Are you interested in starting a horse breeding business from home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a horse breeding business with NO money and no experience. Basically, horse breeding has to do with the reproduction of horses, and mostly the human-directed process of selective breeding of animals, particularly purebred horses of a given breed as required by the target market and the purpose the horses are to be used for.
The advancement of breeding processes has made it possible to carryout planned mating that are targeted towards producing specifically desired characteristics in domesticated horses.
Much more than the general knowledge of rearing domestic animals, you would need to study the process of horse breeding if indeed you want to become successful in the business. In order to maximize profits with your horse breeding business, you would have to identify a market and breed cum groom your horses to fit into the role the horse is expected to play if purchased.
It is important to state that starting horse breeding business comes with its own fair share of challenges, but that does not rule out the fact that it is indeed a profitable business venture especially if you know how to reach out to your target market. An aspiring entrepreneur can either choose to start a horse breeding business on a small scale or on a large scale depending on their financial status.
No matter the line of business you want to go into, the rule of thumb is that prior to launching the business, it will pay you carry out your due diligence as it relates to market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your horse breeding business, then it will not take you long before you breakeven and start smiling to the bank.
So, if you are serious about starting your own horse breeding business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped.
20 Steps to Starting a Horse Breeding Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- 18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
There are several business opportunities available in the agricultural industry and one good thing about the industry is that there is market for all the produce from the industry. Horse breeding business is part of the agriculture cum livestock industry and of course horse breeding business is indeed a thriving and profitable business because of the usefulness of horses in our society. Horses are used for transportation, sports, farming and for leisure activities. The manure generated from horses is used for organic farming.
Basically, horse breeding has to do with the reproduction of horses, and mostly the human-directed process of selective breeding of animals, particularly purebred horses of a given breed as required by the target market and the purpose the horses are to be used for. The advancement of breeding processes has made it possible to carryout planned mating that are targeted towards producing specifically desired characteristics in domesticated horses.
A close study of the Horse Farming industry shows that the industry is characterized by many small-scale participants, with almost two thirds of all breeders having only one mare (female horse) and perhaps two or more sire (stallions). The four largest players in this industry together contribute about 15.0 percent of industry revenue.
A study by the Thoroughbred Breeders Association found out that there are 34 breeders who own more than 49 broodmares each. These breeders own in total about 10 percent of all broodmares. In the last 10 years, there has also been significant horizontal integration. This significantly reduced the number of family horse farms and can be seen as a response to increased industry globalization.
Research shows that horse breeding goes back a millennia. Even though the precise date is in dispute, humans could have domesticated the horse as far back as approximately 4500 BCE. However, evidence of planned breeding has a blurrier history.
One thing is certain about the horse breeding business, if you are able to conduct your market research and feasibility studies, you are more likely not going to struggle to sell your horses because there are loads of customers out there who make use of horses for various purposes.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own horse breeding business could be that the business is a rapidly becoming a profitable business; you can actually start your own horse breeding business in your compound if you live in rural community/farming community. All you need to do is to purchase the first set of horses (both mares and sires), purchase horse feed and medications, purchase horse breeding equipment and tools and then build your fence.
Despite the fact that horse breeding business has been in existence since time immemorial, that does not in any way make the industry to be over saturated. The fact that there is always a ready market for horses makes the business ever green.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who make use of horses is not restricted to a group of people. People of different races and cultures make use of horses for different purposes hence the market for horse breeding business is all encompassing.
So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your horse breeding business, then you should make it all encompassing. It should include polo clubs, horse racing teams and all players in the equestrian sports, farmers that make use of horse for transportation and for plowing farm land, people who make use of horse for leisure and entertainment and any other persons who just want to own a horse or use them to run errands.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
It is important to state that there is no niche area when it comes to the horse breeding business. Basically, those that engage in horse breeding business breed horses and sell them to people who in turn will go ahead to groom the horses to fit into the purpose the horses are expected to play.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The level of competition in the horse breeding line of business to some extent depends largely on the location of the business and of course the capacity of your horse breeding ranch. If you can successfully add horse grooming to your horse breeding business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
For instance, if you are the only horse breeding ranch that engage in grooming horses to participate in race or perform in circus et al in your location, you can successfully monopolize the market for a long time before you start having competitions.
