But before I tell you, I want to thank everyone for the great response to my last post. I got some truly fabulous advice on dressing for long hours of working outside and in a barn. I went back and labelled the post so others and I can find it. The comments are a wealth of information from some very experienced people. As a matter of fact I think there's a good magazine article there!
Okay, back to my news - remember when I wrote a wish list for 2011 ( I was helped by a glass of red :)? Hmm, written one year and one day ago - am I oddly energized by February? Check off #3 on this list: Develop a business plan that would give me financially sustainable access to an indoor full size dressage arena for winter 2012/13 (remember, it's a wish list). Find close to it for 2011/12.
Well, we won't really know if it's financially sustainable until it's up and running (although we've crunched lots of numbers), but all of the pieces are coming together for a winter / early spring 2013 opening. This list was the first time it made it to the surface of my consciousness and Doug (my husband) and I have been slowly but surely moving ahead with it ever since. Kind of weird eh? This past week we reached a milestone, but before I get to that here's a short chronology with pictures:
- we bought 135 acres of land in April 2011 very close to the Halifax / Truro corridor. It is the central place to be in Nova Scotia, with easy access from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island too.
Doug got his life time dream (besides his Harley lol) - a John Deere tractor
Here he is driving it across our front lawn just after it came off of the delivery truck. While we're on this picture, check out the cute little horse silhouette on the corner of the trim over the door. Doug made them for several spots on the house.
- I did surveys, newsletters and business planning to figure out user needs, market, costs, budget
You can't make it out, but I think it's interesting. It's some of the results of the on-line survey I did re user and event planner preferences for a competition and clinic facility. If you would like the information just let me know and I'll email it to you.
We settled on a phase one program of: (1) a rental venue for competitions and clinics, (2) a small amount of boarding, particularly in the winter months when there aren't competitions and people need an indoor to train, and (3) a small amount of warmblood breeding (starting next year with one). We'll cater to all disciplines who want to use our facility.
- Doug started clearing land and is making good progress.
This is kind of dark (my phone at dusk), but it's the future location of the arena. Everything else will be designed around that.
- And then everything fell into place this week - Rogo's looking good, we got the financing terms we wanted, the arena supplier gave us a competitive quote, and, ta da - the big news part - we ordered a gorgeous We Cover arena!!! It will be 80 feet wide and 216 feet long, with the riding surface being about 205 feet long (some space at one end will be for offices, feed, etc.). The supplier sent me these pictures of one they just put up.
Ours will have windows in the ends and stabling on the sides. The buildings can have metal or wood siding. We'll probably do wood ends and let them weather grey, and we'll see about the stable siding - grey metal or wood.
This of course led to great excitement on our part and bubbly was in order.
It was fun to sit and talk about the coming year. We have great plans but it will be very hard work.
Now I'm working on a site plan. I was an environmental / park planner for many years and have a design degree in environmental planning, so I can actually do this. Of course an agricultural engineer is doing all of the structural plans. Here is a very rough design program. Keep in mind the plan is to develop the site over a period of years, so I want to include everything in the design so we don't realize down the road that the perfect spot for visitor camping for example has been used for an equipment shed.
Can you make this out? Did I miss anything? Feedback is more than welcome.So that's the big news. I hope you don't mind me writing about business on my training blog. This blog is definitely staying a personal dressage training journal, but I can't help throwing other stuff in at times, especially when it's life changing. If you are interested in following our facility development progress I have a facebook page for it and a website coming soon. With your indulgence I'll be picking your brains for design ideas and have already gotten some from generous readers.