Is there a market left for anything equestrian?!

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If you were given a load of stables & land, plus some capital to invest, what business would you create in your area which you feel would give you a return?
 
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Ah! Interesting! Which part of the country do you live in - was there a good market for full livery? We are more happy hackers here in Somerset so it’s more DIY
 

be positive

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I am also in Somerset and there are a lot of competitive riders, my yard was always small and most liveries came from word of mouth, I think there is a market for a really good assisted or genuine grass livery in most areas which will bring in more than DIY and is less expensive than full.
 
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Thanks for the advice. I’m beginning to think that people invest in people as opposed to facilities. I’m pilates, Equipilates & Spin qualified & wondering if having a small fitness studio alongside would be worthwhile. I already teach several private classes, mostly riders but some not. Customers are always saying they need to get fitter in both cardio & core strength for their chosen discipline but are never too keen to join a gym....
 
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I'll be watching this post with interest. I'm a farmer as is my family as we all live closely and work the farm. Farming is becoming harder and we look at ways to make land work for us. We've had DiY people renting for their horses but to be honest had problems with the volume of mess and destruction they left and how they wrecked the fields not rotating properly.
We wondered if building a large decent flood light arena would pay off for hire? There's a lot of horses in the area. Not sure if it would be a viable business?
 

be positive

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I'll be watching this post with interest. I'm a farmer as is my family as we all live closely and work the farm. Farming is becoming harder and we look at ways to make land work for us. We've had DiY people renting for their horses but to be honest had problems with the volume of mess and destruction they left and how they wrecked the fields not rotating properly.
We wondered if building a large decent flood light arena would pay off for hire? There's a lot of horses in the area. Not sure if it would be a viable business?
I don't think it would be viable as a stand alone business and you still have the maintenance to consider, planning which may not be easy to get, people coming and going at all hours etc, it could be an attraction for renting the stables and some land to one person or make full/ part livery an option, retirement livery is also worth considering if you are happy to be hands on as it gives you control.
 

Leo Walker

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Thanks for the advice. I’m beginning to think that people invest in people as opposed to facilities. I’m pilates, Equipilates & Spin qualified & wondering if having a small fitness studio alongside would be worthwhile. I already teach several private classes, mostly riders but some not. Customers are always saying they need to get fitter in both cardio & core strength for their chosen discipline but are never too keen to join a gym....
Someone is doing this near me and its really popular. They are also organising retreats which seem to go down well.

I would look at a track system for grass livery or retirement livery, possibly a combination of both depending on what facilities were already around and how much investment was available, I have done full/ training/ competition livery and want an easier life.
This 100% I drew up a business plan for this and it was the only sort of livery that was viable without a huge investment. You can run both alongside each other. Retirees in the middle and track round the edge.
 
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If I had land I would look at full grass livery (i.e. under your management) and retirement livery.
Some facilities would help get good customers, such as a barn and a stable or two for tacking up / farrier / vets, and of course an arena. If you already had a flat area suitable that brings the cost of an arena down significantly, but they are still pricey with a decent surface and good drainage.

A friend of mine teaches equi pilates and she has converted part of her barn at home, she also does rider biomechanics and hosts clinics. Depends on the demand in your area and how central you are though.
 
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I don't think it would be viable as a stand alone business and you still have the maintenance to consider, planning which may not be easy to get, people coming and going at all hours etc, it could be an attraction for renting the stables and some land to one person or make full/ part livery an option, retirement livery is also worth considering if you are happy to be hands on as it gives you control.
Fair enough. I personally would not want to be the only person hands on sorting out other people's horses. I had years of that working at a yard as instructor and manager for part of the time. Now my family are older I have more responsibility on the farm and unless I was to employ staff personally wouldnt have enough time to over see everything. I couldn't give up farming totally as love it. Maybe doing that and employing could be the way to go forward. There's limited livery in the area and the two closest are not great. Could be worth the investment. We cut our own hay and haylage which is a bonus. May look into retirement livery as that's a bit more neich isn't it. None I know of anywhere here.
 

