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Hi there! We are looking at buying a property in central Ohio that has an older block barn with 24 stalls, although it needs quite an overhaul. We are looking at beginning a horse boarding operation at this facility once we get it fixed up and operational. There is approximately 5 acres worth of pasture that we are contemplating dividing into 5 different pastures. We need to overhaul the pastures and reseed this fall. Would this amount of space be adequate for 24 (max) horses at one time. I would like to have the horses out about 8 hours per day if the weather is good. Any information will be helpful!

Thanks!
 

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Hi there! We are looking at buying a property in central Ohio that has an older block barn with 24 stalls, although it needs quite an overhaul. We are looking at beginning a horse boarding operation at this facility once we get it fixed up and operational. There is approximately 5 acres worth of pasture that we are contemplating dividing into 5 different pastures. We need to overhaul the pastures and reseed this fall. Would this amount of space be adequate for 24 (max) horses at one time. I would like to have the horses out about 8 hours per day if the weather is good. Any information will be helpful!

Thanks!
The short answer is NO. 5 acres of pasture is good for a MAX of 5 horses, preferably less. Yes, I know that many places figure 4 horses/acre so TECHNICALLY you could have 20 horses on the property, but that's just way too many for that amount of pasture. You'd never have any grass after the first few months. You would need to plan on feeding hay year round, NOT a cheap proposition.

You don't say how much experience you have with horses, but it doesn't sound like much. There's a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money to goes into creating a successful boarding operation. 24 stalls and 5 acres sounds like a recipe for failure in the first year or 2.
 

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NO....
24 horses on 5 acres with turnout 8 hours a day = sand lot turnouts.
You want to do 5 horses per acre....no, just no.
Even in a t/o on dirt I would not put that many horses in such close confines....just no.

Will 24 horses on 5 one acre paddocks for 8 hours a day work...no.
To many horses for the amount of land is what you have.
5 horses to me is a absolute maximum for the entire space if you want any chance of having a blade of grass growing more than 3" high = nearly un-grazeable in blade height for a horse. :|
Horses are very picky eaters so although you have acreage, nearly half of it they won't graze on...

What you are looking at sounds more a boarding barn where horses were stalled all day, ridden daily and only a select few had t/o about 1 hour if that.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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You can have 24 horses, however there will be no grazing. If you want turn out, you are going to have to build 24 paddocks with some sort of shelter in case of rain and to get out of the sun. Also, with having 24 boarders, you will most likely need an indoor arena and an outdoor arena otherwise where are they going to ride? Also factor in storage for hay and feed of 24 horses and tack and parking and public washroom facilities.
 

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No way is that enough land for 24 horses. As @waresbear said, you'd have to build a bunch of tiny paddocks. And then, because the horses spend so much time in them, you'd have to do something about the mud that's going to form after they eat all the grass and it rains in the bare dirt. You could lay down gravel or sand, which would be expensive, and then every few years it will start to sink back into the ground and you'll have to lay down more.

Yes, you will have to build arenas, an indoor and outdoor. Indoor arenas are crazy expensive to build. And that will most likely cut down on your pasture space.

If you wanted to have that many horses, and had them out eight hours a day, that's three times a day you'd have to move them in and out. Plus all the time you spend cleaning their stables. As a comparison, a place near where I live has 50 stalls and 23 acres, and it feels super crowded. They give their horses about two hours of turnout a day, and there is NO grass out there, just dirt lots. Also they have at least three employees there at all times to move the horses, feed, clean up after them, fix things that the horses break, etc. So that's another big expense.

And yes, you will have to feed 100% hay, year round. Ideally you would figure out how much you need for the year, then buy it in summer / fall when it's harvested. Do you have a place to store that much hay? For year round feeding, a rough guess would be maybe one - two tons of hay per horse. You can buy it as you go, but then expect to pay about twice as much.

With all these expenses, you'd have to charge a lot. If I were paying a lot, I'd expect a lot. Not just the indoor and outdoor arena, but a private tack storage area, nice washrack with hot and cold water, nice restroom facilities, etc. So there's more money you'd have to invest. And I can't speak for others, but me personally, if I'm paying a lot for boarding, I want to see lush green pastures.

Running a horse facility when you don't have a lot of experience with horses is absolutely a recipe for disaster. Most of the horse boarding places I know about barely break even. I would strongly advise against it.
 

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And yes, you will have to feed 100% hay, year round. Ideally you would figure out how much you need for the year, then buy it in summer / fall when it's harvested. Do you have a place to store that much hay? For year round feeding, a rough guess would be maybe one - two tons of hay per horse. You can buy it as you go, but then expect to pay about twice as much.
Yes you'll need to feed hay year round as that many horses on so small a acreage will get no nutritional benefit scrounging for a mouthful.

This.... "For year round feeding, a rough guess would be maybe one - two tons of hay per horse" :frown_color:
To me this is a large underestimate...
As a kid my parents bought hay by the ton...
For 1 horse a ton of hay lasted 2 1/2 - 3 months...he did not have access to daily lush pasture grazing.
So, every 2 1/2 - 3 months you need a ton of hay per animal... = 4 tons of hay per year per animal as a minimum amount.
Of course this is based on size how much you need to feed... = the size of the animal.
Ponies will need less, larger horses more but a good average is 20 - 25 pounds per day per head = 1/2 square bale per animal per day.

And although round rolls may sound wonderful they don't work easily when feeding hay to stalled horses. To have out in fields...not every horse should eat from round rolls as they can present health issues of various type...
Unless these are all to be "your" horses and not boarders...you will be feeding squares, possibly round rolls if they are available in your location...

