‘When I was 25, I was able to rent part of my parents’ farm, with stables and land. It was the chance to realize a dream: to have our own livery stable. My breeding has now been in existence for thirteen years, I have twenty horses of my own and I have an employee.
“Eight foals were born this year. I sell them for at least 10,000 euros each. Sounds like it will make me rich, but it’s not. Inseminating a mare costs between 1,000 and 3,500 euros. Veterinary costs for a pregnant horse also run towards 1,000 euros. And the biggest expense: my animals have to have food and stables all year round.
“This year I had a mare who squeezed her uterus inside out, then vet costs ran into the thousands of euros. Such setbacks are common. Just as I’ve built up a financial buffer, something happens that makes me have to break it.
“I do that with love, by the way. I work sixty to eighty hours per job, but this often still feels like a hobby. When a mare retires, I keep her. She could fetch 500 euros at the butcher and now only costs money, but I can’t bring myself to write off an animal that has meant so much to me.”
“I used to be a marketing manager. Last year I started a second company with that experience, with which I help equestrian entrepreneurs with their marketing. What I earn with that, I use for extras such as casual wear or vacation.”
‘Almost all my expenses are business: my phone, I usually walk in company breeches and boots and drive a company car. My rent is also business, because I live near the stables and always have to be near the horses. Personally, I spend very little. I don’t need the latest sneakers or jeans.
“Because I pay the rent, my partner pays for the groceries and bears the costs if a new dishwasher or washing machine has to be installed. That’s also because I think things like that are less important: I don’t need a Dyson vacuum cleaner if my old Philips still works. Until now we kept our finances separate, but we are about to open a joint account. We’ve been together for ten years and want to do things better.
“I’ve been investing since I was eighteen, especially for my retirement. I only have disability insurance for serious damage. I work with animals of 600 kilos and their own will; it is priceless to insure yourself against every broken arm.
“The fact that I make it financially is quite exceptional for this industry. Many breeders have a job next door, or are helped by their partner. My partner also has a well-paid job, but I would never want to rely on his salary. I am too independent for that.”