Monday, June 22, 2015

22nd June, 2015 The Price is Right

It's always a struggle for anyone to run a business around something that is someone else's hobby. Horses are expensive to keep and in my experience the people who own them are not the rich elite, but people who sacrifice their own clothing for a new rug for their horse. No business can afford to be a charity either so although I give lots of free advice and am always generous with my time, I do have to earn some money to pay for my own horses and my fair share towards our household bills. A fee of £175 per week for a horse coming in for starting doesn't seem too much to me - especially as I paid £225 per week for Petra to be started twelve years ago!

Of that £175 per week, £60 goes to the my rider who after all, puts her life at risk getting on young and sometimes quirky horses. £15 goes to my landlord for the rent of my fields - I pay per horse. That leaves £100 to cover my expert involvement in at least five training sessions a week, all the pasture maintenance that having a horse involves, and a basic level of feed. At £20 per hour, it doesn't really contribute anything to the fairly limited over heads that I have such as a car, proper insurance for my work, and the greater upkeep of the yard. Nevertheless there are a lot of places charging less, sometimes far less, to break in a horse and often they claim to be able to do the job in far less time. Putting a flash noseband on a pony and sticking a set of boots on it doesn't equal a 'broken' pony - or rather, it may do.

We've always prided ourselves on treating and training horses as if they were one of our own. So no rushing and no gadgets. We don't lunge young horses in endless circles and we don't make them go into an outline. We don't even ride them every day.  We concentrate on getting the horse to feel right about being ridden and so if he is not ready for something, he is not ready to do it. They take as long as they take.

I've considered putting the price down but it really wouldn't be worth it. One lady told me last year that if I halved my prices I would have twice as much work - as they say in America "Go figure!"

Tilly being Tangoed
"Just wanted to pass on to you how proud we were of Tilly today :-) Just as she was setting out for her ride with Tash on board, we could hear some motorbikes coming down the lane (3 in total). We slowed them down as they approached, which they did with no hesitation. Well you've guessed it, Tilly just stood and watched them go by just as she had that morning back in April when David helped in her training! Many thanks as ever to you and your team who give so much to the future of horses :-)"  Sandra, Tash and Tilly xxx