How much acreage is enough? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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How much acreage is enough?

My mother and I are currently in the market for a horse property. We are switching it up to 2 jumpers, probably pretty tall ones at that.

I will be at school with my horse boarded most of the year, moms, however will be at home.

Would a 5 acre property be enough?
I assume that 1 acre would be dedicated to the house and barn, then the remaining portion of that acre would belong to the arena, as well as a portion of the rest of the property, leaving about 3.5 acres for grazing.

We live in Central Indiana, it rains plenty, and there are many green pastures. We would never buy a property without green pasture anyways.
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 07:08 AM
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If you have thick grass pasture, an acre per horse should be plenty. If they seem to be overgrazing the pasture, you would just have to limit their time on the pasture and give them hay. As for having only one horse while you are at school, you might want to think about getting another grazing buddy for your mom's horse. It doesn't have to be a horse. A minature horse, llama, goat, or sheep would work.

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post #3 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 07:13 AM
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The ideal amount of acres of pasture for one horse is at least 2 acres, 3 acres per horse is better. The pasture grasses will get depleted fairly rapid with to many horses on to small an acreage.
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 07:13 AM
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Laugh. There is never enough land.

I am guessing you will find a 5acre farmette very serviceable for two horses.

I highly recommend the book Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage. Great book that is full of very helpful tips and ideas.
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 08:15 AM
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Ditto "alwaysbehind"; especially on buying a book for maintaining horses on small acreage. I would have to buy the book myself if five acres was all I had

In spite of modern day thinking, the old Rule of Thumb was 5 acres per piece of livestock<--horses are livestock.

I recently asked that question of my Ag agent because this question comes up frequently on these forums. Ideally it is STILL five acres per piece of livestock.

That being said, horses need room to stretch their legs and play. If you can find a piece of property where five acres can be dedicated to the horses, and plan on feeding hay year round, they should do fine.

Five acres sounds like a lot at first, but it quickly shrinks once the horses start grazing and trampling. Yes the 5 acres can be cross-fenced but that has to be carefully done if one cares anything at all about giving the horses room to run without slamming into the next fence.
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 09:07 AM
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That book has helpful information no matter how big your lot is.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 10:08 AM
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We have five acres and two and a half is pasture only on rainy years it plenty of pasture. I do dry lot my horses and feed hay also they get 10 hours a day on pasture right now. I have to turnout at night bugs are bad so their in the barn during the day. I can tell you two and half is not big enough we tryed to sell to get more land but that didnt happen. Iv heard 1 acre a horse then i was told 5 acres a horse. With only 2 and half acres i do have to hay feed year round. This is a rainy year so my pasture is growing faster then they can eat it. You want more acres then less id say five isnt enough i have five and on dry years theres not much pasture.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 10:20 AM
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I agree that isn't quite enough. I also live in IN and have great pasture. I have 11 horses, 3 in individual pastures (they are stallions) but even those are 3 acres each. The rest of my herd is rotated between 2- 10 acres pastures and in the fall are also allowed in our 20ish acres of woods (too many mosquitoes & ticks for that now)

I know a lot of folks around here with their horses on smaller pastures/lots but with our weather (like all the darn rain we've been having lately) they get ate down & turn into mudholes VERY quickly. There are some a few miles down the road from me that I wan't to go load up in the middle of the night and get out of their pasture, they have 6 horses on maybe 1 1/2 acres & it's under water with a round bale sitting IN the water as their only food source.

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post #9 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 10:22 AM
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The OP did not say anything about not being willing to feed hay, etc. So I am not sure why people are saying it is not enough.

I suppose if the OP was asking if a 5 acre farmette is enough to totally support her horses with no other feed/hay given then it is accurate to say it is not enough.

With good pasture/paddock management a 5 acre farmette will work wonderfully.
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-24-2011, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind View Post
With good pasture/paddock management a 5 acre farmette will work wonderfully.
Yep, it sure will. I have 5 acres and 3 horses.

As Always stated, if you're planning on feeding nothing except pasture then of course you'll need more, but most people in this day and age grain and hay their animals, especially in winter.

Your zoning laws will determine how many animals per acre you're allowed. I go by the rule of 3 acres for the first animal and 1/2 acre thereafter for each additional. My zoning laws state I can have more, but I'd rather go by the rule I stated.

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