It is important to also state that the competition in the horse breeding line of business or livestock farms industry depends on the scale of your horse breeding ranch. There are horse breeding ranches in the United States that are competing with leading horse breeding ranches around the world and there are horse breeders in the United States that can only compete at the local level.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
No matter the industry you choose to start a business in, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading horse breeding ranches in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Clydesdale Breeders of USA
- Hilltop Farm Inc
- Sterling Ranch
- Westphalians For USA LLC
- Irish Draught Horse Society
- Godolphin at Jonabell Farm, home of the Darley stallions
- Stonewall Farm Arabian Horses
- Branscomb Farms LLC
- American Hanoverian Horse Society
- Friesians of Majesty
- Palomino Horse Breeders of America
- Little America Miniature Horses
- Lasata Equine Center
- Oak Lodge USA
- Storybook Horse Farm
- Yancey Farms Inc.
- Harmony Sporthorses
- Scott Creek Miniature Horses
- Arrowfield Stud
When starting a horse breeding business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business and perhaps expand the business and start exporting horses within your country and other countries of the world.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your horse breeding business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; access to the market, access to feed, access to medications, access to cheap labor and of course good climatic condition.
As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors at regular intervals while running your horse breeding business. As a horse breeding ranch owner, you just have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profits and be in the frontline of the industry.
It is important to note that medication/treatment and feeds cost are some of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of running a horse breeding business and should be considered as a major factor when carrying out your costing and economic analysis.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to start from the scratch as against buying a franchise. Besides, from available research conducted, there are no known fully operational horse breeding ranches in the United States of America that is into franchising; most players in this line of business are adopting strategies that will help them sell their horses beyond the city, state or country where their horse breeding ranch is domiciled to other parts of the world as against selling franchise.
Besides, it is easier to start and run a horse breeding business from scratch to profitability without leveraging on a known brand name. People will patronize your horses based on accessibility and pricing as against relying on a brand name.
Please note that most of the big and successful horse breeding ranches around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own horse breeding business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established horse breeding ranches and even cattle farms and individual horse breeders who also raise horses in your target market location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; concentrate on a specific industry like polo clubs, horse racing teams and all players in the equestrian sports.
Other threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your own horse breeding business are global economic downturn, bad weather cum natural disasters (draughts, epidemics), unfavorable government policies and the arrival of a competitor (horse breeding ranch or cattle farm) within same location. There is hardly anything you can do as regards this threats and challenges other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
You can either choose a general partnership, limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship for your horse breeding business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale horse breeding business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital and breeding fewer horses per – time.
But if your intention is to grow the business and sell your horses all across the United States of America and other countries of the world, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Actually, setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
Here are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your horse breeding business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your horse breeding business, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
Usually, when it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own horse breeding business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Pier Jacobson and Family Horse Ranch, LLC
- Tim Grope® Horse Farms Ltd
- Larry Jones & Sons Horse Ranch, LLC
- Gareth Lewis Horse Farms, Inc.
- Royal Mares & Sires® Horse Studs Ltd.
- Ray Thomas and Sons Horse Ranch, LLC
- Leonard Niles & Co Horse Farms Ltd.
- George Mendez Horse Ranch, Inc.
- Texas Brothers Horse Studs, Inc.
- Golden Line® Horse Farms, Inc.
- Thorough Breed® Horse Ranch, LLC.
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your horse breeding business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own horse breeding business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Animal Mortality Insurance
- Farm Equipment and Auto Insurance
- Commercial Agribusiness Insurance
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own horse breeding business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even production concepts especially in relation to genetic modification engineering in livestock breeding, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Aside from the results you produce as it relates to providing well – groomed and healthy horses to your customers, professional certification is one of the main reasons why most horse breeders stand out. If you want to make an impact in the horse breeding line of business, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
You are strongly encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in the market.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own horse breeding business;
- P. Livestock Certification
- (Cert III Level) or Wool Classing (Cert IV Level).
- Wool Preparation and Wool Classing qualifications.
- Livestock Production certificate
Please note that the average local horse breeders in the suburbs in the United States do not have certifications and that does not in any way stop them from growing their horse breeding ranch to enviable heights.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The importance of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own horse breeding business in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration for distribution truck
- Appropriate driver’s licenses for drivers
- Assistant’s licenses for assistants
- Health inspection Certificate
- Proof of ownership, proper identification and vehicle license
- Tax Payer’s ID
- Fire certificate
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Employee’s Handbook
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Farm Partnership Agreement
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a standard horse breeding business can be capital intensive especially if you choose to launch a large horse breeding ranch with the capacity to supply well – groomed horses beyond your immediate community.
Securing a large farm land, building well – secured and conducive horse ranch with the right fencing, purchase of the first set of horses (both mares and sires) purchasing horse feed and medication and horse farming tools/equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start – up capital, but if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not have the need to go source for fund to finance the business.
