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Equestrian business


Riggy

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Hi Guys.....new kid on the block....moving over (if plans come to fruition) within next 12 months, Aquitaine region.

Any body have any info please, or point me in the right direction for horse -related business reg's etc, i.e. a small stud/horse-breaking/selling.

Need to know what qual's, insurance, legal doc's etc.

Would be most grateful....

Thanks.....Riggy.

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Hi Riggy,

Horses are now classed as a farming enterprise so you will technically be classed as a farmer if you are breeding.  You will need to register with the MSA (Mutualite Societe Agricole) in order to pay your 'cotisations' (a bit like your NI stamp - pension, social contributions etc). 

 

We found the CERGIV to be very helpful in terms of advice re setting up an agricultural business when we first started, and if your business is likely to be relatively simple I would recommend them as they are quite cheap in comparison to traditional accountants. (We no longer use them as we put our farm into my husband's name and I have a separate business helping people source their equestrian properties in France and trade sport horses with the French - it got too complicated for the CERGIV as there international transactions and many things that the two businesses shared such as car, computer etc.), They helped advise us of the best tax systems for our particular circumstances etc (TVA and horse sales can be quite complicated, so it is worth getting some advice) and helped us with the copious form filling, getting registered with all the right agencies etc.

It certainly helps to be qualified, and you can get any UK qualifications transferred by contacting the FFE - they now have someone dedicated to giving advice on the relevant qualifications and what they are worth. 

If you plan to compete your young horses to increase their value you will need to hold at least your Galop 7.  Depending what UK qualifications you have you may just be able to get it granted automatically.  Failing that you may need to sit a test (practical and theory).  While my youngster was being broken I placed her in a yard (with an indoor school and 4 walls instead of schooling on the side of a muddy hill in the middle of winter!) where there was a Galop examiner.  She used to see me ride on a regular basis, and I sometimes helped with the kids when she got called out of a lesson.  I guess I was relatively lucky because she said 'yes, you are at least the standard of a Galop 7' (In any event I have my UK qualifications to fall back on) and signed all the relevant papers and sent them off.  I am sure there are assessors all over that would excuse any lack of french and do similar if your riding was up to the required standard.  Make sure if you intend to work with the public that your First Aid certificates are up to date.

You need to hold a licence to compete (best way is either to contact the FFE direct or to join a Club and get them to do it for you - Pro 1 & 2 for the professionals; Am Cat 3 & 4 for those who compete for fun - Pro 1 being the most expensive and Am Cat 4 the cheapest), and you must also hold a licence to have any public liability insurance whilst riding out.

You will need to ensure all your horses are correctly registered.  And be warned that to compete in affiliated events (aside for LETREC and endurance) your horse must be fully papered (a great bone of contention to me because I have a super little unpapered mare who would be great for dressage but who I can basically only use for hacking or fun events....)

As far as any other insurance you may need, like most things insurance it depends what cover you want.  It can be ridiculously pricey to insure a horse for vets fees for example, but many farm insurances will automatically cover your stock against theft, death etc.  This really is down to checking with the various brokers.  Be warned that they vary widely in cost.

What will you be breeding, and where are you likely to be selling?

There was an excellent pull out article (in French) in either this month's Grand Prix or L'Eperon magazine, setting out all the new regs very clearly but I can't for the life of me lay my hands on it at the moment.

Please feel fre

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Hi Peta,

thank you so much for the valid info.

Breeding is not really going to be our thing. I mis-informed when I said 'stud'. (I am not the horse orientated person, just the one to set most of it up an provide the facilities). My wife and I are moving over soon and bringing a friend with us who is qualified BHSAI, Classical Dressage and Performance Breaking and Training, so before I get in over my head with all the technicalites and equestrian terminology, I will get our friend to come and communicate about this on your level.

The basic setup will be importing horses from a well known (to us) and reliable breeding contact in Belgium, breaking them for jumping and dressage and then selling on. I know it sounds simplistic and will probably have as many headaches as any other equestrian department, but we are trying to keep this venture as simple as possible.

Regards

Adrian.

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Glad to help! I'll try to dig out the article I mentioned and translate it for the group, because they had a whole section on that sort of business and the implications.  Typically I think I pulled it out and put it somewhere safe because I knew (particularly in my line of work) it would be useful, but have tidied it away in my (very untidy) filing system.

Sounds like a far safer bet than breeding (says she whose mare is at stud as I write! Silly moo...) - at least you've got a better idea of what you are getting. 

Peta

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hmm reading your reply is a bit scary.  What licence is required for "riding out".  Am moving 5 horses in April to Tarn et G.  Predominantly for breeding (hacks and show ponies but not sure they will sell to Franch consumers) but will certainly want to ride some of them out!!

 

 

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I'll rephrase that.  You don't HAVE to have a licence to ride out, but you do need insurance to ride on the roads.  Unfortunately many insurance companies will use the lack of a licence as a 'get out' when it comes to paying out.  Check what it says in the small print as to whether you require a licence or not.  Your household insurance would probably cover any damage done by the horse, but not necessarily if it was deemed to be your fault.  The FFE licence (you would only need a basic licence, not one for competition) is cheap and easy to get hold of, and then you would be covered in all eventualities.

There are loads of people I know who ride for pleasure without a licence.