A lot to think about...
For that many horses though and wanting to have several hours daily t/o with grass access, honestly you need to be thinking of a facility at least 20 acres or more...that is open fields.
No buildings or riding rings, fences separating t/o, storage, parking...just green fields in good condition and maintained seasonally and annually with a weed & feed program, seeding, mowing, aerating and good manure management practices..
It will still give you a finite amount of grass and time horses can be out on it, and we are not discussing what happens to fields in inclement weather and the extra care they then need to resume "feeding" the animals.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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As others have said - 24 horses or even 10 horses on 5 acres will result in no grass and mud lots. If you want to eventually go into business boarding horses I strongly urge you to go to current boarding barns in your area. If you have 24 stalls are these potential boarders going to expect a trainer to come in and offer lessons? Are these boarders going to expect you to supply the farrier and hold the horses?

To be very honest there is very little money in boarding horses and a lot of work. Finding help is hard because cleaning stalls is hard work. Bedding is expensive, grain is expensive, hay is REALLY expensive. May daughter cleaned stalls for a training bard near our home she made $15 per hour cash and on average worked 6 hours per day - cleaning stalls, cleaning the arena, cleaning the turn out paddocks, brining horses in, blanketing them when needed and other odd jobs. This was CASH the owner did not claim her wages. You need to talk to your tax preparer how will you file? If this is a business you will need to declare any workers wages, can you do payroll?

There is a lot to running a boarding facility - and I don't know even half of the nitty gritty details.
 

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Last winter we went through seven tons of good hay to keep 3 horses in good shape from October to April. And they're relatively easy keepers. If you're feeding 15-20 lbs per day per horse, that's 2-3 tons a year per horse, and that doesn't take into context adding more during cold weather. You won't need that much if you have good pasture part of the year, but with more than 2 horses on your five acres, that won't happen.

24 horses x 3 tons per year=144,000 pounds of hay. That's nearly 3,000 square bales. At the relatively cheap price of $5 per bale, that's $15,000 expense in just hay alone and in some areas, hay is running $17/bale. Which you will be carrying, stacking and feeding. And that doesn't count cleaning stalls, maintenance on the property, water, upkeep, and all of the other myriad of cares your paying clients will expect, even if clients provide their own grain.

Running a boarding barn isn't a money-making proposition. Most people I know doing it are doing it only until their barn/arena is paid off so it's considered a business expense up until that point, then the boarders will be out and they'll fill it with their own horses. They're also working other jobs. Can you care properly for 24 horses while also working full-time? Will anyone want to board with you if you aren't home most of the time to recognize a lame or ill horse promptly? If you hire someone to help, that's income you won't be keeping. Now consider the HUGE cost of insurance for a commercial horse property. You'll need to add and maintain an arena. If you want the clients that expensive board will bring in, you will need a trainer and full-time, on-site staff.

Or, you could do what I would do---convert most of the stalls into double or triple size, attach a handful of runs, and use them for your own personal horses. If you want a little extra income, offer boarding for 2-3 people and that's it. Without a lot more pasture than you have, large-scale boarding is going to be off the table.
 

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1) The pastures were sold off.



2) What pasture that may have originally been utilized were not kept up and grew up over the years.



As all others have stated NO. There is a barn here that has 18 on what was 5 acres then built an indoor arena. She buys about 80 tons a year of hay. The horses aren't ridden near enough and the neighbors all complain about the stink.
 

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Right, I forgot, manure disposal. You're going to have a lot of manure and waste from 24 horses, like huge mountains of it. You need space to dump & store it, and you need to arrange to have it hauled away or have a way to compost it to turn it into soil and that takes space too. If you don't, it will turn into the manure ranch.
 
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Many horses live vast majority of their lives in stalls. I don't agree with that, but they(generally) survive. IF you were going to have horses stabled most of the time, you will have to be feeding them f/t anyway. So it's certainly not impossible. Not that I think it's a good idea, or that I'd keep my horses in that sort of place, just not impossible.

If you were going to only allow a mob of horses out for a few hours daily, if you were to divide the 5 acres, so you can turn them out in one paddock & rest the other(s) you might retain some grass long term. But I wouldn't turn out a large group all together on only an acre generally, so I'd probably only subdivide into 2-3 if I was wanting to put a fair few horses together on it. You do not need 24 solitary paddocks so every horse has their own(& that would make for dirt in no time). I would not keep my horses in solitary, but only where they could live as a herd - be that herd of 2 or more. But you should budget on having at least a couple of different areas, to separate horses when need be, to keep different groups that don't get on or such.

It would be nice to have an arena, but it's not necessary. Perhaps there are good trails around you, or a close equestrian place for arena riders to go to. You will have to budget for a parking area though, whether or not people would keep their floats there, there needs to be room to easily maneuver at least a few rigs at a time(depending how many horses/owners), in case they all turn up at once.

And as Wares points out, you will need room for storing feed, tack, etc, so unless you have another big shed to use, the stables will be it for that. If you're to have horses stabled f/t then you need to budget for at least around half a small bale per day per horse, plus hard feed, so factor in that as to how much room you will need to store enough hay for x period.

What would I do with 5 acres & a 24 stable complex if I planned on having boarders/agistees(& didn't have my own horses)? I'd probably do 2-3 paddocks, or better yet, put a track around the outside of the 5 that the horses would all live on, with ability to change areas of the inner paddock, for 'rotational grazing' - and perhaps riding area. I'd have up to 5 horses, so use 5 stables - or as you have many, why not keep an extra one empty for 'Justin'. One stable would be the tack room, one the rug/other equipment room, one would be the hard feed room, one maybe a sitting room, one a washroom. Then you still have another 13 stables free for hay storage & other uses(we breed chickens so I'd claim a few for that!) You could also remove some internal walls & make stables bigger.
 
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