07-18-2012, 10:56 AM
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My dream is in progress. I keep my 4 horses at home, but don't give lessons. Two years ago we purchased a 8 acre hay field with a newer house on it. There was nothing set up for horses, so we did the fencing etc from scratch. Our horses live outside 24-7 and have run in shelters, so we don't have a stable...yet. Hopefully that is next summers project. So far, I am quite happy with how it is turning out, but we have learned a few lessons along the way. Some things to consider are...
1. Expect to expand. We set up for two horses and now have 4.
2. Plan for a good place to ride. We have a flat spot in our pasture we use, but I miss having a designated ring with good footing. We do have a portable round pen for training. Grading and preparing a base to ride on is expensive.
3. Make space for feed and tack storage. Right now our tack is in the trailer / garage and we store hay under a tarp on pallets. This arrangement works for now, but a secure barn would be ideal. Cost to build a 36 x 36 barn around here runs $20-40,000.
4. Plan for maintenance equipment for mending fences, landscaping, etc. This is a considerable expense, but a must. Expect to spend $10-30,000 on equipment.
5. Have a trailer available on site. We haul out for lessons, riding, vet work, etc. the trailer is very handy and keeps us connected to other horse people. Costs vary dramatically but a modest truck and trailer can be had for about $8000.
6. Plan for feed and water supply. We have 2 reliable feed suppliersso we never have to scramble to find feed. I pasture for the summer but budget about $2000 per year for hay and $1000 for concentrates. I would like to trench in auto waterers with heaters, but right now it is an expense I cannot afford. In the meantime, we fill troughs with hoses.
7. Buy good insurance. You need to protect yourself from liability and protect your assets including property, tack and livestock. Make sure you have good coverage for your situation.
8. Find a good farrier and vet that will come to you reasonably. Most charge travel fees. I pay about $40 per horse every 6 weeks for hoof trimming (no shoes) and spend about $200/horse/ year on vet services for healthy animals. I haul into the vet, but the farrier comes to me.
I can't think of much more for now except to wish you the best in achieving your dreams!