Also, don't be put off by what I wrote above - my reply was in relation to someone wanting to run an equestrian business.  I would say that 5 horses falls very much into the 'pleasure' category...

Peta

http://www.lepoulailler.net

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Mick,

If I ran a livery yard I'd do nothing but worry!  (only joking - not a very funny one at that!)

Worry isn't the right word, because it is really not too complicated, but yes I'm sure you would still need to register with the MSA (Mutualité Société Agricole) to whom you would pay your cotisations (ie health, pension etc) as you should still be classed as an agricultural worker.  You will also need public liability insurance of some sort.

There are no shortage of successful livery businesses in France, but you may note that they usually run something alongside - be warned that the cost of livery over here is nothing like what you'd get in the UK (for example - my mare is currently away at stud - still (aargh!) and I'm paying 8€ a day for her livery.  She is a big mare and will undoubtedly still be getting hard feed while she is away.  Not sure how profitable that would be for anyone, if it wasn't for the fact that I am also paying (and, in the next couple of weeks, probably about to lose) exorbitant stud fees.  Last year I injured my back whilst I was breaking a youngster and sent them away to continue their education.  I paid 400€ a month full livery, and had the use of an indoor, and two outdoor schools in the yard of a professional rider.  Had I been up to it I would also have been entitled to 2 free lessons a week as well.  From what I have seen that is pretty standard for livery across the board in this region (Northern Britanny).

If you want to contact me direct with details of your project, your current qualifications (if any) etc I'd be only too happy to make a few phone calls for you if you don't speak French.

Peta

http://www.equusproperty.co.uk

http://www.lepoulailler.net

 

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Thanks Peta,

At the moment we have come to a crossroads in our life.  I am getting made redundant after 30 years in the same company and we need to decide what to do next with our lives.  One option is to sell up, get some rediculous price for our house in the UK and move to France, slow down a bit and get out of the rat race.

I'm a keen angler and my partner loves horses.  It seems that we can sell our 8 acres here and buy something pretty impressive in France for the same price.  We are currently only in the "investigation" phase but we are wondering if we could make a living from a few liveries, fishing holidays and maybe a couple of Gites.  If we were near an Airport or the Eurotunnel routes, I could probably also do contract work.

 

Steve

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Hi Steve,

My wife and I did exactly the same thing last year, selling our 10Acre farm in Wales and we now live on a beautiful 32 Acre farm in the Allier.  We set ourselves up as breeders of Clydesdale horses and Llamas and during the registration process (which can be complicated unless you have someone who speaks fluent french) we also registered to run Gites (on the farm) and grow veg and plants.  Doing things this way ensure that we then do not have to re-apply to do the other things later (complicated).

The most important thing for most people to understand is that the cottisations can be quite hefty (for Sue alone it is approx 4,500 Euro's PA) and then you have all the insurances.  Our insurance is with AXA and this covers the house, outbuildings, tractor and implements and all the animals (but not VETs fees) and includes 3'rd party liability (if someone is daft enogh to walk across the flields when our stallion is with the mares!!!).

Large bales of Hay here come in at 32 Euro's per bale and Straw is the same.  We grow all our own hay and the farmers next door cut and store it for us free of charge.  When looking at farms, check the fencing as it is certainly not up to the standards we were used to in wales and we are currently spending approx 4,000 Euros setting up high powered electric fencing (sufficient to keep our stallion from the mares) as the horses can simply push the existing fencing over.  Also check that you have a well or other water source otherwise the yearly water bill can be very high (all water except wells etc is metered in France).

As we had farmed and bred horses and llamas in the UK for 5 years we did not need to provide evidence of any farming qualifications.

We plan to knock down the smallish wooden buildings we currently have and build a concret block based set of 12 stables next year and then do livery.

 

Regards,  Mike L

 

 

 

 

 

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The French seem to have courses or 'stages' for everything, but we set up our ornemental poultry business without any agricultural qualifications (except my BHS exams) whatsoever.  It just means that we are classed as 'sauvage' (wild) farmers and can't claim subsidies etc etc.

Peta

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Hi,

“At the moment, we only have 3 stables and 8 acres which are private.  Would we then need to do some farming training or something just to run a stable yard?”

As for training, I am not sure that running a Livery Yard requires training, a Stud however does (there are a number of courses they run…we did not do these as we were breeders before we moved, also most of them seemed to focus of artificial insemination…Clydesdales do not take to this very well and we breed the horses the natural way…not sure I would want to get within 30’ of our Clydesdale Stallion and the mares when they get going).  

The question of qualification and training for Livery Yards is probably better answered by someone who already does the same on an above board basis.  There are some people I know that do these things on the QT but I do not advocate in France and if ever there was a problem (horse injured/dead etc) they and you would not have a leg to stand on.

I will ask on the other forum as there is a dedicated Horse Section now and loads of experience there.

If anyone can advise please.

Rgds, Mike L

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Thanks Mike.

 

A couple of places we have looked at are currently running as stud farms.  I guess if it paid, then it may be better to bring in somebody qualified to continue.  Our primary focus though is just to run a livery yard.  Maybe a couple of Gites or something too.

It is my partner who is looking to do it.  I'm currently working in mobile comms but our plan is at some point to move to France with her running the livery until I can retire and help her part time.   If we found a place with a lake or 2, maybe I could set up a fishery too

 

As I said, we're just investigating at the mo

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