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Hello all!
My wife and I have been looking at a horse property that’s pretty perfect. It’s 10 stalls, 4 fences, 1 dry lot and an indoor. One small hand up that I have is 2 of the 4 pastures are on a fairly steep hill. Hill mean good drainage, but I’m picturing horses acting crazy on a hill... and I’m holding my breath! Haha. I wouldn’t mind putting in some dry lots, but there’s not much room to configure it in. Ideally I’d like to board, so I’d want my place to be as marketable as possible. Are there any benefits/disadvantages to this hill? Would it turn you off as a potential boarder?
 

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From my experience, it can be nice for maintaining muscle in a dry environment and with smaller herds. Dangers are that on wet days, it can be slippery and increase risk of injuries. I also had my horse injure himself on one when he was out with a larger herd that got excited and ran down the hill.
 

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That looks like a lot of pastures in Vermont-here you’re pretty much always going up or down. It’s hard to tell from the picture how steep it is, but doesn’t look too bad. From a maintenance perspective, you’ll have to have a tractor with good stability and be comfortable brush hogging, etc on an incline. Something to get used to if that’s not your current set up. Good exercise for you and ponies though! 😉

Here are mine enjoying blowing off some steam in one of our hilly pastures
 

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Erosion is a big problem with any drylots. You want flat ground for a drylot. Any areas that the horses rip up will also have erosion. The dirt continually washes downhill. My property is on a hill and the neighbor comes yearly with a tractor to move the dirt back up the hill. The problem being with the sinkhole, all my dirt is in my neighbor's yard. My paddocks have lost about a foot of dirt. The sinkhole has gained a bunch of sand from my paddocks.
 

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That was fun watching the horses and their sillies.
If the first photo is of the property in consideration, it doesn't look very hilly, but perhaps the photo is decieving. Where I used to ride out of, the hills were short and steep, and the horses would still occasionally tear up or down them. living on a hilly environment improves their coordination I think.
 

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Like @egrogan I live on hills in Middle Tennessee. Everyone can live on hills down here - if they don’t they are probably in or on the edge of a flood zone:)

A lot depends on just how steep the hills are and how much of a “runway” the horses have.

If the hills are short and steep, that’s asking for trouble on a wet day. There is a five acre property down around the bend from me, that the woman spent thousands of dollars bringing fill for the horses entrance into the barn. Even after she did that, it was still a literal slippery slope with the slightest rainfall.

i have 25 acres. There are places out there that could be dangerous to a horse with physical issues and it’s one reason why my horse with the twice-fractured sacrum now has his own six acres of “mild“ hills and the other, very athletic horse gets to run heck bent for election across the other 19 or so acres. However, the barn sits on level ground, with plenty of level access coming up to it.

When I had four horses and everyone was healthy, it was a thing of beauty to watch and HEAR all of them thundering down off the high ridge to the barn at night:)


Once upon a time, I did have to board for several years. I would not board at a place with steep-right-out-the-barn door-hills. I would never trust that the BO would be able to control the antics going out the door, not even if the horses were let out one at a time at decent intervals.

Looking at your foto, if that barn is sitting as low as I think it is (more-or-less against the hill) and horses have to come down off that hill to get in the barn — nupe - I would not risk having someone else’s horses running down that.

If there is solid fence and the travel path is down and around, so the horses come into the barn on level ground, then that might be a different story. Still-in-all, someone could slide into the support fence behind the barn, if they get to playing to rough. I would nix it for boarders but not necessarily for myself, if you like the property that much:)
 

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If I were in the position to buy, this is exactly what kind of property I've been talking SO's ear off about - but this is coming from Michigan, the land of barely any hills, anywhere.

I'd imagine good pasture management practices, where only two of the four pastures are used and then rotated to maintain the grass length, you would at least maintain the length of the grass which helps with the 'grip'. But no matter, horses will always do stupid things at the worst of times, but that is part of owning horses. Plus, as long as the pastures are managed wisely, the ground should uptake water well (especially if you have an aerator!) and that should help with the slip factor as well.

Looking at the first picture of the barn, it looks whoever originally set up the property had pasture and property management in mind. The strip of trees and longer vegetation alongside the barn could technically be considered a riparian buffer (most commonly used to protect water sources from run-off) that will help protect the barn from becoming a soupy messy in high rainfall events.

