Acres for Horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Acres for Horses

Hello all. *waves This is my first time posting to this forum.

My husband and I are considering buying a large acreage (probably considered small by most here) of maybe 5 acres, maybe more. We want to build our dream home on it and have a nice portion of it used for horses.

How much land is reasonable for a horse? We want to start small and have one horse but probably go up from there and own about 5 - 9 horses. So it would need to be large enough to accommodate 9 total.
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post #2 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 04:22 PM
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You're going to need a lot more land than 5 acres if you want up to 9 horses. 10 acres would work, but 5 acres wouldn't be nearly enough. I have 5 acres and 3 horses. I won't put more than that on such a small property.

Besides, you need to figure out the zoning and ordinances concerning livestock where you want to buy. There will be local laws that will determine how many animals per acre you'll be allowed to own.
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post #3 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 04:25 PM
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In addition, you really need to figure out your horsekeeping style.

Do you want your horses to have pasture?
Do you want to be out cleaning paddocks every day?
Does your property have good drainage so that your paddocks don't turn to soupy messes in the wet season?
Do you want to grow/harvest your own hay?
Do you want to have room to ride on your own property?
Will you have your manure removed off-site regularly?
Will you want to separate your horses or have them in one big herd?
Will you have horses coming and going (as in a boarding situation) requiring quarantine paddock(s)?

Just some questions off the top of my head.
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post #4 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 06:15 PM
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General rule of thumb is 1 acre per horse. So 9 horses would require at least 9 acres. 5 acres is no where near enough for 9 horses.
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post #5 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 06:38 PM
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Is this including your house and buildings once they are built? If so, I would keep 1 acre for just buildings, and your barn (if you build one) from their, a few smaller pens, and a few pastures, or a big pasture. If you have 3 acres of just pasture, one have 3 horses.

1 horse=1 acre.

You would need 9 acres for 9 horses. So this property would not work for 9 horses, unless you got more land, or kept them stabled, with lots of exercise.
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post #6 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 07:13 PM
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Where I come from and where I currently live, which are 11 hours apart, the General Rule of Thumb is five acres per piece of livestock.

My best advice is to call the county Ag person for the county you plan on buying your land in. The home town feed store, local Co-op, large animal vets, should know who that is and how to contact them.

You may also find out there are zoning regulations that dictate how much livestock per acre you can own.

The county I came from in NW PA was zoned for five acres per piece of livestock and don't try to sneak anymore than that onto it, elst somebody was turning you in --- AFTER you put your fence up and bought the cows. That didn't happen to me but I heard about it when it did happen

Once you find out all the regulations and recommendations, THEN figure out the style of horse keeping you want to do. Keeping mind the more horses you put on a smaller piece of acreage, the more work and hay are involved for you. If you're not used to, or can't, be married to "horsework", don't load up on too many horses

Welcome to the forum, please keep asking questions
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post #7 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for all your help so far!! Well there is another place we were looking at. It's 17 acres. It's about the same price range (but a little more) as the 5 acres but a little further out from the city. If we had that I'd probably give 10 acres to the horses. What do you guys think? I don't know if this would be a comfortable number for everything that I want or if we should keep looking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourteen View Post
In addition, you really need to figure out your horsekeeping style.
Do you want your horses to have pasture?
Do you want to be out cleaning paddocks every day?
Does your property have good drainage so that your paddocks don't turn to soupy messes in the wet season?
Do you want to grow/harvest your own hay?
Do you want to have room to ride on your own property?
Will you have your manure removed off-site regularly?
Will you want to separate your horses or have them in one big herd?
Will you have horses coming and going (as in a boarding situation) requiring quarantine paddock(s)?

Just some questions off the top of my head.
Good questions

Do you want your horses to have pasture?
YES

Do you want to be out cleaning paddocks every day?
Do I have another option? I'm kind of new to all of this.

Does your property have good drainage so that your paddocks don't turn to soupy messes in the wet season?
Yes, good drainage.

Do you want to grow/harvest your own hay?
Yes.

Do you want to have room to ride on your own property?
Flip yeah. LOL. But seriously that's a big reason why I want horses.

Will you have your manure removed off-site regularly?
Hmmmmm. How regularly is regular by your standards?

Will you want to separate your horses or have them in one big herd?
I would like to separate when necessary, so be able to separate.

Will you have horses coming and going (as in a boarding situation) requiring quarantine paddock(s)?
I hadn't thought about this before you asked but I don't think I would be close enough to the city that anyone would want to board with me so I'll just say no for now.

What do you think is a comfortable acreage number for my particular situation?
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post #8 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 07:43 PM
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The 17 acres would make a nice lil horse farm (depending on the actuall property). A 10 acre pasture would work, especially if divided into 2 or 3 smaller pastures that you'd be able to rotate em on. Figure you'll loose an acre or 2 to house, barn, vehicle parking etc. then you'll want some kinda yard,flowers etc. so I'd say you'd be able to hay 4 acres or so (again depends on the actual property. Just how I see it
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post #9 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 07:47 PM
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We are renting about 5 acres. We have 9 horses at the moment. It can work but you will be mainly feeding hay. We sectioned off a few sections so they could graze a little each day when there is grass.

There isn't a barn. All we have is our trailer (mobile home) and a couple pop up sheds for storing hay and other things. Definitely not fancy but it works for us.
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post #10 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 07:57 PM
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Welcome to the forum! I'll have to say that you may have a lot of large expectations as a brand new horse owner, and some downsizing (for your own self) may help you. I have 2 mares, do all the work myself, and am very fulfilled with having only 2. The very first thing I did before bringing my horse home was buy a priceless book from Amazon (only a few dollars) titled, "Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage" by Cherry Hill. It will become invaluable to you! Just my personal opinion on a few things - I would buy the 17 acres, but I would not keep that amount of horses on it that you're thinking of if you're also going to do your own hay. Especially as a new horse owner. You'll find it to be very hard work (in all weather conditions, 365 days/yr) in just the daily care/feed/up-keep, etc., (this coming from someone who's worked @ some huge stables too!) but if you're a very hardy great-outdoors person, willing to learn a lot about what their needs are, you'll find it to be immensely rewarding!!! The very best of luck to you, and keep us posted! :)

Last edited by Northernstar; 01-08-2013 at 08:02 PM.
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