How many times have you been watching a movie or reading a book and thought “that’s a horse I would love to own”?
It doesn’t matter how fictional or unrealistic they are, you can’t help but fantasise about owning one of these amazing creatures. Often, they’re the characters your childhood dreams were built on.
Let’s take a look at the top 8 fictional horse characters.
1. Mr Ed.
Horse riding is all about communication. But don’t you just wish you could actually speak to your horse. It would make things so much easier.
The famous Mr Ed could talk – in fact, he could barely stop talking!
Gandalf’s noble horse from The Lord of The Rings. Shadowfax is perhaps the most noble and dignified of any fictional horse character.
Shadowfax was ‘foaled in the morning of the world,’ the original and perfect horse.
In fact, he’s almost the most dignified character ever written, animal or human. It’s not so much that you’d like to own Shadowfax, but that you’d like to know him.
A thoroughbred with too much spirit for ploughing fields, Joey is the storied character of War Horse, the wildly successful book, film and stage play.
The best-natured of all the horses on the list is Bullseye, from the Toy Story films.
More like a puppy, Bullseye is full of enthusiasm and friendliness.
The colourful, beautiful flying horse from RainbowBrite, the 80s cartoon series.
Starlite was able to fly on rainbows, and her colourful mane and tail made her an excellent horse to fantasise about.
The horse from The Neverending Story who, in the novel, is actually a speaking character.
A complicated character, Artax’s death was a difficult one for most readers, but reminds us of the emotional complexity of the horses we love.
A horse capable of talking, but hiding his gift from his war-mongering owners, Bree is another complex character from the Chronicles of Narnia.
8. Black Beauty.
For some of us, this might have been our first horse love.
The novel does an excellent job of stokes the fires for a horse lover, reminding us of the need to treat every animal with love and respect.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Horse Movies of All Time
The Hangar Checklist – 10 Things To Remember When Building
There are a lot of reasons to build an aircraft hangar, but the most important factor is obvious; for the love of it. You’ve already dedicated time and money to aviation as a hobby or even a small business. It matters to you. Building a hangar is going to feel great. It will be one of the most rewarding things you can do.
The list of benefits is long:
- Avoid weathering (paint condition, motor condition)
- Avoid sun damage to interior.
- Protect against damage by others.
- Perform your preflights indoors
- Keep your equipment in a safe, accessible place.
- Make the space your own.
But it really comes down to that feeling of owning your own space for your own aircraft – it’s the dream you’ve had since you were a kid.
If you’ve decided to build a hangar, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you do:
- Understand your relationship to the airport.
This is a slightly more complex question than it seems. You’ll need to know what the payment structure is (do you lease the land, or give up ownership of the building and rent it back?). You’ll need to know how long your contract with the airport will last and how likely conditions are to change. You should also consider what services, if any, the airport offers.
Find a current hangar owner and talk to them. A lot of them will have been there a long time and will have valuable advice.
- Do your builders have experience with aviation buildings?
You can get a cheap shed thrown together, but everything aviation-related needs to be exact. Find a company that will build the hangar to your specifications & your needs. Make sure they’ve build hangars before. If possible, visit their previous builds.
- Will the build be well organised?
Make sure that the company you build with has their own installers or consistently works with installers they know. The less friction there is between engineers, designers & installers, the less likely you are to have problems.
- What kind of door do you need?
Access is something you’ll need to consider, especially if you’re planning on storing more than one airplane.
Your door design needs to maximise accessibility. If you’re lucky enough to have access to the back of your hangar, it’s a great idea to have two doors so you can get planes in and out from either end.
- What strength is required?
A lot of airports and councils have very strict regulations on these kinds of things. If you have an experienced engineering/building company to work with, they will be able to sort this all out for you, especially if they’ve done it before.
- Do you want Australian steel?
Australian steel is a better quality than international steel and is less likely to be problematic down the line. If it’s in your budget, Australian-steel is a great idea.
- Have you planned for lighting?
A good rule of thumb for lighting is to draw out a rough plan, then double it. You can never have too much, and the size of hangars often requires a deceptively large amount of lighting.
Where you can, install skylights to make use of natural light. You’ll also need to consider how you’re going to access lights when they need to be replaced (hangar ceilings aren’t easy to reach).
- What concrete are you putting on the floor?
Make sure your concrete doesn’t have a shiny-finish or poly coat. It’s much more effective to install a concrete that has some grip. This will help you get your planes in and out.
- Are you going to rent out positions in your hangar?