chaps89

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Track livery absolutely.
Both previous and current YO have been exceptionally flexible and allowed me out of the norm set ups for my good doer/metabolic pony. However finding someone who a) wants to help/allow that flexibility and b) has the set up which allows for it, is hard.
Plots of land to rent suitable for the small herd set up are virtually unheard of to do your own version.
Track livery/laminitis friendly yards here are unheard of. And those I have come across mandate that the horse is barefoot. I'm not against barefoot and if I could take her barefoot I would but I've tried and it didn't work for us so I can't.
So yes, definitely some sort of track system with a big barn and some facilties that isn't run by a hard core natural horsemanship person!

Failing that, if there's good hacking, some sort of horsey b&b/holiday set up maybe.
 
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That's a very good idea. I have 4 natives one has cushings one has IR so I keep them either on my track system and I also have what I call the starvation paddock. It's not it's just decent size hill field that has been turned over to herbs scrub and woodland that I put hay out in greedy feeder nets 5 X a day. I did t think there would be a call for liveries like that. I have more woodland and adjoining fields i could easily turn over to that. We have barns but used for cattle etc but could build a open barn stable building. Plus as I said we cut our own hay etc I have a few fields that I specifically cut late for my natives and have tested to make sure it's low everything. There's a few locals who order a few big bales before we've even cut because it's low. I sow them fields with natural grasses and herbs which are lower in sugars than cattle pastures which is what the rest is. Never occurred to me to set up a lami friendly place. If there's a call for it you may of just saved our farm!
 

be positive

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I think there is a need for that type of livery but many people with equines that would benefit would not know it was an option so they struggle on with muzzles, limited turn out and do their best with the facilities available, it is a far better way to keep them but needs more promoting generally, no idea if it will 'save the farm' but it could save a few ponies from a life that is so unnatural.
 

Pearlsasinger

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That's a very good idea. I have 4 natives one has cushings one has IR so I keep them either on my track system and I also have what I call the starvation paddock. It's not it's just decent size hill field that has been turned over to herbs scrub and woodland that I put hay out in greedy feeder nets 5 X a day. I did t think there would be a call for liveries like that. I have more woodland and adjoining fields i could easily turn over to that. We have barns but used for cattle etc but could build a open barn stable building. Plus as I said we cut our own hay etc I have a few fields that I specifically cut late for my natives and have tested to make sure it's low everything. There's a few locals who order a few big bales before we've even cut because it's low. I sow them fields with natural grasses and herbs which are lower in sugars than cattle pastures which is what the rest is. Never occurred to me to set up a lami friendly place. If there's a call for it you may of just saved our farm!

Whatever kind of livery you do, the landowner should be the one who dictates things like rotation of fields, you are the one who knows the land and understands how to manage it. I think you might need to take a bit more control than you have done in the past. Good luck, I bet you will have lots of interest if you market your laminitis friendly system well.
 
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I'll be watching this post with interest. I'm a farmer as is my family as we all live closely and work the farm. Farming is becoming harder and we look at ways to make land work for us. We've had DiY people renting for their horses but to be honest had problems with the volume of mess and destruction they left and how they wrecked the fields not rotating properly.
We wondered if building a large decent flood light arena would pay off for hire? There's a lot of horses in the area. Not sure if it would be a viable business?
A farmer near to me has done this. Built a good size indoor with a full set of jumps or dressage boards available and good parking. It gets booked up fairly solidly all year round and is used by all the local riding clubs and pony clubs as well as freelance instructors using it for clinics and private hires
 

Rowreach

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I'll be watching this post with interest. I'm a farmer as is my family as we all live closely and work the farm. Farming is becoming harder and we look at ways to make land work for us. We've had DiY people renting for their horses but to be honest had problems with the volume of mess and destruction they left and how they wrecked the fields not rotating properly.
We wondered if building a large decent flood light arena would pay off for hire? There's a lot of horses in the area. Not sure if it would be a viable business?
I'd recommend never having anything to do with horse people if you value your sanity :D How about a camping site with hard stands and electric supply, a shower block and loos? That's what a friend of mine has done and he is raking it in. The only contact he now has with horsey types is when he sells them hay.
 

ycbm

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If you were given a load of stables & land, plus some capital to invest, what business would you create in your area which you feel would give you a return?

