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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
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    England
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    Default Largest farm you'd want to manage alone?

    What's the largest amount of land/facilities you'd want to manage alone?

    Three horses, for saying's sake, and one person to do everything. (Maybe with paid help for some of the jobs.)

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2003
    Location
    IN
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    4,219

    Default Question

    Full-time job away from the farm or is the farm the primary job?
    Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe



  3. #3
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    Jul. 30, 2005
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    England
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    Default

    Yes, full time (around 55-60 hours per week) job away from the farm.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 3, 2003
    Location
    Up the creek from bar.ka
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    10,064

    Default

    2 or 3 horses, 5 acres.

    Anything more than that is too much. I know this.

    My husband and I have a small farm, 18 acres. 7 horses, full care / training. Regular lessons to teach and training horses to ride, plus a full time job, but I work out of my house so I'm here all day.

    It is a LOT of work. And I would not recommend it to anyone. If they can all live outside in large pastures, great. Keeping 7 show horses by myself, not so great.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
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    England
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    Default

    Thanks TR.

    I have two on 11 acres now, but I have help. However, I may not have help soon, so I'm looking into either selling some of this land, or finding a smaller place.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    Default

    I think there are too many variables to make a guess that means a whole lot without having a person and a property in mind. I'd rather manage 20 acres that are well set-up than 3 acres that are poorly designed for horses.

    I currently have a farm on 5 acres and it's a lot of upkeep. But that's partly because of the large yard around the house and the long drive up to the house and along the front of the property. I wouldn't want to have to manage my property without the help of my husband. I can manage the horse part of it no problem (pastures, barns, arena, and horses), but I'm not sure I would have time to keep up the nicely maintained yard and [albeit somewhat scant] landscaping. I guess it depends on what you mean by "maintain," if you mean "keep it impeccable" then I'd have my eye on 5 or less acres (especially with a busy job). If "maintain" means "keep everyone healthy but not care how nice the human part of the property is" then maybe more???



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
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    England
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    Default

    Good points. I'd be looking for a place that was well set up for the horses. The garden- eh, I tend to kill any plant that's not mint or grass...
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2003
    Location
    IN
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    4,219

    Default Well

    I think it depends on a lot of things. I do it on my own with a full-time job. Some things just don't get done (like house cleaning ) I have 12 acres and 3 horses. I don't stall and have a run-in shed. My neighbor cuts my back field (about 5 acres). I cut the rest and the rather large lawn. As I said, I just set priorities and have learned not to worry if things that aren't high priority don't get done in a timely manner. I've learned to make riding a priority though.
    Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2005
    Posts
    3,988

    Default

    I think it depends on the horses, as TR has alluded to. My diva-gelding makes taking care of 1 difficult, but the filly could probably survive in the wilderness if needed I'm still in the process of building & renovating (isn't this always the case on farms?), but I carefully planned everything with a track around the property, smaller paddocks off the stalls that open to pastures, and gates at key access points. Manure goes on trailer which is then easily attatched & hauled away. A few things here & there that need adjustment, but happy with it.

    I could probably handle 3-5 depending on their diva status. Show horse is ok, but being able to handle turnout is a big limiting factor.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
    Location
    England
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    Default

    My current two are TBs- both fairly good doers, in at night and out during the day. The third would likely also be a (younger) TB, though I'm also look at a few ponies.

    The could live out 24/7, but I sometimes have to ride after work, so it's easier for me to have them in.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 15, 2004
    Location
    Lancaster, PA, USA
    Posts
    7,782

    Default

    for me...it would be 10 acres max. Our horses live out except in storms and winter. As others noted....it also depends a lot on the setup/terrain (all pasture vs partially wooded), if you have reliable help, how much fence to weedwack etc.
    We have 34 acres with 2 of us (myself and a handy hubby) and a teen that works here over summer vacation. On my own with a day job....would not be able to maintain this place for sure. Even now the house gets picked up once a week on Saturday mornings....so it looks like a bomb went off by Friday night....