Air hangars usually have relatively stable prices, but they won’t get you a big return unless hangar space is limited. One of the best ways to capitalise right from the start is to offer some of your hangar space for rent. This money will subsidise some of the rates the airport is likely to charge you.
- Are you going to be operating a business?
Another great way to get some of your expenditure back is to offer flight lessons or run some kind of small aviation business. If this is something you have the license and inclination for, you’ll need to make sure that your hangar can hold everything you’ll need.
To download a brochure of our past hangars and aviation buildings, click here.
How To Start Your Horse Riding Business – 11 Steps
Running your own horse business would be a dream for most of us. The perfect life. Everyone will warn you that it’s a lot of hard work (a lot!), and that you won’t earn a lot, but the lifestyle itself is enough to pay for that.
We’ve put together a list of 11 steps you need to take if you want to start your own successful horse riding business.
Start by teaching freelance.
If you have the skills to teaching others to ride, start by offering to visit people that have their own horses. There’s still a market here, and giving lessons won’t cost the large overheads that a full-blown horse riding business will.
It’s the perfect way to test the waters – you can travel around a little, visit new places, meet new people, and get a sense for how the role suits you.
Get ready for muck and hard work.
If you own a horse, you know what it takes anyway. But teaching riding lessons will often account for less than half of your time. The rest will be the regular effort of keeping things clean, tidy and your horses healthy.
If you’re the kind of person who looks on the bright side of things, you might be able to think of it as part of why you love horses. You really have to earn it – and when you finish a day of work & riding, the tiredness you feel will be a good tiredness.
I hope you’re still with me, because now we can take the next steps to growing into a full riding business.
Do you have enough school horses?
Your biggest assets will be your school horses. You need to have enough to teach clients without tiring your horses out. You’ll also need horses that are relatively easy to ride and are well trained. If you have a few horses, you can compensate for weaknesses in one by teaching to natural strengths in another.
As an estimate, 20 students a week can usually be covered by 3 school horses.
Teaching, training & trail riding.
When it comes to the time you spend with your horses, you need to do more than just teach with them.
You’ll also need to train them when you can, so they’re easy to work with and become better for skilled riders. You’ll also need to go trail-riding occasionally to keep them stimulated, interested and happy.
The good news is that being told you have to spend a lot of time with your horses is probably the best thing you could possibly be told. Spend more time riding! It’s important!
Take care of your tack.
A lot of people will be using tack that you own, so you need to make sure that it’s kept in good condition. Spend the time it takes to teach your students to be respectful of tack and other equipment; it’s a habit that will serve them well.
Offer free introductory riding lessons.
When I was young, I used to go to a tennis store that had courts out the back where you could test a new racket. I loved the place and we went there again and again.
Offering free lessons is a great way to let your clients fall in love with your business. I can’t imagine how much I would have loved this as a kid. This will get people through the door. They’ll get a sense of you as a teacher, they’ll see your facilities, and you’ll get to introduce yourself.
Put out local ads.
Start with fliers on community noticeboards. Because these are so local, you’ll have success without having to spend too much.
If you want to expand your marketing, consider making something useful like a calendar that people are likely to keep around.
As with any business, a lot of your success will come down to your efficiency. Establish systems and habits so you know what you have to be doing at what point. Make sure your students know, too. Good systems make the difference between being a hobbyist and being professional.
Hire working students.
One great option to help with your business is to hire a working student. This is someone who helps out with maintenance of your barn and your horse work in exchange for lessons.
Working students are beneficial for both parties, and even though they don’t generate income, they make your work easier and might lead to referrals.
No business, especially not a horse business, should expect to blow up immediately. You should try to start small and gradually get bigger and busier. A steady stream of clients is the best way to do this.
Focus on doing everything as well as you can. Pay attention to detail and make sure that your clients enjoy working with you. This will lead to reliable growth. 4
THE GOLDEN RULE: Activity breeds activity.
The best way to keep busy is to keep being busy. The more you get involved with, the more people you meet, the likelier it is that business will come to you.
Offer to be part of local events. Find a way to participate in markets, parades, special gatherings. Meet people and share with them what you do and where you want to end up. Getting things happening is the best way to get your business into a nice trot.
WHAT WILL YOU NEED
- Good, friendly school horses (preferably at least 2, but 1 can work to start).
- Your own horse.
- Tack + Helmets.
- A fenced arena.
- A bookkeeping system
If you’re unsure about whether a horse business is right for you, go through these questions:
- Are you a skilful enough rider to teach others?
- Do you have the space and the horses?
- Is your target market large enough? Is there demand?
If you’re looking at building horse facilities, download a brochure to see what Central Steel Build has done for other horse owners in the past.