Where I live, you can put 4 horses on an acre. However, you also have to provide them feed. The code for our zoning says:
"All horses, cattle, sheep, goats, or other similar animals must be confined within a stock-tight fence (no material shall be permitted not ordinarily used for a stock-tight fence) in an area of no less than four hundred square feet per animal. Such fenced-in area shall be set back ten feet from the rear where it abuts an IR, RH, GR-1, SR, SR-2, SH, CR-1, CR-2, or MU zone and forty feet from the rear where it abuts a zone other than GR-1, RH, IR, SR, SR-2, SH, CR-1, CR-2, or MU, and forty feet from a side property line. A setback of ten feet shall be permitted on the side yard where the adjacent property owners have a written recorded agreement to this effect, but, in no event, shall a corral be closer than fifty feet to any residence or living quarters in an abutting property."
It is important to find out what the code says for where you are interested. For example, our lot is angled, and the house is angled on the lot, and nearly half of the area where I wanted to put a corral was banned due to side setbacks. We eventually were able to buy the empty lot next to us, but that wasn't part of our plan...
Also, the shades are considered barns by the county, and must be 50 feet from any property line - so the corral can be 10 feet from the rear property line, but the shade (where they don't poop) must be 50 feet away. Now add in that it must be 10 feet from the leach field, and finding a place to legally erect a shade for the horses was a challenge. We did it, but it sure isn't where we wanted it. BTW - a horse shade has to be 50 feet from a property line, but a shed can be 4 feet, and a house can be 10 feet...
We thought "Horse Property!" without understanding that the county doesn't like horse owners and has become more and more restrictive...and not all of it is in writing!
The last time I went to get a permit, a cowboy was sitting next to me. All he wanted to do was build a 400' barbed wire fence on his land to separate cattle. The inspector, who has total power, was sitting there, leaning back, saying, "I need detailed drawings and a survey - I need to VISUALIZE what you are trying to build...the wire size, how many posts and where you will put them, how you plan to attach the wire, etc..."
I looked at the cowboy, he looked at me, and the cowboy got up and said, "Uh...I'll go back and work on some drawings to bring you..."
The inspector smiled, and so did I, but for different reasons. The inspector was happy the cowboy was going to submit. I smiled because I knew there was no way that guy ever went back to the county! He did what I did at one point - build and wait for a complaint. However, if you DO get a complaint, the county here will screw the horse owner!
If you want horses, know the rules backwards and forwards before buying.
Last edited by bsms; 01-11-2011 at 10:03 PM.