In the near future (as soon as our condo sells), my fiance and I will be house shopping and we're considering getting a horse property so I won't have to board any more. There are a few aspects of home horse ownership that I'm not clear on - hoping some of you guys with experience can clear things up!
We'll likely be looking in the 5-7 acre range, and there would probably be just two horses.
My questions relate to:
Hay - How do you find someone to buy hay from? Is there any way to check the quality of it? Where and how do you store yours?
Shavings - if you have 2 horses, do you buy bagged or a truck load? How can you find someone to buy a truckload from? If you get a truckload, how & where do you store yours to keep it dry?
Manure pile - how do you manage yours?
Did you wind up buying any equipment like a tractor or a bobcat or something to manage your home stable? I'd imagine a bobcat would be cheaper and I know they can push around a manure pile, but can they drag an arena?
Lots of questions, I know!
I have two horses on six acres, split into a larger field of three acres, a smaller field of 1 acre, a half acre paddock, and 1.5 acres that the house and buildings sit on. This is enough to rotate my boys on for the summer to graze so I don't have to buy hay for the year.
For the other nine months, I buy hay for the year. I find sources on local bulletien boards and in tack stores and feed stores and from word of mouth from my farmer neighbours. We buy square bales since it's easier for us to move them. We have a truck and a flatbed hay trailer which, combined, holds 100 square bales.
We go and check out the hay. We will buy one bale on the spot, then open it and check it out. If we like what we see, we toss that in the back of the truck and buy 99 more bales, load them up and bring them home. I like to have 300 bales of hay for my two horses.
Once home, we place pallets on the ground, stack the bales and cover with a tarp and tie it down.
I buy straw, about 100 bales. I like to get oat straw since they will
eat some of it. They are stored the same as the hay. We spread it out under the big lean to and some in the stall. I only have the stall to house sick/injured horses, so it doesn't get used a lot.
Anything dirty gets tossed on the woodpile (from cleaning up the small wooded area of deadfall) and burned.
Since the boys are not stalled, I don't get a manure pile. I will pick up a few obvious piles along the driveway or beside the house and toss them into the field. Then we run the harrows over them a couple times a year to break them up.