of course, tops the list. Owners want to know their horses are in a secure and caring environment.

They expect clean, well-maintained facilities, regular feedings with high-quality feed, and plenty of exercise for their horses. Good communication is key as well. Owners appreciate regular updates about their horses’ health and well-being, and they want to feel they can approach you with any concerns or questions.

In our next section, we’ll talk about how to turn these expectations into a successful business strategy. Buckle up – we’re just getting started.

Market Research and Planning

The allure of working with horses and creating a business around your passion is undeniable. But before you break ground on that new barn or put up your first fence, it’s crucial to lay the foundation with thorough market research and planning.

Remember when your grandfather always told you, “Planning is the key to success”? Well, he wasn’t wrong. Here’s how to do it for your horse boarding business.

A. Researching your local market In my early days, I noticed the booming horse communities around me. A tip I can share is to visit local equestrian events. Talk to horse owners and understand their needs and expectations.

B. Determining the size of your operation This depends on various factors like the land you have available, your initial budget, and how much time you’re willing to dedicate to the business. Start small, like I did, with a few horses, then grow gradually as your client base expands. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

C. Creating a business plan A mentor once told me, “If it’s not on paper, it doesn’t exist.” Jot down your plans. It will give you a clear picture of your business journey. This isn’t just a document for potential investors or lenders – it’s a tool for you to keep your business on track and measure progress.

You’re entering a niche market, but with careful research and planning, your passion project can become a successful business. Up next, we’ll be looking at the initial investments needed to turn these plans into reality. Strap in – our ride is just beginning.

Picture of a horse on a walking wheel at a horse boarding facility.
Walking wheel to exercise horses at a horse boarding facility.

Setup and Initial Investment

Once you’ve carefully mapped out your business plan and have a clear understanding of the local market, it’s time to get your hands dirty. The initial setup for a horse boarding business requires thoughtful sourcing of land and facilities, smart investments in infrastructure and equipment, and the navigation of legal considerations and insurance needs.

First, sourcing land and facilities is a critical step. The land should be large enough to accommodate your planned operation and conducive to horse health. It’s not just about having enough space; the land should ideally have good quality pasture, safe fencing, and sufficient shade and shelter for the horses.

Consider the proximity to your target market as well – if your customers are primarily city dwellers, a location too remote might deter potential clients. Investing in infrastructure and equipment is your next hurdle.

From barns or stables, feeding troughs, and fencing to cleaning tools and maintenance equipment, your initial setup costs can be substantial. Prioritize essential items that directly contribute to the care and safety of the horses. Remember, you can always upgrade or add more amenities as your business grows and becomes profitable.

Finally, you can’t overlook legal considerations and insurance. Familiarize yourself with any local zoning laws, permits, or regulations that might apply to your business. An attorney can help you navigate this complex terrain. Furthermore, insurance is a must.

A comprehensive policy should cover liability for the horses in your care, property insurance for your facilities, and workers’ compensation if you plan to hire staff. While this stage may seem overwhelming with its multiple requirements, remember this is about building the base for your horse boarding business.

Every hour spent finding the right land, every dollar invested in the right infrastructure, and every detail checked off your legal and insurance list brings you a step closer to opening your doors and turning your passion into profit. Up next, we will look at the day-to-day operations of running a horse boarding facility. Giddy up!

Picture of a horse standing still in a pasture.
Pasture boarding young Thoroughbreds.

Daily Operations

In the world of horse boarding, day-to-day operations are where your passion truly comes to life. But as you might guess, running a horse boarding business is not all sunny rides and friendly neighs. It’s filled with routine tasks, constant maintenance, and staffing considerations, all of which are pivotal to your success.

Running a horse boarding business is like caring for your own family. Each horse is unique and requires individual attention.

A. Routine care for horses This involves feeding them on a consistent schedule, maintaining their grooming needs, and ensuring they get ample exercise. Every horse is unique, with different dietary requirements, grooming needs, and energy levels.

B. Maintaining the property Keep the stables clean, fences mended, and pastures healthy. It’s not just about appearances; it’s about creating a safe and comfortable environment for the horses.

C. Staffing needs As my business grew, I realized I couldn’t do it alone. Hire help when needed, and remember, a good team is the backbone of a successful business. Staff should be not only hardworking but also have a good understanding of horses and their needs.

The daily tasks of running a horse boarding business may be demanding, but they’re also where the most rewarding experiences come. It’s the little moments between the chores – a horse nuzzling your hand for a treat, a client’s smile when they see their horse prancing healthily, the peace of a barn at sunset. Coming up next, we’ll discuss building relationships with your clients. So stay with us on this exciting journey.

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Customer Relations

A successful horse boarding business is as much about people as it is about horses. After all, it’s the horse owners who entrust you with their beloved equines and pay for your services. Building a solid client base, establishing trust through communication, and navigating difficult situations are all part of the relationship-building process.

Building your client base is about marketing and word-of-mouth. Start with a strong online presence: an informative, user-friendly website and active social media can help attract potential customers. Local horse shows, equestrian events, and even horse supply stores can also be fruitful places to network and spread the word about your services.

However, the most effective marketing is often happy customers – exceptional care and service can turn your clients into your best advocates. Communication with horse owners is paramount. They want to know their horses are safe, happy, and well-cared-for, so regular updates about their horses’ condition, behavior, and any changes in routine or health can go a long way in establishing trust.

