Full Board Versus Partial Board for the Horse Business

Diversification is the name of the game in the horse business. The more options you can offer potential clients, the better your chances of scoring new customers. One example of this is offering both full board and partial board.

Full Board

The general guideline for full board is that the equestrian facility takes over care of the horse to such a degree that the owner can be absent for several days (or even weeks or months) without any detriment to the animal. In other words, the barn is responsible for meeting all the horse’s needs.

This includes feeding, providing supplements, mucking the horse’s stall, turning the horse out as appropriate, and calling veterinarians or farriers as needed. Full board is the more expensive of the two and therefore provides a higher quality of service for the animal and the client.

Partial Board

There are many different arrangements for partial board. In most cases, a partial boarding agreement means that the horse’s owner pays the facility owner for certain services and takes care of the rest himself. It’s less expensive because the barn doesn’t have to do as much work.

For example, partial board might include shelter, food, and water, but none of the human-equine interaction. In other words, the horse owner is responsible for feeding the animal, making sure his water buckets are filled, turning him out, and mucking his stall.

Pasture board is a form of partial board in which the horse is housed in a paddock or pasture (open land) rather than a barn or stable. In most cases, the horse is provided with a lean-to-type shelter in which to escape inclement weather.

Should You Offer Both?

Offering both full board and partial board is somewhat of an inconvenience to the horse business owner. For one thing, billing practices are less straight-forward since you have to calculate what clients owe based on the services they use.

Furthermore, full board allows horse business owners to ensure the health and safety of all their equine clients. In a partial board situation, it is possible for a horse owner to neglect his horse, which can result in liability issues for the equestrian facility.

If you’re going to offer partial board as an alternative to full board, make sure your contract is very clear. Spell out exactly how much is owed and when, and which services are covered under the agreement. You must also specify a hold-harmless clause that requires the horse owner to take full responsibility for those services you aren’t contracted to perform.

Sound complicated? It is. But especially in poor economic climates, many people are having trouble paying the high prices associated with full board. If you can give clients a break by allowing them a discount on boarding if they perform some of the work, you might retain clients you would otherwise lose.

What do you think? Is partial board a good idea? What services do you offer through your horse business?

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