Written by: Keith Wills, Farm Credit loan officer
We know you want to be a successful equestrian. We also know how much time it can take to find the perfect piece of property to help your dream become a reality. As you begin your search, consider these five questions to ensure you make the right decision for you.
Why do you want to purchase a horse property?
Asking yourself why is a great place to start. Why do you want to own a horse farm? Are you looking to generate income from your equine business? This could mean running a horse breeding and training facility. Or, are you looking to offset the cost of horse ownership by creating a secondary business? If so, we recommend defining your future income and expenses before you jump into farm ownership. Start by identifying what services you are planning to offer– this could include client horse boarding to fill extra stalls or providing lessons in your indoor arena to provide additional revenue. If you need help fleshing out these details, check out how to create a business plan for your equine operation.
Your future horse property investment could also be encouraged by your personal interest - simply enjoying the beauty of horses and the equestrian lifestyle.
What do you want to do with your business?
We know not all horse farms are alike, and each stable has its own unique identity. It’s common to see a barn specialize in dressage training or reining, just to name a few disciplines. We recommend identifying what type of operation you plan to run.
Once you determine your main focus, think about what (if any) additional services and amenities you are willing to offer. For example, would you offer trailering services to nearby shows, or are you located close to trails for recreational riding? Identifying what you want to do with your business will help in crafting your overall positive client experience.
Where are you going to be located?
Location means everything in business. Why would a client want to bring their horse to your property? Is the property aesthetically pleasing and easy to access? Have you considered where your clients will be traveling from to do business with you? We know for many horse boarders, travel time can be a defining factor in an already hectic schedule, so being located in an easily accessible location will help you be more appealing for future clients.
Another item to research is the availability of resources in your area. Does the property offer enough space for manure management, pasture turnout, or even expansion? Is there a reliable supply of local feed, hay, and bedding resources? Do you have access to dependable farrier and veterinarian services in the area? Your resource team plays a huge role in building a successful equine operation and it should not be overlooked.
What is your skill level of horse care?
Are you personally planning to provide daily care for your horses or are you paying someone with equine experience to provide that service for your horse property? If you decide to employ staff, have you taken into account the added labor expense on your balance sheet? Do you have enough facility space to grow your onsite horse production services?
If you are planning to provide daily care, having a sound understanding of equine nutrition and overall horse health will be needed. Sourcing high quality hay, grain, and supplements is a daily need of horses. Also, planning to provide additional services such as deworming, hoof care, vaccinations, and dental care will all influence the well-being of your horses and your client’s horses.
What do you need in a financial lender?
We know you want to work with the best equine lending specialist, and we understand what it takes to handle equine loans. All of the above questions may seem overwhelming at first, but that’s why we’re here – to walk you through each question and step. Business or pleasure, large or small, let us help you.
At Farm Credit, we have close ties within the equine industry, offer flexible rates and terms, and, as a cooperative, our members are able to take advantage of our patronage program that allows us to return part of our profits back to our borrowers. Click here to download our equine financing checklist, and when you’re ready to take the next step, contact our team at 888.339.3334.