A barefoot rehab yard. Badly needed in every part of the country except the southwest.


Premium rates for what is essentially grass/track livery, minimal owner input, terrific satisfaction in saving condemned horses from PTS
 

DirectorFury

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I'd sell or lease most of the land and then build industrial units to rent on the rest of it - though this assumes the yard isn't in the middle of nowhere.
There's not much money in horses.
 

SadKen

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With cutting your own hay I would look at different forage blends for lami types. If you could compress this into grass bricks you can ship all over the place. I'd love mixed grass and herb bricks for my girl, but it's mostly timothy grass. I'd pay a quid for a 1kg block if it's mixed grass and natural UK herbs. Premium quality meadow haylage and hay is going for very good money in my area and people are actively seeking it out.

You might find there is some funding from a wildlife perspective for growing a mixed ecology field or two?
 

windand rain

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I would also do retirement and track livery preferably with access to a large barn or two. Best way of keeping weight under control and still keep horses/ponies out 24/7 without those horrid muzzles
 

chaps89

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I would love to find something like what you've described for mine!
I have to make do with a coral and soaked hay for night time and turnout in a fairly normal paddock with 1 for company in a muzzle for day time. I'd kill to be able to turn her out more horse like but we make the best of what we've got and I'm lucky to be able to do what I can.
There's certainly enough other posters on here with lami/metabolic horses,
So yes, I think it could be done successfully as a business venture if done well and marketed appropriately.

Failing that, my YM made the comment that a lot of yards she knows are moving to doggy day care/cattery/kennel set ups. If full livery for a horse is usually £10-15 a day but kennel/cattery is usually £15 a day upwards and the costs and work involved significantly less, why wouldn't you.
 
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I would love to find something like what you've described for mine!
I have to make do with a coral and soaked hay for night time and turnout in a fairly normal paddock with 1 for company in a muzzle for day time. I'd kill to be able to turn her out more horse like but we make the best of what we've got and I'm lucky to be able to do what I can.
There's certainly enough other posters on here with lami/metabolic horses,
So yes, I think it could be done successfully as a business venture if done well and marketed appropriately.

Failing that, my YM made the comment that a lot of yards she knows are moving to doggy day care/cattery/kennel set ups. If full livery for a horse is usually £10-15 a day but kennel/cattery is usually £15 a day upwards and the costs and work involved significantly less, why wouldn't you.
How much out of interest would someone like you pay to be at a lami friendly yard with access to 24/7 gras turnout or extra for stable use? I'm out of touch on livery and DIY costs even. The last woman we charged £10 per week per horse for DIY. We gave her 3 acres and charged her £25 for a large round bale of hay. As for doing lami friendly forage etc that's very costly to start up with the machinery involved. We already do low sugar high fiber hay bales and that's a good earner. We can't turn all our fields to that though as have cattle that need rich grass. You also need massive flat fields to get best forage production and we keep the best for silage and very good hay. That's our winter feed for cows. We'd either need no cows or more land.
 

be positive

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How much out of interest would someone like you pay to be at a lami friendly yard with access to 24/7 gras turnout or extra for stable use? I'm out of touch on livery and DIY costs even. The last woman we charged £10 per week per horse for DIY. We gave her 3 acres and charged her £25 for a large round bale of hay. As for doing lami friendly forage etc that's very costly to start up with the machinery involved. We already do low sugar high fiber hay bales and that's a good earner. We can't turn all our fields to that though as have cattle that need rich grass. You also need massive flat fields to get best forage production and we keep the best for silage and very good hay. That's our winter feed for cows. We'd either need no cows or more land.
It depends a bit on the area but 10 per week is not worth the hassle, I would be thinking of around 50 per week for a track type of arrangement living with others, forage included, feed, if given, provided by the owner but would want the owner to do some poo picking/ assist with cleaning the shelter if they are coming to ride most days, if retired and the owner not around daily then add on a bit to cover twice daily checks, holding for farrier etc.