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2,084

    Default

    for me it would be 15 acres and max three horses. But I have limiting factors like a non handy hubby, full time job, and 1 semi small child with the social calendar of a celebrity(I'm working on it). But I also live in Southern Texas where you can actually have grass year round and not need to stall, blanket or hay your horses. When I was growing up there was me, mom, dad, and brother to take care of 12-15 full time show horses, 5 of which were halter horses on 30 acres. We had a very nice set up and we managed it BUT I know now just how much time it took to upkeep that place and I would not be able to do that now. .
    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
    Originally Posted by alicen:
    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2005
    Posts
    1,743

    Smile We have 75 acres

    Lets see, 18 horses...down from 36, 4 fulltime dogs (we get some dumped sometimes), 4+ cats, 2 goats, two kids and a husband. I have always done the farm by myself. No paid help. I either have worked or been in school pretty much the entire time. It's a job.... but I have the equipment to help, 2 tractors with all the implements, a farm truck and a golf cart. If you plan your farm well, and get a routine together it goes pretty easily. The worse time is breeding/foaling time....those days and nights can get pretty long.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    10,067

    Default

    Just Senior-aged me with 1 horse, 1 pony on 5ac.

    The horse part of the acreage takes up probably near 3 of those acres & is fine if you don't expect gorgeous grassy pasture.

    Barn is centered between 2 pastures, sacrifice area surrounds barn and horses have free access to stalls & both pastures 24/7/365.

    I can close off either pasture with one gate but I choose not to, hence the less-than-pristine pastures.
    WTH, I feed hay year-round, the grass is more for enjoyment than nutrition.

    I would not want any more acreage unless it was in woods with trails that maintained themselves

    I could happliy downsize to 3ac with a teeny house, surrounded by perimeter fencing so 90% of the land was for grazing with just a wee flower/veggie plot for me.

    I work 32h/week and try to fit in riding as a priority over things like housekeeping & maintenance.
    Sometimes that works...
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    24,841

    Default

    So much depends on location, type of property, how it's set up and type of horse keeping. Out 24/7 is easy and less expensive. But easier to do with large grassy pasture.
    In more often requires more work and income. (stall cleaning, bedding, electric, etc)
    How you set up the property and location of stuff and the equipment you have can make a huge difference.
    Having to use a wheelbarrow with a long trek to a manure pile can really eat up labor. Using bedding that doesn't break down quickly in a manure pile makes it worse.

    I have 2 horses at home, in at night, out during the day and 4.5 acres. I do it all solo. No problems here. But much of my property is still wooded. Woods are no upkeep. (and expensive as heck to clear anyways) My manure pile is 80' from the barn, downhill and in the woods. In a damp location. It practically composts itself since I also use pelletted bedding. Good fencing with almost zero upkeep on it. (flex fence and coated wire on 6" round posts) Good tractor, ride on mower for the yard. Tractor does barn property chores, turning the manure pile, knocking down dead trees and hauling them off and snow clearing.

    My main paddock is attached to the barn, grass paddock attached to main paddock as it ring area. No leading horses anywhere. No chance of a loose horse either.

    Does it make more sense for you to move or can you set up your current acreage for easier care? Or even lease out a portion of your property?
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2005
    Location
    The Land of the Frozen
    Posts
    13,787

    Default

    I work a full time job, and a part time job, and I have 7 horses. 4 of my own, and 3 borders. I don't have any trouble keeping up with stuff, but then my husband does most of the maitenance and repair type work. I am really fortunate in that every one of these horses is NEAT in their bathroom habits so stall cleaning is a piece of cake.

    Two of the border geldings share a huge indoor/outdoor stall in the barn and they go outside to do their business in one corner of one paddock, then come back in. They have been here roughly 6 weeks and I have yet to add a single shaving to their huge stall! Only had to pick poop out of the stall one night when I locked them in due to extremely high winds blowing through the barn.

    The 7 are divided into 3 paddocks/pastures so there's no fighting or messing around.

    Every weekend I spend a couple of hours picking poop out of the paddocks but that's the extent of my real "work" in taking care of them. Blankets on and off only takes a few minutes, as only a few wear blankets at night.

    My chores take a total of about 1 hour per day.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2007
    Posts
    3,580

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PNWjumper View Post
    I think there are too many variables to make a guess that means a whole lot without having a person and a property in mind. I'd rather manage 20 acres that are well set-up than 3 acres that are poorly designed for horses.

