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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Posts
    1,162

    Default What is the perfect size/acerage farm for you?

    I'm a new farm owner...almost a year now with the boys at home. I cannot stop thinking about expanding my place though and picturing the land behind me cleared and fenced. In reality though, that would be way too costly now. However, I could probably lease an acre or two behind me.

    What size farm works best for you and how many horses do you have on pasture, pasture that remains pasture and a food source?

    I have 6.5 acres which is nearly all pasture since I use the front as turnout at times, and 2 horses. This seems like the best plan to keep pasture and work in check, but I would love a few more acres and one more horse, or at least I think I would! Ideally I think my perfect size would be 15ish acres with 3 horses.

    What is your perfect size and why?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2002
    Location
    Dodge County, MN
    Posts
    2,939

    Default

    We have 28 with about 10 in pasture for our 3 boys. About 6 is hay fields. There is a ridiculous 3 acre front yard, which is worthless. The rest is yard, gardens, driveway and a bit of woods. Not the best use of the acreage. I'd love to have another 10 or so, but not sure why. I envision a lovely XC course out there. Not sure why since I don't ride any more and all 3 horses are retired. It's nice to dream though.
    Third Chair in the Viola Clique
    Founder of the Packrats Anonymous Clique
    Proud Member of the Dirty Grey Horse Clique
    http://community.webshots.com/user/pnekman



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
    Location
    Landrum, SC
    Posts
    1,739

    Default

    The general rule, if you want to maintain good nutritional value in your pasture, is two acres per horse. However, it really depends where you live... in areas where grass is tough to grow, you may need much more area to provide enough grazing to cut down on your hay and feed bills.

    I have three horses and find eight acres of pasture to be ideal - plenty of room to run and play, with separate resting, pooping and grazing zones. The total property is 12 acres and to me that's plenty for two people to take care of (mowing, weed whacking fence lines, maintaining outdoor arena footing etc.). It's also just big enough to use the perimeter as a nice galloping track or warm-up/cool-down walk.
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com



  4. #4

    Default

    We have 328 acres that we own and lease and thats been about right for us. I'm 58 now and this past year its started to get harder to keep it up. But this past Aug. I quit my job in town so now its not hard at all.
    Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    I think the "20% rule" probably applies--whatever we have, we tend to think we'd be happier with 20% more.

    We have 11 acres, about 6-7 of which is for the horses. The rest is creeks, woods, driveway, house, etc. It's actually just fine. With careful pasture management I can keep the horses grazing from April until November, provided the rain is adequate. They're all easy keepers, so TOO much grass would see them fat. They graze from 2-10 hours a day, weather/footing/season permitting.

    However, I lust after the 10 acre field to the west, the 20 acres to the south, and especially the 2 acres to the north. Not so much that I'd be able to do much with them right away--I just want them. The 2 acres especially would be a great spot for a ring/jumping area AND if we owned it there would be no house built there--the property is for sale and I dread having someone come in and building and then deciding they're offended by horses.

    In all honesty, the acreage we have in pasture right now is just about as much as I can easily manage WRT mowing, soil management, etc. So I'm not particularly itching to get more land, it just is sort of in the back of my mind.
    Click here before you buy.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 1999
    Location
    Ohio: Charter Member - COTH Hockey Clique & COTH Buffy Clique
    Posts
    9,143

    Default

    We'll be looking at property sometime next year hopefully. Of course we'd love something with a LOT of acreage perhaps in woods for various reasons (our own wood supply, fun trails, places to play and possibly hunt) but I don't know financially if that will be possible. I am sincerely hoping though that we can get in the 15 acre range at a minimum. That way we can do everything we really want to do -- horses, cows or goats, chickens, expanding the rabbit operation, a small orchard, a large garden... we would really love to be as self sufficient as possible -- not sure how the horses fit into that as they're require more stuff than the others, but we still want horses.
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 29, 2008
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    163

    Default

    I envy my neighbors 20 acres. If prices keep dropping maybe I will be able to afford it! I have 5 acres. The property is set up well, with 4 acres of pasture, the other has the house and arena. Honestly with my job, it is actually just right for us. I don't think I could keep up with more!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2009
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    10

    Default 20 is just right

    We have 100+ acres, miles of riding trails, creeks, wooded paths, large hay and alfalfa fields, a pond, and WORK. Unless you want to be a full time farmer/rancher (or it is undeveloped) this is simply too much property. My choice is 5 acres for all the human and horse related buildings and 15 in pasture/hay. This size is easily hobby farmed. However I would want to be next to BLM open space where they pay the taxes and I don't have to worry about keeping the acreage up. Most important feature...WATER.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2009
    Posts
    24

    Default

    [QUOTE=deltawave;3832533]>>


    <<We have 11 acres, about 6-7 of which is for the horses. The rest is creeks, woods, driveway, house, etc. It's actually just fine. With careful pasture management I can keep the horses grazing from April until November, provided the rain is adequate. They're all easy keepers, so TOO much grass would see them fat. They graze from 2-10 hours a day, weather/footing/season permitting. >>

    I don't have enough land, and I'd love to have more. Nevertheless, I think it does depend on where you live, the weather that year, and your pasture management.

    A place I used to board had this great land- in central VA- a total of about 40 acres, with two mare pastures totalling about 14 acres of that. About 7 mares on that 14 acres, and since it had been grazing land for years, and was not rotated, it was certainly not what I'd think of as lush. Nevertheless, more than a few horses grass colicked and several foundered. So, it was too much of a good thing, at least the way it was used.

