Horse Business Owners Voice Concerns - What Are Your Peers Worried About?

Last week, Equestrian hosted a live webinar for horse professionals entitled "Smart Financial Strategies for Horse Professionals -  Making Choices for a Better Future"  

This seminar focused on strategies to help horse business owners increase their financial security for the future. Horse trainers, breeders, stable operators, instructors and professional riders from all over the country attended. Here is a quick recap:

During the open seminar, the main discussion points focused on passive income generation and the four elements of a sound financial plan. We also touched on historical returns for common investments: i.e. stocks, bonds, real estate, etc... 

We then moved on to the questions that were submitted via the webcast from a variety of  horse professionals who were attending the live seminar.  A few of these questions were about various financial products like IRAs and Mutual Funds.  However, the vast majority of questions centered around the following three challenges -

  1. The inability to create enough income to save for emergencies or invest for retirement
  2. Difficulties borrowing money
  3. What to do if you are over 60, have not been paying into Social Security (or a similar system), and are struggling to make ends meet, and have nothing set aside for retirement

A short summary of the answers to these questions is as follows -

1.  You must take steps to improve your profitability or cut your personal expenses further. If your business is the problem, try to determine whether growth or management is the issue. Write, check, and/or improve your business plan.
2.  You must have a solid (and properly written) business plan in order to secure financing.
3.  Diversify your income - hopefully with a few non-physical income streams that you will be able to maintain regardless of your age.

Of the above questions, the third question is definitely the most troubling, especially because it was asked by several different horse professionals from the US and Canada. Plus, since some of them owned horse businesses that were failing to make a profit, not only is retirement not an option for these people, it is possible that holding onto their horse business may not be an option either.

The issue here is that if the horse professionals who asked questions 1 and 2 do not find the solutions they need, it is likely that in the next 10 - 20 years, they too will  join the ranks of those who asked question 3.  And while even the horse professionals in group 3 can take action to improve,  their situation is a very difficult one that we hope other horse professionals headed in that direction will take steps to avoid.

If your own a horse business, perhaps the most important of these steps is realizing that you need to have a financial plan and that your can (and should) take steps to improve your business.  Providing help with these types of issues is the very reason we created the Equestrian Professional site and especially our Fast Track Program .  Our goal is to help our members more effectively address core horse business issues and concerns like growth, profitably, developing additional income streams and how to write a solid business and marketing plan.

There were 335 horse professionals registered for this seminar. Typically we only make our seminar replays available to members of Equestrian  However, in this case, because the subject matter is vitally important and because we suspect that the vast majority of  horse professionals are in the same boat as the attendees* - we decided to make the seminar replay available to the public. We hope you will find it helpful.

*Not only do most horse professionals need a financial plan, but many of them have not been paying into SSI (Social Security) or SDI (State Disability) and therefore will not be eligible to receive these benefits from the government.

About the Author-
Elisabeth McMillan is an equine business consultant and the founder of Equestrian, a website that provides business and career support to horse professionals. She is also a sought after public speaker for equestrian organizations and speaks at equestrian events through out the U.S.. For more information please visit or you may email her directly at