The Horse Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before I start asking questions, understand that I am still only 17 and I have MANY years before any of this even has the possibility of being considered. I know life plans go through a lot of changes, some by force, before someone can settle down and be content. But, I am determine to certainly try my best at achieving my dream.

1. What kind of soil is best for growing good grass? I have heard that sandy loam is very good for grass, but I would like some experienced opinions as well.

2. Is the soil that is good for grass bad when it comes to rain? I don't care how rich and beautiful the grass gets, if the rain makes the pasture a giant slip n' slide I'm not interested.

3. Is it worth it buying an uncleared, dense forest plot of land, selling a good bit of the cleared tinder (assuming with optimism it's good tinder), then planting grass and building a house, barn, arena, putting up fencing for pastures, trails, etc? (I would leave trees scattered here and there, just not so many that the animals can't get through them).

4. is flat land or gently rolling hills better for drainage purposes? Again, I've personally experienced pastures that got so wet during a rainy season that I sank knee deep into mud and had to get one of the horses to help pull me out. I don't intend to go through that all the time.

5. If buying a plain plot of land without anything (except maybe fencing) built on it, would it be a good investment to buy a simple double wide trailer, get it transported to my property, and then have electricity and water and everything hooked up to it? Or should i try to find a pre-built house on a plot of land?

6. I've always wanted at least 30 acres of land to work with, and I've actually seen a couple plots of 40 acres up in Utah for less than 50k. Problem is, I'm fairly certain that they are at least half an hour away from any town (so I'd have to become my own vet or like keep a personal one on the premises), and it doesn't say if it has a water well dug. I know these are two very important factors (among many other factors) and so I'd like opinions on that.

7. Assuming the plot of land in Utah or Nevada or Wyoming or wherever out west was perfectly sound and affordable, is that brushy grass that grows out there decent for horses to eat? If not, would it grow decent grass fairly well?

8. Once I'm old enough (in about a year), I intend to apply for the Legacy of Legends Scholarship Program. I know it is probably a long shot, but I've always been interested in training horses and the only other person who has the ability to teach me never has the time. I'm not particularly upset, but it is very frustrating. I've been trying to teach myself via books and training videos from people like Buck Brannaman and Mark Rashid, but I'm too afraid I'll mess up royally to try anything, much less on someone else's horse. Any suggestions how I should proceed?

9. Someone please explain to me how to measure my butt and a horse's back for a saddle. (adding in the sizes in correlation with measurements would be appreciated if possible as well). Nobody around here seems to know.

10. I want to learn to be able to handle almost any horse. Mustangs, Abused horses, nurse mare foals, skittish horses, aggressive horses, bold horses, all of them. There is no completely safe way to work with a horse, there are only precautions that make it more safe, but I'd like to know all the precautions I should know to work with these kinds of horses.

11. If I were to gain experience and possibly lessons in training by doing a live in working position, would that be a good idea? I intend to get a bachelors in business so that I have a little something under my belt before going into the work force. I'd love to know enough about training horses that I could take on training jobs periodically and train people's ponies and horses to be good riding horses. (trust me, I'm definitely short enough to ride a pony, and I'm losing weight, slowly but surely.)

12. Essentially, this is what I want for my life. I'd prefer a place to truly call my home, but if training horses means I need to go gallivanting around from farm to farm looking for training jobs in exchange for room and board, I honestly would consider doing it. I know I'm just a kid (who's almost 18..), and it's probably ridiculous for me to be thinking this far ahead, but... well you know how I feel by now. I'd appreciate an adult's opinion on all this, and any additional tips or information you think would be appropriate for this post. Thank you for taking the time to read through all this craziness.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,431 Posts
I don't have intimate experience with a lot of the things you are asking about, but I'd like you to consider trees your friends. They not only provide wind and sun shelter, but also take up and store enormous amounts of water from the ground, providing you with three environmental advantages. If erosion would be a risk, trees mitigate that, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,043 Posts
WOW reading this I thought someone read my diary from my childhood :cool:

I too spent much time dreaming and drawing barn plans and property layouts! I dreamed all my life of having a horse farm.

One day, I obtained my dream, unfortunately I was married for many years to someone who wasn't invested in the country life, and eventually I lost it all.

