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.
23 Horses With The The Most Unusual Coats
The horse is an elegant and majestic creature, however the the most amazing thing about the horse is the diversity in each different animal. No horse is the same, all have their own unique trait whether it be in their looks, personality or talents. Here is a collection of the most unusual coat colours in 23 different horses.
Cremello Akhal- Teke
This magnificent breed of horse is so amazingly unique it is the national emblem of the Turkmenistan region of where it originiates. They are nicknamed ‘golden horses’ and I am sure you can see why.
Gray is an unnatural colour in horses due to artificially selected breeding. White grey horses are born with black skin whilst true white horses are born with pink skin.
Black and White Pinto
A pinto’s coat refers to one that features any combination of white and another colour. The contrast of this horse’s gorgeous coat is so eye-catching it is difficult to look away.
This horse is born with the ‘creamy gene’ which makes his coat look so creamy. When a horse has this gene pure, it results in a stunning white colour.
Buckskin is a coat that is found across many breeds of horses. All of the hair on the base of the coat is diluted with a red colouring, however the mane, tail and legs are unaffected.
This pinto is a mix of pinto and buckskin, having the white colour mixed with the deep red colouring or buckskin.
Silver Dapple Pinto
The colouration and pattern of this horse is beautiful, as if the horse is covered in snow flakes. His white mane and tail accentuate the affect exquisitely.
Rabicano is described also as ‘white ticking’. This is a coat colour prominent in the tail and side flanks of this horse.
Sabino refers to groups of white spotted patterns on the hair and the skin of a horse. The irregular pattern on this horse’s body and face showcases the sabino gene beautifully.
The silver buckskin is a similar version of the silver dapple gene. The extreme contrast shown in this horse’s colouring is mesmerizing.
The champagne gene of a horse refers to the gene that changes the dark colour or a horse’s skin and makes it looks lighter. This horse showcases this as her black coat appears a soft brown.
A golden champagne is subtle but beautiful. The horse has chestnut coloured skin that usually appears gold in horses such as this one who have the champagne gene.
Brindle colour is not usually associated with horses. On the rare occasion that a horse does inherit this gene the horse will inherit tiger striping due to the vertical markings on the skin.
Usually horses with flaxen colouring are pale yellow, however this horse is a deep chocolate brown that works beautifully with the contrasting tones in his mane and tail.
The Appaloosa breed are known for their spotted coat however this horse has a very interesting pattern which almost looks like a leopard’s.
The roan gene allows horses to have dark underlying coats that appear to have a bluish hue to them. As you can see on this horse the head and legs are not usually affected by the roan colouration.
This horse looks like a bandit in reverse with his white mask across the eyes. This colouring is very unique and rare.
Friesian and Appaloosa Cross
This foal is gorgeously elegant with his interesting coat as a result of the friesian and appaloosa cross and his long legs accentuating his gracefulness.
This horse has a beautifully contrasted coat, however what is incredible about him is that the word ‘horse’ is spelled across his side.