I did a horse property management project as a final project for one of my last classes in college, and this property is a poster-child for what I was encouraging - I wish I had that picture a year ago to show during my presentation!
 

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Hills with moderation of "steep" mixed with flatter work well...
Great exercise for horses to meander grazing and to ride for conditioning work.

My problem with what I saw is location of the barn is downhill from significant slopes surrounding...
What is the rainfall amount in the area?
Snowfall amounts?
What is the ground composed of? Sand, well-draining dirt, clay...

My point being...it looks real pretty right now in those pictures, now go find archived satellite pictures over several years and see what water run-off looks like from above cause there will be a trail told seen from the air.
Google Earth is free and you can see several years of changes with their program.
Erosion is a headache in itself you never get finished dealing with.
Also look at surrounding neighbors properties and make sure you are not their run-off point and if so, where is the end location found...a stream, the pond, the lake or is it possibly that flat location surrounding the barn and how much is a flood zone is now updated by FEMA flood mapping throughout this nation...watch very carefully for not being in zones that require mandatory flood insurance carried if you have a mortgage.
A engineer who looks at properties and home issues to uncover and find before a purchase might be a good investment when you are "this is the one" in certainty before committing to that final price agreed upon.
It sure is pretty...hope it is not pitted with no-good on barn, nor house and surrounding lands.
Sorry to be a potential downer, but realistic I am in looking past the "pretty".
jmo..
🐴...
 

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Erogan, I hope after filming you got the halters off those beautiful horses playing in the pasture. I left the halter on my mini just one single day, although I knew better. Fortunately all he got some skinned areas on his head.
 

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I knew someone would comment on the halters. Yes, it was the first cold day of the year, they were thrilled to let the wind whip them around the field as soon as I unhooked the leads. They took a joy ride around and then had halters removed.
 

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I seriously don't understand the problem some people have with keeping horses on hills. Sure, some people like to ride in nice manicured, level arenas, so if you're of that ilk you'll want at least a small levelish area. Sure, some horses - that are hurt or such - may need an 'easier' environment, but for the most part, them living on hills is GOOD!

My property is mostly hill. Only level area is on the other side of a seasonal creek. Sides of the creek are reasonably steep, and has never posed any issue for any of them, aside from one mare who grew up in a flat, manicured property until I got her, who took a while to get the hang of it, was initially frightened to cross. Crossing the actual water was another issue - or drinking the water - she'd never got her feet wet before, took a while to get used to the dam too.

I have a track around the outside of my biggest paddock, adjoining other paddocks that the horses mostly live on(& open up other areas along it for 'rotational grazing'). The track starts up near my house, where I put out hay, when they need it. It goes across the ridge of a hill, down a steep section, around along the creek, crosses the creek, up the other side, across the side of a hill, down across the creek again & up another steel hill to just below my house, where the trough is for them, if there's not enough water in the creek. The steep sections do indeed get muddy in winter. The small creek flat part that also gets boggy, I made the track quite narrow there, to motivate them to just pass through & not hang around there - so there's one thin strip of bog along there in winter. Keeping them on the track motivates more exercise - causes them to walk up & down the hills regularly - rather than stand around in a square, cushy paddock where feed & water are right there.
 

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For me, it is by no means the hills. Our property is nothing but muscle building hills. The only true flat spot on this property is where the barn and workshop both sit. It’s a great piece of natural horse workout property, which is good since I can’t ride anymore:)

It is where the barn sits in the OP’s picture that I have issues with. There is no way I would want a want barn built against a steep hill like that appears to be. It‘s ok if the OP likes it well enough to put his own horses on it, but I would not want to risk putting someone else’s horses on top of a hill that has an abrupt ending at the bottom behind the the barn; even if it is solid wire fence as that appears to be.

The OP also did not say how much land is there. Anything less than ten acres on that sort of set up would really be a deal breaker for more than two horses. People can argue against that and try to rationalize all they want - it - is - not - a - safe - piece - of - property for more than two horses the way it is set up, if the acreage is minimal. No matter how cute it is:)
 
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