Need your expert advice! :) Long post...
I am new to riding again after many years. Started in March. I had the opportunity to buy a wonderful paint mare, and board her with my RI, but decided I was too scared to get into the financial part of it, and possibly go into debt. Debt problems a few years ago cured me of that! I want to go into this freely able to take care of any horse(s) I own. I am looking for a lease horse right now, but my hubby is insistent that we can have a horse and pony, or 2 horses right here.
Currently, we are renting. Our landlord lives next door, and is really trying to get us to buy this place. It is a big farmhouse in great condition on an apple farm. If we bought, we would have a minimum of 5 acres, but hubby is pushing for 10. Right now, we have 3 dogs(with another puppy probably around Christmas), and 25 chickens. The house, vegetable and flower gardens sit on about 1/2 acre. We have a 1/2 acre fenced in for the dogs, and 1/2 acre for the chickens. If we buy, we would like one or 2 cows(someday). I have, however, come up with a plan for having my horse(s) here.
We have an old shed that years ago was a chicken coop. It is 12' by 24' with a sloped roof. It is still in excellent condition, but would need the roof raised about a foot. At least I think so, it is about 10 feet high in the front and 6 feet high in the back. That stretches back the 12 feet. I would split it into 2 stalls, each 12 x 12, or one 12 x 10(pony), and one 12 x 14. Sacrifice pasture in front, one side, and back, and then a front pasture that would be approximately 110' x 110'. Directly behind the shed would be a riding ring, maybe a bit smaller than 66 feet in diameter, which could also be used as a sacrifice paddock if needed. Beyond that would be another pasture approximately 110' x about 125'. Running lengthwise to everything would be another pasture about 15-20' x about 300'. Part of that pasture slopes, but not much of it, and there are woods back there, that the horses would enjoy.
I have so many questions running through my mind, and I know that this will probably be a 1/2 to 1 year in the making, but I thought I would start here.
Hubby is great with chores. I know he would help me, and probably even take over barn chores, but the pastures and paddock woule be fairly close to our house. In one spot, just about 25-35' away. Is this too close? Will we smell manure in the hot summer months, especially because the house is downwind of future pastures?
We have probably 12 full grown trees that would be in the pastures. 3 are huge walnut trees. I know to fence around the trunks, but I am worried aobut walnuts falling on the horses heads! I hate to take them out, because they provide such good shade, but am really worried that this will be a major problem.
The apple trees will be right up against the long pastures fence. I plan on taking out 3 rows of trees so that the horses can't just reach over fences and gorge on apples. The trees are leased by someone else, so is a good source of income, but they do spray frequently. They are good about only spraying when the wind is blowing away from us, but this is another concern.
All along the back of the property is woods, about 30' wide, with a little stream running through the middle. I would love to dam it off, and make a small pond and have ducks. Would this be a good place for an extended pasture, or would it just be a big mess, and unsafe for them?
We are fortunate that we have some money from when we sold our old house 5 years ago, after the last of our children moved out. We would have enough for fencing, improving the shed, putting a small loft in our garage for hay storage, etc. I would love to have a big barn, but I think that will be in the future.
I will try to get some pictures posted this weekend, but I was wondering how realistic this sounds? To me it sounds great! I am in a hurry to have my horse, but not so much in a hurry, that I want to make a mess of things! :lol:
It sounds great! Something to add... Since you need a sacrifice area, why don't you make it have two purposes? You could use it as a sacrifice area and a riding arena, you'd just have to pick up their poop before you ride (You would eventually have to muck the sacrifice area anyways.) Also, I wouldn't worry too much about the apple trees. The two horses never try to gorge on our apple trees, we believe it is because they don't recognize those big red things as the apples in our hands. A lot of horses also only like them if they're cubed. Just a few thoughts...
Since your little stream is in a wooded area my concern about allowing ducks there would be roaming wildlife or dogs. My ducks stayed closer to the house with a cheap kids wading pool.
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