Facilities with a discipline-specific focus can sometimes find it difficult to discover new revenue opportunities. It takes less effort and time to duplicate what has been done before. But thinking outside the box or bringing a new perspective to an already widely used concept can generate additional income for your facility and provide fun experiences for new and existing clients.
Invite the Community In
Build relationships with community organizations and invite them to visit the facility on set days throughout the year.
“We invite veterans in to spend an hour walking around the property to experience the effect horses have on people,” said Sue Austin, owner of Lucky Clover Stables in Sanford, Maine, a facility that primarily serves hunter/jumpers.
The opportunity to come in and spend time on the property is free to visitors. The value arrives weeks or months later.
“We now have people lessoning with us who participated in one of the open houses,” she said.
The facility is not a certified therapeutic program, and Austin is careful not to advertise as such.
“I believe horses can do a lot of good for people, and we want them to experience that,” she said.
Hosting clinics are not a new concept for stables. Stables across the country have successfully hosted clinics for years. Sponsoring a widely known trainer or rider can be expensive, making it difficult to make a profit or break even.
Shorter clinics taught by stable staff are another option. Mini-clinics focused around basic horse care topics teach good horsemanship skills and bring in additional income.
“My daughter has offered mini-clinics on topics like the correct way to use a polo wrap,” Austin said. “We don’t charge a lot of money for these workshops. The money we do make helps on other projects around the barn, like dust control.”
You also can contact your veterinarian, farrier, chiropractor, massage therapist or other professional and ask them to give a clinic, whether for pay or as an outreach to get new clients. Your local feed store also has reps from major brands who often are available to give talks at your barn on specific nutrition topics. Your local county extension agent also might have some great topics to discuss. You might even have a different discipline clinician--such as Western dressage--come in to offer something new for your clients to do with their horses.
Editor's note: In May we are looking at a variety of ways for equine farms and stables to potentially earn more money. We will feature a new article weekly this month. Feel free to log into our website and add your comments below each article. The first article was on Generating Additional Income at a Multi-Disciplinary Facility.