The best place to start is to be a working student for the most professional and well-managed barn you can find. There are hundreds of tiers of information that you need to learn before running your own place. Find someone who has been through the journey that you are hoping to follow as well, and absorb as much as you can!
Owning a livery yard is also a great business for horse lovers, it allows you to engage with your passion on a daily basis.
Location and infrastructure are both essential to running a successful livery yard. A countryside location is obviously essential but you need to research the incidence of horse ownership in the region to see if you’ll have a large enough market. Infrastructure is key to keeping the day-to-day operation working well. Is there room to store hay and manure? Is there an outdoor tap for refilling water? If you need to make changes, such as installing fencing, make sure you consider this when negotiating on price for the land or lease.
You won’t need any qualifications to own and operate a livery yard, but many potential customers will want evidence of your proficiency qualifications can go a long way to addressing this worry.
Managing expectations with the customer is very important for every business, but especially so when it comes to livery yards. People are very protective over their pets, so if they think you’re putting on a blanket every night and you don’t, things could turn sour. Make sure everything is covered in the contract, including who pays for vets' bills, frequency of food and water provision, etc. Your insurance company may also have stipulations and rules that must be adhered to; make sure you take these seriously or you might not receive a pay-out in the event of a claim.
Any business owner will tell you the company is only as strong as the staff. This is especially true of horse riding establishments – staff will be providing care and companionship to the horses, and this requires certain qualities such as empathy, a love for animals, organisation, and professionalism. If your staff let you down, your reputation will suffer immensely, and you may find yourself struggling to win business.
The first step for you, if you really want to start your horse business is Gaining both knowledge and experience in both business and equestrian environments is essential; talk to current livery yard owners about their experiences (it would be best to go to another part of the country so they don’t view you as competition). Gain experience working in a livery yard and see what’s involved on a day-to-day basis. Work out a very precise budget before you take the plunge; tightly controlling costs will be essential to turning a profit.