Questions about starting a riding stable boarding business in NY state

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by M&M, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. M&M

    M&M New Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Hi! I am new to this group. My husband and I are thinking about purchasing a larger tract of land to build a home on. I always wanted a horse farm, but my husband doesn't want to be involved in horses, so it would pretty much be something I would be doing as a side job. Does anyone know how a business such as this is defined in NY state? What can be included as a business expense and therefore deductable? I would really like to build a small stable and an indoor arena, but I don't want to get in over my head with too many horses to board. Boarding horses seems like it can be a decent business in my area if you have an indoor arena. People will pay what seems to me to be crazy amounts of money to have a safe place to board with an indoor riding arena. Does anyone know if there is specific number of horses that one needs to board before it is considered a legitimate business? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    May 11, 2002
    Seen if your local library and obtain a loaner copy of some of the following:

    • Horse and Stable Management by Powell Smith and Jeremy Brown, Sheridan House, 145 Palisade Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522.
    • Horse Operations Manual: Be Ready to Answer the IRS and Law, Tax and Business Plans for Today’s Horsemen, both by Kenneth Wood, Wood Publications, P.O. Box 963, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067-0963.
    • Running a Stable As a Business by Janet MacDonald, Saifer Publishers, P.O. Box 7125, Watchung, NJ 07060-7125.
    • Stable Management by Nikki Dewey, Family Tree Pony Farm Publications Division, 2690 Southeast Lund Avenue, Port Orchard, WA 98366.
    • Stable Management for the Owner-Groom by George Wheatly, Wilshire Book Company, 12015 Sherman Road, North Hollywood, CA 91605-3781.
    • They Dreamed of Horses: Careers for Horse Lovers by Kay Frydenborg, available from The New Careers Center (303-447-1087).

  3. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 16, 2003
    Western Washington
    I grew up on a horse ranch/ boarding facility. I'm going to suggest that you start small. If your set up to board word of mouth is the best advertisement you will get. Take in a couple horses, and I guarantee that if your good, more will follow. Horse people love to talk.

    As far as deductions and such are concerned you can write off just about everything...feed, improvements, equipment such as a trailer and pick-up to pull it, vet expenses, ferrier, etc. Computer equipment for cost control, paper to print it on... everything is a write off if you know what your doing. Consult with a tax person that is familuar with this type of outfit... they can point you in the right direction and advise you on the specifics.

    Also, find out what the laws are in your area on collecting unpaid board fees. How do you go about collecting fees, charging late fees (most states have a maximum amount you can charge.), how long do you have to hold the horse before you can sell for back board and what has to be done first. Do you have to go to court, or just publish a notice in the paper that your going to do it? You will also need emergency instructions in case of illness or injury. If a horse comes up lame or something make sure you have the owners permission to have it seen by a vet, and have it in writing exactly who is going to pay the bill. The books that Ken suggested will help you in figuring out a lot of this stuff.

    Boarding horses can be a lot of work, but if done right can be very profitable.
  4. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    New York is not a limited liability state which translates into your insurance is going to be very high. Be sure you are very well covered before opening your doors to boarders. I don't board because of those insurance rates- I couldn't make a decent profit.

    Stacy in NY
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    May 11, 2002
    I have met a fair number of farriers over the years. Most have said 'horse people' are one of the hardest groups to get money out of for services rendered. It is usually not your lower income ones, but those who should have the payment readily available. Thus, I recommend you pay particular attention to that end of the business also.

    Also be sure to cover liability for theft. Most horses of this nature are used to being handing by a number of people and being hauled by trailer, so are prime theft targets in that regard.

    If you can, see if you can work at a large horse boarding facility to learn the ins and outs first hand. If your sponse's work covers you with health insurance, etc., you might work as an intern or apprentice for just an hourly wage without those benefits there.

    Ken Scharabok
  6. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    GA & Ala

    Here are some things to consider as well:

    Do you love staying home 24/7 or can you afford to hire excellent stable help if you need to go out of town? Nothing POs a boarder more than to come out and find the owner/manager gone and some goofball trying to figure out how to feed their horse. or worse, the goofball didn't even show up!