Always wise to set long and short term goals, and then figure out how to get there.

IMO, it is better to get the college stuff out of the way while you are young, and a business degree can be used for many positions.

Then focus on the horse part, although if you get a working pupil position before college, it might send you in a completely different direction.

The dream of having your own place can become reality, and you are smart to be making plans now.

IMO the #1 thing a land must contain is safe water. You cannot build anything without water. The second thing is called a perk test, that is a test to see if the land is suitable for a septic tank.

Very hard to build anything without a plan for waste.

After that, I consider anything else to be a bonus!

Building from scratch takes a lot more $$$ and time than starting with a property that already has improvements.

Depending on the size of the property, selling off the timber will give you just about enough cash to pay someone to clear the trash they leave behind, grade the property and maybe, just maybe enough for some fencing.

You also must consider what type of trees are there, as some can be very harmful to horses.
Even though my horse have abundant grass, they still sometimes nibble leaves and even chew on some bark. Its a horse thing :smile:

Many, many people start out with some sort of temporary housing, a tiny home, a trailer, or even an apartment in the barn. Most folks that get something large, like a doublewide, never seem to be able to build a home. Those things are expensive.

My dream barns have been anything from a 40 stall barn with indoor arena and second story apartment with panoramic windows overlooking the stable; to what I currently have; a simple 5 stall shed-row type barn inside of the pasture, with two doors so horses can't get trapped in a corner and can enter and exit at will.


I currently have a smallish grass arena (150'x90') and my land has some low hills and a wet-weather drainage ditch. It has some muddy places when there has been a lot of rain, but most the time it dries fairly quickly and I don't get too muddy.


I think it all works quite well. It is not the big fancy place I used to dream of, but it sure works good for me and my horses are HAPPY and Healthy!


Best of luck to you as you pursue your dreams
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
693 Posts
Wow, what an awesome list!!

I think I would start by separating farming and horse training into two careers, obviously not mutually exclusive, but each really requiring a separate business model, since your goals are so well defined. And each is tremendously labor intensive.

Probably, the best regions for growing grass are in the country's midsection. Think massive herds of bison. Well spaced rainfall of around 25" per year maintain soil, more humid climates break it down, and more arid climates don't break it down enough.

But is that where your horse market is?

Raising forage is a labor and equipment and infrastructure intensive life's work. And you are at the mercy of the weather and water availability. Water rights can be very sticky.

As far as working student opportunities go, be VERY certain you don't allow yourself to be taken advantage of. If it was me, I think I'd be looking for an equestrian college that could teach me how to run a business.

If you want to know about raising grass, you won't go wrong subscribing to Stockman Grassfarmer magazine and buying some of their books. For range management, I suggest Alan Savory's Holistic Management. He's a master at reclaiming ruined rangeland. Since that includes using livestock to reclaim the land, maybe you would find your passion there. I would have, had I known such things at your age.


If you read Savory, you will discover how critical covered (grass) soil to natural water cycles, and how important (think "out west) range management is to broken water cycles, and restoring stream flows.

IMO, if you want to grow grass, you want land with grass on it. The reason for this is because believe it or not, forests grow in places not decreed by nature to grow proteinaceous grasses. Even the soil microorganisms are not the same. If the land is to raise grass for you, know what it takes to grow nutritious grass, and don't waste your money buying land that wont sustain it. A climate that allows timely harvest is also critical.

If you go with bare land, be sure it is buildable, has power at the road and has septic approval. Running power in to a remote location is cost prohibitive.

We have slopes and slopes drain nicely, both water and cold air, but orientation is key. A south facing slope will be warmer, a north facing slope colder. Sloping land means more leveling for buildings. Subsoil is key to drainage. Clay or hardpan will not drain and will inhibit root growth.

So called stick built homes appreciate in value whereas manufactured homes depreciate. I love my mfg home anyway. That part is a personal choice.

Go for it, young one!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
971 Posts
This is long and like any opinion on the internet it is worth what you paid for it, but here goes:

1.) Loam is generally best for grass.

