What do I need to do to pasture to make it home for horses?
We're very new to horses...as a child I took riding days out at a local farm and that's about it. My daughters (8 & 9) have been taking lessons for 7 months and it's got me hooked. These aren't typical lessons, they last 2-2.5 hours and they are exposed to a lot of horsemanship and care. We went to a Parelli tour and liked that style of training...working on the first level with the girls.
We're now trying to sell our subdivision home to get some land, found a perfect home with 5 acres. It used to be pasture land by the looks of it, not a tree on the entire 5 acres. We would like to have 2-3 horses in about 3 years (want plenty of time to be around horses before committing) and have time to build a barn/stall structure as well as put up fencing. Before I commit, I'd like to know the prep work and potential costs involved.
1. Over a 3 year period can I build a good pasture for horses (we live in North Alabama)...the horses we're looking at would probably be walking horses (but not used for show, our instructor raises them and she has the best mannered horses I've ever seen..works with them from birth on)
2. Any recommendations for stall structures? Fences?
3. Do I need to plant trees for shade for the horses? It gets hot here in the summer. What trees would be good rubbing posts for them?
We homeschool our children, so we're looking at this as an arm of their education and a lifelong commitment...we don't go into this lightly and want to be as responsible as we can.
Thanks for any tips/pointers/suggestions you have.