Horse Motels International

Worldwide horse motel directory for the traveling equestrian

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Owning a Horse Motel

Offering your place as a horse motel?

A horse motel does not need to be lavish in nature. Like "people motels" a small, unpretentious place can provide a comfortable stay if it is clean, well maintained, and the hosts make travelers feel welcome. Some horse motels offer only a couple of stalls with no people accommodations (though food and lodging should be nearby) while others are upper scale, complete service bed and breakfasts for both people and their horse(s). Lavish or "spartan", all horse motels will have a few things in common if they hope to be successful, however, and this page is designed to answer your questions if you are thinking about offering your own place as a horse motel. After reading this, if you have more questions, feel free to contact me at

"Cleanliness is next to Godliness"

One of the most common complaints from travelers is unclean or unsafe facilities. Just like when we look for a motel for ourselves, travelers want stalls to be well built, clean, and and the stalls and facilities should be secure. Most travelers prefer covered stalls for protection from the elements, if possible, although, depending on the traveler's tastes, that is not always a necessity. If you can offer such things as a wash rack, turnout arena, barn stalls, hay for sale, etc., it will help but isn't necessarily a requirement. Some travelers like to camp out in their trailers so some empty space might be used to accommodate trailers. Campers are usually self contained but electric hookup and/or a garden hose might be appreciated. Whatever you have to offer, advertise it accurately. Don't embellish! Be honest. You may lose some business to travelers who need more than what you can offer but you won't lose as much as if you aren't forthright in your representation of your facilities and the traveler relays their disappointment to others. Shavings, while appreciated, are not always expected, but a clean stall with no manure in it is. Property should be free of hazards to horses such as boards, nails, wire, sharp objects, etc. Stalls should be large enough to accommodate full size horses (12' x 12' or larger is preferrable). Prices charged vary and range from as low as $5.00 per horse per night to $30.00 per horse per night. That is a personal matter and just as with people motels, generally the more lavish the place, the higher the price. If you feel you offer a "Motel 6" place, it probably would not be a good idea to charge Hilton prices. (Both places are nice, just different for different tastes and budgets).

Be available for your guests

If you advertise your place as a horse motel you should make yourself available to travelers to both make reservations and to greet them upon their arrival. If you list a phone number contact or an e-mail address, it is important to have an answering machine and reply to phone messages and/or e-mail requests for information in a timely manner. Just as travelers should keep their hosts informed if they are not running on schedule, hosts should make themselves available at the expected time of arrival of a guest. Make sure to note a reservation on a calendar and honor it. You may want to get a traveler's cell phone number so that if they are due to arrive and you haven't heard from them you can call them. Late arrivals and "no shows" occasionally occur so maintaining open communications can be helpful for both traveler and host. Remember, cell phones often don't work in remote areas, though, so if a traveler doesn't answer, it doesn't necessarily mean they aren't on the way.

Things to consider

All horse motel owners should ask to see health papers, including a negative Coggins test, for each horse a traveler brings in. It is best if the overnighting horses can be kept separated from "the locals." Just as a horse motel owner doesn't want their horses to contract something from an overnighter, neither does an overnighter want to catch something from one of the locals.
You will want to check with your local zoning office to check on the legality of offering your place as a horse motel and you should check into additional insurance coverage with your insurance agent. Often an umbrella policy will cover liability risks not covered in your home owner's policy and the cost is relatively inexpensive.