2.) No, loam drains relatively well due to its sand content

3.) No, you are fighting an uphill battle and it will be many years before you get even a half decent grass crop mainly due to the soil that trees grow in isn't optimal for grass by a long way. You would be in the red for too many years in most places in the mountains to make it worth doing this. Farming is hard enough as it is without starting out in the wrong place to begin with.

4.) Good range land that grows grass well will drain well regardless of how flat or hilly it is. If you want to put up hay though and grow it as a crop, the flatter the better and low lying meadows even if they are slightly boggy in spring are great hay producers.

5.) Depends on the area but many times it is cheaper to put a trailer or manufactured home on bare land than it is to buy land with a house already on it. In the Western US there are a lot of Amish and Mennonite small cabin builders that will build you a nice cabin that you can have all built and trucked out and set on your place cheaper than you can do about anything else. If you don't mind living off grid and just run a generator it can be even cheaper. The 80 acre piece just west of my place is a family living off grid like that. I think they paid around 10 - 15K for their very large cabin and I think they paid 45 - 50K for their land because it is off grid. It isn't farm land though, over in Eastern Montana and the Dakotas, Wyoming and Idaho if you want off grid range land it can go that cheap or cheaper.

6.) Half an hour from town is nothing in the western US. I live half an hour from the nearest town and it only has 1,000-ish people in it. Nearest town with a vet is an hour away. Just learn to do your own doctoring, you don't have to be a vet to help animals with 90% of the health stuff you run into with them. You'll need to learn what supplies to keep on hand for the most common kinds of horse ailments like colic etc. but it isn't rocket science by any means.

7.) I think you are talking about bunch grass. Depending on the variety of it, some is good for cattle but really bad for horses like Kleingrass. Other varieties like Sandberg bluegrass can be good for both. It really depends on what kind specifically you are talking about.

8.) Get a subscription to Warwick Schiller's video library. Watch as many of his videos as you can until you really understand everything he is showing and then find a cheap horse like at a loose horse meat auction and train it. Take somebody with you that knows horses well enough so you don't end up with a lame one but since the horses are headed for slaughter anyway even if you completely screw up some things the horse will be better off for you having bought it. Once you get it trained to where you want it, sell it to a good home. You will probably loose money on the deal but think of it that you paying for experience and making the horse's life better. Or you could volunteer at a place that trains horses and learn that way too, or volunteer helping a good trainer in your area in trade for learning to train by watching them. Not sure if you live in a place where this is possible.

9.) There are people far more qualified than I on here to answer this so I will leave this one alone.

10.) Again use Schiller's video library, he works with everything under the sun from mustangs to $100K eventers to quarter horses and arabs etc.

11.) Definitely get your degree in business like you plan, preferably business management that way you have something to fall back on during lean times and you can if need be have a career and fund your horse training side business at home. This is pretty much exactly what I do but my field is computer engineering and I also work for brands enforcement as a brand inspector. I grew up on a dairy and beef cattle outfit and my grandfather ranched horses. I joined the Marines and it later paid for my college but there are easier ways to get your degree. The best horse trainer I know around here is a young lady who has her degree in elementary education so she could be a teacher while she was getting her training business setup. She trains full time now but she does have that to fall back on should she ever hit a really bad stretch. A business management degree is much more lucrative than elementary ed though so definitely continue going that route.

12.) Never ever be afraid to dream and be willing to do whatever needs done to achieve your dreams. Most likely while you are in college the direction you want to take to achieve your goals will fall into place if you actively work toward it while going to college. There are things you can do to help set yourself up for success like making sure you go to college near where you would like to end up. E.g. don't go to university in Queens, NY if you want to end up in Montana.

For what you want to do I would suggest looking into the area along the western borders of North and South Dakota, as well as eastern Montana and anywhere in Wyoming that isn't in the NW corner or down by Jackson Hole.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
971 Posts
and by western border of N & S Dakota I mean outside the oilfields if possible along the border between those two states, and in the western half of the states e.g the area around Lemmon SD and Hettinger ND etc.

Look around places like Glendive Montana. I saw 230 acres there of pasture and graze land for sale for around 150K. If you use something like Zillow to search just make your search criteria have lot size of min 20 acres and max of 99,999 acres and then scroll the map and click on the dots until you find one you like.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top