Ship In Income?

Does anyone with a private indoor arena in a horse-dense area allow ship ins? How often do you get people shipping in to your farm and is it worth the hassle?

I’m trying to be realistic about whether or not I’d generate any additional income by putting an indoor on my property.

I suspect I’d be able to host a couple of local clinics each year, and I do think I’d be able to increase my lease prices that I charge for my horses, but I’m wondering if its worth it to allow ship ins without a trainer.

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Lots of places in my part of the world allow ship ins. I am not sure if it is a huge money maker for them, but it must be worth it some how.
I assume they already have insurance that covers non-boarding riders so the ship ins are not an extra insurance cost.

Yes, I did this for the first time last year. The insurance I had to get to hold riding clinics here (with an outside insured coach) included arena rental for ship in use, and covered the occasional riding lesson I gave also (which I had not been doing previously). Didn’t make a ton of money, but more than paid for itself. I don’t expect to make tons of cash off this sort of thing, as I am fairly remote from high density populations of humans, and especially humans who are interested in English disciplines. But the clinics I offer here are for my own benefit as much as the other riders who show up, so it all worked out well for me.

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As with all things horses, the answer to if it is a viable source of income is “it depends on lots of factors.”

In the areas I’ve lived in, I’ve not seen anyone with a personal farm/indoor allow ship-ins. I’ve only seen boarding and/or training facilities offer the option, and the haul-in fee varies wildly, I’ve seen anywhere from $25-100 per use. If you’ll have one of few indoor arenas in the area, you can charge more. If there’s lots of options, you’ll likely have to charge a lower amount to stay competitive.
Some facilities offer a flat monthly rate, and you can haul-in as much as you want. Boarding facilities already have, or expect, a fair amount of traffic on and off the property, so if you’re not used to that, the added work to clean up after a bunch of strangers all the time might not be worth it.

Some considerations:
Arena size - will it be big enough for multiple people, or so small that only 1-2 persons can ride at a time, and no one would be happy jumping in it or doing much more than walk/trot?
People will need to use more than just the arena - do you have enough space for trailers? Grooming?
Will you allow haul-ins of any discipline, and how will you coordinate what’s going on in the arena? For example, I’ve met lots of reiners that don’t like to ride with jumpers, and vice versa.


Paid for itself like the insurance and maintenance, or also adding in the cost of building the indoor?

I think it’s very unlikely almost anyone will be able to earn back the cost of building the arena just from renting it.

If you are able to earn enough to cover the additional costs/maintenance/ hassle you’re probably lucky.

There are a number of places locally that offer it. Having a good paved, lighted area to park, an easy way to schedule, and amenities like a correctly sized dressage ring (or indoor that is the correct size) or full jump course will help to bring people in. Do you not have a trainer onsite or are you not open to outside trainers bringing students? If you allow outside trainers (with appropriate insurance) that will likely attract more people.


The loan payment for each $100k that you borrowed would be about $610ish. Add insurance to that.
I have no idea what the going rate is for ship-in rides, but seems like you’d need a lot of riders to have the arena pay for itself.

My understanding is that clinics are not real big moneymakers, they’re more about promoting the stable. (and a lot of work to pull together!)

The loan payment for each $100k that you borrowed would be about $610ish. Add insurance to that.

there could be an offset depending upon what OP’s tax are they could do a 100% bonus depreciation upon full completion the structure to shield current income or elect to depreciate over 20 years

regarding ship-in horses, are health papers going to be required? We always isolate new horses in separated paddocks until we are assured they not carrying anything that may affect our horses

Everywhere I have shipped in requires negative coggins and proof of vaccines. But also the way my property is set up, ship ins don’t have to come in contact with my herd at all which is nice!


The most genuis thing I’ve seen is a friend who built a barn and put in an apartment and does the horse motel thing. You could do your indoor and a small overnight area (bath and shower, small fridge, two twin beds) and if you could provide stalls and overnight accommodations you could get that business going.

Her horse motel is paying for the barn. She’s booked at much as she can handle it - yes, it’s some work.


$20/25 day seems to be the going rate around here


I think $25/horse is pretty common in my area as well. I’ve also seen season passes or quantity discounts (i.e. $200 for 10 rides, paid up front).

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That’s the going rate around here as well - I don’t think its possible to have the arena pay for itself without introducing more of a headache. But I wouldn’t mind having a few ship ins each week to put a couple hundred back in my wallet each month

Just curious, what type of clientele is your friend getting that keeps her horse hotel so busy? Is there something horse related near by? Is she near some high traffic expressway that is commonly used for horse moving?

You’re right. Location, location, location. We are just outside Columbus, OH so major highway systems. She has developed regular customers both pros in the biz of hauling horses professionally and individuals who travel through with their personal horses.

Cost of insurance plus maintenance (which I do anyway for myself). LOL nothing covers the cost of the dam building, especially around here. But the value of the building has doubled since we built it, so there is that. What is important to ME is that I am able to get skilled coaching to travel 4 or 5 hours to do the weekend clinics to keep me sharp. Others who are local enough to me benefit too. Those who are smart enough to figure this out join our small group. I have to gather enough locals interested in participating to pay for the clinician. The clinicians we get in are mostly younger, not Ian Millar or Bernie T. But skilled, kind, and encouraging, suitable for all levels of riders and horses, and affordable. in a semi remote area. We encourage western riders, recreational riders to join us at the clinics… so just basic riding lessons for these, and h/j/e riders get more advanced lessons.


I used to do this at our last property. I had a six stall barn, a shed row with 12x24 pens, round pen, arena. No apartment but hookups for LQ trailers and motels were a half mile away.
Most of the those traveling through were the rodeo and cutting horse people headed back and forth to AZ for the winter. It was busy in the spring, steady during the summer, busy again in the late fall and just a trickle during the winter. Winter clients were mainly horse transporters and people stuck during a storm.

My only added costs were bedding and some electricity, very rarely repairs. If I had been booked full, cleaning stalls and pens could be a bit time consuming.
I used to get the occasional customer that would clean their stalls or pens before they left.

It was great supplemental income during the busy months.

Edited for clarity.

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I do think but don’t really advertise it. Most ship ins are taking lessons with my on-site trainer. I charge $20 and expect people to clean the stall when they leave.

It’s a hassle to oversee unless you are going to be a horse professional at the barn all day anyway.

To clarify, I would expect $20/25 for ring use and trailer parking only, no stall use.

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That is the reason I’d put one in! Assuming I win the lotto, I can’t even afford an auxiliary hay barn!

Right! :laughing: That’s why I was wondering!