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jsandberg 01-11-2011 03:05 PM

how much room does a horse need?
I am looking at buying a house soon and want to look at getting a horse in the future. I am new to the whole owning a horse thing and have always wanted one. I was just wondering how much room i should get for on know the more the better. I have a heard one acre per horse?

Speed Racer 01-11-2011 03:15 PM

Check your local zoning and agricultural laws concerning horses, because it depends on the state and county in which you live.

For instance, in AZ you can have less than 1 acre and keep a horse on it. In MD you're required to have 3 acres of land for the first horse, and 1/2 acre thereafter for each additional animal.

It's not a cut and dried number, so your best bet is to find out what your state and local laws require.

Plus, horses do not do well alone. If you can't or won't get another horse, you might want to consider a sheep, goat, or mini donkey as a companion.

jsandberg 01-11-2011 03:17 PM

ok great I had thought about two I will check with the state of Iowa to see I didn't even know the state had regulations I would just hate to not have enough room for the horse to enjoy itself! :) Thank you

ErikaLynn 01-11-2011 03:19 PM

Yes, you should check with the zoning laws. Some places in my area you have to have 3 acres or more to have one horse.

churumbeque 01-11-2011 03:57 PM


Originally Posted by jsandberg (Post 885678)
ok great I had thought about two I will check with the state of Iowa to see I didn't even know the state had regulations I would just hate to not have enough room for the horse to enjoy itself! :) Thank you

It is not a State wide law it is a county law. In Linn county there are less restrictions than Johnson Co.
If you want your horses to graze and not have to hay them in the summer they reccomend 2 acres per horse

jsandberg 01-11-2011 04:24 PM

Ok thank you for Clarifying that for me that makes it a lot easier to find thank you!

Buckcherry 01-11-2011 05:14 PM

We actually called the local zoning and agricultural laws in MD and they told us that there are not any requirements for how much land you have to have..

Witch i think is ridiculous.. but I've seen plenty of places that have horses on less than 3 acres..

MyBoyPuck 01-11-2011 09:10 PM

Zoning aside, if you're going to provide pasture for grazing, the rule of thumb is 2 acres per horse to keep the grass from being eaten down by mid-summer.

bsms 01-11-2011 10:00 PM

Where I live, you can put 4 horses on an acre. However, you also have to provide them feed. The code for our zoning says:

"All horses, cattle, sheep, goats, or other similar animals must be confined within a stock-tight fence (no material shall be permitted not ordinarily used for a stock-tight fence) in an area of no less than four hundred square feet per animal. Such fenced-in area shall be set back ten feet from the rear where it abuts an IR, RH, GR-1, SR, SR-2, SH, CR-1, CR-2, or MU zone and forty feet from the rear where it abuts a zone other than GR-1, RH, IR, SR, SR-2, SH, CR-1, CR-2, or MU, and forty feet from a side property line. A setback of ten feet shall be permitted on the side yard where the adjacent property owners have a written recorded agreement to this effect, but, in no event, shall a corral be closer than fifty feet to any residence or living quarters in an abutting property."

It is important to find out what the code says for where you are interested. For example, our lot is angled, and the house is angled on the lot, and nearly half of the area where I wanted to put a corral was banned due to side setbacks. We eventually were able to buy the empty lot next to us, but that wasn't part of our plan...

Also, the shades are considered barns by the county, and must be 50 feet from any property line - so the corral can be 10 feet from the rear property line, but the shade (where they don't poop) must be 50 feet away. Now add in that it must be 10 feet from the leach field, and finding a place to legally erect a shade for the horses was a challenge. We did it, but it sure isn't where we wanted it. BTW - a horse shade has to be 50 feet from a property line, but a shed can be 4 feet, and a house can be 10 feet...

We thought "Horse Property!" without understanding that the county doesn't like horse owners and has become more and more restrictive...and not all of it is in writing!

The last time I went to get a permit, a cowboy was sitting next to me. All he wanted to do was build a 400' barbed wire fence on his land to separate cattle. The inspector, who has total power, was sitting there, leaning back, saying, "I need detailed drawings and a survey - I need to VISUALIZE what you are trying to build...the wire size, how many posts and where you will put them, how you plan to attach the wire, etc..."

I looked at the cowboy, he looked at me, and the cowboy got up and said, "Uh...I'll go back and work on some drawings to bring you..."

The inspector smiled, and so did I, but for different reasons. The inspector was happy the cowboy was going to submit. I smiled because I knew there was no way that guy ever went back to the county! He did what I did at one point - build and wait for a complaint. However, if you DO get a complaint, the county here will screw the horse owner!

If you want horses, know the rules backwards and forwards before buying.

Saskia 01-15-2011 10:46 AM

It's also best to rotate paddocks. So when one is eaten down you move to another and let the paddock grow back, worms die out etc.

If I were buying a property with the intention of getting a horse I'd want at least five acres - then I could hopefully have a couple of paddocks, a riding area, maybe stables. Just a few more options. A badly shaped 3 acre block might cause you problems with property lines or riding areas.

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