Monetizing Your Equestrian Facility

Find out if renting your facility might be a way for you to generate additional revenue.
horse riding arena with jumps
Keep your facility clean and organized if you plan to rent it out for events. | Getty Images

Melinda Birt and her husband, Al, have worked together for 42 years raising show-quality mules and donkeys. Together they run Birt Arena, a highly sought after rental facility in Nampa, Idaho. It features a 124 feet x 200 feet indoor arena, three outdoor arenas, a round pen, 14 stalls, and an outdoor wash rack. Clinic attendees and show participants enjoy ample parking with overhead lighting. The indoor arena has large, overhead fans, stadium seating, a mirrored wall, sound system, heated bathrooms, obstacles, and much more.

All arenas have excellent footing that they groom and water before each booking. Attractive landscaping surrounds the arenas, and shaded areas are available for hot days.

A glance at the 2024 rental calendar on their website shows how well-loved this property is; Birt Arena is booked almost continuously all winter, especially evenings and weekends. Most summer weekends are already scheduled with shows and clinics, too. 

“We didn’t start out thinking about it as a rental facility. We were building it for ourselves,” says Melinda. “People could see our arena from the road. When they saw the framing for the indoor arena going up, they stopped by to ask if they could rent the arena and pay to ride in it. It grew on its own to be a rental facility for haul-ins, clinics, drill teams, 4-H, agility dogs, and small shows.”

Those who came to ride at the facility or host events made suggestions for improvements that Al and Melinda took into consideration, says Melinda. “We love your place, but we need a sound system. Or we love your arena, but you need some stands for spectators, or more parking with lights outside. That’s how it expanded.”

Tips When Renting Out Your Equestrian Facility

If you are thinking about renting your facility to generate income, consider the following.

  • Don’t over-extend yourself, even if you must start out with a smaller structure that you can expand as you go. “We built the basic arena planning to add on to it later,” says Melinda. “We don’t want to attract the bigger shows; it’s the perfect size for clinics and smaller shows. Groups that are here for several days are the most profitable.”
  • Privacy is important. “I would try to make it (the facility) as private as possible to keep neighbors happier so they won’t see vehicles or be bothered by the activities.” She explains that they added trees and hedges to create a living privacy screen to help buffer noise and dust. “There are dust laws,” says Melinda, “so we regularly water the parking lots and driveway.” A large irrigation canal surrounding much of the property also affords Birt Arena moat-like privacy as well. Out of respect for their neighbors, outdoor speakers at Birt Arena can only be used from 8am to 10pm.
  • Installing and maintaining quality arena footing is another critical step for attracting an equestrian audience. “No matter your choice of arena footing you need a watering system with some way to apply it,” says Melinda, referencing their indoor arena’s overhead watering system and water truck for outdoors.
  • The location of the facility can greatly affect profitability. “The facility location should be close to hotels and restaurants,” she adds. Along with being situated near the intended horse population, Birt Arena is conveniently located 15 minutes off an interstate.
  • Insurance is an important consideration when renting out your facility. The Birts have found that most insurance policies don’t cover events, so they require those holding events to provide their own insurance so Birt Arena as an “added insured” to their policy.
  • Melinda and Al have all participants sign liability releases. “Use one that’s good for your state,” she says. Melinda suggests hiring a lawyer or referencing what others in your area use and create a version to fit your situation. “We have everyone sign a new release each January.” She also stresses the importance of posting signs about your state’s equine activity laws. Most states have laws in place which offer some protection for equine facility owners.
  • Finally, when something breaks, fix it right away. “Don’t let things get run down and keep things picked up,” Melinda says. Everyone using Birt Arena is required to clean up after themselves, including removing manure and trash, to reduce flies and keep the property tidy.

Take-Home Message

Keeping your property neat, organized, and working well is key to a profitable facility. Be sure you understand the liability laws in your state, carry the correct insurance (and/or require the renter to do so), and consider your location when deciding whether to rent out your facility. “Our place is almost like a hobby to us because everyone is appreciative and respectful,” says Melinda.


Alayne Blickle
Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.





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