Starting any kind of business takes risk, and equine businesses are no different. When it comes to breeding horses, there is a lot involved. In addition to running a business, you will be orchestrating a very delicate process involving live animals and their livelihood. Even if you have extensive experience with horses, you will need a specific set of knowledge and skills before starting a horse breeding farm so it helps to know what you need to keep in mind.
Be Sure That You Are Passionate
Before starting any kind of business venture, it definitely helps to have a passion to support it. Unlike a lot of other businesses, however, a horse breeding farm may be especially difficult to get off the ground, especially since breeding takes time and it is always best to start off small. Having a deep love for the animals that you will be caring for will help you get through this first leg of the process and keep going once, or if, your business finally takes off.
Write a Sound Business Plan
Again, like any business you will need to come up with a thorough and comprehensive business plan. This will help you determine what supplies and equipment you need, what sort of capital you need in order to acquire and keep it, how you expect to pay for and keep up with licenses and other permits, and what you will do should your business fail. It may sound difficult and self-defeating, but having a failsafe is vital. Aside from figuring out just how much grain and hay you will need per year or how much insurance will cost, make sure that you find a piece of land that can be converted into something else should your breeding business fall through. Can your farmland easily house a different kind of farm? Could it support a golf course or even a bed and breakfast? It helps to have a fallback plan in the event your initial endeavor falls through, that way you can still pursue something with the land you have.
Hire Good Help
As a farm breeder, you will not be able to handle the workload on your own, especially as your farm begins to grow with foals that you have bred. In order to run a successful farm, you will want workers that are dedicated to their positions and to the horses that they help care for. Treat your employees well but also make sure that you hire enthusiastic people. The more interested your workers are in the work that you and with the animals that you work with, the more eager they will be to learn new things and give it their all. And remember, running a farm is hard business so offering your workers competitive pay or even on-site housing are great incentives, as well as days off and spa days to recover from a hard week’s work. You may feel like you have a lot of work to do and you may want to drive your employees to work better and faster, but in order to do that you will need to compensate them and treat them well. Not only is it wise for your business, but it’s the right thing to do.
In addition to hiring farm hands, you will also want to find local veterinarians and experts in the area who can help oversee the process and care for your horses should something happen to them. Do your research and conduct background checks if you can (if it is for business, you can write this off on your taxes) and read reviews and other testimonials from others before approaching vets for their assistance.
Since you will also be working alongside veterinarians who will be caring for your horses and foals, it helps to keep an organized follow up system with everyone on the farm. Check in with everyone on the farm and participate in other work when you can. This will help to ensure that everything is in order and it will also help integrate you into every aspect of your business, that way you can build report with your workers and business partners while also remaining in the loop.
Stay as Organized as Possible
Since you will be breeding, you will likely have a mix of outside help from farmhands to veterinarians. You won’t be able to monitor or orchestrate everything that goes on so it helps to set up all of your bases of operation in a sensible manner. Always keep things in the same place, and label them if you can. If a vet needs a specific tool in an emergency, it helps if they already know where something is or if it is easy to find. You will likely be working with the same local vets and you will want to have farmhands that stay on with you, so if your help is consistent your equipment and tools should be, too. Well maintained workspaces make for smooth sailing.
Be Honest and Up Front
When it comes to selling the horses you breed, be honest and thorough about what it is exactly that your customers and clients are getting. Having well documented paperwork on each and every horse that you have helps and should be part of every transaction. This way, your clients know exactly what they are getting. It also helps to have an understanding of each and every horse that you have on your farm on a personal level, too. Being able to describe the personality and temperament of a horse to the person looking to purchase them can be a great selling point, plus it makes the entire business transaction much more personable.