Expanding Horse Sales Using Management-Intensive Grazing
Grant Award: $6,000
Natalya is increasing profitability of her venture to train and sell horses by transitioning to Management-Intensive Grazing. Moving her horses out of the barn and to pasture cuts her expenses nearly in half, significantly raising her income from horse sales. In addition, MIG boosts water and nutrient absorption, improving soil fertility and ultimately enhancing forage quality and quantity.
Natalya trains her horses to be ridden and shown in a discipline called “dressage,” which is an Olympic sport. It takes eight to 24 months to prepare a horse before it is attractive enough to a customer to be sold. Housing each horse in a traditional barn set-up is costly, particularly due to the high cost of stall bedding and hay.
With MIG, Natalya installs perimeter fencing and then moves temporary interior fencing and the horses every few days to allow time for the pasture to recover. Each half-acre paddock has a 35-day rest period between grazing cycles. A portable structure provides shelter from the elements and can easily be moved as the horses are rotated (see video below).[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/152573730[/vimeo]
With this improvement, Natalya no longer needs to rely heavily on her services to train other riders, which requires her to travel to other farms. “It was never my intention to be a traveling trainer, but I do it in order to make ends meet,” Natalya said. She’d much rather be in control of her workload, giving attention to the leased farm.
“The farm is very special to me,” Natalya said. “The small valley it is located in is sheltering from temperature extremes and high winds. I find on any given day the weather is more pleasant here than anywhere else.”
Advertising in horse-for-sale websites and in local publications, Natalya serves clients through Southeastern US and has attracted prospective buyers from throughout the United States and Canada. She aims to enrich the human-equine relationship through education and physical training while intentionally creating business practices that support and enhance the local community and ecology.