Can You Make Money in The Horse Business?



This is a question I am always thinking about.  Can a person make any signifigant amount of money in the horse business?  Recently someone said that what I do with horses is a hobby, and it would never be a “real business”.  At first I was really offended.  Then I realized, he was right.  I have dedicated my entire life to horses, and I don’t know how I can ever really build an empire with them.  When I pointed out other trainers to this person he said something I had not even thought about, they started out with money from someplace else.  They had immense wealth and then parlayed that into horses.


My question is, is there really any way to make money with horses?  The kind of money I am talking about is millions, not thousands.  With horses comes so much overhead.  The amount of money that has to be put out for equipment, upkeep, property, facility maintence, vehicles and the upkeep of the vehicles can be overwhelming.    


Even with this blog, I spend a lot of time and energy blogging on this site almost every day.  I have another blog which is about babies, and that blog I may blog once every three to six months and the traffic I get on that blog is huge compared to this one.  Why?  There are a lot more people with babies than horses.  I will never give up horses because they are my passion, what I enjoy, and what comes natural for me but the sad part is, it will never make me rich.  I don’t really do it for the money, I do it to help horses and riders or I would have abandoned this blog and my students a long time ago to pursue something that can make me money.


I do want to be rich, no doubt so unless someone can give me some inspiration I may change my focus in life and head out in another direction while I am still young enough to do so.


 Being wealthy is something I really am after in life, not because I need a bunch of stuff because I don’t.  I don’t really care about that, but my dream is to buy a new car for my in laws.   What if I had obscene amounts of money that I could donate to equine rescues?  What every time I saw a horse that was suffering I could buy him, rehabilitate him, and then give him to a child for a gift?  What if when I saw someone who was in desperate need of something to just buy it for them, no matter how big.  That’s what wealth is for.  I almost feel selfish for doing what I love but not making the kind of money that allows me to help others.


Do you think someone can get rich in the horse business?  Do you know of anyone who made their wealth strictly from horses?  Thoughts?




About Deanna Castro

Deanna Castro has been training horses and riders professionally for over 18 years. She trains riders in Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, Showmanship and Trail Riding. Deanna is married to Native American Horse Trainer Fredi Castro and she is the author of "Six Weeks to a Better Horse".
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30 Responses to Can You Make Money in The Horse Business?

  1. Well, I once heard a man say that his wife’s horse breeding business paid off the house. However, since then she has told me that if you consider all the money that went into paying for the shipped semen, the vet bills, the feed, etc. up until each horse was sold, you don’t really turn a profit. She does it because working with horses keeps her sane.

    On the other hand, I know of a man who bought a horse for $20,000 and sold it the next day for $100,000. Making $80,000 in one day is definitely a good deal, but probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I doubt you can have an honest bone in your body to rip someone off that severely.

  2. Tom Humes says:

    Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

  3. Jackie says:

    Unless your name is Parelli, I’m pretty skeptical that you will ever turn a major profit. Even for people like the Parelli’s, making horses your profession is more a lifestyle than a business. You have to love it because it’s a 24-7 job. You can certainly make enough to support yourself and your horses/business, but generally that’s about it. Unless you’ve got a big name, you’re never going to get rich. But that’s ok. You really only need enough to live.

    I feel a blog post churning in my head…

  4. Pingback: Making money with horses? | The Horsey Set Net

  5. Nicole says:

    I think anyone can make a significant amount of money in anything that they are passionate about it and if they have two things… a goal and how to get there. The only person stopping you is you. Obviously it can be done if someone else is doing it.

    And if this industry did not make any money, then how come so many people do it.

    You have to create a BHAG for yourself…a Big Hairy Audacious Goal and then create the baby steps on how to get there.

    The first goal to set for yourself is your income. How much money do you want to make this year. Then make yourself a marketing plan on how to increase your business, where are you going to advertise, how to get your blog noticed, how to increase your customer base.

    Then make a calender of your marketing plan so will stick with it. A great book to read is GUERILLA MARKETING. Its a way to market your business on a tight budget. And so on and so on.

