Acres for Horses - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: USA
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If you would like your horses on pasture as much as possible, around where I live you need about 3 acres per horse. It does very much depend on where you live. If you live in a desert area with no irrigation you may need 50+ acres, and if you live in the ideal grass-growing area you may be able to go down to 1.5 acres. The best thing to do is to ask local horse people about how much land they have for pasturing their horses and you can also ask the local agriculture office. Most places with irrigation or 30 or so inches of rain each year you need at least 2 acres of pasture each year. SO assuming you have that amount of rain you will probably need at the very least 28 acres of pasture for horses and maybe 12 more acres of hay fields (which you can also ride in or around).
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post #12 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 07:57 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Alberta
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How much land you need depends on where you live. The climate, humidity and soil type will determine how much and what kinds of pasture / hay you can grow. As others have posted, you will need anywhere between 1/2 and 5 acres per horse. If you want to grow your own hay, you will need much more than that.
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post #13 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Kansas
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I have that book. ^^ It's definitely a good idea to get it!
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post #14 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Wow!! You guys are great, your giving me lots to think about.
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post #15 of 25 Old 01-08-2013, 08:26 PM
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Location: california
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where I live it is 1/4 acre per Hooved animal. You will need to feed hay. Manure must be removed weekly. I have 10 acres, 7 in pasture and have 18 horses. Some are in 18' x 30' pens, some are on pasture, some are in 30 x 60 ' shared pen . Depends on the local laws or codes, and what you want ei barns pasture etc.
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post #16 of 25 Old 01-09-2013, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Originally Posted by FlyingHorse View Post
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.

Good questions

Do you want your horses to have pasture?

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?

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?
How many horses your land will support will have many variables. Climate, rainfall, irrigation, soil type, variety of grasses... so not really knowing where you are these are just basic guidelines.

For pasture, count on at least 1 acre per horse. This will support the horse for most of the growing season but once it goes dormant, you will need to supplement with hay. Most is always better as it requires less management, the horses are easier on the land and fences, gives you more options to rest and regrow, as well as divide the group up into smaller herds. I like to run mares and geldings separate. If you have hard keepers and air ferns that's another good way to divide the group.

For hay production, one acre of grass will product approximately 3T of hay provided you have irrigation water (over 2 cutting). If you don't have water, you can't harvest hay unless you have adequate rainfall. I plan on a little over 3T of hay per horse per year with pasture. The other part of this is who's going to harvest the hay? It's not worth the work for most farmers to come in to cut and bale 5 or fewer acres. Does the farmer want a % of the crop as payment? Now you're short hay or need more land in production. You could put up your own hay but expect to pay $10-20K for used equipment.

An average 100X200 arena, 60' RP, 60' barn with attached runs and a dry lot area will cover about 1 acre.

A house with garage, a work shop (a must have), a yard, leech field, driveways and a little bit of a buffer from the horses is another acre.

The biggest part of a small hobby farms success is irrigation water. Is there any available? In my area, having water rights can double or triple the price of the land but if you don't have them, you have nothing more than a bare dusty piece of land.
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post #17 of 25 Old 01-09-2013, 01:54 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Northern Nevada
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Second what others have said about it very much depending on the local climate/conditions, and the way you want to keep them.

I would also suggest thinking about the number of horses you want to have. I honestly don't think having just one horse is a good idea. They are herd animals, and need company. Likewise, 9 horses is probably too many, at least if you are just riding for recreation and not e.g. giving lessons. I'd say 3-5 is a reasonable number, 2 for you and your spouse as main riding horses, a couple others as spare/in training/retired.
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post #18 of 25 Old 01-09-2013, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: the windswept prairies
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In general in my location--North Dakota--2 acres per horse. More acreage further west.
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post #19 of 25 Old 01-09-2013, 05:30 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
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when we buy our house were looking to buy a minimum of 25 acres. im taking 5 acres for 3 horses. im fencing in 3 acres of pasture, then my 3 stall barn and then a covered arena.
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post #20 of 25 Old 01-09-2013, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
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We keep 20 horses on 7.75 acres, but we are on Long Island where there is NO room. Typically houses on are 1/2 or 1/3 acres. We have all dirt paddocks and EVERYTHING is fit together like a puzzle piece so there is no wasted space. We also have 3 riding areas, a grazing area, two round pens, a classroom, a large office. You also need to check your zoning laws. A friend of mine can have two horses per half acre, she is on 1 1/2 acres so TECHNICALLY she can have 6 horses. Now whether you want that kind of living for your horses is up to you.
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