    My own horses, 6 of them on a measley 5 acres, eating grass from about April through Sept or Oct, 20 hours daily, with two flakes of hay when they are stalled in the afternoon, stay on the plump side. I do have three fields and I rotate, and reseed two fields every year- one in spring and one in fall.

    In my perfect world, I'd have two acres per horse, with no limit to either acres or horses. In reality, I'd be in horse heaven with maybe 16-20 acres and eight horses. I think. I'd take more land though! Of course.

    <<However, I lust after the 10 acre field to the west, the 20 acres to the south, and especially the 2 acres to the north. Not so much that I'd be able to do much with them right away--I just want them.>>

    I think I've found kindred spirits. All my life, I've wanted horses, dogs and land. Like a litany for me.

    Laurel



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    2,481

    Default

    Hubby and I were just talking about this the other day. Our family farm where we are now is a bit over 100 acres, mostly pasture. Ideally we would like to end up with about 250 acres, mostly pasture but some wooded areas, as we just don't have enough land to do all that we want to do right now. When we lived in Vermont several years ago for about 18 months we bought a house and 15 acres (I had four horses then) and honestly it felt like living in a subdivision to me.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    40,107

    Default

    I am always surprised how many horses and terrain features you all manage to squeeze in so few acres and make it work.

    Here you need 30 acres per horse and that is when it rains at least our average, which it has not done in many years now.

    Our horse pasture is 122 acres and barely works for up to 4 horses, without destroying our fragile native short grasses.
    This year, because we aren't getting any moisture this winter, we will be resting it during the growing season, from April to July and keep the horses in a cattle trap during that time.
    We don't have enough water to irrigate either, or the right kind of climate to support those good, cultivated grasses so many have further East of here.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    DW said:

    "Not so much that I'd be able to do much with them right away--I just want them. "
    --

    I so understand this. I have always wanted MORE land, even when I was a child and lived on a 280 acre farm. Now I have 22 acres and just found out that the 50 acre hay field across the street from me is going to come up for sale. I am so in lust for it, I can hardly stand myself, and have come to tears thinking about someone else buying it. I think I need professional help to get over this
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    2,186

    Default

    It's like in Gone With The Wind when she holds up that piece of dirt and says(Oh I can't remember what she said but it had something to do with the importance of land so of course I teared up a little)
    I think how much land depends on:
    1. If you work outside the home/farm(more land more work)
    2. Where in the US you live
    3. How you practice horsekeeping and what exactly you expect your pastures to provide-ie.does it need to supply all the horses nutritional value or a place for them to run and exercise or maybe something to occupy their time and give them some of their nutrition?
    I currently have 6 horses on my 7.5 acre farm. Probably 6.5 acres fenced. I live in South NJ so the grass is decent but I also feed grain and hay and are in paddocks(not pasture) from 8-16 hours per day, depending on the season. My set up is more expensive because right now I'm feeding 3/4 bale/day/horse along with grain because the pastures are more for occupying their time other than nutrition. With the cost of land around here(and taxes) I don't think I could afford to go bigger-not that I haven't thought about it!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2002
    Location
    Zone 6
    Posts
    1,876

    Default

    We have 40 acres but really only use about 6-8 of them for horses. The rest is lawn or woods. I would like to have more pasture fenced in but it wouldn't be convenient to my barn.
    https://www.facebook.com/HunterHillFarmIowa

    Oh my god - she's gone and got the eventing bug! I will send you some antibiotics! Take the entire bottle and do two hunter shows and it will pass!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2009
    Posts
    24

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mkevent View Post
    It's like in Gone With The Wind when she holds up that piece of dirt and says(Oh I can't remember what she said but it had something to do with the importance of land so of course I teared up a little)
    I think that was actually when she declared that she'd never be hungry again

    But I got ya.

    Laurel



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
    Location
    Yonder
    Posts
    423

    Default

    Would love more land. We are on 21 acres with 3 horses but 7 of those acres is a LAKE so technically 14 acres. It is great because we have a water source for the horses (yes, it has been tested, it is moving water, etc) but it is just too much. I would love to fill in part of it to have more pasture (anyone ever done this?). Ideally I would love to move where the land is flatter but hubby says no. I am grateful for what we have but I would love more land!
    BTW: 3 horses (well 2,one is on stall rest) have been fine on 12 acres and they are out 24/7.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2006
    Location
    Grand Junction, CO
    Posts
    1,776

    Default

    We have five acres (two of which is pasture, and three of which is a forested cliff, so not really usable) and it isn't nearly enough, even though we borrow the neighbour's pasture. I wanted the place with more land, nicer barn, and a trashy house, hubby wanted the place with less land, a barn made out of trailers, and... a less trashy house. Hubby controls the purse strings, so here we are.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2005
    Posts
    3,788

    Default

    640 acres would be just about right.

    With the home yard in the middle, it would be far enough away from neighbors to be tranquil and when the country totally goes to hell, it would be big enough to live 100% off the land. (And provide enough "fighting room" for when the government and/or looters come calling with unfriendly intentions.)



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2006
    Location
    Grand Junction, CO
    Posts
    1,776

    Default

    Makes an awfully big landing pad for the black helicopters, though.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    10,243

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post
    DW said:

    "Not so much that I'd be able to do much with them right away--I just want them. "
    --

    I so understand this. I have always wanted MORE land, even when I was a child and lived on a 280 acre farm. Now I have 22 acres and just found out that the 50 acre hay field across the street from me is going to come up for sale. I am so in lust for it, I can hardly stand myself, and have come to tears thinking about someone else buying it. I think I need professional help to get over this
    Oh Dear! It's such a common disease. Isn't there a vaccination for it!!!
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



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