For most on DIY that would still be a good deal based on the saving on the extra bedding used while keeping in so much and the peace of mind would make a huge difference.
 

Tarragon

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My Nephew is getting married in the summer in a lambing barn in Mid Wales. The farmer has installed a kitchen area and a shower/toilet area at one end and after lambing is over he turns it over for a Wedding or party venue! They have lovely wooden table tops that they place on straw bales for the tables. The big double barn doors open out on to a beautiful view - lovely in the summer!
 

Tarragon

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There are people who need grass free turnout. I know somebody who turned a field, probably about an acre, into a all weather turn out space with feeding stations etc.
The more we know about Cushings and Laminitis and other metabolic disorders the bigger the need for specialist turnout.
I have kept my ponies at livery places with limited turnout and almost found that in the winter months I wasn't allowed to turn out too much to save the ground and in the summer I had to restrict turnout, while everyone else with their horses were out 24/7, as the fields were maintained for horses and not for native ponies! I couldn't win either way.
 

Theocat

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How much out of interest would someone like you pay to be at a lami friendly yard with access to 24/7 gras turnout or extra for stable use? I'm out of touch on livery and DIY costs even. The last woman we charged £10 per week per horse for DIY. We gave her 3 acres and charged her £25 for a large round bale of hay. As for doing lami friendly forage etc that's very costly to start up with the machinery involved. We already do low sugar high fiber hay bales and that's a good earner. We can't turn all our fields to that though as have cattle that need rich grass. You also need massive flat fields to get best forage production and we keep the best for silage and very good hay. That's our winter feed for cows. We'd either need no cows or more land.
I am probably in the minority, but I would happily pay £75 per week for good 24/7 grass or track livery if it could come with full care, forage, storage, shelter and somewhere to tie up. I'd be nearer £100 if it had good hacking and a school with lights. You would still need to offer pay as you go stables for poorly horses.

I don't have a horse at present, with no plans for another - and a large part of that decision is the impossibility of finding somewhere I want to keep one! 24/7 is no good in a swamp so the ground and service quality would be crucial.
 
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Think I may of just found my new business opportunity. Having natives and one cushings and one IR horse I can sympathise with people who are at yards and now they must struggle. I think these days more people are finding out about these conditions and more aware. A lot of pasture is enriched and actually no good for any horse being too rich. I graze mine at safer times of year but I've re seeded with meadow low sugar herb mix.
I think this spring I'll turn a few more fields over to that and start fencing the other woodland we have. Make another large starvation paddock with stations for hay and hard standing in the gate ways and troff area (soooo much easier) and seriously think about some stables or open barn structure. We have fantastic riding here and also on the edge of dartmoor so good riding there too. I had no idea it would be that much p/w per horse. Sorry to boycot your post but I'm glad I saw it as we've been discussing all winter what way to go to get extra money. If the government stop our farming subsidies we literally will be running at a loss!! I've recently got into rarer breeds poultry and we do well with turkeys at Xmas but that I think livery wise could be the stable income we really need.
 

chaps89

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Shame you're not nearer!
I think with track/lami friendly livery it usually becomes more of a full livery system or a Rota system between owners when it comes to haying (big bale ad lib hay doesn't really work for the good doer so has to be fresh hay daily as you do) and poo picking (same with any shared turnout really though!)
So price for me depends.
If DIY and jobs shared then up to £50-75 a week (hay on top) presuming it was late cute low sugar forage, non fertiliser fields, good shelter and drainage (no point having horses living out if it's a bog), storage and a school. Ie, truly set up for the good doer with facilities.
Maybe up to £50 a week if it was lacking facilities.
And up to £100-150 a week if it included a feed/daily check, hay, poo picking and had school etc (ie full livery)
 
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