    Another thing you talk about is being wealthy, not that there is anything wrong with that, but when you do something strictly for money, then you loose motivation to keep doing it.

    I understand you want it to help people, but you can probably do that now, without being wealthy. My husband and I had a ton of debt, which we paid off with hard work and now we have freedom like we never had before. Now we can give and we make less than a $100,000 a year. Because our money is going to us, not to payments. I feel like I got a raise!

    Please don’t get me wrong, I am not here to sell you anything. I just came across your blog, because eventually I want to have a horse farm and I am trying to figure out how to make money with it. And I have realized through my life, that anything can be accomplished if you work out your goals with a plan and attack it.

    Then as far as you getting your stuff published, there are now self publishing sites. One is called lulu and it is and the other is blurb at

    So just remember…the only one stopping you is you. If you say you will never be rich, then you probably won’t ever be, but then what does “being rich” really mean. To me, you seem to be rich already, because you are doing something you love!!! You are just trying to figure out how to make it more successful and I think you can do it. It just takes time.

    Well I hope some of this helps! Have a great day!

  6. mike says:

    I like your passion for starting a horse
    business but looking to be weathy doing
    it is a wrong approach to its success.
    I have been asked many times why I am
    successful at my business and I tell them
    that I did not do it for the money.
    If you are passionate about something
    the wealth will follow. I have heard many times
    someone say that if they were rich that they
    would give lots of their money to this or that cause.
    Well, this is a false statement because right now
    you possess money in some amount and are you giving
    your money to things you belive in? If so, good for you.
    Most folks say, “Well, I need that
    money, but if I had more than I needed I would
    give it away.” That however is an untrue statement.
    If they are not giving to those causes that
    they believe in now, then they will never give to those
    causes even if they have a boat load of cash.
    True wealth is not defined in how much you have but how
    much you give away. And that starts with what you possess now.
    And it keep on going as you possess much more.
    Good luck with your pusuits.

  7. dcastro says:

    Thanks guys for your comments. With the horse business you really do need to be wealthy because horses are so darned expensive!

    Believe me, I don’t work with horses because I want to be wealthy! It’s for the love of horses, I WANT to also be wealthy doing it. Nicole, I’m going to check out that book Gorilla Marketing, I was referred to check it out once before.

    Mike I totally agree with you with the “If I had more than I needed I would give it away statement.” I hear people say that all the time. But for me, I have always given right where I am. I just would like to have more to give more!

    It’s not about how much money you make it’s how much you keep! One person can make $10,000 per year and keep $5,000 than another can make $250,000 a year and keep $100. (Keep meaning not spending on materialistic stuff, I don’t mean keeping from giving to those in need.)

    I will always stand by wanting to be wealthy, like I said, horses are expensive with HIGH overhead. I have all the passion in the world for horses, but that can lead to being broke when you don’t have the business savvy of a Perelli lol.

    I wish I were more of a business person, I guess I’m just more of a horse and people person, but one can learn right?

    Thanks for visiting the blog and I appreciate your input!


  8. Kayleah says:

    Hello there actually my friend Ellie (not rich at all really just the average person who would be in to horses)she would get money from her savings or birthday money Christmas ect and go out with her mum. By this time Ellie was only 14 (and mum not into horse nether really was the family)so she would go out to the market or sum where get a youngster and taught
    it everything she knew and would sell it on for four times the price(e.g £500=£1500) she would buy the next one from the selling’s of the 1st pony £500 i would say and put the rest a-side and go by another horse and do the same thing over and over again now her goal was to get anoth money to get a pony she deserved round about £6,500 yes the yard got sick of it new pony like every six months but it was fun and look where she is today own’s a £14,000 horse doing very well in life and now is 20 years old and is jumping 1.50 at shows and 3 levels under Olympic level and it only took her 6 years but she had been riding for 14 years all in all so dreams can be accomplished…And even now i do envy her as i was 16 at the time but i am happy for her.

