Size of Pasture for 60+ horses?
You might think I'm crazy, but I guess all horse lovers are a little bit crazy.... :D So, I just started Middle School and have already been planning my career for more than a year: To own and manage my own horse barn.... I know that for turnout you need about an acre to SUPPORT a horse... But what if my client's horses were out in the pasture about 1/4 the day... Would it still be an acre? or could I save space and go 1/2 an acre? I also didn't know what format would work best for about (hopefully!) 60+ horses. I was first thinking 20 pastures for 3 horses about 3 acres but decided that was too much... Then I thought individual pastures for the show horse to keep mane and coat safe from pasture buddies :) That's 60 acres right there just for the pasture... Do you think a horse would be happy in a 1/2 acre pasture along with a 1-2 hour turnout in a round pen/sacrifice pen? Thanks!
When people look for places to board (you mentioned clients?) they typically want more options than just one giant pasture.
Horses will have all of the grass eaten down in no time with 3 acre pastures. That is a small lot really, and not going to support many horses either.
And manure management will be difficult too.
For that many horses, you would need at least 120 acres of good grass and even then might not be enough.
I'd be thinking at least 200 acres to be safe and keep your grass growing good.
It depends a lot on if you actually want the fields to support them (free feed) or if its just space for them to run & play. I own a total of 4.8 acres. About 3 to 3.5 of it is fenced for the horses. I rotate their turnout & dry lot them moat nights, and I haven't had to feed hay at all this summer. I have 2 horses. I also have incredible soil that kept growing even in a 60 day stretch of no rain, and no, I didn't water.
As a kid, we had 8 horses on 4 acres. They had the whole place as one big own. We had to hay almost all year, but they had plenty of space to run & play.
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If your looking to board and train show horses keep in mind that it is harder to manage pasture kept horses. Horses in dry lots you can easily adjust grain and hay assuming you have the hay tested. Thus why very few halter horses have access to pasture.
Great point Lopin!
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A bare minimum of 3 acres per horse, 5 is better. The smaller the confines the worse the hooves rip up the ground until only the toughest weeds grow. 60+ horses =60+ headaches= a lot of stress dealing with 60+ owners and those who don't pay their board.
I personally would think a smaller barn with better care would commend a better price thus creating more profit for you
at 60 horses you have to rely on a lot of employees to move horses, manage pastures, ect... and each of those employees will cost you more insurance and also potential headaches for you on a personal level as well as those boarding with you.
on any level:
-air quality in the barn is a big thing
-manure management (OWN some hay ground so you aren't spreading the stall solids onto the pastures that the horses are turned out in to spread the parasite load and keep the horses grazing better)
-having EVERYTHING spelled out for each owner and deciding with a lawyer what the repercussions are for people that don't pay
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