-How many horses can reasonably be kept on 25 acres of property? (I always thought the rule of thumb was 1 acre/horse)
How many acres you need will depend on your area and what you plan on doing.
Looks like you live in Canada. Of course, he is going to need to feed the horses hay during the winter months.
And it's going to depend on the weather. I live in North Dakota and we were having a horrible drought year this year. Where I board, my 2 horses and 1 other were in a pasture that is about 30 acres. Had we not gotten some rain finally in July, the 30-acre pasture would not have lasted for 3 horses.
So that "rule of thumb" is pretty flawed, because it does not take a lot of things into account.
If the horses are going to be out on pasture 24/7, I would say a minimum of 3 to 4 acres per horse on a good year with adequate rainfall.
-What does a person who is new to horses, need to know about keeping them healthy and sound without a barn. He has done nothing but leave these horses in the field and bring in hay in winter for the past 2 years and they all seem sound and look incredible healthy without being overweight.
My horses live outside 24/7. They are healthy and do not need to go into a barn.
As long as they have windbreak, food, and water, most horses winter just fine.
Of course, if you an aged horse or one with health problems, they may need blanketing to stay warm enough in the winter, if they cannot go inside a barn. It just depends on the horse.
-Things to consider about building a brand new barn/stable and indoor area. Do we want the arena attached to the barn or separate. He knows all about building codes and proper structures, so that part is okay, it's the horsey stuff he doesn't know about.
I would say to have the buildings separate, just for the simple problem of DUST in the indoor arena. You'll have less dust traveling into your barn if they are separate structures.
-He plans to fence the entire 25 acre perimeter with galvanized steel chain link fencing so that he can keep out coyotes and other random critters as well as keep his dogs contained and safe on the property. Is chain link safe and okay for horses? He plans to use wood fencing for inside the perimeter to separate paddocks etc.
Sounds expensive. 25 acres of chain link fence?
And you're naive if you think chain link is going to keep wild animals out.
It won't. Even the dogs can dig a hole under and squeeze in/out. So will other animals. Or some will just climb over.
I would not have him waste money on chain link.
The fences are in desperate need of repair, and that is difficult to do when you are trying to contain 6 horses. I think he is coming to the realization that he really needs to part with these horses, get the new fences built, and at least a barn with a couple of stalls before he looks to introduce new horses into his life.
Absolutely. He needs to take care of the 6 horses he currently has (sounds like they are to be sold?) before he brings on any more. And of course, get the fence in order.