  9. SIP says:

    Hi all,

    I previously ran a Livery, with a holding of 20 horses. All it did was turn over money. It was great for the lifestyle, but I had times struggling away. I did not have funds for extras. Its was 24/7. I had tried to start a breeding program, but that takes years, unless your set with at least 5 mares and one stallion. Even then you need to change stallions. Money was just in and straight out. I have since moved to town, but still crave the farm. I also realised most of these people in this industry, have another job. Some do the stocks and have racers on the side, but most are Lawyers, Realestate agents, or earning very good money. However, if your in the USA or Germany or France the equestrian industry is a different story. If you breed, your best to breed on very large acres, so you do not need to hand feed as much. You will make money out of it alot easier than on a hobby farm. Then you also need to gain a reputation, which means to get into the show ring for what ever disipline, which is costly and hard work. My aim now is to get a job to pay for my equines, and maybe just have a stallion at stud for fun. The other horses will soley be my own, with perhaps a live in vet/rider/groom. Discount rent in return for work. A small hobby farm, and perhaps 2-3 borders but on DIY terms without the responsibility. I am writting from Australia, our pasture is shocking here naturally, the pastures need to be improved and constantly irrigated. I have tried making money from horsey websites, doing lessons, and even thought about equine massage and dentistry. Its highly competitve. I have also found that the top guns in equestrian, are from already established equine people, years of riding, making a name over the generations. Some please tell me too, how to make money from horses!

  10. dano says:

    the only way in my opinion you can make money in the horse business is to have something to sell. example:i bought a horse in april for $325. rode him five days a week until September. just sold him for $3800.nice profit,lots of work. i have about a dozen or so horses at all times that i am speculating on.its the best time in the world to buy nice horses for cheap and then resell them. the trick is to offer a nice product when you are finished and then build a good reputation.the guy that blogged about buying the horse for 20k and selling it for 100k didn’t rip anyone off if he sold a nice doesn’t matter what business you are in you have to have something to sell to multiply your efforts. if you are just always selling your labor you will never be wealthy.

  11. HorseCRAZYgirl says:

    Hi! I am on a website called youngrider. I have beed asking the same thing. Here are a few ideas.
    Give Lessons

    There are many things to do with a horse. Giving lessons and boarding is a business. A groom isn’t really……

  12. M. R. Bain says:

    Horses are a job, just like any other employment. Those of us who have succeeded, did so at great sacrifice to other things. If you, as a horse business owner, are not prepared for the ups and downs, that this business has, as well as any other small business, keep your day job.
    There are many opportunities to succeed but you must be persistent and innovative. Your name and reputation are important. All of us started out with a dream and persistence. When adversity struck, we got back up, wiped the mud off our face and kept on truckin’.
    If you need to have someone else sign your paycheck, do not go into the horse business or any other business, you will not survive. You can make a living at this, but the payoff is the assets you acquire along the way. Land, buildings, horses, etc.

  13. Jaden says:

    I really do hope you always continue to work with horses and always enjoy doing so. If you are able to do this, than you are already rich in my opinion. So many people would love to exist just doing what they love and not having to deal with the stress of commuting and job duties. The people that I know that have made money in the horse business all started out with either their daddy’s assets (land/house/equipment/barn/horses/cattle) and had no investment to begin with and were highly trained and disciplined with good work ethic OR they were millionaires who hired good people, acquired the best genes money could buy and made money (and used for a tax writeoff) spending a lot initially. I left my families ranches to move to the big city and although I have a bit of land, I cannot yet afford horses, but would love to make money in horses, myself. You have to have a spouse that will allow you to spend all your time with horses and a job that allows the same. Reigning, Reigning Cow Horse, Cutting – Quarter Horses are at a low price. If this is a discipline of interest, than buy some good genes now while they are dirt cheap. This probably is applicable to Thoroughbreds, Saddlebreds, etc. but I know nothing about them. Risky, but buy now while the economy is bad with the hopes the economy comes back and horse prices increase. The horse business is very political. Get involved in any horse organization you can. Some people will help you and others will see you as a threat due to new competition. I know a guy who lost business when he quit drinking, since he could not entertain potential buyers like other breeders. That’s a TX good ole boy network, so it may be a moot point where you are. I would ask you one question. Are you truly happy? If so, consider yourself wealthy beyond your wildest imagination. There are many people, more so wealthy than poor that are miserable. Be careful what you ask for because you might just get it. I ride and train horses for people for free, just to be able to ride. Let a kid ride a horse that has never been on one. Let an older person ride a horse, that grew up with horses and always loved them but but can no longer have them due to financial reasons, lifestyle, etc. Their smiling faces are your treasure. And you will take that with you when you go. Happy Trails!

  14. carlo says:

    If you are the owner of the best trotters ever the Italian “VARENNE” you become rich!
    Varenne is the horse that has more money in the history of horseracing GAIN 8 million and $ 800 000. In addition, every child of Varenne, costs $ 250 000. But this is only an accident of fate, because Varenne is the son of bad horses, so life is luck

  15. Dalton says:

    i BELIEVE that a farrier could make some awesome money in the horse world, i’m 14 and already have 6 horses of my own, and i’m doing all the farrier work but besides that i breed, sell, and train my own horse since i was 7 and i have well over 15,000 in t5he bank from doing so, but remember my parents pay for food for me! so untill my own house bills come i’m making it good.

  16. Jolly Roger says:

    An old cowboy saying: “A rich man owns a horse, a poor man owns a whole herd of horses”.

  17. alsion says:

    i think you could make a profit becuase my old step dad use to shoe horses and thats all he done and we were living fine and im starting to train horse im only 13 but it will help me get my name out once im older and i also shoe horses too

  18. L says:

    Hello :) ,
    I used to ride when I was under 10 but the riding school put the prices up too much and i had to quit. I am 20 now and have an illness which means i can not go to uni as originally planned. I did extremely well in school before I became ill. I would like to get a job in the equine or agriculture industries but not dentistry or anything medical or farrier etc. I would like to look after animals etc.
    My question is are the college courses being offered level 3 (equivalent to a-levels) equine management or agricultural management etc worth doing? Does the industry recognise them or do they go4those who have grown up with it or have loads of practical experience. I’m starting to volunteer at a riding school and maybe a friends farm to gain experience. I would love to own a farm or stables/livery/riding school etc one day but what do you advise is a realistic career in these industries to work towards and the best ways to get there. Sorry this is a mega long essay. I would really appreciate any help. If it helps i live in the southwest uk. Thankyou!! :) Luce xxx

  19. L says:

    p.s i will keep checking this website for a reply bcos i dont wana put my email hope thats ok :) :) .
    also i can ride passably but do not have the cash for regular lessons. at the place im volunteering they shld give me some bhs exams.
    Cheers!! :)
    Luce xxx

  20. dcastro says:


    Thanks for the great question. In order to have your own riding school you will have to work very hard and spend years learning. If you don’t have the money volunteering is good. You can also apprentice for a reputable trainer. Read what you can and practice on as many different horses as possible. Let the horses be your teacher. Teaching and training is not for everyone, if you have the passion, drive, determination and the ability then I say go for it. Good luck!


  21. Will Stuart says:

    My grandfather owns a show barn in ct. He makes millions every year and pays for all of his range rovers in full. He owns 4 farm all alomg the east coast. Trust me, of you know what you’re doing you can make it big.

  22. IM John Chow says:

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me dinner simply because I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this matter here on your site.