The truth is that when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your horse breeding business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from government, donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Starting a business a horse breeding business comes with its own challenges; it is a business that cannot be started in any location of your choice. As a matter of fact, you will not be allowed to start a horse breeding business in a residential estate in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. The only location you can be allowed to start a horse breeding business or ranch is a farm land designated for cattle farms and it is usually in the outskirt of town – countryside.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to construct your cattle ranch is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consist of people with the required purchasing power, and a location that has minimal predators and the right climatic condition for the types of horses you intend raising.
If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a farm land for your horse breeding ranch business in a location that is prone to predator attack simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in protecting your horses and welcoming potential customers.
It is important to note that a business facility in a good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing/renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for a business such as horse breeding business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your horse breeding business.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your horse breeding business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for horses in the location
- The purchasing power of the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of horse breeders in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
When it comes to starting a standard horse breeding business, you will need the following equipment; water trough/channel, fencing, shovel and rake, and wheel barrow/cart. These equipment can be purchased as fairly used if you are on a low budget.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a farm land for your horse breeding ranch, the size of the horse breeding ranch you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a pretty large and well – equipped horse breeding ranch, then you should consider the option of long lease or out rightly purchasing a farm land.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. Averagely, when it comes to starting a standard horse breeding business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals; Chief Operating Officer (you can occupy this position), General Farm Manager, Veterinary Doctor (optional because it can be contracted), Human Resources and Admin Manager, Accountant / Cashier, Sales and Marketing Executive, Field Employees/Horse Groomers, Cleaners, and Security Guards.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard horse breeding ranch.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
When it comes to horse breeding, the process is simple and straight forward, and as a matter of fact, a horse breeding ranch can successfully run on auto – pilot with little or no supervision from the owner.
All that is involved in horse breeding is feeding the horses, watering the horses, bathing the horses, and providing an ideal environment for the horses (mares and sires) to mate. When the horses are in labor, the field workers assist them in the delivery process. So also, when the horses fall sick, medications are given to them and if the sickness is serious, they call in a vet doctor.
Most horse breeding ranches usually engage in grooming horses for specific purposes and customers such as polo clubs, horse racing teams and all players in the equestrian sports, farmers that make use of horse for transportation and for plowing farm land, and for people who make use of horse for leisure and entertainment.
It is important to state that a horse breeding business may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated horse breeding business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
As a horse breeder, you would have to prove that you have the capacity not only to manage a horse breeding ranch, but also to supply horses in commercial quantities on a consistent basis. So, if you have plans to start your own horse breeding business, it will pay you to first build your capacity before sourcing to supply well – groomed and healthy horses to customers such as polo clubs, horse racing teams and all players in the equestrian sports etc who require a supply of horses from horse breeding ranches.
The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small – scale horse breeding business is low means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with creativity and innovations if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your horse breeding business, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to the industry you intend starting your business. This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your horses.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your horse breeding business and its produce;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to polo clubs, horse racing teams and all players in the equestrian sports, farmers that make use of horse for transportations and for plowing farm land, and for people who make use of horses for leisure and entertainment, the military, the police and related businesses in the United States (if you are just starting out, you may want to concentrate on individual customers)
- Promptness in bidding for horse supply contracts et al
- Open your horse breeding ranch with a party so as to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets when it comes to horse circus shows and games
- Advertise your horse breeding business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your horse breeding business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your horse breeding ranch
- Engage in direct marketing and sales of your horses
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your horses; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you sell your horses at rock bottom prices is to purchase your horses (first set to use for breeding), horse feeds, medications and other horse farming tools and equipment directly from the manufacturers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from the manufacturers, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Another strategy that will help you retail your horse at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.
18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The horse breeding line of business is a competitive industry, and you must come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry.
Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to create easier and cheaper ways to breed horses in commercial quantities and also ensure that your horses are well – groomed, strong and healthy.
19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers or products.
No doubt one of the strategies that you would need to employ in order to generate repeated sales from your customers and also retain them is to ensure that the supply of your horses is constant and does not fluctuate. The truth is that if the supply of your horses fluctuates, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers coming back; people usually go for products that are of good quality.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.
With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).
20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a horse breeding business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by exporting horses to other nations of the world, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your horse breeding business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and agriculture and sports magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your horses
- Install your billboards on strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your horse breeding ranch
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact polo clubs, horse racing teams and all players in the equestrian sports, farmers that make use of horses for transportation and for plowing farm land, and for people who make use of horses for leisure and entertainment, the military, the police and related businesses in the United States informing them about your business
- List your horse breeding business in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your horse breeding business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your horse breeding ranch is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo et al.