“Agritainment” (revised)

  1. farm-based entertainment including activities such as hayrides, pony rides, wine tasting, cornfield-maze contests, and harvest festivals.

I had a meeting with my insurance agent this week. This was one of those annual check-ins that are more about the agent trying to sell you more services than anything else. My agent was my neighbor growing up and the company he works for tries to be a one-stop shop for farmers. After discussing my current insurance (auto, renters, etc) we diverted into talking about my future hopes for a horse business and he gave me a GREAT idea.

He told me about a growing industry called “agritainment” or agriculture based entertainment. People with farms can host events on their property as either added income or their entire business. This sounds to me like a great way to subsidize the horse business.

This gave me a flurry of ideas:

  • At weddings and parties, we could offer horses to use in their photographs.
  • The foals from our breeding program would be enjoyed by visitors and could possibly also take part in pictures (note: these would not be randomly bred foals for the sake of “cute babies”. But well-bred performance horses)
  • A fee for use of the facility for senior pictures and other photoshoots
  • Rent horses for photoshoots outside of events
  • Onsite carriage rides
  • Fresh honey and eggs for sale

This is in addition to the horse events I’d like to host

  • Clinics
  • Shows
  • Seminars (veterinarians, farriers, etc)
  • Pony club summer camp (BYO horse, may have a few available to rent for the week)
  • Arena/cross country course rental (for lessons or schooling)
  • Breed inspections

Of course, this would take careful scheduling as we likely couldn’t have more than one event, unless one was small, going on at a time. But careful scheduling can make things work. This plan gets bonus points because I’d love to have an excuse to make the facility very pretty and to get a hackney horse for the carriage work.

A multi-purpose indoor space would be useful for this. It could be converted between seating (during seminars and events) and temporary stalls (during shows and clinics). A focus on winter events for non-horse events and a focus on horse shows and clinics in the summer. Would there be LOTS of cleaning between horses and people? Yes, yes there would. It would probably need to be a dirt floor. Perhaps if the property has an old barn it can be renovated into the event space with a modern barn for the actual horses.

Further reading for others considering hosting events:

Hosting Happy Endings: How to Turn Your Property into a Wedding Venue


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