How To Make Money With Horses
You love your horse, but he's hard on your budget. Here's how your horse can help you earn money to pay for his keep.
You love them, and they're part of your family. But horses can be an expensive habit. Here are 5 ways to earn money with horses to help defray the cost of horsekeeping.
1. Put a half lease on your horse. Do you ever feel guilty because you're not riding as frequently as you feel you should? If so, then putting a half-lease on your horse may be the answer for you.
PROS: If you board your horse, charge 1/2 of the boarding fees, and presto! You've cut your monthly boarding costs in half. It is also reasonable to charge 1/2 of the shoeing fees. If your lessee also rides better than you do, then you are also getting paid to have someone else train your horse rather than having to pay a trainer to do it.
CONS: Having to coordinate schedules and sort out differences of opinion on horse care.
HEADS UP: Be sure to have your lessee sign a leasing agreement and a hold harmless agreement. The leasing agreement should spell out exactly how many (and possibly which) days your lessee will be allowed/expected to ride. The last thing you want is to drive out to the barn to ride only to find your lessee riding your horse. The hold harmless protects you against being sued if your lessee is injured while riding.
Also be sure the lessee rides AT LEAST as well as you do. If they don't, your horse will become sour and will lose her conditioning and training.
2. Take in boarders. If you board your horse on your own property, consider taking in one or more boarders, and charge them a little less than the rate charged by boarding facilities in your area.
PROS: The boarding fee you charge will more than cover the cost of feeding and housing the horses you board, and will give you extra income as a result. If you choose your boarders wisely, you will also make some new friends who share your horsey interests.
CONS: The more horses, the more work. You can reduce this burden by hiring a 4-H or other reliable student to clean stalls for you, paying them or giving them permission to ride your horse once or twice a week. Taking vacations will be problematic because you are now responsible for all the horses on your property. You will need to arrange to have someone step in to care for the horses when you're gone. You will also be responsible for addressing any injuries or emergencies as they arise, particularly if you can't reach the horses' owners.
HEADS UP: Have your boarders sign a boarding agreement that includes requirements for deworming, vaccinations, and teeth floating. Be sure the agreement includes emergency contact information for the horse (horse owner, veterinarian) and for the boarder (spouse, parent, doctor). Also be sure they sign a hold harmless agreement to protect you from being sued if they are injured while riding or handling horses. And be sure your homeowners insurance includes care, custody, and control of boarded animals.
3. Charge for body-clipping and braiding services. Learn how to body-clip horses and to braid their manes for shows. You can earn upwards of $50 per hour for these services in most areas.
PROS: Good money for easy work.
CONS: The work is tedious.
HEADS UP: None really.
4. Rent out your arena. If you board your horses at home and have an arena, offer trainers or riders in your area use of the arena in exchange for a rental fee or for doing chores on your property (such as stall cleaning, arena grooming, or mowing). For trainers, it is customary to have them pay you a percentage of their lesson or training fee every time they use the arena. The percentage can range from 25% to 50%, but unless you have a really top notch arena, try to stay at the lower end of the range.
PROS: An arena can be a great money maker.
CONS: Other people will be riding in your arena when you are unless you restrict the days/times when they can use it.
HEADS UP: Be sure everyone signs a hold harmless. And trainers should include you on their professional insurance. If they get sued, the person suing them will also sue you because the lessons or training took place on your property. Protect yourself.
5. Become an affiliate seller. If you have tons of friends on social media, this is an excellent way for you to make money. Join an affiliate program, such as Amazon, Commission Junction, Pepperjam, or Viglink. Recommend listed products to your friends based on your experience or product ratings. Every time someone clicks on a product link and buys the product, you receive a commission.
PROS: If you have a lot of friends on social media, this can earn you a lot of money with very little effort.
CONS: If you don't have a lot of friends on social media, your earnings can be limited.
HEADS UP: None really.
Here are useful articles related to horsekeeping and boarding:
Should You Board Your Horses or Keep Them At Home?
How Much Does It Cost To Keep A Horse?
The Costs of Running a Horse Business
15 Tips for Making Your Horse Business More Profitable
Boarding, leasing, and hold harmless contracts
Six Tips for Getting Ready for Show Season (Includes tutorials on bodyclipping and braiding)
Copyright Denise Cummins, June 11, 2018
The Thinking Equestrian