    Do you love complaints? You will get some boarders that will complain about simply anything and everything, i.e., the bedding is not deep enough, the bedding is too deep, the buckets aren't washed even as the horse is eating out of it, the horse had no hay, the horse had too much hay, why is my horse in the stall (even though it has been thundering, hailing and lightening all day?).

    Do you like other people's children? They can and will bring their children. Some good ones, some brats that you'd love to just lock in the tack room (but you can't). Boarders also like to bring their dogs....which usually like to chase your cat, chickens, goats, and/or foals....

    Some boarders won't pay on time and get huffy if you ask for payment, others will pay promptly.

    Some boarders bring horrid horses like the TB I had here a few months ago, which would have been a good horse had the Lady not been terrified of it, therefore he got worse until he finally hurt two people (myself included) and I requested she move him. not all horses are lovey dovey, some will kick, some bite, some hate people, some don't like to leave their stalls, others hate to be out of the stall, some lead well, others won't.

    You will need a vet and farrier on call - don't fall for the "please have my farrier come out and I'll meet him there", have the boarder call the farrier, same with vet. unless it is a real emergency, then hope you have insurance if the horse is expensive and he got hurt on your place. I carried 5 million on my stable including double indemnity because we had riding students here.

    Plan on having a rotation of people through your barn, boarders come and boarders go.

    I completely advise against partial board as you WILL end up buying feed and feeding their does happen that they will forget to come out, forgot to go by the feed store, etc. ad naseum...when you bill them for the feed you bought, some will exclaim in their most innocent manner "I just bought feed!" to which you reply, that was over a month ago.... some don't do this, but I've found that the majority will.

    That pretty much covers what you will run into along with those folks who try to bargain their way down on the board..

    Now for the nice things - you will always have a riding partner, most boarders are nice (but it only takes one to screw up your whole barn) takes about 2 years to build up a nice clientele of people who have nice horses, pay on time, and don't cause problems.

    Be prepared to say NO alot, as in, no I can't take you to the horse show, no I will not loan my truck and trailer, no I cannot braid your horse for free....

    I boarded horses for over ten years, barn help was hard to come by and insurance costs were ridiculously high. But I did make a profit most of the time with excellent management of resources and standing stallions for other people as we were the only barn in the area that took them. It is a lot of work though, and I got tired of being tied down 24/7 to the farm especially when my good barn help was hired away (with my blessings as it was a great opportunity for her). I was always up by 5:00, horses fed by six, stalls done by 8, and then I had my horses or client's horses to work and the same routine in the evenings.

    Pasture boarding can be a lot less hassle, but then again, charge enough to cover your hay costs and make sure you have excellent grass as you will end up having to feed these pastured horses if you don't.

    Not trying to discourage you, just being honest about the people you will deal with. I've had boarders that dropped off horses, mailed a check once a month, and NEVER came out and fooled with their horses. I've also had boarder's who thought they lived here and would get upset that I wouldn't drop everything to tend to their every whim...

    Be choosy with whom you accept and make the rules clear from the start, and post them in the barn and have the boarder sign a copy saying they have read and understood will have a lot less trouble that way.

  7. JAM

    JAM Well-Known Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    New York
    Check out your insurance cost. A few stables in our area in N.Y went out of business because the insurance liabilty was so high.
  8. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2004
    I don't think I'd have the people skills needed.
  9. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2003
    Boarding barn cost are at least $70. per month , per horse.Feed ,hay shavings,lights. and Fertilizer ,lime and seed for the pasture. There will also a lot of broken boards by some horses. You must have a good contract with teeth or you will not survive. Two months late payement and I can sell the horse. 10 days and there is a $25. late fee charge. When my boarders leave it is because they have purchased an acreage. I don't claim to be the cheapest but the best. I have taught all my customers to barefoot trim, and some of them are very very good at triming. I have shared my 40 years of horse knowledge with them for free. Happy Boarding!!!!!!!!