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Do you dream of starting a horse business?

December 13th, 2020 | Village: Joakim Krassman

Do you dream of starting a horse company? What is it like to run a horse company abroad and in Sweden? Or do you already have one and want to make it more profitable?

We had the honour of having a chat with field competition rider Christoffer Forsberg, who is now 29 years old and runs his business Forsbergeventing at Skönabäck in Skåne.

Christoffer grew up in a horse family where both his mother and father were his trainers in the field: jumping, dressage and terrain. It was an educational school as it provided good training sessions every day. Christoffer rode a pony until he was 12 years old, qualified two ponies for the Swedish Championships, but due to his height he had to abandon his plans for a pony and continue on a big horse. During his school years, he combined the school with international competitions.

The interest and competitive ambition led to him being offered to work in Germany with Elmar Lesch, so after the student left the moving kit and the plans for law school were abandoned.

Do you want to work abroad? Do a research before you go.

Christoffer's advice is to take references on the employer and to get written information about what the work really means. Is there time to ride or is it a small part of the work? Do the employer's assignments suit your goals and your riding? Be careful in your choice so that you end up in the right place that matches your characteristics and goals.

Christoffer describes what it was like to start his work as a rider.

"At the start I felt like a pro, then started from scratch and felt like a beginner, and then slowly developed into a rider." During this tough period, Christoffer describes that he bit together and kept the focus on the goal and desire to develop.

Something he learned was that negligence and ignorance of both horses and equipment cost and must work to gain profitability in a horse business.

Christoffer rode 8-12 horses per day and several were his employer's customer horses. This resulted in more and more customer contacts, planning of competitions, registrations for competitions and the sale of horses. When Christoffer felt ready, he quit his job after six years in Germany and started his own business in Amsterdam in the Netherlands where both 4-legta and a 2-legged one attracted. Half of the customers from Germany accompanied Christoffer to his new company and then started the work of conveying his vision and business idea to new customers, something he succeeded in doing. The stable was filled with new horses and customers, which secured the business.

A longing home to Sweden resulted in a move to Skåne and Skönabäck after four years in Holland. His own 6 horses and 14 customer horses (several foreign horse owners) were included in the move.

What do you perceive as the advantages and disadvantages of running a horse business in Germany & Holland?

One advantage is a vastly larger base of horses and horse owners. The disadvantage is that you easily become "a small fish in the sea". Many other competing businesses are run by riders riding the Olympics and World Cups, and it's a tough market to settle into.

How do you experience running a horse business in Sweden?

In Sweden there is still a lot to develop and it is of course exciting and provides opportunities. One example is to be able to receive potential horse buyers and they get the opportunity to test ride five horses with me and if it does not become a "perfect match" then I stand for the service of going abroad where I steer the trip with everything from rental car to booking test rides. The customer must receive a comprehensive service.

Tips for setup to succeed with your horse company?

Horses and stables must bear their own account, i.e. the proceeds must cover the costs.

  1. revenues for customer horses including housing, training, etc. as well as the courses and clinics I hold will cover costs for salaries, stable rent, insurance, etc.
  2. The sale of horses is a bonus and this money should be used for investments for the future, retirement savings, etc.

Christoffer today devotes his entrepreneurship to about 30% on horseback and 70% to

  • management as administration
  • contact with horse owners (which is continuously updated with videos and facts about the horse)
  • riding students
  • social media

What are the competition opportunities in the field in Sweden?

The competitions in the field in Sweden are very good and nicely organized. At national level, there is still a higher standard than in, for example, Holland. Unfortunately, I feel that there is a greater focus on champagne and VIP tents than on riders and horsemen. There is often a lack of sanitary items such as showers. In the long run, there will be no riders for such a race and then they will lose their sponsors as well.

How does Hippocrates proStable help you in your business today?

Since my goal is that my business is self-sustaining, a tool for invoicing is required where I can easily add all costs to the respective horse owner. I can clearly show what I have charged for and also dare to charge for my services. It is also transparent for the horse owner to log in and see what services I have performed.

I want to run a successful white business where all my employees are paid white and insured. Retirement savings are also important and to be able to save some money for the future, like any entrepreneur really.

Through the journal of each horse in the system, I can follow feed, training, skate straps, when the horse has performed at its best and see if we changed anything when the horse feels tired, for example. I can make a clear plan for my horses when I am away at competitions for my employees at home.

I quickly raise money for expenses I have had, for example, for competitions when I put costs for a customer's horse in the system via the app – in order to be able to invoice as quickly as possible.

 

 

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