    I currently have a farm on 5 acres and it's a lot of upkeep. But that's partly because of the large yard around the house and the long drive up to the house and along the front of the property. I wouldn't want to have to manage my property without the help of my husband. I can manage the horse part of it no problem (pastures, barns, arena, and horses), but I'm not sure I would have time to keep up the nicely maintained yard and [albeit somewhat scant] landscaping. I guess it depends on what you mean by "maintain," if you mean "keep it impeccable" then I'd have my eye on 5 or less acres (especially with a busy job). If "maintain" means "keep everyone healthy but not care how nice the human part of the property is" then maybe more???
    I totally agree with this.
    I have 25 acres here in NH. It is the most labor intensive farm ever. Because of the soils, I am constantly fighting mud...and I spend an enormous amount of money on stonedust every year. Believe me when I say I spread it in my fields to help with drainage. I have put in french drains, etc, but well, its really a wet farm.
    It also has lots of nooks and craney areas that I can't brush hog. So, have to weed whack. Suppose I don't, but I hate mud and I hate weeds!

    I have a flat 15 acre farm in SC that is really a breeze...easy to mow, sandy soil so no mud, etc Its my retirement farm, and it will be so different to not spend so much time 'farmin' as I do here.

    Sooooo, soil, topography, trees, all play a huge role.
    If it feels too much, it is too much.
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2001
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    3,087

    Default

    Ideally I'd have 3 or 4 and 6-10 useable acres. In reality I have 7 horses and 18 acres. I usually work full time in addition to taking care of the place without help but I'm not working this semester since I'm taking 21 credits and spending time in clinicals. I'll go back to work in January.

    It's too much for one person unless they have nothing other than the farm. My garden got shorted this year and the housework too. I still need to get pea gravel in the shed areas before winter and am refencing one of the fields next week. I made it to 2 shows this spring. Since my herniated disc gets gnarly now and then, riding sometimes can't happen for 6 weeks at a time so my green horses aren't getting made up like they should.

    I'm working on getting down to 5 by January, and hopefully 4 by the spring. With 2 of them being unrideable, I think I can keep the other 2 in work in between work and classes and the farm and life... we'll see!

    I don't think fewer acres would be much easier, but it all depends on the layout.
    Please don't try to be a voice of reason. It's way more fun to spin things out of control. #BecauseCOTH - showhorsegallery



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2003
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Posts
    1,356

    Default

    40 acres. as many as 14 horses. Currently at 10, but 2 off property right now. I always thought my ideal number was 8, and I think I am right! I have everything set up so that it is EASY. Horses come in stalls to eat (but not all eat, right now just 4 out of the 8) and then go back out. LARGE run in is part of the barn in one pasture and the fatties have their own run in in their pasture. I have a tractor, bush hog and bale spear and I know how to use them. I repair my own fences, keep up my fields and mow my lawn. I don't get to ride much. I have a full time job plus a business on the side that takes me out of town a lot. I have a very reliable person to feed for me when I am out of town.

    I think it is a very personal thing and depends a lot on the person, how particular they are (if the lawn doesn't get mowed and the drive weedwacked in a timely fashion, it doesn't bother me as long as the horses are well-fed!), and how easy the horses and set up are. But it can be done!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
    Posts
    6,266

    Wink depends on the number of horses...

    Quote Originally Posted by Auventera Two View Post
    I am really fortunate in that every one of these horses is NEAT in their bathroom habits so stall cleaning is a piece of cake.

    .
    My mare had a large pasture with a run-in shed. She only defecated in the run in shed! It would be disgusting within a day.

    However when stall-boarded she did all her business in one corner. So that was nice.

    To me (in order of importance) when I was farm shopping: 1) drainage, 2) no stalls to clean (unless I really want to), 3) small yard to mow, 4) small driveway to plow/maintain, 5)proper equipment, 6) auto waterers in the field, 7) no painting/staining of fencing...i.e. easy to maintain fencing.

    I also want rural water, paved roads, mature shelter belt, and to set up my fencing so the gates are close to the barn.
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