  23. That’s awesome! Glad I could help :) .

  24. Steve Lewter says:

    Hello there I do not know if anyone has been on this blog for awhile or if anyone can help me find a solution to my situation but here goes. My real question comes at the end of my explanation of my current situation. I am a Disabled Combat Veteran who is presently taking care of my mother as a dependant, my mother has a debilitating disability which makes it very hard for her to get around both my mother, father and sister live with myself and my fiance and my young children Landon and Remington. I am currently unemployed and living solely off my 80% disability and slight income from my soon to be wife. I have wanted to do something for disabled Veterans for a long time now and talked to my fiance many times about working with horses and those with disabilities (Veterans, children and anyone in between). I have some knowledge of horses and am currently in school for basic farrier knowledge but my fiance has grown up with showing and training horses and has a vast knowledge of everything about horses, so we want to do his, we want to start a ranch in Colorado where those who could use our help to be able to connect with an animal in a therapeutic way. Now here comes the hard issue I am in no way in a financial way able to obtain the perfect property that is available, with handicap accessible amenities, such as an elevator and so forth, so here is the “real question” I had. Is there anyone or any organization out there within the equestrian community that deals with helping a family such as ours start something as truly helpful to especially our community since we live close to so many military bases. I would be more than happy to pay off a loan cause I know that no one has a deep enough pocket just to give us a grant to start this. I just know there is away for a win win scenario. we would be doing so much good for those like myself and even my mother and I am sure being so close the Fort Carson who has one of the largest number of disabled veterans on its base, I am certain we could get picked up for future grants to continue our operations. But for now I just need help to get it started by purchasing the land and home and getting our name out there so we can do our part. Now the horses we can get from a very well known breed out of Oklahoma from my fiance’s family, we just need the start up to get rolling. I truly hope that someone somewhere can give me answer and to answer our prayer to get this program started.
    Steve Lewter
    Thank yall for your time and sorry it is a lot to read and take in.

  25. Hi Steve,

    That is a noble cause. I do not possess the knowledge that you are looking for. There are other handicap equestrian facilities that you can speak with and ask your questions whom I am sure will be able to be more helpful. You can start your search here If the link doesn’t work, just copy and paste in your browser. I hope that helps, good luck in your endeavor. There is nothing more important than improving quality of life for someone with a disability.



  26. Nick Peronace Dressage says:

    I am a freelance dressage trainer. I work with horses of all types, and I am not only Grand Prix, but Airs above ground also. Granted I’m more of an artist then a competitor, but trust me, people really don’t profit. More like break even if lucky.

  27. Tammy McDonald says:

    I feel the same way as you about horses, horses are my life and always will be I would love to work with them as a business but don’t seem to know how as there is not much money in them. I break in young horses and once ready to re-home I sell them on. but what I have started doing is making calendars etc what writing small books with about 10-20 pages with short stories and I sell these things on ebay and things just to help me out a little towards feed and thing but if you went big enough you could make money but from what I see is a long process. xx

  28. Cari says:

    I know this is an old blog, but it peaked my interest and a response… I graduated in Equine Science from Colorado State University. One of my first professors said that our job was to “figure out a way to support our habit’. True, isn’t it?

    I have one more thing to add: in my opinion, those who make money in the horse business MARKET themselves. I also think it takes either a large investment or land or a facility that you already have access to. The overhead is enormous, as you well know. I also think it takes a certain personality, like Parelli. He is engaging, handsome, funny, very enjoyable to listen to. He is marketed to the hilt. Then there is Richard Shrake. Have you ever heard of Richard Shrake? No? He’s a good horseman but a very bad speaker. He is, well, to put it bluntly, boring. I had trouble staying focused through one of his clinics. He knows what he’s doing though, but he won’t be as well known as the more entertaining people.

    I study those at the top of the business – who IS making money? How are they doing it? It’s really no secret. Pat Parelli, Clinton Anderson, John Lyons, etc, have all found ways to charge a premium to the most amount of people they can reach at one time to teach their methods. The best way to do this is clinics. Clinton also has these weekend “clinics” where he charges very little – say $10-20 for what is basically an infomercial. He makes his money from selling videos and products and the real clinics. He also sells finished horses. So these highly marketed people diversified their knowledge into products, books and videos.

    (Here’s my 2 minute marketing strategy: training video series, your own “whip” or “stick” which I’d name the “love” stick, your own signature rope halter and lead rope made of high grade yachting rope, your own tack – which is absolutely a MUST if your clients want to train horses “your ” way… you get the idea!)

    The rest of the horse world makes money the same old way – giving single lessons, or a group lesson maybe, and selling a few horses, and training a few, and maybe a little tack selling on the side. We think too small, or we don’t have the money to market ourselves. Horses can be expensive and very very time consuming.

    If you truly want to make money, a LOT of money, in the horse business, then study those who are making A LOT of money… Otherwise don’t expect much. Wink.

  29. You hit the nail right on the head Cari! That is exactly what one needs to do to make money in the horse business.

  30. Tammy, you are very creative!

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