Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
I don't have my own property, so take what I say with a grain of salt. BUT, I keep my horse at someone else's property and I've been planning for my own for a while, so I've done some research.
I recommend you check out the "Paddock Paradise" concept. It's a way of forming your paddocks to get the horses moving around a lot and living a life more like those of wild horses versus domestic horses. It's good for hoof health and overall health if the horses walk more miles in a day over varied terrain than if they stand in the same spots all day long.
Several problems to avoid or think about in your planning:
1. Muck that builds up from horses standing in the same place all the time, with bad drainage or just lack of maintenance; you can put feeding stations is several places to keep this from getting too bad.
2. Know where the wind often blows from and plan your run-ins appropriately. If the wind is particularly strong in your area, maybe consider a space between the walls and the roof so the wind can't come in and lift the shelter up and throw it around (can happen if the wind is strong enough, even when the foundation is strong);
3. Know where the sun rises and sets on the property, so if you need sun protection, your run-in is faced the right direction. Remember the wind part too.
4. Vegetation should be horse-safe (you'd be surprised how many plants and trees are poisonous to horses);
5. Sharp edges (they're everywhere, so be on the lookout);
6. Trees need trimming so when horse and rider go under, no one gets whacked; remember that trees are wind breaks and horse scratchers, so they shouldn't all be cut down;
7. Where I have my horses, they put a concrete pad down near the entrance to the paddock, so when you're putting on the halter or taking it off, you're on good footing and not bogged down in mud/manure/etc.
8. Make sure your spaces between paddocks or where horses will exit paddocks are wide enough that a large horse could turn around and not get shocked by a nearby paddock wire.
9. Have a hot wire cut off in a few places so you don't have to run too far for emergency shut off.
10. Your water, troughs, and pipes will freeze in winter if you don't plan for it. It's way easier to have a heating mechanism than to have to break through it every morning and night.
11. Make sure all your paddock entrances and paths are big enough to run a 4-wheeler or tractor through.
Man, there are probably a hundred more tips that are better than these, but these are the ones that ran through my head after a few glasses of wine. :)
“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare