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Raen 01-05-2012 11:36 AM

Am I crazy for considering putting horses on my .7 acre property?
Hi horse people! I'm new here, though I've been lurking for a while. I was hoping for some advice on my grand plans (or, alternately, some sense knocked into me.)

I'll start with some background on my experience with horses. As a young teenager (in Arkansas), I got very "into" horses, and ended up with three (thanks, mom and dad!). I rode hunter-jumper and trail, and kept my horses on our property--I think the pasture area was about 3 acres, but was mostly wooded. I was the sole care-take of the horses for a few years, so I do have a good sense of what is involved. As I got older, other things became more important and we sold the horses.

Now I'm 31, married, living in Maine. I've been leasing an OTTB for a year at a stable 6 miles from my house, which has been wonderful, but, of course, I want a pony of my very own to trail ride around my house. We live in a very rural setting with lots of places to ride, and I'd love to have a horse to go play with every morning and hack around on. I'm thinking something very low-key, easy keeper, not "fancy," just a good, solid horse. And a companion pony, of course. But that's it, I swear. I do not wish to collect a whole herd.

This is a rough sketch of our .7 acre property.

(The yellow rectangles in the sacrifice area represent horses, the boxes are 3.5 x 8'.)

I'm going to try to post this now, because I want to see if the forum has some sort of minimum post count before you can post images. More info in the next post, if this works.

Raen 01-05-2012 11:42 AM

It worked!

OK, so that's what I had in mind as a possible set up. The horses would be kept in the sacrifice area, and allowed to graze in one of the two paddocks when conditions were dry and the grass could handle it.

Here are pics of the fenced area and future fenced area:

The grass grows very, very thick in these areas.

I'm also talking to the guy who owns the few acres of hay fields behind our house to see if he'll let me lease that land for pasture, which would make this whole scenario so much better, but he hasn't gotten back to me yet.

So, any immediate thoughts? Is this a crazy thing to think of doing assuming I'm only working with the land we have?

Thanks for reading.

iridehorses 01-05-2012 11:46 AM

Welcome to the forum!

Although it's been done, having a horse on such a small area (assuming your zoning will permit it) presents quite a few challenges and not something I would recommend.

Among the negatives are manure collection and disposal, odor, flies in the summer, mud (since the horse will quickly eat and stomp every blade of grass), companionship, neighbors, hay/feed storage, and others that I'm sure other members will think of.

There are reasons that most towns require minimums for housing livestock and .7 acres is considerably less then I can imagine being allowable - for good reasons.

Being able to rent the hay field would be the best bet.

Raen 01-05-2012 11:48 AM

Thanks, iridehorses. Yes, I've checked, we're zoned agricultural and we're allowed horses.

Speed Racer 01-05-2012 11:49 AM

You may not be able to depending on your state, county, and local laws concerning livestock.

The first place you need to start, is looking into your local zoning laws. I know out west you can have horses on crazy small acreage, but they're pretty strict here in the east.

Rule of thumb for most places in the east is 3 acres for one animal, and 1/2 acre thereafter for each additional. But as I stated, check your local zoning ordinances, as they'll give you an idea of the acreage required for your particular area.

I have 5 acres and 3 horses, which I consider the bare minimum necessary, although my local zoning laws state I can put more animals on a property that size.

Delfina 01-05-2012 11:54 AM

*If* your property is sufficiently large enough for zoning regulations in your area, I would strongly suggest a goat instead of a pony for a companion. Much less wear and tear on your property due to it's smaller size.

iridehorses 01-05-2012 11:55 AM


Originally Posted by Raen (Post 1295020)
I've checked, we're zoned agricultural and we're allowed horses.

But being allowed and being realistic are two different things. My opinion would be that unless you can rent the hay field, it is too impractical to do it the way you have planned.

CLaPorte432 01-05-2012 12:02 PM

932 Attachment(s)
What size of "pony" are you looking to put on the property? Looking at the pictures, it actually isn't that bad if that back area is completely fenced. Looks like there's plenty of room for one horse to mosey around out there. I've seen way worse and if you ride frequently then your horse will get a good amount of exercise. Granted it's not the ideal situation for a horse but it's do-able.

Horses are herd animals though so having a single horse may be lonely. I'd recommend getting a companion goat to keep your horse company if you decide to go through with this. 2 horses would be way too much on that land.

You could also just get a few minis and keep leasing a riding horse at the barn. Minis are adorable! But I understand wanting to have your own ridable horse to just go hop on.

Your property looks very nice. Grass looks good, problem is, it wouldn't stay that way once you put a horse out there. Darn thing will demolish that grass in less then 2 weeks because it'll taste so good to him. ;-)

Raen 01-05-2012 12:06 PM

I'm pretty small myself; I was thinking of getting something around 14 hands--or maybe even a bit smaller--for my riding horse (at 5'2" 130lbs I'm most comfortable on a small horse), and a little companion pony or mini. I'm open to the possibility of a goat companion, but I know they're difficult to keep fenced.

Raen 01-05-2012 12:16 PM

Possibly even Violet? How cute is this girl?! Am I too big for a 13 h pony?

Why yes, of course I've already been horse shopping. :D

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