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The Profitable Horseman's Newsletter The only weekly electronic newsletter published for Professional Horsemen.
February 9, 2007

Are you tired of trying to make money in the horse business the old way? I help professional horsemen find new and better methods to add to the profitability of their businesses.
Welcome New Subscribers!

in this issue
  • Want to Transform Your Horse Business with More Profit and better balance between work, rest & play?
  • Do Your Lesson Horses Pull Their Own Weight?
  • Others have said
  • Back at the Barn
  • Build the Horse Business You've Always Wanted
  • Speaking about the Horse Business...

  • Do Your Lesson Horses Pull Their Own Weight?

    For professional horsemen qualified to instruct riding, lessons are the quickest route to earning money in the horse business. Think about the business transaction for a moment. The student takes a lesson lasting from 30 minutes to one hour, private or group and pays you immediately or in advance for your time and use of your lesson horse.

    The ideal world for instructors would have all students provide their own horses. And some instructors enjoy that situation, but, most often in the beginner to intermediate student rider universe, the lesson mount is from your stable of lesson horses. Good lesson horses usually have simple names like Skip, Charlie and Whitey.

    They are outstanding examples of patience, have calm attitudes and are loved by all of the students who ride them. The truth is your best lesson horses get more Christmas cards than you can count.

    Undoubtedly, you have some horses in your lesson program that arenít as popular as others, but have good merits. Often, these other horses arenít as adaptable to just any student rider and have a more limited group they can serve.

    Since limited use means less lesson revenue, this subject often brings up the common question, ď How much does a lesson horse cost per year?Ē

    The short answer: More than you might think.

    The long answer. Takes many more words, formulas and calculations (yawn) than you want to read right now.

    As an alternative, give some thought to the process of calculating the cost of maintaining your lesson horses.

    Initial Cost
    As an example, Ben a great horse, needs a rider with intermediate skills. Ben cost $3500 and is expected to be a lesson horse for 5 years. Ignoring the possibility that Ben may have a resale value when he is retired from the lesson program, straight line depreciation over 5 years is $700 per year. ($3500 divided by 5 years)

    Annual Maintenance
    This includes trim and shoes, normal veterinary expense, grooming, blankets and halters, special feed supplements, applicable insurance, etc, plus hay, grain, bedding and labor for normal care.

    Opportunity Cost
    If Ben occupies a stall that could be occupied by a ďpayingĒ boarded horse, the profit that would have been generated after boarding expenses is also an expense of Ben the lesson horse.

    The key to analyze the contribution to profit generated by each of your lesson horses is to track how many lessons each is used for each month and annually. A low-tech, low cost clipboard with a chart and a pencil will accomplish the task.

    The goal is to know how many lessons old Ben gives for the year.

    Letís Do The Math


    1. "Ben" depreciates at $700 per year.
    2. Annual maintenance totals $3040 per year.
    3. Opportunity cost of stall is $1200 per year.
    • Wow! $4940 per year or as much as $411 per month!
    • OK, you sell him for $3500 at the end of 5 years for retirement only $353 per month
    • Better yet, Ben lives in the 'Back Barn', no opportunity cost. Only $253 per month.

    In simplistic terms, $ 253 per month means if Ben is only giving 3 lessons per week or 12 lessons per month his cost per lesson is $ 21.00 ($ 253 divided by 12) $ 21.00 doesnít leave much to pay you or your paid instructor and other operating expenses, does it? You can see the plot thickens with higher costs and lower school horse utilization rates.

    Sammy Davis, Jr. said it best, ď Ouch, BabeĒ

    Love your lesson horses, but make sure they are pulling their own weight in lesson revenue. Remember, if they arenít pulling the farm freight, the new owner will love them as much or more than you do.

    Others have said

    "Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death." -- James F. Byrnes

    "Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power." -- Shirley MacLaine

    "You have to recognize when the right place and the right time fuse and take advantage of that opportunity. There are plenty of opportunities out there. You can't sit back and wait." -- Ellen Metcalf

    Back at the Barn
    back at barn

    I like ice in my Coke and tea but never in the water buckets in the barn.

    If you live in an area thatís been battling frigid temperatures this past week, you know what I mean about ice capades with water buckets. Ice has some nasty properties not only in buckets, but also under horseís hooves and on the driveway. We will all survive, Iím certain, but, frozen water lines, hydraulic lines and radiators are no fun.

    Iím looking forward to speaking next week at the American Morgan Horse Convention in Atlanta, GA.

    I have to confess that I took a peek at Atlanta daytime high temps of 50 degrees F this week. For those of us living with the glaciers, 50 degrees sounds tropical!

    Build the Horse Business You've Always Wanted
    dee oct 06

    I work with Professional Horsemen who are struggling with the business half of the horse business.

    Just like a top performing horse has a strong foundation, so does a top performing horse business.

    If you've had enough with disappointment in your horse business, call or e-mail and we can talk about your business and how I may be able to help you.

    A big Welcome to 28 new subscribers this week. If you know other horsemen who would enjoy this newsletter, please forward it to them! I'm on a quest to tell 1000 people what I do and I need your help. Thanks!

    Life is short,

    Ride hard.


    Speaking about the Horse Business...
    megaphone man

    Need a speaker about the horse business for your horse related organization? Talk to me about talking. Keynotes and workshops available. (716) 434-5371

    Want to Transform Your Horse Business with More Profit and better balance between work, rest & play?
    empty classroom

    A one day Profitable Horseman workshop can come to your neighborhood! Put together a group of six or more workshop attendees and I'll travel to your location.

    We'll cover strategies for success in the horse business:

    • Creating a three year vision for your business
    • Building a plan for profitability and getting contol of the money
    • Planning the time to plan
    • Leadership within you business
    • Creating customer service
    • The art of selling
    • Marketing methodically
    • Balancing work, rest and play

    Sound like a good idea?

    Ideas only work when put into action.

    Call (716) 434-5371 or email here.

    Click on the links below for more information

    Profitable Horseman Web Page

    Past issues of Profitable Horseman newsletter

    Professional Horsemen's Blog- More Free Business Tips Click on the link.

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