Also, be open to feedback. Horse owners are often very knowledgeable about their horses’ needs and can provide valuable insights. Emergencies or difficult situations are bound to arise at some point. A horse might fall ill, a fence could break, or a client might have an unexpected request.

In these moments, your ability to stay calm, communicate clearly, and handle the situation will be tested. It can be helpful to have emergency procedures in place and remember, transparency and honesty are key when discussing these issues with the horse owners.

Customer relations may seem daunting, especially in challenging situations. But remember, each client relationship is an opportunity for your business to grow and improve. Nurturing these relationships can lead to long-term clients and referrals, both of which are vital for your business’s success.

In our next section, we’ll delve into the financial aspect of running a horse boarding business. Let’s keep riding!

PIcture of three horses in training at a boarding facility.
Training young horses.

Profitability and Growth

Turning your passion into profit is an exciting prospect. In your horse boarding business, profitability and growth go hand in hand, and this requires careful pricing, exploring additional income streams, and employing growth strategies.

As my old friend John always says, “Pricing is an art.” Master it for your business’s profitability and growth.

A. Setting competitive yet profitable prices. Setting competitive yet profitable prices can be a delicate balance. You don’t want to undersell your services, but you also don’t want to price yourself out of the market. Do market research and set your prices wisely.

B. Additional income streams For instance, offering riding lessons, breeding services, or guided trail rides can add a significant boost to your revenue. These services not only provide additional income but can also attract a wider range of clients to your business.

C. Strategies for business growth and expansion Strategically plan for growth. Be patient and expand only when you’re ready. Always remember steady growth is sustainable growth. As you expand, remember to keep the quality of care at the forefront – your reputation as a trusted provider is your most valuable asset.

With smart pricing, diversified income, and growth strategies, you can turn your horse boarding business into a thriving, profitable enterprise. So saddle up, and let’s ride towards that horizon.

Case Studies

These case studies offer a fantastic peek into the practical aspects of running a horse boarding business. They provide invaluable insights from those who have walked the path and outline both the success and the lessons learned along the way.

First, consider the success story of Laura, an equestrian enthusiast who transformed her inherited property into a bustling horse boarding business. Laura’s passion for horses, combined with savvy business acumen, led her to create a top-tier boarding facility.

She priced her services competitively, ensuring enough profit margin without compromising on the quality of care provided to the horses. Over time, Laura diversified her services, offering riding lessons and breeding services, which led to a significant boost in her income. Laura’s journey underscores the importance of strategic pricing and diversification in making a substantial income from horse boarding.

In contrast, we have the story of Jim, a passionate horse lover who converted his farm into a horse boarding operation. Unfortunately, he faced challenges initially. Jim set his prices too low to quickly attract clients, which resulted in financial strain as he struggled to cover operational costs.

His attempt to raise prices later faced resistance from his existing clients. Despite these hurdles, Jim learned from his mistakes, adjusted his pricing model, and gradually won back client trust. His experience emphasizes the need to carefully set a profitable yet competitive price from the start.

Both Laura’s success and Jim’s journey our valuable lessons for those venturing into the horse boarding business. Laura’s story demonstrates the potential for substantial income when you strategically manage and diversify your services.

Jim’s experience, while initially challenging, teaches us the importance of competitive and sustainable pricing and the value of learning and adapting from our mistakes. These stories remind us that it’s a journey filled with learning, passion, and the joy of providing a needed service for fellow horse lovers.

Picture of horses at a horse boarding facility.


In conclusion, the journey of turning a passion for horses into a successful horse boarding business is a thrilling and rewarding adventure. The potential for a substantial income from this venture is clear, whether through direct boarding fees or supplementary services like lessons and trail rides.

And while it’s a path filled with challenges, from market research to daily operations, it’s also a journey of countless rewards. Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or a horse lover eager to blend your passion with entrepreneurship, there’s a place for you in the world of horse boarding.

This business doesn’t just offer financial benefits; it creates a community and offers a way of life that is deeply fulfilling. So, for all the horse lovers out there, consider taking the reins and venturing into this unique and rewarding business.

With a blend of love for horses, a knack for business, and guidance from the success stories and lessons of those before you, the path to a successful horse boarding business lies ahead.

Saddle up, take that leap, and gallop towards a future where your passion becomes your livelihood. After all, in the words of Winston Churchill, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” So, here’s to creating a business that’s good for the soul and equally profitable.


Whether you’re just starting out on your journey to create a horse boarding business or looking to grow an existing one, having the right resources at your disposal can make all the difference. From industry-specific books to supportive communities, there’s a wealth of information available to help you succeed.


For further reading, consider books like ‘The Equine Business Bible by me Miles Henry and “Starting & Running Your Own Horse Business” by Mary Ashby McDonald, which provides a broader look at the equestrian business world. Online resources such as American Horse Publications (AHP) and provide a range of articles and advice on various topics.

In addition to individual resources, becoming part of a community can offer invaluable advice, support, and networking opportunities. Local equestrian clubs or societies can provide a wealth of local knowledge and a chance to connect with other horse lovers and professionals in your area.

Online communities can also be incredibly helpful. Websites such as The Chronicle of the Horse Forums, EquiManagement, and even social media groups like Facebook’s Horse Boarding Business Group, are filled with people sharing their experiences, asking questions, and providing advice.

Remember, every successful journey starts with the first step. For the aspiring horse boarding business owner, that step could be picking up a book, joining a local club, or reaching out to an online community. The resources are there, waiting for you. Harness them, and ride your way to success!